Casper, Classism, and Cheap Candy
Poor Casper. All he wants is to be a normal boy, running and playing with all the other kids, but he can’t because he’s dead. It’s rather morbid, if you stop to think about it.
He’s forced to float around in the afterlife in a haunted house with fellow ghosts and ghouls, including the mischievous Hairy Scary, who sounds a lot like comedian Ed Wynn, but is actually voiced by John Stephenson. Casper doesn’t dwell on his misfortune, but makes the best of his situation by maintaing a positive outlook on life, or rather…death.
However on one particular Halloween, Casper is feeling quite melancholy. More than anything he wants to go out Trick-or-Treating, but how can he? He’d surely be turned away because of his ghostly condition. No one in the human world understands him. Casper devises a plan to dress up like a boy by throwing on hat and glasses, making him look like a ghost in a hat and glasses (Alright, maybe he looks like a really anemic beluga whale…with arms and legs.) Meanwhile Hairy Scary and the rest of the ghosts and ghouls in the haunted house decide to raise a little Cain, despite Casper’s objections to keep it a fun, lighthearted affair.
Over at the local orphanage the poor, wretched souls have been told by the headmaster there isn’t enough money to buy proper costumes for Halloween. The children are obviously used to disappointment, as they reach into a basket of random odds and ends to turn their street clothes into something that passes for a costume. Happy to be out for a night of fun, the orphans spot a group of rich kids dressed in proper costumes, carrying bags filled with candy. The good kind of candy, not that shit wrapped in orange and black wax paper. Hoping to fill their buckets with the good stuff, they ring the doorbell at the mansion but the butler (how old money!) turns them away.
The orphans with their shitty costumes and even shittier candy run into Casper, who reveals himself to be a ghost in disguise. Surprisingly, none of the orphans are disturbed by the fact that he is a ghost. They all become fast friends and head out to enjoy the rest of their Halloween night together. At the same time, Hairy Scary and his group of goblins and ghouls fly out over the town for some spooky hijinks. Their antics do not go unnoticed and it’s assumed the kids from the orphanage are the ones up to no good. Don’t worry, though. Casper won’t let the kids fall victim to the evils of classism. Hanna-Barbera wasn’t playing around, folks.
For this spooky Halloween season, Warner Archive Collection has released
(1979) on manufacture on-demand DVD (MOD). Also included on the disc is the Hanna-Barbera holiday special The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t (1972), which tells the story of the first Thanksgiving through the eyes of a couple adorable squirrels. Aww! It also features a pretty trippy opening sequence. Although both Casper’s Halloween Special and The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn’t haven’t aged as well as say, the Peanuts holiday specials, they are a fun watch for the little ones.
Jill Blake is the owner/managing editor of the classic film website Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence. She is also a co-founder and editor of the film site The Moviola and film editor at CC2K. In 2012, she was interviewed on-air by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. In 2013, she was a featured guest on the TCM podcast. In her spare time Jill is a stay-at-home mom, wife, fried okra connoisseur, and the neighborhood’s own L.B. Jeffries.