Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Garfield's Halloween Adventure
You know, they say never lead off with the best material, because you would have no where to go from there. You know what though? I don't care. I've waited all year for this. Garfield's Halloween Adventure is my all time favorite Halloween Special. If I was only able to watch one special and one special only, it would be this one. I will watch it absolutely every single day between now and Halloween night. I love it THAT much. This is my childhood wrapped into 24 minutes of animated bliss and I want to share it with EVERYONE. You can keep your Great Pumpkin, because I know that the true spirit of Halloween lies with some dead pirates in a house on a lonely river island. Don't get me wrong, I love me some Charlie Brown, but this is the penultimate in Retro Halloween Specials as far as I'm concerned.
I used to think that everyone had seen this special, but it's come to my attention in my adult (read man-child) years that not as many people remember this special as I would have thought. This thoroughly shocks me as Holly and I are constantly quoting the special and singing it's songs all year long. I wish I was making that up, but if I had a nickle for every time we started to sing an impromptu round of "What Should I Be?" I probably wouldn't need a day job. A few years ago, when I was still working in sales, I sent out an email to all my co-workers with a poll asking which they preferred - Garfield or Charlie Brown. We were a productive bunch, weren't we? Any way, I found that nearly half of my co-workers had never even SEEN the Garfield special, while a good part of the rest of them preferred It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. That's pretty much when I lost my faith in humanity.
Okay, okay, so what is so great about this special, you ask? Well, first of all, it has quite possibly one of the most endearing Halloween stories I've ever seen. Garfield is woken up early one morning by the Binky The Clown Show. Now first off, I'd like to point out that Binky has always creeped me out. He's like an angry cross between Bozo and Pennywise! Makes me shiver just thinking about it. Anyway, he wakes up to Binky telling all the kids ("Heeeeeey Kiiiiiiiiiiids!") that it's Halloween and that night they could get lots of candy. This of course catches Garfield's attention and brings us too one of my most quoted lines "Candy, candy, candy!" Which brings me to another side story. I'm not much of a candy person most of the year and I could go January to September without so much as a piece of chocolate.....and I would be fine with that. But when Halloween rolls around, I can't help myself. I can't go to the store without buying bags of candy. Holly could send me to the store to buy toilet paper and swiss cheese, but you can be sure that I will come back with three bags of various Halloween candy and HOPEFULLY I remember to pick up what I was sent out to get. Same thing happens to me with Egg Nog and Christmas Cookies and candies. I am truly a diseased individual.
So Garfield has brilliant idea to bring Odie along with him, effectively netting himself two bags of candy. They head up to the attic to search for costumes. Here is where the incredibly infectious song "What Should I Be?" plays out. I dare you to listen to it and NOT get it stuck in your head. After searching through boxes and trunks they find the perfect costumes: Pirates! They are now Orangebeard and Odie the Stupid! John laughs at their costumes and Garfield threatens him with his wooden sword but decides to let him live "being that yer the only one who be changing me kitty litter!" Classic line. The boys head out to Trick or Treat and as they walk down the street, Odie starts to whimper. Garfield tells him not to be afraid, because they are all just kids, like them, in costume. Garfield sings my second favorite song in the show, "Scaredy Cat" as he attempts to show Odie that they are all costumes, but each appears to be a real supernatural creature or ghost.
After their sacks are full, the boys are about to head home when Garfield notices all the houses across the river. Being the greedy kitty that he is, they find a row boat and start to head to the other side to get more candy ("Candy, candy, candy!"), Unfortunately when Garfield tells Odie to put out the oars, Odie does just that. Literally. As the oars float away, Garfield realizes that they might be in trouble. However, the wash up on an island in the river. The house appears to be inhabited, with light coming from the windows, but when they peer in, they see no one. They decide to warm themselves by the fire. It's then that they are surprised by an old man sitting in a chair, who tells them a tale of a pirate blood pact. 100 years ago, these pirates left their treasure here and all vowed to come back 100 years later for it, even if it meant returning from the grave! Which, of course it would....because who the hell lives that long anyway? But that's besides the point. The old man steals their rowboat and leaves them to face the phantom pirates.
When I was a kid, these ghost pirates really freaked me out! I can very distinctly remember holding my plastic pumpkin full of candy tightly as I watched Garfield and Odie hide from them.
Of course as a young child I was afraid of pretty much everything. It's actually quite amazing that I turned into a horror hound, because I remember staying up under my covers freaked out over a Halloween episode of The Facts of Life. So there you go. Take of that what you will.
GHA was originally called Garfield in Disguise, which I'm guessing they changed because it wasn't Halloweeney enough. That sounds more like some kinda espionage thing. Halloween Adventure has a much better ring to it. Garfield, as always, was voice by Lorenzo Music....who also performed the musical numbers. This was unavailable for a number of years, having only been distrubted on VHS by Fox Home Entertainment in 1992. It was then released on DVD as part of the Garfield Holiday Celebrations disc in 2004, released by 20th Century Fox. This is how I got my hands on it.......as a wonderful gift from my loving wife, Holly. Love that woman. Anyway, it's still available if you look for it. Amazon has got more than a few copies of it.....and you also get Garfield's Thanksgiving and A Garfield Christmas....also both essentials! If you want a real treat this Halloween, do yourself a favor and watch this!