Easter has the bunny, Christmas has Santa, and Valentine has Cupid, so it would only make sense that Halloween would have its own mythical figure to bring great joy, wouldn’t it? According to Linus: yes. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” may not be one of the better Charlie Brown specials but it sure is a great celebration of not just the Autumn season, but of Halloween and what a little faith in the tradition can do to a young child; it’s also one of the better animation jobs from the recently deceased Bill Melendez. Linus believes in the Great Pumpkin a mysterious Halloween figure that brings presents on Halloween Night at the local pumpkin patch.
And he makes a great argument for the figure likening him to Santa, and proclaiming that he’s the lesser known of the holiday individuals, which makes for a funny argument between him and Charlie. He has so much faith, he’s willing to sacrifice candy to await the arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Meanwhile we learn the ins and outs of the gangs Halloween celebration including their trick of treating habits and what luck Charlie has when it comes to candy. His continued declaration, “I got a rock” makes for some pretty chuckle inducing material when you consider how many rocks come his way in his life.
Linus’s story is probably the most compelling because his faith in the Great Pumpkin is akin to Schulz’s faith in his god. It doesn’t matter if he exists or not, he just believes in him and his essence, and that’s enough to make some sacrifices. I’m surprised to say that the one caveat is Snoopy’s sub-plot that just feels like padding because it has almost nothing to do with the central plot, but Linus’s general disappointment in the lack of the Great Pumpkin speaks waves about religion and Schulz’s potential doubt in the belief. “It’s Magic, Charlie Brown” has almost nothing to do with Halloween beyond magic and tricks.
It’s pretty much a generic Charlie Brown tale that sadly isn’t as good as “The Great Pumpkin” but will make for entertaining enough fodder for the open minded consumer; especially considering Charlie finally kicks that football. You can also download the former special digitally. The featurette “We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown!” is a thirteen minute special about the Charlie Brown animated crew who was pressured by the networks to make “It’s The Great Pumpkin” a success like “Charlie Brown Christmas” or else. It’s a good look at the pressure this special was under to do well. A great new remastered version brings one of the better specials to the Charlie Brown universe; this DVD Edition has great quality, two entertaining cartoons, and a nice special about the pressures of animators. It’s a definite purchase for Schulz fans.