Alfred P. Harvey founded his eponymous publishing company in 1941, building his initial success on licensing well-established characters like the Green Hornet, who joined Marvel and DC superheroes such as Captain America and Superman in the comic-book fight against Adolf Hitler during World War II.
In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Harvey and his brothers also licensed popular newspaper comic-strip characters such as Joe Palooka, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Terry and the Pirates, Felix the Cat, Sad Sack, and Li'l Abner, giving the imprint breadth and brand recognition. But it was a group of children's characters created by Paramount Pictures' animation arm, Famous Studios, that helped define Harvey as a comic for little kids. These included Little Audrey, Baby Huey, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, all of whom Harvey purchased from Paramount in 1959.
Along with Harvey's own Richie Rich, who debuted with Little Lotta in the September 1953 issue of another Harvey creation named Little Dot, Casper became one of Harvey's most popular characters, the anchor for the "Harveytoons" that were a staple of Saturday morning cartoon shows on television throughout the 1960s and '70s. As a comic book, Casper had debuted in 1949 under the St. Johns Publishing imprint, but he would become part of the Harvey family in issue #6 of "Casper, the Friendly Ghost" (also known as "Harvey Comic Hits" #61), which Harvey published in October of 1952. However, that was actually not Casper's Harvey debut: Along with an overgrown, diaper-wearing duckling named Baby Huey, Casper appeared issue #25 of Little Audrey, which was published in September of 1952.
Casper would become so popular, he spawned his own roster of supporting characters, many of whom got their own titles. These included Casper's girl friend (as opposed to "girlfriend") Wendy the Good Little Witch, as well as Casper's tough-talking cousin from Brooklyn, Spooky.
As befits a "poor little rich boy," Richie Rich became his own cottage industry. The perennially bow-tied character got his own comic book in November of 1960, and would be published until January of 1991. Along the way, Richie Rich appeared in titles with his trusty butler Cadbury (29 issues), Casper (45 issues) and his "Mean Cousin Reggie" (just three issues of this unpopular title were printed).
Throughout its glory years as a top imprint for children, Harvey understood the value of good publicity, and frequently allowed free use of the brand’s most popular characters for public-service announcements. Though the company stopped printing in 1982 due to a shrinking children’s comic-book market, the founder’s eldest son, Alan Harvey, resumed publishing comic books in 1986. But a failed lawsuit in 1987 against Columbia Pictures over the resemblance of the "Ghostbusters" logo to a Harvey character named Fatso may have taken the wind out of the company's sails. By 1989, Harvey had sold his family's name and titles to Jeffrey Montgomery, who monetized its assets until 2001, when it was sold again to Classic Media, which was gobbled up by DreamWorks Animation in 2012.