the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Released as a special
edition, this second Peanuts special holds up fairly
well because it's one of the few really relying on the spirit
and actual plotlines of Charles Schulz's comic strip.
Instead of believing
in Santa Claus, Linus Van Pelt believes that a giant pumpkin
- soon to be mocked on The Simpsons -- visits all
the sincere pumpkin patches of the world on Halloween, delivering
gifts to his believers. You might ask why no one locked
this kid up, especially when his sister was so free with
psychiatric advice, but that's the beauty of Schulz' original
vision. Kids are just freely, wonderfully odd.
Yet that "A"
plot of the special ends up not playing nearly as well as
subplots. Charlie Brown's potato-eyed ghost sticks in the
memory far better than Sally's belief in Linus' belief.
And this special is where Snoopy completely stole America's
Melendez devotes a significant amount of time to Snoopy's
rich fantasy life, perfectly in keeping with Halloween.
The beagle imagines himself the World War I flying ace,
and his mistaking Violet's Halloween party for a French
Café during wartime really solidified the cult of Snoopy.
holds up best in this special, and plays fairly timelessly.
When watching this at home, it was the WWI segment that
had to be reversed and replayed a few times for my four
year old; the rest just doesn't have the same flash.
The disc also
includes a later special which shows how far removed from
realism the Charlie Brown gang became on television. In
It's Magic, Charlie Brown, Snoopy learns to perform
real wizardry, turning Charlie Brown invisible, putting
him on the cusp of being able to kick the football.
special has more Snoopy (and Woodstock), and thus holds
kids' attention better, the line between realism and fantasy
blurs a bit too much, undercutting a lot of the franchise's
sake, it's worth having; just know the Great Pumpkin isn't
quite as enrapturing as you might remember.
the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
last nightmare for Halloween...