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Friday, October 04, 2013

Garfield's Halloween Adventure

I know that we still have several weeks left before Halloween, but for whatever reason, I feel the need to do a Halloween themed blog today. After all, there have been several television specials that have been dedicated to Halloween. Heck, on the long-running television series “The Simpsons”, they've filmed at least twenty-five Treehouse of Horror specials alone!

And I'll offer up my own personal confession here. Some of my all-time favourite television specials are the Halloween ones. I've always loved Halloween (though granted, I did like it more when I was still young enough to go trick-or-treating), and while there were always a plethora of Christmas, Easter, and New Years specials, I always have had a fondness for Halloween specials.

So, for today's blog, I wanted to talk about one of my favourites.

Now, what are some of the things that you associate with Halloween?

Obviously, I've talked about one already. Dressing up in a spooky, silly, or splendid Halloween costume and going door-to-door to get your hands on all the lollipops, caramel chews, and Fun Size bags of M&M's you can eat. As someone who would always stay out as late as possible, I made sure that I had my fill of candy. But there's other aspects of Halloween that are just as fun.

I imagine that a lot of you love Halloween because of the fact that you can tell a lot of spooky and scary stories about ghosts, monsters, aliens, gigantic spiders, and man-eating globs of gelatin desserts and flan.

(Hey, that last one could make sense. Have you ever seen “The Blob”?)

There's also the fun of carving a fresh pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern! Seriously, Halloween is not Halloween without the joys of heading out to the local pumpkin patch, selecting the largest pumpkin you can find, covering your floor or kitchen table with what seemed like an entire newspaper, and removing all of the seeds and gunk out of the pumpkin to carve a scary face on the outside. It was an annual tradition that I looked forward to every single Halloween...and I'll go more into detail in that tradition for tomorrow's blog entry, so definitely stay tuned!

Now, what if I told you that today's look back on the television of the past features all of those things and more? What if I told you that the television special features candy, pumpkin carving, and a mystery that includes some very scary ghosts? Would it be something that you would be interested in?

I hope so. Because today's offering features a lasagna-loving cat and his slobber-loving dog frenemy on the Halloween adventure of a lifetime!

Are you ready to read all about “Garfield's Halloween Adventure”? I hope you are, because that is the topic for today!

It seems hard to believe, but this television special first aired on October 29, 1985 on CBS. For whatever reason, I thought it was an older program as I remember watching it my whole life. Of course, looking at the date, I would have only been four years old. And since I hardly remember anything from before my fourth birthday, I suppose it makes sense as to why I thought the program was older.

Then again, Garfield was only created in 1978...

Anyway, I'm going off topic here. I do that a lot.

I'll be the first one to admit that I love Garfield. I've loved Garfield ever since I was a young boy. And certainly this is not the first Garfield entry that I have done (and it most certainly won't be the last entry either). But while I certainly respect the fact that some thirty-five years after Garfield was created he is still producing comic strips, cartoons, and anthologies...for me, there's nothing quite like the retro Garfield cartoon specials. My spine tingles every time I see one airing on television.

Of course, a part of that comes from the fact that Garfield used to be voiced by the late, but talented Lorenzo Music. Sadly, Lorenzo passed away in 2001, and while Bill Murray has done a great job taking over as the voice of just isn't the same. Lorenzo Music to me WAS Garfield. He combined the perfect blend of grumpiness, sarcasm, cynicism, and lack of caring all into one voice. He certainly was a talent that I don't feel can be one hundred per cent replaced, just as Gregg Berger could be the only Odie, or Thom Huge could be the only Jon Arbuckle, etc, etc, etc.

As Garfield's Halloween Adventure kicks off, we see Garfield watching television (one of his all-time favourite activities next to eating lasagna, sleeping, squashing spiders, mailing Nermal to Abu Dhabi, and kicking Odie off of the kitchen table). Surprisingly, he's watching the Binky the Clown Show, which I always thought was one of Garfield's least-favourite shows...but then again, it is Halloween, and the whole point of the holiday is to be scared, right?

And certainly once Binky the Clown announces on his show that it is Halloween, it immediately perks Garfield up. After all, Halloween is really the only day of the year where you can go to people's homes and get free food, right?

After putting on a sheet and scaring a pumpkin-carving Jon, Garfield decides that he and Odie have to go trick-or-treating. Rummaging through old costumes in the attic of Jon's house, Garfield and Odie dress up as pirates, with the full intent of grabbing as much loot and booty (candy) as they possibly can. Of course, Garfield's decision to bring Odie along for the trick-or-treating adventure was motivated solely by greed. His idea was that he would get twice as much candy as he normally would on Halloween by bringing a frenemy like Odie. And then once they arrived back home, Garfield would find a way to trick Odie into taking a significantly smaller share of candy so that he would get the lion's share of riches.

Yeah, in case you're just tuning into the world of Garfield...Garfield takes advantage of Odie. A lot.

Of course, Jon is blissfully unaware of Garfield's plot to deprive Odie of candy. He's more impressed with the idea that Garfield and Odie are actually doing something together. He provides both of them with bags that they could use to collect the candy and tells them to have fun – as long as they don't stay out too late.

Yeah, in case you're just tuning into the world of Garfield...Jon treats his pets as if he had given birth to them himself. It was funny when I was a kid, but somewhat creepy looking at it through adult eyes. Whatever though. Jon was always the killjoy of the Garfield comics anyway.

Of course, the night starts off quite well. Garfield and Odie visit every house in town, and they get all sorts of treats. I don't exactly know what kind of candy cats and dogs like, but whatever it was, they enjoyed receiving it. Mind you their experiences walking down the darkened streets of their neighbourhood could be kind of frightening, but Garfield insisted that he was not a scaredy-cat. He insisted it so much that he even sang a song about it.

Well, okay, actually Lou Rawls sang the song. It's the thought that counts.

So after a long night of getting free candy, you'd think that the excitement would tire Garfield and Odie out, right? Well, as it turns out, their fun was only beginning.

Turns out that an especially gluttonous Garfield notices that there are more houses across the river. And even though Garfield and Odie managed to collect enough candy to last them through Christmas, it still wasn't enough for Garfield. He wanted to go to the other houses and he wanted to go now. So, he gets Odie to help him find a boat of some sort and row across the river. Because apparently one cannot have too many peanut butter kisses in the orange and black wrappers.

(Okay, actually I can't stand those Halloween peanut butter taffy candies. But then again, I wouldn't be so crazy as to row across the St. Lawrence River to New York State so I could have the opportunity to get some American Kit Kat bars.)

But as Garfield soon realizes...maybe having Odie as your first mate isn't exactly the smartest decision. As the two approach shore, Garfield orders Odie to put out the oars...but Odie seems to believe that what Garfield meant was to throw the oars overboard! And once Odie throws the oars out of the boat, the boat loses control, and soon Garfield and Odie find themselves lost at...well...river.

As if the current was supposed to lead the way by fate, Garfield and Odie make landfall at an old abandoned dock. Completely lost and afraid, they look around for any signs of life, and they happen to discover a sole house with a light on inside the window. Now, normally, I wouldn't recommend that you enter someone's unattended home by yourself, especially on Halloween night. But you know, Garfield and Odie were together, so they thought...why not.

And it is here that they come face to face with a scary old man. A scary old man who tells them a story about pirates who hid a buried treasure inside the very home that they were all standing in exactly one hundred years ago. The man tells them that the pirates swore an oath in blood that exactly one hundred years after the treasure was buried, that they would come back to claim what was rightfully theirs at the stroke of midnight...even if the only way they could do so was through the spirit world. It was a very haunting tale, and for what it was worth, voice actor C. Lindsay Workman did a fantastic job with the role. I was even believing the story watching it on television (though to be fair, I was somewhat a gullible child.)

Garfield though refused to believe it. After all, it was almost midnight, and there was no way that he ever believed in ghosts. After all, he was no scaredy-cat...and only scaredy-cats believed in ghosts.

So, what do you think happened after the clock struck twelve? Did the ghosts arrive? Did the old man fade into the night? Did Garfield and Odie ever get to enjoy their candy?

As if I'm going to tell you. You really should watch this special for yourselves and get the truth yourself. After all, it is only half an hour. And the ending is quite satisfying.

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