Today's story is about Garfield Goose. How many of you in cyber land remember that show? I believe, if I am correct, it came on at about 4:30 in the afternoon here in Chicago land area on WGN TV.
The host of the show was Frazier Thomas and of course Garfield Goose. Now, for those of you who may not know of Garfield Goose...he was a puppet. It was the show that gave me an interest in puppetry. I had a suitcase full of every kind of puppets. Well, there was a castle like wall set up between Frazier Thomas and Garfield and they would do a routine. Sometimes Garfield would get so flustered and upset. It was hilarious. Now, the whole show wasn't just about a puppet...their routines were the lead into cartoons. Cartoons like Mighty Mouse, The funny company, Clutch Cargo, Frosty the Snowman, Susie Snowflake, Hardrock, Cocoa and Joe, along with so many more. They are still so vivid in my mind. The Susie Snowflake song has been handed down through the years as a soft, sweet memory, and I'm Hardrock, I'm Cocoa, I'm Joe song had rung through my head on numerous occasion. At the craft faire where I am Mrs. Claus, these are 3 employees who dress up from time to time as the characters and even had Tshirts made with the individual characters on them. It is a song that has managed to survive through the years. A classic. A Christmas time memory that keeps on giving.
There were other character puppets on the show as well. There was Romberg Rabbit, with an occasional "guest" Macintosh Mouse, Christmas Goose who was Garfield's nephew who seemed to show up during the holidays, Beauregard Burnside III, chief of the Secret Service he was usually awoken by yelling into his ear "Hot Dogs! Hamburgers! Spaghetti and Meatballs!, and Mama Goose, who hailed from Goose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada and held a purple belt in karate. On occasion, Ali Gator would show up to scare everyone .At times, Frasier Thomas would have phone conversation with the unseen and unheard Mrs. McGillicuddy. There was also Thomas' Jaw's harp which drove Garfield crazy whenever he heard it.
I later found out that Garfield was the creation of Frasier Thomas and had gotten his name of Garfield from an area telephone prefix. Remember those?
Now a goose didn't speak...so Garfield would tap his beak on a typewriter to tell Frasier what he was trying to convey. Sometimes, Romberg Rabbit would whisper into Frazier's ear to help him out as well.
Whatever and whoever the case may have been. The Garfield Goose show was a staple in almost everyone's home. It was a show that at least in my day, sparked the imagination. It lead me to collect puppets. It inspired me to have puppet shows. I remember putting up a curtain on a curtain rod between the doors and having carefully laid our all those puppets on the floor, I would devise a show for my family and friends to watch. Sometimes I did it for the pure pleasure of playing.
Years went by and when my cousin had children, I gave the puppets to them. I never got them back. I think about them often. I regret not having held onto them.
Now even more years have gone by, and being a storyteller...I now have puppets again. Each time I get to use them, all those old memories flood back to me. Only now, I use a rooster with a piece of Velcro in its mouth with a large fake diamond button to help me tell a story. I have a great big red dragon, a spider hand puppet that I use as well as a tiny chipmunk. I love to incorporate these into my telling when I am doing stories for the young children. I often wonder when there are parents and especially grandparents there...how much memories it brings back to them.
It was a sad day when Garfield goose went off the air. I miss the shows that invoke the imagination. There are plenty of cartoons today for kids to view, but Garfield was like a touchable friend that came into your home each afternoon. Unfortunately, there are not even copies of the show to see. The only ones that are available are the ones from the 80's. I guess the only place Garfield will remain for those of us lucky enough to have seen them, is in our hearts and in our memories.