The Great Pumpkin. Just those three words fill my heart with a warm nostalgic glow and my senses with the memories of hot cider, sweet candy, and big mom hugs....
Charles M. Schulz
Waaaahhhhh, I changed my mind, I don't wanna be a grownup!
ANYways, seperated from the fuzzy childhood bits associated with it, as an adult I look at this as a treatise on atheism for kids (yay!) but maybe that's just my embittered, candy-deprived adult mind.
You know what? Frak it, this year I'm going whole-hog, getting dressed up in some ridiculous outfit and watching this again. Halloween IS my mid-life crisis red sports car and I'm gonna suit up for all it's worth! Hopefully the neighbors won't get too weirded out by me coming and asking for candy. Because if they do...there's always the tricks...
A 38 year old man who responded only to his costume character's name, "The Bride", was arrested Halloween night after using a homemade "egg-gun" on his neighbor's homes which shattered windows up and down the block. The man's identity is at present unknown, but a group of protestors outside the police station where he is being presently held holding placards reading "Free Cyrus!" might be connected.
Here's Beau's review...
is probably not spinning in his grave. For one thing Sparky probably was a tad too like his protagonist, Charlie Brown
, to get up the gumption for post-mortem circumambulation. For another, any energy he might have had must have burnt off long ago in the wake of United Features Syndicates
decision to rerun Peanuts “classic”
strips after his death. (I don’t know why UFS insists on the “classic”
label-especially given that none of the strips from the strips 1965-80 heyday-inarguably the best era of the series).
No, the reissue of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Deluxe Edition
certainly isn’t exploitative enough to invoke the dreaded Charles “Sparky” Schulz
Zombie Apocalypse we’ve all lived in fear of for so long. It ain’t all that bad either considering the quality of the transfer has been admirably updated. But with a price tag of twenty smackers for a whopping 49 minutes of material I wish some blockhead at Warner Bros
. would experience the icy cold hands of Zombie Schulz
around his scrawny money-grubbing neck. Good Grief.
Still there are benefits to owning this for the hardcore animation fan/snob. As I stated before the transfer is gorgeous-less starker and richer in palette than the previously released version available from Paramount.
You certainly can’t fault the production itself. Debuting at a now unheard of 50% share (that’s half the television sets in America) in 1966, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
and it’s predecessors (A Charlie Brown Christmas
and Charlie Brown’s All-Stars
) pretty much set the mold for the half-hour animated holiday special and its success has rarely been duplicated. The Great Pumpkin
is as familiar a term in the vernacular as Santa Claus
now. The story has been seen countless times by nearly every American out there who has ever owned or known someone who owns a TV and is absolutely a classic of animation. Linus
spends Halloween night in the pumpkin patch in a fervent, faithful and fruitless attempt to spot a glimpse of The Great Pumpkin
much to the chagrin of his sister Lucy
and friend Charlie Brown
. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
may be the very best of the Peanuts
animated specials with onlyA Charlie Brown Christmas
beating it out. More than any other it echoes “Sparky”
’s themes of faith and hope.
Unfortunately, It, like its previous companion pieces and its successors is only a bare twenty-six minutes long. So, barring storyboards being done by Vincent Van Gogh
, the price-tag here could only be justified by some very tasty extras and this disc just doesn’t deliver. The menus are boring, a quarter of the “extras”
are trailers for other Warner products and the extra included feature presentation is “It’s Magic Charlie Brown”,
special from the eighties. “It’s magic…”
is easily one of the weakest specials in the five decade history and it’s so lacking in the winsome charm inherent in the earlier specials I almost refused to believe it was actually written by Schulz
. Maybe he was experiencing some sort of system shock attributable to the new-fledged Reagan
administration. At any rate there’s something a wee bit off about “It’s Magic…”
and what few charms it has will probably be lost on adults. It’s strictly for the kiddies.
Conversely, the showpiece extra, a new documentary entitled "We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown"
will appeal almost solely to television and animation buffs. The featurette includes in-depths with producers Bill Melendez
and Lee Mendelson
as well as interviews with Schulz’
and son Monte
Two features, one a classic and one a dud, and a thirteen minute documentary don’t exactly rate a “deluxe”
edition in my book. Warners
could have easily appended one of the better though lesser known specials here (You’re in Love Charlie Brown, You’re a Good Sport Charlie Brown
or Charlie Brown’s All-Stars
). Better yet, they could have tacked on several and maybe a still gallery of the strips that inspired the special or the many great pumpkin strips that followed it. Instead we get a quickie package with a metal foil sleeve and a “Deluxe”
stamp on it.
I’m glad to have this in my collection for the time being and it’ll definitely get played at the annual LEOG
lair’s Halloween animation party but I sure wouldn’t have wanted to spend any green on it. Consumers would be better off waiting for the holiday collection box set Warners
will release later this year
along with A Charlie Brown Christmas
and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
. This is typical of Warner’
s-putting out snippets here and there before they finally deliver the goods (anybody remember how long it took them to put together a decent Batman: The Animated Series
box set?). Hopefully a some point in the future someone will treat all of the Peanut’s
specials and movies with the same amount of care Fantagraphics books
has treated the original strips with.
Until that point I’d be as thrifty as possible.
animator Bill Melendez
passed away Tuesday of natural causes. He was the only person Charles Schulz
ever authorized to animate his beloved creations. No amount of praise can really live up to the incredible task Bill
accomplished animating the beloved Peanuts
characters and truly bringing them to life. It was a feat few could do and one Bill
was wonderfully and perfectly suited for. He was one of the greats and we are the less for his passing. Adios Bill.
Thanks for forty years and more of laughs and love.
CLICK HERE TO BUY "IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN CHARLIE BROWN"