From the opening scene where Linus and Lucy pick the perfect pumpkin to carve – set to the jazzy “Linus and Lucy” theme from the Vince Guaraldi Trio – to the very end, as Linus defends his firm belief in the Great Pumpkin, gritting his teeth and waving his arms in the air as the credits roll – this is arguably the best of all of the Charlie Brown shorts, as it captures the magical sense of wonder that comes with Halloween, and contains some of the most memorable moments and lines of dialogue.
Linus: Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker!
As usual, Charlie Brown can never catch a break. Someone sends him an invitation to Violet’s Halloween party. Poor Charlie is immediately informed that this must have been a mistake. There were two lists – one to invite, and one to not invite. His friends insist that he must have been put on the wrong list. Added to that, his bald head is used as a sketch board to design the face of Lucy’s jack-o-lantern, and while all of the other kids receive tons of candy while trick-or-treating, Charlie somehow ends up with a bag full of rocks. However, Charlie gets much more out of his Halloween adventures than Linus.
Make no mistake: Linus takes center stage here. From the beginning, Linus is ridiculed over his beliefs regarding the mysterious Great Pumpkin, who will supposedly bestow gifts upon all of the children on Halloween night as he flies through the air. Where Linus comes up with these inventions, no one quite knows. When Linus attempts to drag Sally into his delusions, as you well know, things don’t quite go as planned. Linus learns the hard way that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” – especially if she’s cheated out of tricks and treats!
Charlie Brown: Who are you writing to, Linus?
Linus: This is the time of 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 a red suit and the white beard who goes, “Ho, ho, ho!”
Charlie Brown: We’re obviously separated by denominational differences.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a classic. I watch it multiple times during the month of October, and it never gets old. My wish is that future generations would continue to discover this tiny gem for years to come, as it has definitely left an impression on me. I love it so.
Watch the intro to "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" in the SCREENING ROOM.