Friday, October 11, 2013

Spooktober: It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

I don't know how it is that Linus Van Pelt can recite a passage from the Gospel of Luke (A Charlie Brown Christmas) and also believe in something like the Great Pumpkin, which I guess is a parody of Santa Claus after a sort.

However, that is the basis for 1966's It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which I believe is the 2nd Peanuts special, and one of the more enduring, as it'll return later this month.

The plot is rather simplistic. With the exception of Linus, who'd rather wait in a pumpkin patch, and is joined by wanna-be girlfriend Sally (Charlie's sister), the gang are out trick-or-treating. Lucy, appropriately, is wearing a witch's mask, given her crabby personality. There are the subplots we all know, like Lucy playing a football prank on Charlie Brown, and Snoopy engaging in a fantasy dogfight with the Red Baron. Poor Charlie still can't buy a break. All he gets in his treat bag are rocks.

Following is an excerpt with Linus & Sally in the pumpkin patch. Sally is so gullible as well as smitten.

ABC has broadcast rights now, and has for the last several years. It's also available on DVD, but more expensive than other Peanuts DVD's.

Rating: A.


magicdog said...

Always loved this special - but I never understood why people gave Charlie Brown rocks! ROCKS!

I know Shultz's point was that we don't always have things go our way, and disappointment is a big part of life, but I always thought things were too rough on CB in some of the specials.

I loved how Lucy, despite her mean girl personality, was sweet enough to recover Linus from the pumpkin patch and put him to bed.

Best of all was Sally's rant about how she was cheated out of Halloween's spoils just to wait for the Great Pumpkin!

I'd never before heard of such a legend (unlike the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus) so I had always wondered where that came from. Perhaps it was Shultz's personal joke on imaginary gift bearing characters?

Still, I prefer this special over many of the spookier offerings we get these days.

hobbyfan said...

This represents the simplicity and innocence embodied in the Peanuts characters. Seems we agree that Great Pumpkin was Schulz's way of poking fun at Santa (although there were cases of Charlie Brown, Sally, and/or Linus writing to Santa in the daily strip), and for the Easter Bunny, we had the infamous Easter Beagle (one guess).

Newer specials are darker and meant to shock with less emphasis on plotting, it seems.