Wednesday, 29 October 2014

An Unforgotten Fright: Garfield In Disguise

With Halloween only a few days away, I thought it would be nice to feature a post strictly on one of my favorite holiday specials - Garfield's Halloween Adventure, which aired on CBS on October 30, 1985. I may have been only a 4-year-old at the time, but I have fond memories watching the animated special. My mom recorded it on a VHS tape, so I could watch it yearly.

The special was directed by Phil Roman based on the screenplay by Garfield's creator Jim Davis. It centered on Garfield learning that you can get free candy on Halloween night just by dressing up and going door to door saying, "Trick-or-Treat." This gives him a great idea - he will throw on a costume and bring Odie along with him, so he can get twice the "candy, candy, candy, candy!"

After digging through their owner's (Jon) stuff in the attic, Garfield puts together a pirate costume and goes as Orange Beard The Pirate Cap'n and Odie goes as his First Mate, Odie-the-stupid. The two pets go door to door collecting bags full of candy. Before they call it a night, Garfield wants to go trick-or-treating at the houses across the river. The ferry boat doesn't run at night, so there is good chance that they can receive a huge loot of candy there!

Garfield & Odie go trick-or-treating!

Garfield and Odie hop into a rowboat and of course Odie does most of the paddling that is until he loses the oars. For a few minutes they think they are lost, but eventually they find land - a small island with a creepy house. Garfield and Odie sneak in and try to warm up in front of a fireplace, but they are quickly startled by a creepy old man who tells them a scary pirate story. As it turns out, the pirate tale is real and the ghost pirates are turning to tonight for their treasure!

The Halloween special received great praise from critics and fans. It even one a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 1986. Jim Davis created the special because he wanted to make something that was scare for the entire family. The animation for the pirate ship and ghosts rising from the river scene was done at the Paws Inc. because Jim Davis wanted to make sure it was done correctly.

Originally the special was to be called Garfield in Disguise, but it was later changed to Garfield's Halloween Adventure. However, the book adaption released in 1985 by Jim Davis used the original title. There are a few differences in the book, such as Garfield explaining to Odie about the origin of  Samhain, the old man doesn't seal their row boat, and the ghosts show up at Garfield's home to reclaim a ring he stole.

Similar to It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Garfield's Halloween Adventure was aired every year during October until the mid '90s, then it just simply disappeared. Well, that is until the special appeared in the Garfield: Holiday Celebrations in 2004, but sadly the DVD is out-of-print. Luckily, the special will once again be available to own with the November 4th release of Garfield: Holiday Collection: Collector's Edition.

Garfield in Disguise (Garfield's Halloween Adventure) marks a time when network television had an ounce of creativity and before they started airing horrible reality shows, cliched dramas and the unfunny Modern Family-style sitcoms. Maybe the special is a little dark for today's audience, but in my opinion it does hold up well after all these years and it is a must watch around Halloween!

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