Garfield's Halloween Adventure (1985)

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.

It’s not entirely Garfield’s own fault; the strip has to be translated into dozens of languages, which limits what kind of humor he can get away with.  But his strip had a great supporting cast in the 80s, and it eventually became little more than Garfield sitting around, talking to Jon and maybe squashing a spider (though it seemed to have improved last time I read it for any stretch of time).

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."

At one point, they sail off to an island (which, conveniently enough, is in row-boating distance from their neighborhood), where they meet a spooky old man who tells them that the house is haunted by pirate ghosts who buried a treasure under the house a century ago, vowing to come back for it that very night. And there's no use running, for "they know who you are!"

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.





Anonymous said...

This (Garfield Halloween) was my favorite and I haven't seen it on in a few years.
My 7 year old girl sat on my lap and we watched it off your site.
It was a big hit! Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

I bought the Garfield holiday specials DVD (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.
I agree, the music is quite catchy, and it is a pretty interesting storyline. Granny isn't in the Halloween one, but she rocks in the others!

Steven ( said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
GaryBoz said...

I have the dvd as well. We used to laugh at how the old man was a 10 year old cabin boy at the time of the treasure being buried, making him 110 years old. How does he make it down to Garfield and Odie's boat so fast at that age lol? Awesome music though.

Chris said...

Wow I havent seen this since 8o's maybe late 90's. I wish they would play these annualy on TV like they used to. This Disney Halloween Treat and all the other specials they used to play.

Chris Heffernan said...

Another favourite of mine. Funny and atmospheric with great music! I was never even a huge Garfield fan, but I loved this special in the 80's and now that I have a copy, watch it every year.

Kathy said...

halloween is my favorite festival and speaking of Garfield's halloween adventures I loved it

C-Man said...


kallima_butterfly said...

This is the first year I was not able to watch garfield on tv. I did find charlie brown on ytv but no garfield. Alas the end of my childhood. If they get rid of garfield's christmas special im going to cry

Garyboz said...

Some of the best music in a cartoon special that I have ever come across.

Unknown said...

I can't find this cartoon. It brings back so many childhood memories. I wish I could watch this with my children and grandson, as I watched it with my grandma

Garyboz said...

This should be on tv every year.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...