Thursday, October 29, 2009

“Wahoo! There’s a pumpkin on your head!”

For some, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is their annual Halloween tonic that they’ve carried since youth. That was what Garfield’s Halloween Adventure was for me (or the original title of Garfield in Disguise, according to IMDB), made in 1985 when Garfield was still funny, it was a TV special in that grand tradition that seems to have died out by the late 90’s.

Garfield wakes up to the TV telling him that its Halloween, which gets him all excited because of all the candy, candy, candy, candy, candy, candy. He dresses up like a pirate (so does Odie) and they go out trick or treating. Wanting even more candy, Garfield & Odie commandeer a row boat but lose the oars then wash ashore onto a small island with a single house and a single old man who tells them a spooky story about ghost pirates.

Garfield: Lorenzo Music was the official voice of Garfield for a long time, and he did a great job with a character that was pretty much defined by being lazy and anti-social. Garfield likes food. Candy is free on Halloween to trick or treat-ers, therefore Garfield loves Halloween. Simple, but effective. Fun fact, Lorenzo Music was the voice of Peter Venkman on the animated Ghostbusters spinoff. When the movie Garfield was made in recent years, Lorenzo Music had died several years prior. So who voiced Garfield? Peter Venkman himself, Bill Murray.

Odie: Gregg Berger voices (well, barks) Garfield’s dumber but generally likeable sidekick. Odie basically plays second banana to Garfield’s greed, but he does get some moments near the end.

John Arbuckle: Thom Huge voices Garfield’s rather sad sack owner. He’s there at the beginning and doesn’t do a whole lot. More of a glorified cameo.

Old Man: C. Lindsay Workman gives an incredibly hammy performance near the end as a creepy old man who tells Garfield & Odie about a hundred year old pirate treasure and about the ghost pirates that will come back for it at the stroke of midnight.

Ghost Pirates: Okay, so they have no voices and they’re only in it for a few minutes at best. Still, these are ghost pirates and the animation on them is really cool. Ghost pirates are always badass.

Directed by Phil Roman (who I believe was also responsible for the Garfield TV series and the other shorts as well) the special is reasonably well animated. A lot of it is the standard animated fare of the rest of the animated Garfield stuff, but those Ghost Pirates man, those guys were really well animated.

Garfield was created by Jim Davis, and gets writing credit for creating the comic strip. The story is a fairly straightforward string of occasional beats of traditional Garfield-esque running gags, some witty banter, a couple of catchy songs and then all of a sudden, outta nowhere, some legitimately creepy ghost pirates almost kill our heroes.

Original music by Ed Bogas and Desiree Goyette, and with some sung by Lorenzo Music and some by Lou Freakin’ Rawls himself, the songs are incredibly catchy and well done, and also nice and brief, so they don’t get a chance to annoy you.

Okay, so Garfield’s Halloween Adventure isn’t exactly the most complicated thing on our list, but it’s a fun and very Halloween-y special that’s got a lot of nostalgia credit going for it. I mean, it was made back when people didn’t hate Garfield.

 Now the songs are stuck in your head.

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