“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” airs again for one final Halloween Eve treat. If you think an old pre-CGI cartoon from 1966 with a lot of statically drawn kids talking far above their grade level has no interest for a young, social-media obsessed generation, you get a rock.
According to CNN Money, an earlier showing in October drew 2.1 million viewers, beat cool shows like “Arrow” in the night’s ratings, brought in the coveted 18-49 demographic and, most interestingly, blew up the Twitterverse with crazy hashtags playing off the title, as well as links to musical mashups and Gifs galore.
So why does everybody from Baby Boomers to millennials embrace Linus’ quixotic quest to meet The Great Pumpkin year after year? To me, it all comes down to Sparky’s writing.
Sparky was Charles Schulz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip and a genius who brilliantly weaved darker, adult impulses into his kid characters, proving again that we are shaped very early in this life. (But let’s also credit TV producer Lee Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez. And Vince Guaraldi’s timeless music.)
Here is some great dialogue from “It’s The Great Pumpkin” to prepare for the show. Get a pumpkin latte (or a bag of rocks) and enjoy!
Charlie Brown: Who are you writing to, Linus?
Linus: This is the time of the year to write to the Great Pumpkin. On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children.
Charlie Brown: You must be crazy. When are you going to stop believing in something that isn’t true?
Linus: When you stop believing in that fellow with the red suit and white beard who goes “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
Linus: There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.
Neighborhood children: Trick or treat! Money or eats!
Lucy: I got five pieces of candy!
Child: I got a chocolate bar!
Second Child: I got a quarter!
Charlie Brown: I got a rock.
Sally: I was robbed! I spent the whole night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, when I could’ve been out for tricks-or-treats! Halloween is over and I missed it! You blockhead! You kept me up all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin, and all that came was a beagle! I didn’t get a chance to go out for tricks-or-treats! And it was all your fault! I’ll sue! What a fool I was! I could’ve had candy, apples, and gum! And cookies and money and all sorts of things! But no! I had to listen to you. You blockhead. What a fool I was. Trick-or-treats come only once a year, and I miss it by sitting in a pumpkin patch with a blockhead. You owe me restitution!
Linus: You’ve heard about fury in a woman scorned, haven’t you?
Charlie Brown: Yes, I guess I have.
Linus: Well, that’s nothing compared to the fury of a woman who has been cheated out of tricks-or-treats.
Charlie Brown: Well, don’t take it too hard, Linus. I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life too.
Linus: Stupid? What do you mean stupid? Just wait ’til next year, Charlie Brown. You’ll see! Next year at this same time, I’ll find a pumpkin patch that is real sincere! And I’ll sit in that pumpkin patch until the Great Pumpkin appears. He’ll rise out of that pumpkin patch and he’ll fly through the air with his bag of toys. The Great Pumpkin will appear! And I’ll be waiting for him! I’ll be there!
We all will, Linus, we all will.
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