This animated film was made before I was born. It made the rounds on network television for decades before I saw it for the first time, as my mother straightened the tie on my Charlie Chaplin outfit and set me out to trick-or-treat with my brother. Every year after, right up until the year I stopped trick-or-treating, watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” on television was a tradition.
The story of the Great Pumpkin was first mentioned in Charles M. Schulz beloved comic strip Peanuts in 1959. Linus, the little chap who hasn’t quite given up on the security of his blue blanket, waits every Halloween night in the pumpkin patch waiting for the appearance of the Great Pumpkin. Invariably, the Great Pumpkin never shows, and Linus returns home defeated. He sighs and says, “There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”
Of course, since it’s a Peanuts feature, there are all manner of side-plots and sub-stories being told concurrently with the tale of the Great Pumpkin. The gang is busy finding costumes and trick or treating, and eventually everyone ends up at Violet’s party, rocking out. Somehow the costumes always made me feel better about my thrift-store outfits, shambled together for a few dollars and hastily constructed in the moments leading up to trick or treating. It was enough to be partaking, after all, as Charlie Brown decides after receiving a rock instead of a treat.
Rated G by the MPAA, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is a seminal favorite. Everything is there: the Peanuts trademark charm and humor (even though it tends, on occasion, to the dark), multiple storylines to keep your youngster engaged, and Snoopy.
Explore more –
On IMDB: The Great Pumpkin
Watch the trailer: The Great Pumpkin trailer