2003   OCTOBER 4   #277

Casper The Friendly Ghost - Motorcycle Policeman/Windshield Wipers Parade

Founded in 1939 by brothers Alfred, Leon and Robert Harvey, Harvey Comics had enjoyed pinnacle success in the comic book publishing business from the early 1950's through the mid-1970's, publishing comic books and producing cartoons based on its own characters: Richie Rich; Wendy, the Good Little Witch; Hot Stuff and Little Dot (among many others). In the early 1950's, Harvey Comics acquired the entire catalogue of Paramount Pictures' cartoon characters, including Casper, Baby Huey, Herman and Katnip, Buzzy, the Funny Crow, and Little Audrey. Between the 1950's and 1970's, this group of animated characters enjoyed a popularity that rivaled that of Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. During the 1970's and 1980's, though, the aging Harvey brothers were increasingly unable to provide for their company's future and it subsequently became inactive and unprofitable.

During the 1960's Peter Pan records released many children's records that featured Casper, the friendly ghost. With the help of the "Peter Pan Orchestra and Chorus," Casper tries his hand at being a helicopter, train, motorcycle policeman, truck, windshield wiper, boy, girl, teacher, barnyard animals a tugboat and a rocket. In the end Casper's adventure makes him realize that it's fun to pretend, but it's best to be who you really are (and in Casper's case I guess that means it's best to be a little dead boy).

The LP and all of the songs, except for ""Casper's Theme Song," were written by the infamous Selma Rich Brody who was the musical mastermind behind the "Peter Pan Orchestra and Chorus." This album also features another rendition of the "GOOD HABITS SONG" that was featured previously on 365 days.

- Jef Stevens & Karl Hoffman

TT-4:54 / 6.8MB / 192kbps 44.1khz

(Images courtesy of Jef Stevens & Karl Hoffman)

Carl Howard writes:
Notice that in the album cover, Casper, the train, the truck and the plane all have the same eyes, the same facial structure, almost the same expression. That too was a Harvey hallmark - unbending similarity as a shortcut to character design.

Suzanne Baumann writes:
From above: "This album also features another rendition of the "GOOD HABITS SONG" that was featured previously on 365 days." I keep meaning to mention I have an album called "Let's Play School" on the Diplomat label which has this same song performed by the Rocking Horse Orchestra & Chorus. Did a quick search to confirm that Peter Pan and Rocking Horse are related and came across their corporate site. They're celebrating their 75th anniversary!