The '80s Garfield Craze Was Due To A Dumb Toy Mistake
Garfield, that lasagna-gobbling, Monday-hating cat has undoubtedly spawned numerous merchandising tie-ins over the years, from a creepy theme park ride to a dystopian automated pizzeria to a coffee mug depicting the time Jon Arbuckle chugged a cup of dog semen. But none of those compare to the popularity of the “Garfield Stuck on You” line of toys. If you were alive in the ‘80s and encountered a motor vehicle, it would be hard not to spot one of those smiling plush Garfields suction-cupped to a car window. The toy cats were so popular that they even inspired a rash of car break-ins, specifically with the motive of boosting Garfields.
Amazingly, although this adhesive doll took America by storm, it owed its existence to a random, dumb mistake. According to an interview with Mental Floss, Garfield creator Jim Davis’ original idea involved a plush toy with velcro on its paws. That way, people could make it look like Garfield was crawling up their curtains, a thing he was canonically too lazy and bloated to actually do. But when the prototype came back from the manufacturer, they had mistakenly used suction cups instead of velcro. Davis didn’t seem to care and approved the product anyway, but even then, it “never occurred” to him that “people would put them on cars.”
Clearly, this wasn’t the original intent because the toy’s commercial advertised a myriad of uses for the product, including hiding Garfield inside a washing machine, sticking him to a grand piano, and placing him on a TV screen while you have sex on the couch under the leering gaze of America’s favorite fat cat.
But because people in the ‘80s were obsessed with affixing kitschy nonsense to their vehicles, the car window is where Garfield made his home -- where he also probably saw his fair share of couples having sex. If you were born between 1987 and 1990, you should probably just assume you were conceived next to a grinning stuffed Garfield.
Top Image: Universal Press