Minorities in cartoons: “Casper and the Angels”

This week’s minorities in cartoons entry is “Casper and the Angels.” Hanna-Barbera produced the series, which aired on NBC during the 1979-80 TV season.

Background

This show revolved around an odd premise. Set in the year 2179, Casper the Friendly Ghost played a ghostly “guardian” to a pair of space police officers, Maxie and Minnie. Maxie was sensible and smart, while Minnie was somewhat ditzy. Accompanying Casper was a new ghostly character, Hairy Scary. Hairy preferred to scare people (unlike Casper), but helped the others anyway. He spoke in a voice resembling prior Hanna-Barbera character Wally Gator (who in turn was based on comedian Ed Wynn).

Hanna-Barbera often based their shows on other pieces of pop culture. This show seemed an amalgamation of “CHiPs” and “The Jetsons.” Wikipedia claims “Charlie’s Angels” was also an influence, but I think “CHiPs” was the main reference.

The show had the usual futuristic elements seen in “The Jetsons.” Unfortunately, the “space” puns for this series were quite lazy. For example, one episode sees Casper and Hairy go to the “Space Circus.” Then there were the puns that weren’t space-related at all, such as an obese vampire crook named “Fatula.”

Casper kept his usual “try to help others” shtick, though the futuristic denizens oddly didn’t seem as afraid of him as in the classic theatrical shorts. None of the usual Casper cast (the Ghostly Trio, Wendy the Good Little Witch, etc.) appeared in this series.

This series marked Casper’s first original TV series since the early 60s. During the series’ run, Casper (and Hairy) also appeared in a pair of Halloween and Christmas specials.

After “Angels” ran its course, Casper’s next TV appearance was in a 1996 series that aired on Fox.

Syndication/home video

The series is occasionally seen on Boomerang.

To date, “Angels” hasn’t been released on DVD or digital video.

Voice actors

Julie McWhirter voiced Casper.

John Stephenson voiced Hairy Scary. His most famous voice is Mr. Slate on “The Flintstones.”

Laurel Page voiced Minnie. Page voiced Taffy on “Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels.”

Diana McCannon voiced Maxie. McCannon appeared in some live-action roles in the 70s and 80s, including police series such as “Police Story” and “Hill Street Blues.”

Opening credits

Here’s the show’s opening credits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *