The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper (also known as simply Casper) was an animated television spin-off of the feature film Casper, which, in turn, was based on the Harvey Comics character of Casper the Friendly Ghost.
At the time that principal filming wrapped on Casper, a sequel was proposed and a treatment was written, but a combination of less-than-stellar box office gross (although the film grossed $100 million in the US, the budget was more than half of that total and analysts predicted much higher earnings for the film) and the fact that both Christina Ricci and Bill Pullman were attached to other projects after Casper and would not be available until more than a year later caused the idea to be scrapped. The producers then decided to abandon the live-action sequel ideas and instead developed this cartoon series to continue the story.
The show aired on FOX Kids television from 1996-1998 for 3 seasons. 52 episodes were produced, but only the first 46 appeared on FOX, with the remaining debuting on FOX Family Channel. Many of the same people who worked on this show also worked on Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain (the latter of which was a spin off from the former, coincidentally, the former had also debuted on FOX).
The new Casper broke from earlier versions, following a sitcom-style pattern of one-liners and pop culture gags in a manner similar to the Casper feature. Apparently the update worked, as Casper hit the top of the ratings chart for children's animation in its first of two seasons on the air. The show would also frequently break the fourth wall. The show used old Casper supporting characters such as Casper's cousin Spooky, Spooky's "ghoulfriend" Pearl (or "Poil" as rendered by Spooky's Brooklyn accent), and Nightmare the Ghost Horse who, unlike in the original cartoons and comics, does not actually talk (though voiced by Frank Welker). The show also introduced new characters, including Casper's super-loud teacher Ms. Banshee.
- Main article: Casper the Friendly Ghost
Casper McFadden has been haunting his family home of Whipstaff Manor for some time, having died from pneumonia (according to a newspaper seen during the scene in the attic from the feature film) after he played out in the cold for too long when he was twelve years old. Now in the care of his three wicked uncles, Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso, Casper's afterlife is not exactly pleasant. He has had to put up with his uncles' outrageous antics and his wish to gain a friend is always ruined. Casper is very friendly and outgoing, but he sometimes appears rather shy. As in the film, he is voiced by Malachi Pearson.
The Ghostly Trio
- Main article: The Ghostly Trio
The Ghostly Trio are Casper's uncles, and they hate mortals, or as they call them, "fleshies", "skinsacks" and "bone-bags." They include Stretch, the hot-headed leader, Stinkie who almost always smells and uses his bad breath on others, and Fatso, who loves to eat. The three are chaotic in every sense and can't resist scaring no matter what the cost. However, there is a turning point to their horrid ways when they keep their promise to Dr. Harvey, and get his wife Amelia for him in the film. As in the feature film, they are voiced by Joe Nipote, Joe Alaskey and Brad Garrett, although in the third and fourth seasons Fatso would be voiced by Jess Harnell, who also voiced Fatso in the unrelated Casper: A Spirited Beginning and Casper Meets Wendy (Notably, Harnell also voiced Wakko Warner, who like Fatso, also has a voracious appetite).
Dr. James Harvey (or "Doc" as he is called by the Ghostly Trio) is a psychiatrist and is shown to be an alumnus of Johns Hopkins University. After his wife Amelia's death, he has gone on to become a "ghost therapist," only to find and make contact with his wife, because he believes she is a ghost. However, after learning that she instead became an angel, he and his teenage daughter Kat stay at their new home of Whipstaff, where he continues to work as a ghost therapist, trying (unsuccessfully) to rehabilitate the mischief-making Ghostly Trio.
Dr. Harvey has to put up with the Ghostly Trio, who have learned to like him, but nevertheless he has as well. Dr. Harvey is an easy-going guy with a big heart. He obviously loves Kat, although he sometimes appears rather neglectful of his now motherless daughter's emotional needs. As demonstrated in the scene from the film where he speaks with his angelic wife, he is worried that he's not taking good care of her, but Amelia assured him that he was doing a good job, although she gave him some "motherly" advice ("Don't pick up the extension every time she gets a phone call, french fries are not a breakfast food..." etc.)
The role was originated by Bill Pullman in the Casper film, but he is voiced by Dan Castellaneta on the show.
Kathleen "Kat" Harvey is the daughter of Dr. Harvey and is portrayed as the stereotypical teenager who has a sense of humour.
She is about thirteen years old (about the age Christina Ricci, who originated the role in the Casper film, was when the movie was filmed) and is a good companion to Casper. Kat hates having to put up with the Ghostly Trio, because none of them get along with her as would be expected. Kat is voiced by Kath Soucie on the show.
- Main article: Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost
Spooky is Casper's mischief-minded cousin. He looks up to the Ghostly Trio as his heroes and despises his cousin's lack of interest in scaring humans. As such, Spooky is always trying to out-scare Casper and become the best in class. However, underneath the gruff, ghostly exterior, Spooky may also have a slight soft spot for his cousin. Spooky is visually very similar to Casper, but he has a black nose and freckles, wears a brown "doiby" hat, and speaks in a Brooklyn accent. He is voiced by Rob Paulsen.
Pearl or "Poil" (as pronounced by Spooky) is Spooky's "ghoulfriend". Often absent-minded, Pearl is almost always oblivious to current situations and takes things way too literally. She adores Spooky and everything about him, right down to the freckles on his face, is good friends with Casper and doesn't care as much for the Ghostly Trio as Spooky does. She is voiced by Miriam Flynn.
Ms. Banshee is the teacher at Casper, Spooky and Pearl's ghost school. Befitting her name, Ms. Banshee can yell loud enough to be heard several towns away, even to wake the dead. Ms. Banshee enjoys being a teacher but dreams of being a professional opera singer. The Ghostly Trio (all three of them) have a crush on Ms. Banshee and constantly compete for her affections. Ms. Banshee is okay with the Trio but remains unimpressed with their efforts. She is voiced by Tress MacNeille.
Amber and the Jennifers
Amber and the Jennifers are students at Kat's school. Amber and the Jennifers are portrayed as rich, spoiled Valley Girl-types. Kat hates Amber and the Jennifers with a passion. Jennifer #1 has brown hair and wears glasses, Jennifer #2 has red hair, and Jennifer #3 has blonde hair. They are voiced by Debi Derryberry and Sherry Lynn.
List of episodes
- Spooking Bee / Fugedaboudit / The Flew (2/24/1996)
- Paws / The Alphabet Song / Is So Too (3/2/1996)
- Legend of Duh Bigfoot / The Ghostly Day / Invasion of the UGFO's (3/9/1996)
- Rocket Booster / A Really Scary Casper Moment / Day of the Living Casper (3/16/1996)
- Three Boos and a Babe / The Whipstaff Inmates / Elusive Exclusive (3/30/1996)
- Paranormal Press / Another Spooky and Poil Moment / Deadstock (4/20/1996)
- Poil Jammed / The Who That I Am / A Picture Says 1000 Words (4/27/1996)
- Spooks, Lies & Videotape / Ghostfather (5/4/1996)
- Rebel Without a Date / Don't Bank on It (5/11/1996)
- Casper vs. the Ultimate Fan Boy / Field of Screams (5/18/1996)
- Grim and Bear It; Fatso of the Opera (9/7/1996)
- Dead of the Class / A Spooky and Poil Moment / Y-Files (9/14/1996)
- Losing Face / Galloping Ghost (9/21/1996)
- Aunt Misbehavin'; Split Personalities (9/28/1996)
- Something to Stink About / Pulp Friction (10/5/1996)
- Ectospasms / Stink of the Road / Doc's Depression (10/12/1996)
- Boo to the Future; All That Falderal (10/19/1996)
- Spooky and Poil Meet the Monsters / You Know You're Alive When... / 13 Ways To Scare a Fleshie / The Trick's a Treat (10/26/1996)
- Frightening Storm; The Ghostly Trio; The Legend of Whitebeard (11/2/1996)
- Three Ghosts and a Baby / I Wanna Be Rude / Leave It to Casper (11/9/1996)
- Luck of the Spookish / Day Care Nightmare (11/16/1996)
- Scream Card / You Know When Your Alive When / Lady Screams the Boos (11/23/1996)
- A Christmas Peril / Ms. Banshee's Holiday Hits / Good Morning Dr. Harvey / Fright Before Christmas (12/21/1996)
- A Midsummer's Night Scream / Auntie Maimed (2/1/1997)
- Gargoils / Ms. Banshee's Public Domain Hits / Boosom Buddies (2/15/1997)
- What Goes Around / Scavenger Haunt (2/22/1997)
- Columboo / All About "C" (9/6/1997)
- Hat Sick / Cancion De Olor / The Boo-Muda Triangle (9/13/1997)
- Intensive Scare / F-A-T-S-O / Stench! (9/20/1997)
- The Phantom of the Oprah / Stretch's Information Tidbit / The Crying Game (9/27/1997)
- Free Goldie / I'd Pick Your Nose / Birthday Boos (10/4/1997)
- Rats! / Stinkie Time Theater / Great Ghouly Governess (10/20/1997)
- Aboove the Law / Ten Little Fatsos / Haunt-A-Thon (10/31/1997)
- This Old Manor / Scareobicize (11/3/1997)
- Gingersnap out of it / Send a Good Stink Up Their Noses / Ghostly Locks and the Three Scares (11/10/1997)
- Booparty / Do You Like Me? / MacDeath! (11/17/1997)
- The Scummies / Three-Ring Whipstaff / It's Best to be the Most (11/27/1997)
- The Son Also Rises / Stretching is Good for You / Ghostfinger (12/12/1997)
- Mom Always likes Ghouls Best / Bury Maguire / Dare to Scare (12/19/1997)
- Four Funerals and a Wedding / I Can Be Anything / Family Reunion (2/6/1998)
- Horrid Copy / I'm Nothing Without My Hat / Caspeer Pressure (2/13/1998)
- That Thing You Boo! / A Good Walk Poiled (2/13/1998)
- Jasper / It's Great To Be a Ghost / The Boo-Bloods of Whipstaff (2/20/1998)
- Ghost Jam / Do the Spooky / Dr. Harvey and Mr. Gruesome (2/20/1998)
- Politically Co-Wrecked Casper / Three Little Letters / Pen and Tell Her (2/27/1998)
- Jack and the Scream Stalk / Boo Bash a Bone Bag / Artistic? That's a Stretch! (2/27/1998)
- Scaredy Boo Where Have You Got To? / Casper's New Theme Song / The Daunting Game (9/12/1998)
- At The BOO-vies / Sing Yourself Happy / Snowball's Chance (9/19/1998)
- NYPD BOO / Three Cool Ghouls / Working Ghouls (9/26/1998)
- Scream Test / Ms. Banshee's Kid Songs / The Doctor Is Out (10/3/1998)
- Miami Nice / If You're Unhappy And You Know It / That Advice Stinks (10/10/1998)
- BOO-Kini Beach / Garlic Bread Man (10/17/1998)
From 1996 through 1998, Universal Studios Home Video released episodes from seasons 1, 2, and 3 onto VHS.
In 2007/2008, Universal Studios Home Entertainment released two volume collections entitled The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, Volume 1 & The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper, Volume 2 on DVD in Region 1. Volume 1 consists of the first 5 episodes of the animated series, while volume 2 contains the last 5 episodes of season 1.
No further plans have been made by Universal to release any further DVDs of the show.
- The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper at the Internet Movie Database