Seymour Reit, creator of Casper the Friendly Ghost, pitches his character to Paramount Studios.
Studio Exec: Seymour! Have a seat! We’re thrilled to hear what you’ve got for us!
Seymour: And I’M thrilled to share it! It’s an animated kids’ show—
Studio: LOVE IT ALREADY. Paramount is DESPERATE for some new cartoons.
Seymour: I’ve got just the thing! It stars a little dead boy!
Studio Exec: A little dead boy?
Seymour: YES. A little boy who dies tragically at the age of seven!
Studio Exec: Oh, I’m sorry, I should have been clearer. We’re looking for funny cartoons for kids.
Seymour: I know…
Studio Exec: This story about a little boy who dies at the age of seven is a comedy?
Seymour: Now you get it! His name’s Casper and, even though he’s friendly, he has no friends. He’s very lonely. People hate him cause he’s a ghost.
Studio Exec: OK, um, well, we definitely don’t have any tragically young death comedies in the pipeline at the moment, I’ll give you that. How does Casper die?
Seymour: You know what, I actually haven’t gotten that far yet? I was so amped about a comedy where a seven-year-old boy dies that I haven’t knocked out all the logistics yet.
Studio Exec: You were just caught up in the hysterics of his passing…
Seymour: HAHAHA EXACTLY!
[Full 10-minute laugh break from Seymour where he tries to control himself]
Studio Exec: Seymour, are you gonna be OK?
[Additional 10-minute laugh break from Seymour where he tries to control himself]
Seymour: [wiping tears from his eyes] I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m OK now. I was just picturing the death hahaha.
Studio Exec: Haha, well I’d love to hear what you came up with that was so funny.
Seymour: DRUNK. DRIVER.
Studio Exec: You just laughed for the past 20 minutes picturing this boy getting killed by a drunk driver?
Seymour: You think a sober driver is funnier?
Studio Exec: No, our problem was with—
Seymour: OH!! Maybe he just swallows a buncha pills?
Studio Exec: Hate to be “that guy” but childhood suicide is a bit of a hot-button issue with the censors…
Seymour: Wait, but wasn’t there an episode of The Brady Bunch where Cindy killed herself?
Studio Exec: You’re asking if there’s an episode of The Brady Bunch where the youngest daughter committed suicide?
Studio Exec: No, there wasn’t.
Seymour: [singly softly to himself] All of them had hair of gold … like their mother … the youngest one was dead…
Studio Exec: That’s not how the song goes.
Seymour: [singly softly to himself] They were four men … living all together … until one killed himself … OH! I think you’re right. It was BOBBY.
Studio Exec: Bobby didn’t die, either.
Seymour: We’re getting off track. Maybe he just gets shot at a convenience store. The means isn’t as important as the fact that he’s now a ghost.
Studio Exec: What does he look like?
Seymour: Dead Richie Rich.
Studio Exec: He looks like a dead version of our most popular character?
Seymour: Exactly. Here’s a storyboard I comped up of him crying next to his grave once he realizes he’s dead.
Studio Exec: Um, that’s actually kinda making me sad. I’m having a hard time— wait, he’s not in Heaven?
Seymour: Oh, god no, this boy doesn’t go to Heaven. He can’t cross over.
Studio Exec: Forgive my ignorance but where exactly do the laughs come in for this cartoon?
Seymour: Have you not been listening to me?
Studio Exec: Where are his parents?
Seymour: I always pictured him an orphan.
Studio Exec: And he has no friends?
Seymour: Who would ever wanna watch a comedy called Friends?!
Studio Exec: Good point.
Seymour: I mean, I guess he could meet some alive girl? Unless you want her to be dead, too?
Studio Exec: I think one dead child is probably enough.
Seymour: Cool. So you guys in?
Studio Exec: Yeah, we love it.