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U.S. Acres (known as Orson's Farm outside the United States, and Orson's Place in Canada) was a comic strip that ran from 1986 to 1989 created by Jim Davis. It acted as a sister series to his more popular creation, Garfield.

History

When the strip was launched, Jim Davis expected it to become a fast success. The comic was launched on March 3rd, 1986 in a then-unprecedented 505 newspapers by United Feature Syndicate. At the peak of the comic's popularity, there were children's books, plush animals (particularly of the characters Booker, Sheldon, and Orson), and posters of the main characters. It was included as a backup segment in the animated television show Garfield and Friends. While the strip was targeted to younger children, it never caught on with its intended demographic as children were reading newspapers less. The strip was retooled to target an older audience. While it was dropped from many papers in its first year, it still retained a circulation of 300 papers, which would still be considered a success. Davis was not satisfied with having only a minor success compared to Garfield and chose to end the comic strip instead.[1]

Premise

The strip was centered on a group of barnyard animals, with the main character being Orson, a small pig (the runt of the litter) who had been taken from his mother shortly after being born. The early days of the strip showed Orson's life on his old farm with his loving mother and mean older brothers. Eventually, due to Orson being a runt, the farm's owner wanted to dispose of him, so he put him in the back of his pick-up truck and drove off. However, due to a bumpy road, Orson fell off the truck and ended up in the woods where he was found by a young farm girl. She convinced her father to let him stay at their farm and Orson found himself living in "the funniest farm in the world," as some merchandise says. As he got settled, he met the rest of the farm's inhabitants and the series went on from there.

The other animals include Roy, the farm's joking rooster, Wade, a duck with tons of fears, Lanolin and Bo, two sheep twins, Booker and Sheldon, two chicks that Orson hatched, Blue, a mellow cat, and Cody, an enthusiastic puppy.

Style

The strip's style of humor tended to be based in slapstick and sight gags as well as dialogue based humor, and seemed to take inspiration from creations such as Looney Tunes. It also utilized self-aware humor and fourth-wall breaking, though this was more prevalent in the Garfield and Friends cartoons. Before that, the segments focused on teaching kids social lessons and morals.

Trivia

  • There are 1,143 U.S. Acres comic strips.
  • In the August 7th, 2016 Garfield strip, the U.S. Acres characters (including two scrapped characters), minus Bo and Blue, make a cameo in the logo box. [2]
  • According to the book Garfield's Christmas Tales, U.S. Acres is right next door to the Arbuckle family farm.
  • Mark Evainer expressed interest in reviving U.S Acres for The Garfield Show. [1]
    • In the episode "Down on the Farm", chicks resembling Booker and Sheldon appear.
    • In the same episode, Orson was planned to have a one-off cameo. His model was created and his lines were recorded before the scene was cut.[3]
  • On the July 4th, 2010 Garfield strip, Jon draws Orson on a piece of paper. [4]

References

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