October 13, 2018

CASPER AND THE ANGELS


CASPER AND THE ANGELS
(NBC, September 22-December 15, 1979)

Hanna-Barbera Productions




MAIN CAST:
Julie McWhirter – Casper
John Stephenson – Hairy Scarey, Commander
Diana McCannon – Space Patrol Officer Maxi
Laurel Page – Space Patrol Officer Mini
Hal Smith – Nerdley
Paul Winchell – Fungo


            When Harvey Cartoons approached Hanna-Barbera about producing their next Casper series, the results ended up becoming a hodgepodge of different ideas blended together.

Casper, Maxi, Mini and Hairy.


            The new Casper series became Hanna-Barbera’s second attempt at cashing in on the fame of Charlie’s Angels following Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. The difference was this time they opted to mix in a little CHiPs and a taste of The Jetsons as the Angels in question, the ditzy Mini (Laurel Page, who also starred in Caveman) and the sensible yet short-tempered Maxi (Diana McCannon), were jet cycle cops in the year 2179. Joining them on their assignments was Casper (Julie McWhirter), as well as two inept junior partners, Nerdley (Hal Smith) and Fungo (Paul Winchell). Rounding out the rag-tag bunch was Casper's cousin Hairy Scarey (John Stephenson impersonating Ed Wynn), a more traditional ghost who liked to scare and often fell into helping the Angels out on their cases. Unlike other ghosts in the Casper franchise, Hairy was more accepting of Casper’s gentle nature and did his best to try and teach him how to be a real ghost. The Angels’ orders came from The Commander (Stephenson) via communicator screen.

Hairy giving Fungo and Nerdley a fright.

            Casper and the Angels debuted on NBC on September 22, 1979. The show was written by Jack Bonestell, Patsy Cameron, Gary Greenfield, Bob Ogle and Dick Robbins, with Ogle serving as story editor. Hoyt Curtin provided the music. The series limped along for a single season, not really catching much of an audience. Hanna-Barbera gave it their all, however, as while the show was in production they also produced two Casper specials featuring Hairy. Casper’s Halloween Special aired on October 30th, and Casper’s First Christmas aired on December 18th. Neither special was set in the futuristic setting of The Angels, or featured the Angels themselves; however the cast, save Page and Winchell, were reused for different roles in Halloween.   

Hairy showing The Commander some respect.

In 1995, Turner Home Entertainment released two VHS collections, The Boo Zoo and Stars & Frights, featuring five episodes of the show between them. In 2000, Warner Home Video released the Halloween special on VHS and included six episodes with it. The series itself has yet to see any kind of release to DVD.



EPISODE GUIDE:
“Casper’s Golden Chance / Space Circus” (9/22/79) – Mini and Maxi are after gold thieves while Hairy teaches Casper how to scare. / A diamond smuggler happens to hold out at the circus Casper and Hairy go to.

“Casper Ghosts West / Casper’s Camp Out” (9/29/79) – The team is tasked with protecting Sandy Gulch from goons disguised as ghosts. / While on a camping excursion, the team has to deal with a damaged dam.

“Strike Four / The Space Pirate” (10/6/79) – Someone impersonates the star player of the Space City Dodgers. / The team plans to foil Spacebard’s plot to rob a bank.

“Ship-Wrecked / The Cat Burglar” (10/13/79) – Hairy gets the team stranded on a remote planet with hostile inhabitants. / Hairy helps Nerdley and Fungo solve a burglary after they fail to catch the thief.

“Something Fishy / The Smiling Lisa” (10/20/79) – A seal from the Space Aquarium gets held for ransom. / The team is assigned to guard the Smiling Lisa, but find out it’s already stolen upon their arrival.

“A Pocket Full O’Schemes / A Tale of Two Trashmen” (10/27/79) – Mini and Maxi argue over who gets the credit for capturing a pickpocket. / Burglars use disguises as trashmen to make off with their stolen goods.

“Fatula / T.V. or Not T.V.” (11/3/79) – An old collar seeks revenge against Mini and Maxi. / Casper and Hairy keep an escaped criminal from ruining Mini and Maxi’s TV debuts.

“Gone to the Dogs / Private Eyeball to Eyeball” (11/10/79) – Hairy poses as a dog to catch a thieving dog catcher. / Hairy becomes a private eye to investigate a crooked detective looking to steal the gold the Angels guard.

“Champ for a Day / The Ghost Robbers” (11/17/79) – The Angels have to find a wrestler’s stolen teddy bear to get him back into the ring. / Casper and Hairy are framed for robbing a bank.

“Aunt Mary Scarey / The Ice Heist” (11/24/79) – Hairy pretends to be the commander in order to impress his aunt. / The team works to uncover a ring of jewel thieves in a hotel.

“A Shoplifting Experience / The Impossible Scream” (12/1/79) – The team pursues a high-tech shoplifter. / Muscles McSnort causes trouble in the city, but the team has to stop him without Hairy who has lost confidence after failing to scare him.

“Prehistoric Hi-Jinx / The Commander is Missing” (12/8/79) – While guarding a scientist’s lab, the team accidentally gets sent back in time. / The team has to find out what happened to their boss.

“Love at First Fright / Saving Grace in Outer Space” (12/15/79) – Hairy begs Mini and Maxi to let him tag along on an assignment to guard an actress he’s fallen for. / The Commander’s troublesome niece stows away aboard a stolen spacecraft.

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