Popping from the funny pages, Garfield and Friends hit the Saturday morning airwaves on September 17, 1988. This successful show lasted eight years. The format of the show was in three parts. First was a Garfield short, then a U.S. Acres short, and ending with a final Garfield short.
Garfield has been done in animation so much that I’m going to focus on U.S. Acres. Garfield’s creator Jim Davis launched U.S. Acres as a newspaper comic strip on March 3, 1986 and ran until 1989. Garfield and Friends was my first introduction to the U.S. Acres and my only way to have them in my life since my local newspaper didn’t run it.
The show was set on a farm and featured Orson Pig, the leader. Roy Rooster, a greedy loud mouth that bothers the group. Wade Duck, is cowardly with a such a fear of water that he wears an inner tube around his waist at all times. Booker, an extremely confident chick that never catches worms no matter how much he chases them. Sheldon, is Booker’s unpatched brother. He is the intelligent and philosophical one of the group. Bo Sheep, was a bit different from his comic version. In the comic he was wasn’t very bright but perky. In the cartoon he was depicted as a surfer dude. Still a bit dim but always calm, cool, and collected. Lanolin Sheep, is the opposite of her brother Bo,l.
Much like most Saturday morning cartoons of the 1980’s the plots were simple. A short adventure with a lesson in the end. The humor was fun and what was expected from a Jim Davis cartoon.
The classic Jim Davis style is seen throughout the cartoon. Characters were simple and clean in design. The backgrounds were simple and normally brightly colored staying true to Jim Davis’ style. Check out the pictures below.
Gregg Berger voided Orson as well as Odie in the Garfield segment. Funny story. Gregg also voices Grimlock in the Transformers cartoons and I was supposed to be on a panel with him in November 2018 discussing the Transformers. Unfortunately, I got sick and had to cancel my appearance. I hope I get another chance to meet him as I’m a fan of his Garfield and Transformers characters. Roy was voided by Thom Huge who als voice Jon Arbuckle in the Garfield segments. Wade was voiced by Howard Morris who was the original Gopher in the first Winne the Pooh movie. In the Garfield segments Julie Payne Dr. Liz Wilson an voiced Lanolin in the U.S. Acres shorts. The multitalented Frank Welker voiced the rest. Frank Welker is best know as Fred Jones on Scooby Doo as well as Scooby since Don Messick passed. If you look up Frank on IMDB you’ll find that he has 834 acting rolls and still counting. I did some research and I couldn’t find anyone with more acting credits. I’m not sure if there is a cartoon Frank Welker isn’t part of.
U.S. Acres was a fun 6-8 minute short that I enjoyed each week. I look back at the enjoyment this cartoon brought me. Although I watch all types of cartoons, I’ve always leaned towards cartoons with animal characters. Maybe it’s because I grew up on Mickey Mouse, the Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, and Yogi Bear. Maybe it’s the clean and simple style or because I just enjoying drawing animals. Whatever the reason, U.S. Acres is a fun cartoon. Garfield and Friends is currently available on DVD and on the Boomerang app. You can also find some shorts on YouTube.
I now leave you with a short I found on YouTube. and I’ll be back next week. Until then, remember…there is always time to GET IN TOON!