Garfield, the Lovable Fat Cat
Jim Davis was born in Fairmont, Indiana, and he grew up on a small farm with his mother and father, one brother and 25 cats. I guess that's where he came up with so many of his humorous Garfield cartoon strips. Davis went to Ball state University. At Ball State, he was a member of the Theta Xi fraternity. While there, he had the improbable accolade of having one of the lowest cumulative GPA's in the history of Ball State.An accolade fortuitously shared with David Letterman, the talk show host of the Late Show.
Davis now resides in Muncie, Indiana, where Garfield is written along his staff at his company, Paws, Inc., which began in 1981. Ironically, DavisLabrador retriever when he started Garfield, and did not own catsbecause of his wife’s allergies. After divorcing his first wife and her allergies to cats, Davis along with his new wife, expanded his animal family to include two cats and another dog.
Before deciding to create Garfield, Davis worked at an advertising agency and in 1969 he began assisting Tom Ryan with his comic strip, Tumbleweeds. Following that, He did his own strip called Gnorm Gnat, about bugs. It ran for five years in a Michigan newspaper. Davis tried to sell it to a national comic strip syndicate, but an editor told him, "Your art is good, your gags are great, but bugs — nobody can relate with bugs!"
Garfield is a humorous comic strip based on the lives of a fat, lazy, arrogant orange cat that graves lasagna, coffee, and his remote control. He was born on the comic strip pages in 41 newspapers on June 19, 1978. The other main characters of the strip are his nerdy owner, Jon Arbuckle, and Odie, a good-natured but very dense dog. Garfield quickly became the fastest growing and most widely syndicated comic strip ever. Today, the strip is read in over 2570 newspapers by 263,000,000 people around the globe.
Garfield is named after Davis’s grandfather, who’s middle name was Garfield, who in fact was named after President James Garfield who was assassinated while in office.
With the huge success of the comic strip it created a beloved cartoon on CBS-TV for 7 years called, "Garfield & Friends," The show is currently in syndication around the world and is available on DVD as well. Over 130,000,000 Garfield books have been sold worldwide, and Garfield shows no signs of disappearing very soon.
Twentieth Century Fox gave the fat cat unending fame with a feature film, Garfield: The Movie and a sequel, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties..
"He's a human in a cat suit," as creator Jim Davis likes to say, is a big reason that people relate so much to Garfield. He hates Mondays and loves to watch TV. He'd rather pig out than work out. His disfavor to diet and exercise is obvious. He prefers lay-downs to sit-ups. Mornings would be much more tolerable if they started later. The only way to start the day is with a cup of coffee "strong enough to sit up and bark." What could be more human than that?
Garfield, Fat, Lazy, and Lovable, says and does the things that we all want to say and do, if we could actually get away with it. People nowadays are made to feel remorseful for overeating and sleeping in late. “Garfield defends our right to grab a jelly donut and take a long afternoon nap," says Davis. "Somehow, Garfield relieves our guilt and we love him for it."
Garfield is never at a loss for words. Part of his overall appeal is his exclusive way of looking at things in life. Here are some of Garfield's more astute observations.
"Diet is 'die' with a 't'."
"I'll rise, but I won't shine."
"Never trust a smiling cat."
"The meek shall inherit squat."
"I'm not overweight, I'm undertall."
"Show me a good mouser, and I'll show you a cat with bad breath"