“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966) TV SPECIAL REVIEW
It’s Halloween for Charlie Brown and his friends, but while most kids want to celebrate with the usual traditions, Linus decides to wait for “The Great Pumpkin” in a pumpkin patch, with only Sally willing to keep him company. Meanwhile, Snoopy is getting into his Halloween fancy dress costume of “The Flying Ace”, by imagining he is in a dog fight.
This is a Halloween special that doesn’t aim for scares or spectacles, but simple dry humour and the spirit of spooky festivities. It’s a slice of life cartoon that perfectly illustrates the mood of Fall, you can really feel the atmosphere of the season, from the fallen crisp brown leaves to the gorgeous watercolour backdrops. The kids’ discussions about varied topics are highly amusing, each dead pan setup penned with clever wit by Charles M. Schulz himself, it’s a delightful script.
But this is also a special about one kids’ loyalty towards what he believes in, the legend of the Great Pumpkin! Did Linus make up this character? Or does he truly exist? That doesn’t really matter, because it’s own belief that makes this running plot endearing, as Linus refuses to give up waiting, even while Sally grumbles about missing out on trick or treating. On the one hand, we understand why Sally might feel betrayed, but on the other hand, it’s hard to get mad at Linus’ sheer faith.
Watching these children going trick or treating is simple enough, but little things make it kind of funny, like the fact that most of them are dressed in the same ghost costume, or how Charlie Brown keeps getting rocks instead of candy each house. I’d even say that all this trick or treating, made me suddenly crave sweet confectionery myself, even though the candy doesn’t even look that appealing, and I guess that’s because the kids themselves made the candy sound fun.
I’ll admit that Snoopy’s subplot does slightly detract from the main focus, as the short suddenly centres on his imaginary war game, it’s quite a stretch to say how relevant this gag is to the Halloween atmosphere, but it’s still cute seeing the Beagle playing soldier. Not to mention, Snoopy does later end up at the Halloween party, plus he fools Linus and Sally into thinking that he’s the Great Pumpkin too, so he has his purpose in the special.
To Conclude, this is a lovely relaxing Halloween cartoon, a charming special that will get you into the spirit of the season without needing to frighten, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a laid back Halloween atmosphere this month.
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