Garfield And Friends (1988-1994)
Garfield is a cartoon strip that was created by Jim Davis and it was first published in 1978. It centres around the adventures of a rather lazy ginger cat. Garfield likes to sleep around the house all day, and the only thing that seems to get him excited is being able to eat lasagna which is his favourite food. Garfield is owned by the long-suffering Jon Arbuckle who does his best to look after him, but he always gets the better of Jon as he has a witty aside for every occasion. After a while Garfield became very popular so the decision was made to turn the strip into a TV show.
Of course, somebody thankfully realised that cats don’t speak, so we heard Garfield’s thoughts from his mind courtesy of Lorenzo Music who had a suitably downbeat voice. Garfield And Friends launched in the late-80s and it was shown on CITV regularly for about a decade. One amusing part of the show in the early series was that like The Simpsons there was a change to the opening sequence every week. This was were Garfield would make a quick joke, such as “welcome to my world… did you bring food?”.
As the episodes progressed, we saw Jon and Garfield interact in lots of stories, but there were other characters in the show, including Odie the dog who Garfield wasn’t very found of, the cute kitten Nermal, and we meet some more of Jon’s family. I also remember that Garfield liked to watch the TV a lot, especially Binky The Clown, a crazy screechy-voiced TV star who made Krusty The Klown in The Simpsons seem calm and sensible by comparison.
The “Friends” in the show were the stars of the other segment, which was Orson’s Farm (known in America as US Acres). This was also created by Jim Davis and featured various farm animals including Orson the pig, Booker and Sheldon the chickens, Roy the rooster, and Bo and Lanolin the sheep. I also remember Wade the duck who was scared of everything, and he always wore a rubber ring which had his face on it, and the expression on it changed when Wade’s did, it’s odd how you remember these things.
Garfield And Friends was a cartoon that I always enjoyed watching on CITV, and eventually it ran for seven series and was released on DVD, but not in this country unfortunately. There has also been a huge amount of Garfield merchandise, including books and those toys which had suction caps on them so you could stick them to your car window which seemed to be all the rage for a short while. After the cartoon ended, the story continued though, there were two film versions made which featured real people and a computer-generated version of Garfield, and almost 40 years after it launched, the comic strip continues in newspapers around the world to this day.