Can it really be Halloween without “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown?” For millions of Americans, young and old, that answer is no!
With Halloween right around the corner, many folks are wondering when the Peanuts classic will air this year. The answer is here, and the good news is you will have more than once chance to watch.
A hit from day one
When Peanuts creator Charles Shulz, along with director-animator Bill Melendez and producer Lee Mendelson released It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, for the first time on October 27, 1966, little did they know of its staying power.
Now, as the Great Pumpkin prepares to hit the airwaves for the 53rd year, a new generation will once again be introduced to the ultimate Halloween classic.
The staying power of this Shulz classic is incredible – and the love for The Great Pumpkin all started right from the first time it aired.
Five Great Pumpkin facts
Think you know everything about the Great Pumpkin? Here are five things that occurred during the making and after the original airing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” that you may not know.
Football prank — First off, it was the first time Lucy pulled the football away from Charlie Brown as he attempted to kick it.
Although the classic trick that Lucy pulls on Charlie Brown happened before in comic strips, it was the first time it was brought to animation.
Candy for Charlie! — This next one will pull at a parent’s heartstrings. As we all know, if you don’t stop reading here, Charlie Brown only received rocks while Trick or Treating.
When this happened, many children felt terrible for their TV “friend” and wanted him to receive candy like everyone else.
Incredibly, children from all over the country mailed candy to the studio for Charlie Brown after the show first aired in 1966.
Composing in the nude? — Number three is a bit out there, but it is true. The composer of that excellent piano work in The Great Pumpkin was arrested before the show aired for the first time – in the buff!
Composer Vince Guaraldi took a break from putting together “The Great Pumpkin Waltz” for the show, he jumped in the shower to freshen up when he reportedly heard noises outside and went to investigate.
He stepped outside and locked himself out in the process, and there he was in his birthday suit. Guaraldi attempted to climb a ladder to a second-floor window when police spotted him and arrested him. He was released without incident – just embarrassment!
The Great Pumpkin is Santa? – Charles Schulz was vocal that he disliked the idea that kids admired a jolly man who delivered presents all over the world when he knew many families could only afford one or two gifts for the holidays.
“The Great Pumpkin is really kind of a satire on Santa Claus,” he told Mendelson. “When [he] doesn’t come, Linus is crushed.”
Schulz wasn’t anti-Santa, he was just not thrilled with the idea of children getting tons of presents being the basis of Christmas.
Violet’s bad nerves – While many movies use adults to narrate kids nowadays, most of the voices for the Peanuts gang were kids.
Anne Altieri, who portrayed both Violet and Frieda, used to get so nervous that she would throw up before or after her recording sessions.
When to watch
Mark it on the calendar. You have 12 days and counting to get that popcorn or favorite snack ready for the show!
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— iHoliday Blog (@Halloweengal801) October 9, 2019
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will air twice in 2019, so now you have no excuse to miss it! The first airing is Tuesday, October 22, 2019, at 8:00 p.m. ET. The second will be later that week, on Sunday, October 27, at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Folks can also watch on their tablet, PC, or smartphone via live stream by downloading the ABC App.