Monday, August 6, 2007

Garfield Goose and the Goofy Service Jerks

Yesterday, I was tightening up a flashback sequence featuring The Goofy Service Jerks that got discombobulated in Beanworld 17-19. I love the Goofy Jerks .
The Secret Origin of the Goofy Jerks is that they are an homage to one of my childhood heroes--Garfield Goose. King of the United States.

If you click on the link--you will hear the rich sound of the organ music that intro'd each broadcast. It gives me chills to hear it today--a full 50 years after I became addicted to the adventures of Gar and his amazing creator, Frazier Thomas.
(I found out on the web that the song is called "Monkey on a String" by organist Ethel Smith--I had no idea!)

For those of you who didn't grow up in Chicagoland in the 50s and 60s (and I'm gonna take a wild guess and assume that is most of you) you can't really measure what an impact Channel Nine in general, and Frazier Thomas in particular, had on the kids growing up in that post-war era. Frazier Thomas was, in my humble opinion, quite frankly a genius. I can't really remember any of the story lines of the show. I just remember the show. It's described well on a Toon Tracker page--a chunk extracted below:

"The puppet characters included Garfield Goose; Garfield's nephew, Chris (born on Christmas day); Romberg Rabbit, a former magician's assistant; Ramona Rabbit, Romberg's girlfriend; Beauregard Burnside III, a bloodhound; Macintosh Mouse; Mama Goose and Ally Gator. The puppets never spoke. Garfield would clack his beak, and Thomas interpreted for him."

Anyone growing up in Illinois during that time can immediately connect by just saying: "Hotdogs, hamburgers, spaghetti and meatballs!" or "Remember Journey to the Beginning of Time?" and of course "I'm Hardrock" "I'm Coco" "I'm Jo!" With the name "Jo" sung in the deepest register one can muster.
Dan Clowes and I were talking a long, long time ago (we both were still living in Chicago then--that's how long ago it was!), it might have been right after Frazier Thomas died...memory gets fuzzy. But we both agreed, the influence that these sorts of shows had on us...not only the original puppet driven content but the unique cartoons shown--really made a dent on not only us but all the cartoonists growing up in the area. One of these days, I'll try to write a bit more about Chicago KidTV.
As you can see, the resemblance between Garfield Goose and The Jerks is far from coincidental.
Long Live the King!

1 comment:

Shaun said...

I tripped across this page while looking at old video of these Chicago televisions shows. I was a 60-70's kid but Bj, Garfield Goose and Ray Rayner had a tremendous impact on me growing up. As did the Cartoons these programs aired. I included them in a book I wrote and enjoy reading someone else's positive experience with them.