Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see

Fifty years ago tomorrow TV audiences were treated to an instant favorite among critics and casual viewers alike. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was the third Peanuts television special and second holiday-themed episode after the equally legendary A Charlie Brown Christmas. Like most people I have seen the show dozens of times, and I’m happy to say my son is now at an age that he not only wants to watch it multiple times, but actually understands some of the jokes. (“I got a rock” is repeated often in our home.)

Like James Bond or the Pink Panther, Team Charlie Brown peaked in the 1960s with their first few efforts on the screen. It’s tough for modern tellings to match the elegance and cache of their ’60s counterparts, regardless of CGI of special effects wizardry. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is simply great storytelling. It’s serious enough for adults and silly enough for kids, and tries just hard enough to make you realize full well you’re watching something difficult look easy. The sound is quintessential Peanuts; Charlie Brown sounds like Charlie Brown and Vince Guaraldi sounds like Vince Guaraldi. Nothing is overdone or wasted, and even the silly sections keep your attention.

It is said that after the episode aired in 1966 children around the country sent candy and sweets to their local TV stations for the kid who got only rocks in his Halloween treat bag. I’d have Franklin do it as a lark but I’d probably have NSA agents showing up at my door.

Different world, eh?

But I’m still watching the same TV special.

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About moc

My name is Mike O'Connell. I am 42 years old and live in Northern Virginia. I am a teacher, a musician, and an enthusiast of all things American.

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