Turn Back the Clock

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Produced By: Warner Home Video

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Iím a huge fan of Peanuts and have been since I was a little kid.  Iíve watched every animated feature, the animated television series, read the comic strips and compilation books, but I canít seem to get enough of the animated holiday specials.  One of my favorites is I'ts the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

                In this half-hour animated holiday special, Halloween is fast approaching and the Peanuts gang are preparing for the big day.  Everyone is getting their costumes readyÖeveryone, that is, except Linus.  Heís getting ready for his annual tradition of sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for The Great Pumpkin.  You see, according to Linus, The Great Pumpkin shows up only once a year Ė on Halloween.  On this date, he looks for the most sincere pumpkin patch and showers gifts upon those he finds waiting for him within. 

Most of the gang think heís crazy, but Charlie Brownís sister, Sally, has a huge crush on Linus and this gives her pause.  Though this is the first year she is allowed to go trick-or-treating, she decides to stay with Linus in the pumpkin patch, hoping that his stories about The Great Pumpkin are true.  While the rest of the gang go trick-or-treating with mixed success (Charlie Brown keeps getting rocks), Snoopy goes out on an adventure all his own.  He is the World War I flying ace out looking for the Red Baron.  Unfortunately, his Sopwith Camel fighter plane gets shot down behind enemy lines and he must find a way to get back to his men.

Fortunately, he finds a quaint chalet where he can partake in food and drink.  Of course, his quaint chalet is actually the site of the gangís Halloween party, where the kids are partaking in some party games, like carving a pumpkin using the back of Charlie Brownís head to figure out just how they want their carved pumpkin to look.  Karma comes in the way of Snoopy as Lucy bobs for apples and comes up with the same one as the dog

By the end of the night, Sally realizes her folly in staying with Linus and missing out on all the fun and adventure to be had on Halloween night.  But, though Linusí faith falters for a second, Linus remains in the pumpkin patch, hoping for a miracle.  Lucy eventually heads out to bring her sleeping brother in for the night.  One would think that Linus would understand his folly, but he is more convinced than ever that The Great Pumpkin exists and he vows to prove it next year.

Now, I love watching Itís the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Ė I have watched it every year since I was a little kid.  But there are some things that bug me about this cartoon.  For one thing, I canít understand why Charlie Brown keeps getting a rock while the other kids get terrific treats.  Iíve always been told it was because he had too many holes in his ghost costume, but I beg to differ.  Why couldnít anyone see the genius in this boyís costume.  After all, how many kids his age would thin to go trick-or-treating as the Holy Ghost?  And if Sally has such a crush on Linus, why does she tell him she is going to sock him if he holds her hand?  And why canít Linus figure out his folly in mixing up The Great Pumpkin with Santa Claus?  This is supposed to be a really book-smart kid Ė where could he have possibly read about The Great Pumpkin?

All kidding aside, I love watching this cartoon with all of its funny moments and clever dialogue.  Besides the Christmas special, itís the one Peanuts holiday special I refuse to miss.  I even bought it on DVD so as to make certain I never miss it, just in case the television networks air it on a bad night or decide not to air it at all.  Itís one of those childhood traditions that I will always carry on with every family member or child I babysit.  Everyone should watch Itís the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at least once in their lifetimeÖor maybe a hundred times.  For some reason, for me, this cartoon never gets old!


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