He hates Mondays, he loves lasagna, and he's an expert at sarcasm. It doesn't take a genius to know exactly who I am talking about. Garfield the cat is one of the most iconic characters in the world. He was popular when we were kids and still people love him to this day.
But no matter how much you loved him as a kid, which personally was a lot, there's still a lot you may have missed. Reading a comic strip in the newspaper or even if you were dedicated enough to buy the books didn't always mean that you would know the whole story. Garfield has been around since 1978 so there is a lot to cover in three to six panels. Lets see how much you've missed out on.
1. Garfield's original look
Garfield has had more than one makeover in the last 40 years. Really the only recognizable thing about his original look is that he's an orange stripey cat.
He originally was a bit more of a chunky boy, with almost a hunched back and bigger cheeks. It's normal that the cartoonist would evolve his style over the years, it happens all the time with cartoons, but when you look back it's almost shocking how different he looks.
There's one thing that will never change about the iconic cat though, he's always going to be a fat cat. Creator Jim Davis feels very strongly about that.
“If he lost weight, that would effectively end Garfield as we know it. Garfield sends a healthy message in that he’s not perfect. He knows that and he’s cool with that. He’s happy with himself. If everybody were, there would probably be fewer disorders of all natures. He’s not perfect. In fact, he’s the imperfection in all of us underneath. I think that makes him probably easier to identify with than a slim, athletic character in the comics.”
2. Jon does in fact have a job
Jon Arbuckle obviously needs to work if he's going to continue to feed his cat entire lasagnas, but what is his job? Well, he's actually a lot like his creator!
Jon is a cartoonist, even though they hardly ever mention it. It was only ever said in the very first strip and then never focused on again because Davis was worried about how it would look.
“I didn’t want to tread on the fact that Jon’s a cartoonist because my biggest fear was getting a little too inside. That it would be a little too easy for me to write. I didn’t want to lose the readers just for my own enjoyment, or for a handful of peers."
3. Jon Used To Have A Roommate
Remember Lyman? No? Me neither. He hasn't been around in a long time.
Lyman was Jon's roommate when Davis thought that Jon would need someone to interact with. I guess he didn't think that Garfield's thought bubbles would be enough to keep us all entertained.
He was actually Odie's original owner, that is until he vanished out of nowhere, never to be seen again. What did you do to him Jon?
4. They almost made a Garfield theme park
That's right, everyone's favorite lazy cat who hated most people and really just anything to do with moving was going to get his own theme park.
It was going to be a $120 million theme park called Garfield's American Adventure complete with roller coasters and water parks, and everything would be themed like Garfield and all of his friends.
Obviously this never came to be, but there is a Garfield themed water slide at Kennywood in Pennsylvania, called "Garfield's Nightmare."
5. Bill Murray agreed to do the movie because he misread the director's name
He read "Joel Cohen" on the script and thought that the movie was written by one of the Coen Brothers who are know for their hit movies The Big Lebowski and Fargo. But unfortunately it wasn't a typo, it was just a different Cohen.
He did the movie anyways, but Davis was thrilled that Murray agreed to do the movie.
“It was because of Bill Murray’s attitude [that he was cast]. It wasn’t really so much his voice. It was the fact that he embodies the attitude that Garfield has always displayed in the strip.
Lorenzo [Music, original voice actor for Garfield] obviously wasn’t a choice since he passed away years ago, and when the producers said, ‘Bill Murray would like to do the voice,’ I thought, ‘Oh, cool.’
My biggest concern about doing a CGI Garfield with live action was that people wouldn’t buy into the fact that this was our Garfield—the Garfield we’d known all these years. But I thought that as soon as they heard Bill Murray’s voice they’d get it. There will be that emotional tag going with his voice. That will establish the fact that, ‘Yes, this character has attitude.’”
6. Ironically, the original voice of Garfield is connected to Murray
Lorenzo Music voiced Garfield in all of the TV specials and the TV show that we all grew up watching. Unfortunately he passed away before the live action movie was made, but as we know he was replaced with Bill Murray.
This wasn't the first time the two actors crossed paths. Murray played Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters, and when it was turned into a cartoon series called The Real Ghostbusters, Music actually took Murray's role.
7. Those Garfield stuffed animals we all had in our cars were actually a mistake
The original intention for those stuffed animals were that people would hang them on their curtains in their home. They were supposed to have Velcro on their hands and feet, but instead they came back a little bit different. Davis had no idea people would use them in their cars.
“I designed the first Stuck on You doll with Velcro on the paws, thinking that people would stick it on curtains. It came back as a mistake with suction cups. They didn’t understand the directions. So I stuck it on a window and said, 'If it’s still there in two days, we’ll approve this.' Well, they were good suction cups and we released it like that. It never occurred to me that people would put them on cars.”