1 9 8 8 – 1 9 9 5 (USA)
121 x 30 minute episodes
Jim Davis probably had no idea when he created his newspaper comic strip Garfield in 1978 that the main character would go on to become the hottest animated cat ever seen on television.
The pernickety feline got his first CBS special on 25 October 1982 (Here Comes Garfield), and almost annually thereafter, a new special appeared before the network gave him a series six years later.
The annual primetime specials continued into the 1990s, by which time Garfield was a top cat on Saturday mornings as well.
Garfield’s appeal to viewers was obvious: His bad habits were comically exaggerated reflections of the poor habits of human beings. The tabby loved lasagne to the point of gluttony, made an art out of being lazy, barely tolerated the goofy ideas of his geeky owner Jon Arbuckle (voiced by Thom Huge), and actively despised Jon’s other pet Odie (Gregg Berger), a big-eyed dog with a perpetual grin and a dangling, slobbering tongue.
Speaking in voiceover thoughts, viewers learned Garfield’s distaste for anything too precious – like fellow cat Nermal (Desiree Goyette) – or too tacky – like Jon’s invariably loud and ignorant relatives or his attempts to score with the opposite sex.
Garfield typically came out on top or at least even in the end of each episode, but not without undergoing some sort of mild torture for him, which usually meant walking or trying to be friendly.
Lorenzo Music, who provided Garfield’s sarcastic tone, did the same for the inebriated and unseen Carlton the Doorman on the
CBS nighttime sitcom Rhoda from 1974 to 1978.
Between Garfield’s exploits was a component called US Acres (known as Orson’s Farm in some countries), also a comic strip from Jim Davis, set in a barnyard.
Orson the pig (voiced by Gregg Berger) was the leader of a coterie of rather quirky farm animals, including Wade (Howard Morris), a nervous duck who wore an inflated tube around his waist should he get into the water; Roy (Thom Huge), the confident rooster; Sheldon (Frank Welker), a baby chick who refused to come out of the eggshell, save for its legs; Booker (also Frank Welker), another baby chick who loved to hunt for worms; and Lanolin (Julie Payne), a lamb with an occasional attitude.
Typically there was one song punctuating the action in this segment as the creatures attempted to live in relative harmony with one another.
After an impressive seven-year run, Garfield and Friends went into reruns on the Cartoon Network cable channel.