4.9/10
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Down to Mirth (1959)

Approved | | Animation, Short, Sci-Fi | 20 May 1959 (USA)
A mad scientist invents an anti-gravity machine, and is using it to create havoc on earth. Casper, the Friendly Ghost, gets involved with the mad-man and eventually forces him to destroy the machine and bring earth back to earth.

Director:

Seymour Kneitel

Writers:

Jack Mercer (story), Carl Meyer (story)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Jackson Beck Jackson Beck ... Tour Guide / Scientists / Radio Newsman / Mayor (voice) (uncredited)
Norma MacMillan Norma MacMillan ... Casper (voice) (uncredited)
Jack Mercer ... Dr. Brainstorm / Scientists / Kangeroo / Cop (voice) (uncredited)
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Storyline

A mad scientist invents an anti-gravity machine, and is using it to create havoc on earth. Casper, the Friendly Ghost, gets involved with the mad-man and eventually forces him to destroy the machine and bring earth back to earth.

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Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 May 1959 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Famous Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
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User Reviews

 
Casper and the mad scientist
12 January 2017 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

As said in most of my reviews for the Casper cartoons, the late-40s to the early/mid-50s Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoons had a higher budget and overall the overall quality was much better. Onwards, the quality did diminish quite significantly though the overall cartoons varied, some decent, many mediocre.

Famous Studios' cartoons are not for all tastes, but my opinion is that their early stuff and some of the early 50s output are good. While they were very formulaic they were always well animated and voiced with some funny parts, some poignancy and decent characters and their regular composer Winston Sharples could always be relied on to write a great and often outstanding score.

By the mid-50s through to the late-60s Famous Studios' cartoons did admittedly get repetitive. While Sharples' music still shone and the voice actors did their best the animation suffered due to lower budgets and tighter deadlines, the humour became more tired and slow in timing than sharp and funny, the stories became increasingly predictable and rehashed and some characters started losing their initial spark, this is particularly true of most of the later Herman and Katnip cartoons.

There are far better Casper The Friendly Ghost cartoons out there than 'Down to Mirth', especially the cartoons from 'There's Good Boos Tonight', 'Once Upon a Rhyme' and 'Boo To You Too' (the cartoons from this to 'Boo Moon' varied but mostly decent), the very unique (and the most original Casper cartoon) 'Boo Moon' is also up there. It does have its good things (more so than a lot of the later Casper cartoons), but Famous Studios had declined by this point and the difference in quality from the very early Casper cartoons is staggering.

The best thing about 'Down to Mirth' is the music score. Winston Sharples' music score here is typically merry and whimsical, it's beautifully orchestrated, energetic and adds so much to the mood, his music has always been one of the best assets of the Famous Studios cartoons and it's not an exception here. In fact how it's composed and how it meshes so well with everything going on in the animation, story and action contributes to it being the best thing about the cartoon.

While he is a character that won't click with everybody, Casper does win me over with his friendly nature and kindness, and also his determination. The mad scientist is fun enough and the two interact well together. The voice acting is good enough.

However the dialogue is cloying and at best forgettable, and there is nowhere near enough here that's funny, imaginative or creepy, this is including the reactions to Casper. While not as repetitive of other Casper cartoons from this particular period, the story still feels tired and more of the same structurally.

Not much better to say about the animation quality either. Much of it lacks vibrancy, the backgrounds have lost their meticulousness and the characters look hastily drawn and the overall drawing scrappy, as a result of lower budgets and tighter deadlines.

In conclusion, there's better Casper cartoons but also worse. Instead it's one of the average ones. 5/10 Bethany Cox


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