It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Great pumpkin charlie brown title card.jpg
Title card from 1966 TV special
GenreAnimated TV Special
Created byCharles M. Schulz
Written byCharles M. Schulz
Directed byBill Melendez
Voices ofPeter Robbins
Sally Dryer
Kathy Steinberg
Christopher Shea
Gabrielle DeFaria Ritter
Lisa DeFaria
Ann Altieri
Glenn Mendelson
Bill Melendez
Theme music composerVince Guaraldi
Composer(s)Vince Guaraldi
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Executive producer(s)Lee Mendelson
Producer(s)Lee Mendelson
Bill Melendez
Editor(s)Robert T. Gillis
Steven Melendez
CinematographyNick Vasu
Running time25 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelCBS
First shown inOctober 27, 1966 (1966-10-27)
Chronology
Preceded byCharlie Brown's All-Stars
Followed byYou're in Love, Charlie Brown
 
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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Great pumpkin charlie brown title card.jpg
Title card from 1966 TV special
GenreAnimated TV Special
Created byCharles M. Schulz
Written byCharles M. Schulz
Directed byBill Melendez
Voices ofPeter Robbins
Sally Dryer
Kathy Steinberg
Christopher Shea
Gabrielle DeFaria Ritter
Lisa DeFaria
Ann Altieri
Glenn Mendelson
Bill Melendez
Theme music composerVince Guaraldi
Composer(s)Vince Guaraldi
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Production
Executive producer(s)Lee Mendelson
Producer(s)Lee Mendelson
Bill Melendez
Editor(s)Robert T. Gillis
Steven Melendez
CinematographyNick Vasu
Running time25 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelCBS
First shown inOctober 27, 1966 (1966-10-27)
Chronology
Preceded byCharlie Brown's All-Stars
Followed byYou're in Love, Charlie Brown

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a 1966 American prime time animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.

A Halloween special, it was the third Peanuts special (and second holiday-themed special, following A Charlie Brown Christmas) to be produced and animated by Bill Melendez. Its initial broadcast took place on October 27, 1966, on CBS, preempting My Three Sons. CBS re-aired the special annually through 2000, with ABC picking up the rights beginning in 2001, where it now airs annually at Halloween. ABC once broadcast You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown immediately following It's the Great Pumpkin, as if to emphasize the proximity of Halloween to Election Day. Also, the Great Pumpkin is mentioned in You're Not Elected.

The program was nominated for an Emmy Award. It has been issued on home video several times, including a Remastered Deluxe Edition of the special released by Warner Home Video on September 2, 2008, with the bonus feature It's Magic, Charlie Brown which was released in 1981.[1] To celebrate its 40th anniversary, a retrospective book was published in 2006. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic includes the entire script, never-before-seen photographs, storyboard excerpts, and interviews with the original child actors who provided the voices of the Peanuts gang.

Contents

Plot

With autumn already in full swing, the Peanuts gang prepares for Halloween. Linus van Pelt writes his annual letter to The Great Pumpkin, despite Charlie Brown's disbelief, Snoopy's laughter, Patty's assurance that the Great Pumpkin is a fake, and even his own sister Lucy's violent threat to make her brother stop. When Linus goes out to mail the letter but cannot reach the mailbox, Lucy refuses to help him; so he uses his blanket to open the box, and throws in the letter.

On Halloween night, the gang (including Charlie Brown's younger sister Sally) goes trick-or-treating. On the way, they stop at the pumpkin patch to ridicule Linus' missing the festivities, just as he did last year. Undeterred, Linus is convinced that the Great Pumpkin will come. Linus even persuades Sally to remain with him to wait.

During trick-or-treating, the kids receive assorted candy, apples, gum, cookies, money, and popcorn balls — except for Charlie Brown, who for some reason is given a rock from every house they visit, possibly due to the ridiculous amount of holes in his ghost costume. After trick-or-treating and another visit to the pumpkin patch, the gang goes to Violet's Halloween party. Meanwhile, Snoopy, wearing his World War I flying ace costume, climbs aboard his doghouse (imagining it to be a Sopwith Camel fighter plane) to fight with the Red Baron. After a fierce but losing battle, Snoopy makes his way across "the countryside" to briefly crash the Halloween party, where he is entertained by Schroeder's playing of World War I tunes on his piano, and then goes to the pumpkin patch. When Linus sees a shadowy figure rising from the moonlit patch, he believes the Great Pumpkin has arrived, and faints. When Sally sees that it is only Snoopy, she angrily scolds Linus for making her miss the trick-or-treating activities as well as the Halloween party festivities as the kids come to take her away with them. As they leave, and still convinced that the Great Pumpkin will materialize, Linus promises to put in a good word for them.

At 4:00 AM the next morning, Lucy awakens and notices that Linus is not in his bed. She finds her brother asleep in the pumpkin patch, shivering. She brings him home, takes off his shoes, and puts him to bed. Later, Charlie Brown and Linus are at a rock wall, commiserating about the previous night's disappointments. Although Charlie Brown attempts to console his friend, admitting that he himself has done stupid things in his life also, Linus angrily vows to him that the Great Pumpkin will come to the pumpkin patch next year.

Voice actors

Viewer response

Charlie Brown's repeated line of "I got a rock" caused some stir among many viewers of the show, according to Charles Schulz in the book and retrospective TV special "Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown." Schulz said that after the program first aired, bags and boxes of candy came in from all over the world "just for Charlie Brown."

Production

Sponsors

Like A Charlie Brown Christmas and Charlie Brown's All-Stars, this special had sponsoring from Coca Cola (and Dolly Madison), which was later edited out from later broadcasts and video/DVD releases.

CBS telecast edits

During the 1980s and 1990s, when the special aired on CBS, the network trimmed the "trick-or-treat" sequence, such that after the Peanuts gang knock on the first door and say "trick-or-treat," it cuts to the gang after they finished trick-or-treating comparing what they got at the last house.

ABC telecast edits

To make room for the longer commercial breaks during modern airings, ABC cut two scenes, which were later restored when aired in conjunction with You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown:

Music

The music was performed by the Vince Guaraldi Sextet. The lively instrumental, "Linus and Lucy", associated originally with A Charlie Brown Christmas, is used at the beginning of this cartoon as Linus and Lucy prepare a pumpkin to be a jack-o-lantern, as Linus mails his letter to The Great Pumpkin, and when Lucy wakes up at 4 AM to take Linus home from the pumpkin patch. Guaraldi's theme for the special, "The Great Pumpkin Waltz," plays throughout, as when Linus is writing the Great Pumpkin towards the beginning.

The World War I songs played by Schroeder on his toy piano while Snoopy dances are:

The "Happy" Songs:
"It's a Long Way to Tipperary"
"Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag"
The "Sad" Songs:
"There's a Long, Long Trail"
"Roses of Picardy"

Popular culture references

The special is mentioned in the power metal band Helloween's song "Halloween", from their 1987 album Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt. 1. The title was featured as a puzzle on the October 26, 2011, episode of the television game show Wheel of Fortune.[citation needed]

The Supernatural season four "It's the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester" was named after the special (Although it is only connected to this story in that it takes place on Halloween).

The final segment of "Treehouse of Horror XIX" (the fourth episode of the twentieth season of The Simpsons) is called "It's the Grand Pumpkin, Milhouse" and contains several references to the Great Pumpkin and Peanuts series in general. In the segment, Milhouse wears the same clothes and plays the same role as Linus. Lisa Simpson is modeled after Sally Brown, and Bart looks like Charlie Brown; he even says "good grief", echoing Charlie Brown's catchphrase. A redesigned version of Santa's Little Helper can be seen sleeping on top of his dog house and Homer is seen sleeping on top of his house in a manner similar to Snoopy.[2] When Marge first speaks, she uses a muted trombone in parody of the "wah wah wah" voice that is used for adults in the Peanuts specials.[3] The dance scene during the Halloween party is a parody of the dance scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas right down to Kang and Kodos dancing in same manner as Peanuts twins "3 and 4"."[4] Parts of the segment had music by long-time Peanuts composer/musician Vince Guaraldi including the main Peanuts theme "Linus and Lucy".[5]

The imaginary figurehead of the Great Pumpkin is parodied in an episode of 'The Fairly OddParents,' in which Cosmo, Timmy, Poof, and Wanda hurry to Dimmsdale's community of "Little Ireland" in order to thwart Mr. Crocker's attempts of capturing leprechauns through the mentioning of a similar figurehead known as the "Great Potato," an anthropomorphic being that apparently rises from a potato patch and judges the best potato, which he then feeds a poison apple (referencing Snow White). Although Cosmo's continuous mentions of the Great Potato are doubted, the character eventually does rise from a potato patch as stated, unlike the Great Pumpkin.

Home video releases

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was first released on VHS by Kartes Video Communications and Hi-Tops Video as part of its Snoopy's Home Video Library. This version included the CBS edit of the "trick-or-treat" scene and removed the entire sequence of Schroeder playing World War I-era songs. Paramount later released the special on VHS in the '90s. It was later released on DVD on September 12, 2000 with You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown as a bonus special.

After Warner Brothers obtained the off-air rights to the Charlie Brown library of TV specials, they released a new DVD release under the new "Remastered Deluxe Edition" line on September 2, 2008. On this DVD, the bonus special was It's Magic, Charlie Brown (You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown was released on its own DVD later that year), and it included a new featurette, "We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown". A Blu-ray/DVD combo pack was released on September 7, 2010 with the same features as the Warner DVD.

References

External links