Garfield on the Town
Title card
Written byJim Davis and Lorenzo Music
Directed byPhil Roman
StarringLorenzo Music
Thom Huge
Gregg Berger
Julie Payne
Sandi Huge
George Wendt
C. Lindsay Workman
Desirée Goyette
Allyce Beasley
Theme music composerEd Bogas and Desirée Goyette (music and lyrics)
Robert Vandervort (co-writer of "Home Again")
Desirée Goyette and Lou Rawls (vocals)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Executive producerJay Poynor
ProducersLee Mendelson and Bill Melendez
CinematographyAmy Barrick
EditorsRoger Donley
Michael Tomack
Richard C. Allen
Running time24 minutes
Production companiesMendelson/Melendez Productions
United Media Productions
Original release
ReleaseOctober 28, 1983 (1983-10-28)

Garfield on the Town is a 1983 animated television special, directed by Phil Roman and based on the Garfield comic strip by Jim Davis. It once again starred Lorenzo Music as the voice of Garfield (who also co-wrote the special with Davis), and also featured the voices of Thom Huge, Gregg Berger and Julie Payne.

The special was first broadcast October 28, 1983 on CBS. It won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and has been released on LaserDisc and DVD.

This is the second of twelve Garfield television specials made between 1982 and 1991.


Jon Arbuckle becomes concerned about Garfield and his behavior after he and Odie mess up his house at the beginning of the special. Jon drives Garfield to the pet hospital, but Garfield accidentally falls out of Jon's car and ends up getting lost downtown. Garfield runs into a large gang of unfriendly alley cats known as the Claws. After Garfield antagonizes the gang's leader, he flees into an abandoned Italian restaurant, where he is reunited with his estranged mother, Sonja. The building was actually Garfield's birthplace and where he inherited his love for lasagna. Meanwhile, Jon calls Garfield's veterinarian, Dr. Liz Wilson, to tell her about Garfield's disappearance. Liz suggests that Jon would "want a tow truck". Jon then calls the town's local newspaper to run a Lost and Found ad to find Garfield and decides to cut his ad short as it would cost him too much money for a full size description.

The next day, Garfield meets the rest of his extended family, including his sickly half-brother Raoul, his cousin Sly, who is the security guard on watch for the Claws, and his tough maternal grandfather. Garfield is appalled to learn that everyone in his entire family are mousers. Meanwhile, the Claws finally track Garfield down, surround the entire building, and demand Garfield to come out. However, the family decides to fight the Claws instead of giving up Garfield to them. Garfield hides cowardly while his family fights the Claws and defeats them. Garfield's grandfather tells him that he is supposed to live with Jon instead. Reassured by Sonja that they all envy his normal life at Jon's house, Garfield tearfully says goodbye to his family and misses them. Frightened, tired, and hungry, Garfield walks along a deserted street as it starts to rain. A car drives by and Garfield realizes that it is actually driven by Jon. Garfield chases Jon's car until he collapses on the sidewalk from exhaustion. When Odie finds Garfield unconscious, Jon pulls his car over to rescue him. Jon drives Garfield home and then puts him into bed for the night.

At the end of the special, Garfield wakes up at Jon's house the next day and wonders if his entire experience with his family was real or not. Garfield glimpses Sonja looking at him through the window. As Sonja leaves Jon's house, Garfield smiles and emotionally whispers to her: "Thanks Mom, for everything".

Voice cast



In 2014, Garfield creator Jim Davis identified Garfield on the Town as a personal favorite special.

Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, best known for the Peanuts specials, produced Garfield on the Town.[1] The special was directed by Phil Roman, who had previously directed Here Comes Garfield in 1982. It was the last Garfield special Roman directed before founding his own company called Film Roman to produce the specials himself, starting with Garfield in the Rough (1984).[2]

The special marks the first time the character of Jon Arbuckle is voiced by Thom Huge. Sandy Kenyon originally voiced Jon in Here Comes Garfield.[3] Huge later voiced Jon in the remaining specials and in the Garfield and Friends TV series.

Broadcast and release

The special was originally aired on CBS on October 28, 1983,[3] and was viewed by 40 million people.[4] It has been re-broadcast in subsequent years.[5] Ballantine Books published a 64-page illustrated book adaptation in 1983.[6]

In July 2004,[7] Garfield on the Town was released on the DVD Garfield as Himself, along with Here Comes Garfield (1982) and Garfield Gets a Life (1991).[8] It was released on another DVD compilation, The Garfield Holiday Collection, on November 4, 2014, sold only by Walmart, and was also made available for digital download on November 11 that year.[9]


At the 36th Primetime Emmy Awards in 1984, Garfield on the Town won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.[10] Louisiana's The Town Talk's 1985 review called Garfield "outrageous" and said there was "popular demand" for the special.[4]

In 2004, DVD Talk critic Randy Miller judged the Garfield as Himself specials to be "quite enjoyable," highlighting "a long-lost family reunion."[8] In 2014, with the release of The Garfield Holiday Collection, Jim Davis identified Garfield on the Town as a personal favorite, explaining, "Garfield actually meets his mother on that. It was very special."[9]


  1. ^ Douglas L. McCall (2005). Film Cartoons: A Guide to 20th Century American Animated Features and Shorts. McFarland & Company Publishers. p. 231.
  2. ^ Jeff Lenburg (2006). Who's who in Animated Cartoons: An International Guide to Film & Television's Award-Winning and Legendary Animators. Applause Theatre and Cinema Books. p. 306.
  3. ^ a b Vincent Terrace (2013). Television Specials: 5,336 Entertainment Programs, 1936-2012 (2d ed.). McFarland & Company Publishers. p. 161.
  4. ^ a b "Garfield Is Back". The Town Talk. December 28, 1985. p. 29.
  5. ^ "Television". New York. 10 September 1990. p. 196.
  6. ^ Jim Davis (1983). Garfield on the Town. Ballantine Books.
  7. ^ "Top DVD Sales". Billboard. July 24, 2004. p. 59.
  8. ^ a b Miller, Randy III (June 29, 2004). "Garfield As Himself". DVD Talk. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  9. ^ a b Jue, Teresa (4 November 2014). "Jim Davis talks 'Garfield' origins, holiday specials, and calls Garfield 'a human in a cat suit'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  10. ^ "Awards & Nominations". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 27 October 2016.