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Garfield in the Rough

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Garfield in the Rough is the third half hour animated special based on the Garfield comic strip. It features the voice and music talent common in Garfield animated specials including Lorenzo Music (as Garfield) and Lou Rawls (providing the songs). The special premiered on October 26, 1984 sponsored by McDonald's on CBS, and won an Emmy for outstanding animated program.


Garfield is living in a boring, black-and-white world, claiming that all the color has gone out of his life. He is excited to learn that Jon wants to take him and Odie on vacation, where he imagines himself in places such as Acapulco, Honolulu and Venice, only to be disappointed to find out that they're just going camping.

It takes a while for Garfield and Odie to adjust to the great outdoors and to Jon's banjo playing. Garfield eventually eats all of the food Jon packed, of course. However, there is news of a panther that escaped from a zoo lurking in the very woods they are in.

After Jon claims that they are safe, and they sing a song, they go to bed. After they go into their tent, a distance away, the panther comes out and quietly growls. The next day, Garfield takes a hike and starts to appreciate the beauty of nature, until he meets two forest animals named Dicky Beaver and Billy Rabbit who warn Garfield about the escaped panther, claiming it has already attacked forest animals.

The forest rangers are hunting for the panther, and attempt to warn Jon to evacuate, but he is away from the campsite when they arrive so they leave a note. This proves unfortunate as a gust of wind blows the message into a recently extinguished campfire, where it burns up.

The Panther with Jon Arbuckle

Garfield returns to the campsite and tries to warn Jon of the danger but Jon insists that there is nothing to worry about, until the escaped panther enters their campsite. Garfield runs up a tree while Jon and Odie hide in the car, which the predator manages to break into by smashing through a window.

In a dramatic scene, Garfield comes to the rescue when he leaps from the trees and takes on the panther, clawing at its head and neck. Garfield is in serious danger until the park rangers enter the campsite and subdue the beast with a tranquilizer dart. Jon then says he feels they have had enough adventure and recommends they break camp and return to civilization, much to Garfield's joy.

Major Characters

Minor Characters

  • Panther
  • Radio Announcer (voiced by Gregg Berger)
  • Honolulu Cat (voiced by Desiree Goyette)
  • Acapulco Cat #1 (voiced by Desiree Goyette)
  • Acapulco Cat #2
  • Venice Cat (voiced by Desiree Goyette)


  • This is the first Garfield feature to be produced by Film Roman.
  • Although Garfield's art style had evolved to its current state by 1984, the character designs from 1980-1982 are still used here. Jon's eyes are longer, but nobody else's are.
  • Following the radio report about the panther being located in the Lake Woebegone area, So Long Old Friend is briefly heard.
  • In the comic adaptation, Billy Rabbit and Dicky Beaver played bigger parts and just before they leave, Garfield tells them of the panther's capture.
  • Also in the comic adaptation, at the end, Jon hears scratching at the door and tells Garfield to answer it. Garfield claims he is no longer afraid of anything and says he'll take care of it. He peers out into the dark and sees a pair of glowing eyes. After Garfield screams and faints, a little black kitten walks into the house. Jon also wants to go camping again, but Garfield and Odie pounce on him every time he suggests it.

Cultural References

  • The radio announcement warns that the escaped panther has been sighted in the Lake Wobegon area and for all people to steer clear. Jon's geography skills are off, as he says that Lake Wobegon is miles away. Garfield and Odie later pass a sign which says "Lake Wobegon", indicating they are much closer to the danger area than Jon thought. (The fictional "Lake Wobegon" is best known for its use in the long-running radio series, A Prairie Home Companion, making its reference an apparent breaking of the fifth wall).


  • "Get Me Some 'R and 'R" performed by Lou Rawls
  • "When I'm Out in the Rough" performed by Lorenzo Music and Thom Huge
  • "So Long Old Friend" preformed by Dessirée Goyette (briefly heard on the radio)
  • "Camping is My Life" performed by Thom Huge
  • "The Music of Nature" performed by Desirée Goyette
  • "Run-Run I'm Afraid" performed by Thom Huge and Desirée Goyette

This special is available on the Garfield: Travel Adventures DVD.


  • 1984 Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program

Quotes adapted from the strips

  • Garfield: Ho hum.
  • Garfield: Have you ever had a day when you feel like you've eaten it all?

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