Garfield… my first love!!!
How did Philippe Vidal, the director of the series “The Garfield Show”, discover Garfield ?
“It was the year I turned 15…
and it was my birthday! My parents had given me Michael Jackson’s latest hit, Thriller, and would regret it shortly afterwards. I must’ve played that song a million times–over and over again–for months afterwards. That same year, I went to see “The Empire Strikes Back” at least six times and my love life revolved around a girl named Oliveira K.
To make a long story short, I was in love and all the more so when she gave me a stuffed animal for my birthday. And not just any stuffed animal, it was the orange cat with the funny name: GARFIELD. Better yet, it was the kind with the rubber suction cups on each paw that you stick onto a window with the help of a little saliva. The coolest of all! In every high school, Garfield was a huge star. Whenever anyone got a present, the big question was: what will I find in the box? A stuffed Garfield, that was obvious. But which one? The sleeping Garfield? The Garfield holding a heart with a big grin on his face? The little devil Garfield? But the best one of all was hands down the Garfield you could stick on your window. And now I had one!
The following weekend, my family went on a trip to the countryside and I decided to take my precious Garfield along for the ride so everyone on the road would see it. And to make sure I got to see people’s reactions from inside the car, I stuck him on the back seat window next to me. I didn’t know it then, but the ideal location for this little gadget is apparently the rear windshield. I was about to discover this.
It was a hot June day, and as we’re driving down the highway on our way to the country, my Dad proceeds to open all the windows in the car with the push of a single button, forgetting all about my precious Garfield stuck to the back seat window. I didn’t have time to react, the automatic window opened in less than 2 seconds, sending Garfield flying out onto the highway at 90 miles per hour. I watched helpless and mortified as our car speeded away from my very first Garfield. How was I going to tell my girlfriend that I lost her present??? To my relief, my father felt guilty and decided he would replace it. Unfortunately, to him, all Garfields look alike, and the new one he bought was nothing like the first one. But I knew there was no way I could pass this one off as the original. Oliveira was going to think I had carelessly lost her precious gift! I couldn’t let that happen, so I came down with a sudden and very contagious case of strep throat. I needed to keep myself away from her long enough to find a suitable replacement. And with my meager savings, I bought a third Garfield that looked exactly like the one she had given me, suction cups and all. Phew!
Back at home, I pulled the phone into my room to get a little privacy (back then, cordless phones hadn’t been invented yet). I called Oliveira and told her I felt miraculously better and we made plans to meet up. To my horror, when I returned to the living room, the brand new Garfield I had left on the couch was gone! Vanished! I soon discovered the culprit: Jerry, my cocker spaniel, had apparently found it rather appetizing, dragged it into his doggy bed, and was in the process of chewing it to bits. I can’t even describe the state of the suction cups! There was no way those puppies were ever going to stick again!
After running him through the washing machine to get rid of the dog drool, “Garfield 3″ didn’t look so hot. His bright orange fur had faded to yellow and his eyes had chipped off from banging around inside the machine. Now what? I called Oliveira back and told her I wasn’t feeling so well after all. She replied that a friend of hers had seen me in a store looking perfectly healthy– buying a Garfield no less–and that if I didn’t want to see her anymore, I should just say so. And who was I buying the Garfield for anyway?!
Needless to say, that “Garfieldesque” incident marked the end of an otherwise promising relationship.
Since making up with Oliveira was not an option, several years later, I decided to reconcile myself with Garfield. It was the year before I graduated from high school. I was on a trip abroad and came across Garfield in comic book form. And everyone knows that once you get started on Garfield, you can’t get enough! So I proceeded to read every Garfield comic I could get my hands on in bookstores.
Looking back, I never would’ve guessed that the mischievous cat would show up again years later and become part of my daily life. I guess I’m destined to spend the rest of my life fighting off lasagna cravings…”