This holiday special is technically called Garfield in Disguise but was renamed a year after its premiere to Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, and that’s probably what most people know it better as today. For me, much like with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, this was an annual Halloween tradition. It didn’t hurt that I was a pretty big Garfield fanatic as a kid.
Garfield learns about Halloween as a holiday full of free candy from Blinky the Clown and tricks Odie into going trick or treating with him, so he can get two full bags of candy. Greed gets the best of him, and after setting off across the river to more homes he finds himself adrift until he arrives at a spooky house on an island. I’ll stop there with the plot but suffice it to say it’s not complicated. In fact, if there was any great revelation it’s that this is a pretty straight forward story without any of the multiple narratives that drove the Great Pumpkin story. Instead, Garfield mostly relies on its humor.
What I always loved about Garfield was the feeling it was playing on multiple levels, but not quite the way Pixar and other animated films do today. There was always the simple physical humor for kids, but what elevated above similar cartoons was the wry sarcasm of Garfield delivered pitch perfect by voice actor Lorenzo Music. Seriously, Music belongs on a Mount Rushmore of great animated actors inseparable from their most iconic creations. No replacement voice has ever worked so well. There’s a great scene early where Garfield protests for more candy and upon receiving replies, “A thousand blessings upon your home, ma’am.” Music squeezes humor out of that line that could have just died out there. He’s the real star here.