Herman Post

Garfield and Friends

Garfield and Friends is an American animated television series based on comic strip Garfield by Jim Davis. This show was produced by Film Roman, and ran on CBS Saturday mornings from 1988 to 1994. The show's seven seasons make it one of the longest running Saturday morning cartoons in history (most only last one or two seasons).

Regular segments featured both Garfield and U.S. Acres, a lesser-known comic strip created by Davis. The latter was retitled Orson's Farm for foreign syndication.

242 Garfield segments and 121 U.S. Acres segments were produced. There were two "Garfield" segments on each show, two "quickie" shorts based on Sunday comic strips, and in between was a U.S. Acres segment. A total of 121 half-hours were produced, and as of December 6 2005, all of these have been released in the U.S. on five DVD sets by Fox Home Entertainment. The first season aired in a half-hour format. In the second season, it switched to an hour-length format, showing two episodes each week. However, in the show's last season, the second half-hour of the show featured either an episode from the previous season or one of Garfield's TV specials.

For a complete listing of episodes, see List of Garfield and Friends episodes.

Voice actors and their characters

In addition to the regular voice actor cast above, there have been several celebrity guest stars who did voice acting on Garfield & Friends. They are, in chronological order:

  • Episode 19: Robin Leach provided the voice for the host of "Lifestyles of the Fat and Furry" in the Garfield short "Fat and Furry."
  • Episode 27: Chick Hearn portrayed a rodent version of himself named Chick Mouse in the Garfield short "Basket Brawl." In addition, he interviews a rodent version of Jack Nicholson during the episode, referring to Nicholson's constant presence courtside at Los Angeles Lakers games.
  • Episode 45: June Foray voices a witch character who kidnaps Odie in the Garfield short "Flat Tired.", essentially reprising her role as Witch Hazel of the Looney Tunes.
  • Episode 51: Paul Winchell voices Gramps and Mr. Baggit in the Garfield short "Supermarket Mania."
  • Episode 60: Marvin Kaplan Provides the voice of Angel Puss, of the same name. Marvin provided the original and long running voice of Choo-Choo in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series Top Cat.
  • Episode 63: Rod Roddy voices the announcer of a game show called "End of the Rainbow" where Roy Rooster plays a Let's Make a Deal-style game with a leprechaun in the U.S. Acres short "Over the Rainbow (Garfield and Friends "Over the Rainbow."
  • Episode 88: James Earl Jones plays a ghost named Diablo who during a meeting of fellow ghosts, points out that the smallest ghost, McCraven (Voiced by Will Ryan), has "never scared so much as a butterfly" in the Garfield short "Ghost of a Chance.", similar to his character Kibosh from the Casper direct-to-video sequels.
  • Episode 89: John Moschitta plays a fast talking salesman named Supersonic Seymour who tries to con Jon into doing all his errands much too fast (and take his money in the process) in the Garfield short "Supersonic Seymour."
  • Episode 91: Don Knotts plays a home security system salesman who, like Barney Fife, is obsessed with following and obeying all rules to the letter in the Garfield short "Safe at Home."
  • Episode 116: George Foreman plays a boxer named George Fisticuff in the Garfield short "Food Fighter."

The cast

Garfield

Regular characters

  • Garfield: A fat, lazy tabby cat (once described in the comic strip by his owner Jon as "an orange meatball with stripes") who wants nothing more out of life than to eat and sleep. Enjoys tormenting Odie and likes trying to mail Nermal to Abu Dhabi. He made a small handful of appearances on U.S. Acres (once wearing nothing but a black mask over his eyes as his "disguise"), but was more often seen in the form of various Garfield merchandise the characters appeared to own. Garfield loves Jon and Odie deep down. Deep down Garfield is jealous of Odie and Nermal because he doesn't like to share Jon with anybody else. Garfield hates going to the vet.
  • Odie: A beagle who used to belong to Jon's former roommate Lyman (who never appeared on the show, but was a character who appeared in the earliest comic strips). Is often kicked off the kitchen table by Garfield. Looks incredibly stupid and gullible, but is actually much more cunning and smart than he lets on. Odie is the only animal character who doesn't communicate with any form of dialogue, solely communicating with body language and his enthusiastic barking and other dog sound effects.
  • Jon Arbuckle: A bachelor cartoonist who has poor luck with women and a somewhat nerdy demeanor. Often annoyed by some of Garfield's antics, and he has an unrequited love for Dr. Liz. Whenever Garfield gets in trouble Jon will punish Garfield by taking him to the vet. Jon also has a mission set before him. Get Garfield to do the right thing. Jon will force Garfield to hunt for mice and to catch mice. Jon's always forcing Garfield to go on a diet. It's possible that Jon loves Odie more than Garfield.
  • Pooky: Garfield's teddy bear whom is his sleeping companion. Found in a drawer he has been Garfield's only toy. One time he lost him and became "The Caped Avenger."

Recurring characters

  • Binky The Clown: A loud, obnoxious clown who appeared a few times in the strip before becoming a regular on the show. Within the series, Binky has his own TV show that Garfield and Odie try to avoid watching. It seems that they both hate the show. In the episode where Binky was temporarily cancelled, Garfield narrated, "All his fans were depressed-both of them", indicating they were the only ones who watched the show, and they didn't seem depressed at all. Binky once had his own segment on the series called "Screaming With Binky" that was the length of a Quickie—Most of these segments were removed in syndication. Garfield said he got rid of Binky in the episode "Remote Possibilities," but said he was back on the show in "The Feline Philosopher." His catchphrase is, "Heeeeeey, kiiiiiiids!" , but to Garfield he yells ``Heeeeeeeeeeeey, cat!''
  • Nermal: A cute gray kitten who's the self-proclaimed "World's Cutest Kitty Cat". Nermal seems kind and playful, but likes to annoy Garfield and brag about how much cuter he is. Garfield often attempts (usually unsuccessfully) to mail him to Abu Dhabi as a result. Nermal's arguably feminine preoccupation with being cute, and the fact that a woman provides the voice for Nermal caused many viewers to mistake him for a girl at first, though he is actually male.
  • Herman Post: A mailman who loves delivering the mail. Is constantly the victim of booby traps set by Garfield.
  • Dr. Liz Wilson: Garfield's sarcastic veterinarian and long-time crush of Jon Arbuckle. She occasionally dates him, but these outings always become disasters (often due to Garfield's actions).
  • Floyd: Garfield's best friend. A mouse who shows up at least once every season. A common running gag with the character is his continuous complaints over not appearing often.
  • Cactus Jake: The foreman of the Polecat Flats dude ranch; behaves in the manner of an old-fashioned cowboy, and often refuses to have anything to do with modern technology.
  • Al G. Swindler: As his name suggests, he is a businessman and con artist who constantly swindles the perennially gullible Jon, but is eventually outwitted by Garfield. In the episode Lemon Aid his name was given as Al J. Swindler.
  • The Buddy Bears: Their names are Billy, Bobby and Bertie. They are three talking bears who spew conformist propaganda in the form of song and dance ("never have an opinion of your own," "if you ever disagree, it means that you are wrong. Oh, we are the Buddy Bears; we always get along," etc.) Their television show once replaced Binky's, and Roy Rooster of U.S. Acres has twice been stuck as the fall guy of their routines. The Buddy Bears are a satire of The Get-Along Gang and other '80s cartoons that placed the importance of group harmony over individualism. They seem to have a habit of dropping seventeen-ton safes on Roy Rooster. Later in the series there is a 4th female Buddy Bear.
  • Penelope: Penelope is Garfield's girlfriend who takes the place of his love interest Arlene from the comics. Mark Evanier recently explained that the reason Arlene never appeared in the series was that Jim Davis had a very specific idea on how the Arlene character should be, and if the writers couldn't do that, then to not use the character. Mark Evanier subsequently invented Penelope.
  • The Singing Ants: The Singing Ants, ants who sing while stealing food, appeared first as the stars of the musical episode "The Picnic Panic," where they steal all of Garfield's picnic lunch. They later made a cameo appearance in "A Vacation From His Senses," where they are seemingly delusions of Jon, who thinks that he has gone crazy. Their final appearance is in "Another Ant Episode," where they have another starring role, this time taking over Garfield's house.
  • Ludlow: A bird who only appeared twice. His father always beats up Garfield when he thinks he has eaten his son. The episodes in which he appeared are "Sweet Tweet Treat" and "Catch As Cats Can't."
  • Rudy: A dog who beats on Garfield every time he has one of those TV shows and he says something bad about dogs.
  • Mice: The Mice appeared in two episodes and a "quickie." The episodes were "Good Mouse Keeping," and "Rodent Rampage," and the "quickie" called "Time Share."
  • Jon's Dates: Jon's Dates appear many times. One was exactly like him in the episode "The Perfect Match." Although only one was successful: Liz.
  • Cat Burglar: The Cat Burglar appeared in only three episodes: "Mistakes Will Happen," "Safe At Home," and "Top Ten." He had two attempts to steal from Jon's home.
  • Madman Murray: About like Mr. Swindler, he tries to get Jon to buy some cheap junk. He appeared in many episodes.
  • Aliens: Sometimes unknown until about halfway through an alien character will appear usually cute. Some only appeared once on U.S. Acres a.k.a. Orson's Farm.
  • Gramps: An old man character who really didn't appear in the comics but does have various stores around town.
  • J.D.: (a.k.a. Jim Davis) The director of the cartoons who had three "appearances." In the episodes: "Flat Tired," "Fill In Feline," and the U.S. Acres (Orson's Farm outside of U.S.A) episode "What's It All About Wade?"
  • Cameo Guest Star: In some episodes, one or more of the U.S. Acres characters make cameo appearances.

Orson's Farm (a.k.a. U.S. Acres)

Regular characters

  • Orson: A friendly pig whose favorite pastime is reading books and imagining himself into many scenarios, a la Walter Mitty. Orson also has two missions set before him. Get Roy to do the right thing and get Wade to be brave. Orson once forced Sheldon to hatch, but as it turns out when Sheldon hatched he was an egg shell under neath.
  • Roy: A self-centered rooster who prides himself on his practical jokes.
  • Wade: A duck who wears a rubber flotation tube, and has a bunch of phobias no matter how trivial. As a gag, the head on his flotation tube copies every movement and appearance change Wade's real head does.
  • Bo: An affable sheep with a positive, laid-back attitude, whose mannerisms and vernacular are like a California beach bum. Lanolin's twin brother.
  • Lanolin: A loud-mouthed sheep who spends most of her time disagreeing with Bo. Bo's twin sister.
  • Booker: A small, cute, but very assertive chick who is constantly in pursuit of unnamed worms. Got his name from Orson's love of books.
  • Sheldon: Booker's brother, who, despite having hatched, is an egg with feet popped out. He seems to have "all kinds of things" in his shell, including a pinball machine and a stove.

Recurring characters

  • "The Farmer": The unseen owner of the farm.
  • Mort, Gort and Wart: Orson's older brothers, who are constantly trying to steal vegetables from the farm and torment Orson.
  • The Wolf: One of many predators who attempts to steal the chickens.
  • The Weasel: Another predator who attempts to steal the chickens.
  • The Fox: Yet another predator who attempts to steal the chickens.
  • The Worms: Cunning worms who occasionally talk. Constantly pursued by the hapless Booker.
  • Fred Duck: Wade's highly annoying cousin who wears a parachute when flying because he's secretly afraid of heights.
  • Chloe: Roy's niece and a bookish chick. Roy likes her more than he'll admit. She was first introduced in "Uncle Roy to the Rescue", and then was seen again in "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarfs, pts. 1-2".
  • Cameo Guest Star: Sometimes, a character from the Garfield portion of the show will be seen, heard, or mentioned. Usually this is Garfield himself.

Humor

The chief guiding force behind the show was comedy writer Mark Evanier, also known as a co-creator of Groo the Wanderer, who wrote "virtually all" of the shorts by his admission (with the exception of several shorts that were written by Sharman DiVono during the first four seasons). Because of this, the show (particularly in later seasons) had a markedly different style of humor than the previous specials or strips. Whereas the specials and strips tended to focus on more character-based humor, Garfield and Friends frequently tended to be much wackier and admittedly more sophisticated, in the vein of later cartoons such as Animaniacs or Pinky and the Brain.

Episodes were filled with puns and non sequiturs, and often lapsed into complete absurdity (such as the US Acres short "Over The Rainbow", in which Roy's quest to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow leads him instead to a Let's Make a Deal-style game show complete with Rod Roddy announcing). Running gags were frequent, throughout either single shorts (such as in the Garfield short "The Creature That Lived In The Refrigerator, Behind the Mayonnaise, Next to the Ketchup and to the Left of the Cole Slaw!", in which the name of said creature is spoken repeatedly), or entire seasons (the Klopman Diamond is mentioned in many, many episodes). U.S. Acres characters would frequently make unexplained cameo appearances in Garfield shorts, and vice-versa (for several cross-appearance examples, see US Acres). For example, the "Giant Radioactive Mutant Guppies" that Garfield and Nermal flushed down the sewer resurfaced in the U.S. Acres quickie that immediately followed, and then one asks the others if they could maybe get on the Muppet Babies, which at that time preceded Garfield and Friends on the CBS Saturday Morning lineup. There was even some mild satire, particularly in the form of the "Buddy Bears", which spoofed such saccharine cartoons as The Get-Along Gang and The Smurfs.

Many episodes tended to break the fourth wall. Garfield would frequently address the audience directly, openly acknowledging that he is, in fact, in a cartoon, or he would read through the script to find out what would happen in the short. Another example is a scene where Garfield is trying to prevent a plane from crashing and asking the audience to check the TV listings to make sure it's not the last episode. The characters would even fight with unnamed network executives over the direction of the show, and in at least one instance, the show was "canceled". Entire shorts would even be built around this conceit, such as "Mistakes Will Happen", a short that featured Garfield disputing a claim that the show was featuring various mistakes—and then proceeding to run a short that was filled with dozens of animation, sound, and writing errors. In one short, "Flat Tired", Garfield refused to do a cartoon, stating to the cameramen "Go away. I'm not in this episode." Odie takes over the short (complete with a title card with Odie's name/logo) as "A Witch In Time", wherein he is kidnapped by a witch, and rescued (reluctantly) by Garfield.

Some episodes referred to the budget of the show. An example is in one episode, Garfield tells people in the cartoon not to talk to save money on paying voice actors.

Production

When the show was originally broadcast on CBS, the episodes usually had three Quickies (30- to 45-second gags), usually two "Garfield Quickies" (the first one being played before the intro theme) and one "U.S. Acres Quickie," the latter of which was never shown in syndication. Midway through the second season, "Screaming with Binky" quickie-style segments were added. These "Screaming with Binky" segments were typically used at the halfway point of hour long blocks of Garfield and Friends (as Garfield ended each one with "We'll be right back.") to let the viewers know that unlike most Saturday morning cartoons at the time, it was not over in the usual half-hour. However, in the syndicated reruns, only one Quickie is shown per episode, and it's always at the end rather than around the shorts. The DVD sets and Boomerang reruns restore the original rotation. After the third season, only one "Garfield Quickie" is shown per episode.

Conclusion

The seventh season (1994-1995) was the last one because CBS wanted to cut the budget (and in fact CBS's Saturday Morning cartoon lineup would be mostly replaced by CBS Saturday Morning News a few years later). The production company nixed this proposal, so they mutually agreed to cease production, even though Garfield and Friends had still been doing well in the ratings.

Theme song

The show has had three different theme songs. The first one was used during the first two seasons, and was also occasionally hummed or sung by the characters within the show. It was a song-and-dance style number about friendship, presumably based on the fact that the show was called Garfield and Friends. In the original theme music one of the female singers is Desirée Goyette, the voice of Nermal. During its second season, the audio was changed a small bit. The second theme song first appeared in the third season and was used for almost the rest of the show's run, although some of the clips in the sequence were changed in the sixth season. The idea of this song, which featured upbeat conga music, that watching the show was as much fun as going to a party. This theme song is the only one used in The Program Exchange reruns. In the seventh (and final) season, an upbeat contemporary-based theme song was used, sung by J.R. Johnston, and perhaps due to not being included in the international version, it does not appear on the DVD releases. A recurring joke in the theme song is that in each episode, Garfield says a different quote such as "Welcome to my world... Did you bring food?" "It doesn't start till the fat lady sings," "I can't believe we get away with this every week," or "Hey Heathcliff, eat your heart out!" or one that goes something like "You'll like today's show folk! No Binky, no Nermal, no Buddy Bears, just a lot of me!"

Directors

The following people have directed various episodes:

DVD releases

Region 1

Fox Entertainment and Jim Davis released all seven seasons of Garfield and Friends to Region 1 DVD in five volume box sets, with each set having 24-25 episodes on three discs. Each set features an image of Garfield with an U.S. Acres character. Collections of individual episodes were also released in three themed volumes that had 13-15 episodes and were packaged with mini-beanie plushies of Pooky, Odie, and Garfield.

NOTE: On each of them Jim Davis has his signature on either the bottom right corner or the bottom left corner.

Release Name Release Date # Eps
Garfield and Friends, Volume One July 27, 2004 24
Garfield and Friends, Volume Two December 7, 2004 24
Garfield and Friends, Volume Three April 19, 2005 24
Garfield and Friends, Volume Four August 30, 2005 24
Garfield and Friends, Volume Five December 6, 2005 25
Garfield and Friends, Behind The Scenes December 5, 2006 15
Garfield and Friends, An Ode to Odie March 20, 2007 13
Garfield and Friends, Dreams & Schemes September 4, 2007 15
Garfield and Friends, A Cat and His Nerd May 13, 2008 15

Region 2

Fox Entertainment and Jim Davis released one volume of Garfield and Friends on DVD in the UK on 21 Nov 2005. it was called Box of Fun and it was the same cover is Vol 1 Boxset. it contain the first eight shows of Garfield and US Acres.

Proof http://www.amazon.co.uk/Garfield-Friends-Box-Fun/dp/B000BRBA0G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1220277943&sr=1-1

Region 4

Fox Entertainment also released the Volume One set to Region 4 DVD on December 13, 2004. The contents of this set are exactly the same as that of the Region 1 release with only minor changes to the set cover. The set was also made available as individual volumes. The complete "Volume 1" set is now discontinued. The remaining four volumes were never released.

Release Name Release Date # Eps
Garfield and Friends, Volume One December 13, 2004 24
Garfield and Friends, Volume One, Disc 1 November 04, 2005 8
Garfield and Friends, Volume One, Disc 2 November 23, 2005 8
Garfield and Friends, Volume One, Disc 3 November 23, 2005 8

Syndication history

Garfield and Friends has been syndicated on television around the world, beginning in the late 1980s and remaining on air in present day. In Latin America, it played on Cartoon Network from 1992 to 2005, on Boomerang from 2005 to present, and on Warner Channel from 1998 to the present. Currently, all three of these networks have lost the rights to the show, however.

In Australia, Garfield and Friends began syndication on Network Ten from 1989 to 1999, and played also on Nickelodeon from 1995 to 2002. Most recently it played on FOX8 from 2004 to 2006.

The show was also syndicated in Chile from 1989 to 2003 on Canal 13 and from 1998 to present on Warner Channel. In Estonia, the show appeared on TV 3 from 2000 to 2002, and in Finland on YLE TV2 between the years 1992-1994 and 1998-1999.

The United Kingdom and the United States remain the highest syndicators of the show. In the UK, it appeared on ITV1 from 1989 through 2002, on Sky One from 1998 to 2002, and on Boomerang from 2003 to 2006 with Season 1 & 2 only. It also appeared on The Children's Channel for an unknown period of time.

Garfield and Friends was picked up in the United States in 1988 on CBS, where it remained through 1994. It also appeared in syndication from 1993 to 2006, on TBS, TNT, and Cartoon Network from 1995 to 1996, and Nickelodeon from 1997 to 2000. More recently, it appeared on FOX Family Channel and ABC Family in 2001, and on Toon Disney from 2003 to 2006. Boomerang carried it from 2006 to 2007.

Only 73 episodes out of the 121 episodes were syndicated by The Program Exchange between 1993 and 2007. This is due to the producers selling syndication rights when the show was still on air and CBS wanting to keep the rights for certain episodes. The show was removed from the Boomerang lineup on December 3, 2006, but returned in May 2007 only to be removed again.

References

External links

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