Friday, September 12, 2008

Garfield In Disguise

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
"Garfield In Disguise"
(Click on images to enlarge.)

What, you may demand, is Garfield, of all things, doing on Sweet Skulls? Well you may ask... and the answer is, did you notice the skeletal pirate ghosts on the cover? Well, one prominent skull or skeleton is enough to qualify it for this blog, and these are certainly sweet, so there you go.

"Garfield's Halloween Adventure," originally titled "Garfield in Disguise," was the first Garfield TV holiday special, premiering in 1985. Now, if you are the dark 'n moody type who is too into blood, guts and nihilistic gloominess to enjoy a simple laugh (and they don't get much simpler), then you probably despise Garfield, and you might as well skip out now. I don't lo-o-o-ve him, but I'm amused enough by his holiday specials to watch them during the various seasons. The Halloween Special is my favorite, for obvious reasons. Every October, certain cartoons come off of the movie shelf for multiple viewings and this is one of them. I was one happy cat when it finally came out on DVD a few years back as part of the Garfield: Holiday Celebrations collection; I could finally put away my grainy SLP-recorded video where I taped it off TV over a decade ago. (I'll be blogging ever-so-eloquently on my other favorites during October over at Monster Memories.)

Now, I could post screen grabs from the program, and probably will as the month goes by. But since I have the book adaptation, the covers which are posted above, I thought I'd string them out over the next month leading up to Halloween, just for your slow and lingering enjoyment. They might be posted alone, or if the subject matter of a certain day is on something else, I'll post them at the bottom.

There's a lot I like about this special; the songs by Lou Rawls add an element of coolness to the fat cat's crooning, the background art is spooky, the gags funnier than most Garfield material, and it all culminates in the creepy haunted house where an old man relates the tale of the cursed treasure. When the pirate ghosts show up, it's everything you could wish for in a Halloween cartoon.

The book version differs in a few ways from the television version; First, it adds a scene with Garfield telling Odie a little bit about Halloween's history, and the book implies that the old man is himself a ghost, and their boat is merely pulled away by the current instead of stolen by the old man. And finally, an final sequence where Garfield uncharacteristically takes a ring from the treasure and is followed home by the pirate ghosts until he returns the ring.

What is this to the left? I know what it looks like... and yes, it's hidden very carefully in the comic strip below. See if you can spot it...

Oh, and in case you want to see the strips all together, when I post the last strip I'll collect them all on one page and link to it on the sidebar.

Here we go, as the morning of All Hallow's Eve breaks over the horizon. In the glow of the tv, we see the sleeping feline, who is blown out of bed by the viscerally-irritating Binky the Clown's AM show, and unthinkingly duped into a moment's activity...

Here we see Binky's first appearance in a Garfield strip. Grating from the very beginning!

Garfield's understandable desire to kill Binky is tempered by the mention of free candy.

To be continued!

All images from the book and TV special are copyright Jim Davis and United Features Syndicate, Inc.

Don't miss the post on "Monster Memories" from the 1974 "Nightmare" Yearbook of the comic story "Hag of the Blood Basket." It's an epic tale of horror!


wolfkahn said...

The cognitive dissonance of seeing Garfield at Sweet Skulls is too much. I'm so confused. lol.

Fred said...

Yeah, it's a stretch, I know... but any excuse is as good as another when you want to do something! And those skeletal spooks are scary to the 4 year old within me. I don't mind catering to him sometimes, if only he wouldn't wet the bed, I get blamed for it!

mlfoley said...

I love Garfield's Halloween Adventure, the TV special. I didn't even know there was a book. Thank you!

Patrick said...

It's your blog Fred, and for one am glad that you post whatever you want to here. I used to buy all of the Garfield books as a teenager, I used to laugh myself silly reading them. Over the years, the appeal was lost, but I still dig those old books. I always try to incorporate a bit of a cartoony style in most of my artwork, so this kind of stuff is great- spooky but cartoony!!