It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is somewhat of a misnomer. While Charlie Brown does have a role in the special, the story mostly centers on Linus. It’s Halloween time, and the Peanuts gang issuper excited to go out and experience all of the usual festivities that come along with the holiday. Linus on the other hand, is much more excited at the prospect of meeting the titular Great Pumpkin.
The Great Pumpkin is essentially a Halloween version of Santa Claus. Every Halloween, he delivers treats and goodies to little boys and girls. Similar to how Santa Claus only visits well behaved children, the Great Pumpkin only visits children who are having fun in beautiful, sincere pumpkin patches.
While Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang are having fun making costumes, trick or treating and bobbing for apples, Linus is content with simply waiting patiently in his pumpkin patch. Like most other Peanuts specials and comic strips, The Great Pumpkin is a fairly simple story overall. But that’s always been the magic of the Peanuts. From the art style and animation, to the simple narrative structure, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts have always been a great example of beauty in simplicity.
To briefly talk about Charlie Brown, while he may play only a small part in the special, he’s still the Charlie Brown that we all know and love. He’s a blockhead who’s the butt of everybody’s jokes, and takes great pleasure in even the simplest things. But I will say that I didn’t really like his interactions with Linus in this special.
Considering their relationship, you would expect Charlie Brown to be supportive of Linus’ dreams of the Great Pumpkin. Well… he’s not. He was so focused on fitting in with the rest of the kids that he basically abandoned Linus. This is a fairly small gripe, and honestly doesn’t detract from the special in any major way, I just felt that it was worth mentioning.
My favorite thing about The Great Pumpkin was Linus’ overwhelming optimism. I’ve always been a sucker for cheerful and enthusiastic characters, and Linus’ embodies this role exceptionally well. In spite of all the doubt and negativity that comes his way, Linus never gives up on his dream of the Great Pumpkin. And his pure joy at the sight of what he believes to be the legendary gourd is a really cute moment.
The Great Pumpkin does what all of the really good Peanuts specials do. It may be simple, but it also manages to be fun, bouncy and endearing. Also worth mentioning is the really awesome Vince Guaraldi score. Guaraldi is largely responsible for all of the famous Peanuts songs, including the amazing soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. But I can’t talk about this special without mentioning how ridiculously funny it is that Charlie Brown really got rocks for Halloween. That joke makes me laugh way harder than it should.