Disclaimer: This post is not legal advice (or about the law, at all)
Happy (almost) Halloween everyone! Halloween is my favorite holiday, and for the last 25 years or so, I’ve marked it with an annual showcase of the timeless classic, “Garfield’s Halloween Adventure” or “Garfield in Disguise” (depending on your region).
GHA is a great special in the Garfield cannon – right up there with “Garfield’s Thanksgiving” or “A Garfield Christmas” but for a number of reasons, it stands out – here are a few of them:
- The Twist – Let’s face it, most Garfield episodes follow a familiar “Scooby-Doo-Esque” formula. This one, however, breaks the mold. At some point (and no spoilers here), the episode goes from “Oh, this is standard Garfield, he just kicked Odie off the table” to “Oh my gosh, ghosts are real!” For a franchise so steeped in its formalistic approach, the twist (and horror!) was both unexpected and appreciated. But, to be fair, the special was developed before “Garfield and Friends” so maybe the formula wasn’t established yet?
- The Artwork – Maybe because of its earlier release date, without the rigorous schedule of a weekly show, the artwork has a much more bespoke feel. Fall was not a season pictured often in the series, or in the other prime time specials besides “A Garfield Christmas,” and it was captured (in cartoon form) beautifully. Also, this special features rooms in the Arbuckle household that viewers had never seen before – both the super long hallway and the attic.
- The Music – It’s sticky, to say the least. Specifically, “What Should I Be?” performed by Lorenzo Music (the voice of Garfield) and “This is the Night” by Lou Rawls. As a kid, I thought “What Should I Be” was some “known” Halloween song like “The Monster Mash” that was re-purposed for the special…as an adult, I found out it wasn’t.
Obviously, this is a pretty big departure from the law, and yet again, showcases my unrefined love of dated pop culture and cartoons, but it’s the holidays – – so thanks for indulging me. Additionally, this bad boy won an Emmy in 1986, so don’t take my word for it – – this Garfield special is worth your time (or at least it was, in the 80s). If you want to see this special, it’s available (illegally) online….or I have the DVD….you’re welcome to borrow it.
Happy Halloween. What’s your holiday tradition?