Before Garfield had his own saturday morning series, the venerable Garfield and Friends, there was a string of specials. Everyone I knew watched them every time they were aired. It's probably difficult for kids nowadays to understand just how HUGE Garfield was among elementary school kids in the 80s, now that he's fallen out of favor with most comic readers. When Scholastic book order forms came out, all of the cool kids ordered the Garfield books out of them. Today, the “cool kids” have grown up to think that Garfield now represents all that is wrong with newspaper comic strips.
Anyway, there were about a dozen animated specials, and the best known of them probably remains "Garfield's Halloween Adventure," which was first aired in 1985 under the name "Garfield in Disguise." It was the first of the specials that wasn't based on the Garfield strips themselves, and featured a handful of catchy songs (the Pirate song, in particular, will stick in your head mercilessly) as Garfield and Odie, dressed as pirates, went off in search of "candy, candy, candy."
|FINALLY ON DVD:|
The old man then runs off with their candy, leaving them to fend for themselves as the ghosts (which are a lot scarier than anything one would expect to see in a Garfield cartoon) come to the cabin to claim their treasure.
The show won an Emmy in 1986, and went on to be a perenniel favorite for over a decade on television - it was about the last of the great old specials besides "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" to be aired annually on one channel or another before disappearing - for a while, a VHS copy could fetch pretty good money on ebay. Today you can buy it on DVD, but, as countless others have pointed out, watching a recording just isn't the same as watching it on TV and knowing your friends are all watching, too (though the whole "everyone watched it" bit might just be nostalgia talking; I seem to recall having to talk one of my friends into watching it instead of "The A-Team" one year). (and even the dvd is now rare).
This is the one special that really stands to fight against "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" for the title of "the" halloween special, if only due to its longevity. Certainly they've both lasted longer than other comic-strip oriented specials. I think it's time we brought this custom of Halloween cartoons for comic strips back. I want my Zits Halloween Special, please!
One quick thing to append here: there's some talk of an "alternate ending" in which the ghosts follow Odie because he still has a bit of the gold. Anyone know more about this? It was in the book version of the story, but no one's found a video that included that scene yet. Most likely, people are just remembering the book and misremembering the ending as being in the cartoon.