Casper, The Friendly Ghost, a fascinating  post-WWII cartoon creation, first appeared in a 1939 children’s book and several animated cartoons in 1945. 

 In 1950-59, he was serialized in theatrical shorts before Harvey Comics bought the rights to the character.

Since the original Casper was depicted as a ghostly, mildly obese, little boy “living” by a gravestone,  whether or not he was a dead child remained controversial.

Later, he was presented as an innocently ambiguous creature, similar to  a friendly ghoul or goblin.  Thereafter he had feet, was slimmer and was simply the product of ghostly parents.

In a 1995 live-action movie, his name  became Casper McFadden, the ghost of a 12-year old boy who died of pneumonia.