[31 Days of Horror Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan] Day 10 – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

Director: Bill Melendez
Cast: Peter Robbins, Christopher Shen, Sally Dryer, Cathy Steinberg
Screenplay: Charles M. Schultz
25 mins. Not Rated.

Okay, before we get started, I have to take a moment for a classic Kyle rant. Last year, Apple+ acquired the rights to the Peanuts specials and, for the first time in 54 years, the all-important yearly rituals of the Peanuts Holiday specials, like the one we’re talking about today, would not be screened on television. And everyone lost their collective shit (didn’t expect cursing in your Peanuts review, did you?). People went nuts about their precious specials not being freely available to them, and how this was not what Charles M. Schultz, creator of Peanuts, would’ve wanted. Now, apart from the fact that the specials were freely available on Apple+ (due to the agreement made by Apple in licensing the properties, they had to make the specials available for free at certain times on their service), this was another lesson in people being big gigantic babies when things are given to them for free. When I heard that Apple, a notoriously difficult company, was going to have the Peanuts specials, I went out and bought the Peanuts Holiday Special collection on Blu-Ray, and now I’m not worried about find them when I want to watch them. Sure, you can say, “But Kyle! You’re always going on about The Mandalorian and Fright Night Part II not being on home video! Isn’t this the same thing? You hypocrite!” To that, I say, “No, it’s not the same thing.” The Mandalorian, for all my frustrations about a lack of a physical media release, is still available on a service, yes, but I’m also offering to spend money on a physical release, as opposed to complaining that the show should be free for me because…reasons. As far as Fright Night Part II goes, there is no release. There’s no possible way to watch these items. It’s a totally different argument. So shut up and go buy the Peanuts Specials on home video (another good argument for the preservation of physical media) or shut up and download Apple+.

And now, my review of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

It’s getting closer and closer to Halloween, and the Peanuts gang is celebrating with ghoulish delight. Linus (Christopher Shen, A Little Game, The Boy Who Stole the Elephant), however, is waiting anxiously to see The Great Pumpkin, hoping that this year will finally be the year he is visited by the legend. Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins, Good Times, TV’s Blondie) is headed to a Halloween party at Violet’s house, with trick-or-treating set to happen, but like everything with Charlie Brown, things don’t exactly go his way.

I’ve been quite vocal about my indifference to the Peanuts Specials, but I have to admit that this particular special has its inherent charms. This is the first animated version of the classic football prank that Lucy plays on Charlie Brown, and it’s a cute little moment. I also found the trick-or-treating scenes to be quite enjoyable (”I got a rock” might be one of the best recurring bits in any comedy). It’s got a nice little run time (anything above the level of being a short film just would be too much schmaltz). For me, though, I’ve always found the ending to be a bit underwhelming, and I’m not alone. Famous author Ray Bradbury and his kids watched the special and were also said to be so disappointed in the finale that his kids kicked the television set and Ray went on to write his own piece of Halloween fiction, ideally fixing his problems with the special.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a cute little that works well enough because of its swiftness and there’s some genuinely enjoyable moments. I just wish the ending were better. It just feels a bit like everything else Charles M. Schultz did with these characters, and it’s missing the soul of Halloween. I feel like you could trade out the Great Pumpkin for Santa, the trick-or-treating with caroling, and the film would all of a sudden be a Christmas special. For me, this special is nice enough, but if I miss it this Halloween season, I won’t be too put out about it.

-Kyle A. Goethe

  • For my review of Bill Melendez’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, click here.
  • For my review of Bill Melendez’s It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown, click here.

It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)


Director: Bill Melendez

Cast: Jamie E. Smith, John Christian Graas, Marnette Patterson, Mindy Ann Martin, Jodie Sweetin, Phillip Lucier, Lindsay Bennish, Sean Mendelson, Deanna Tello, Matthew Slowik, Brittany M. Thornton, Bill Melendez

Screenplay: Charles M. Schulz

22 mins. Not Rated.


I’m not sure if you all know or not, but I’m not really into the whole Charlie Brown thing. I never really caught the bug for it. I like the original special for Halloween and Christmas, but overall, I’m not really pining to see them yearly. When I came across the second Christmas special, I was intrigued, but then I saw it. Now I know why people don’t discuss it.

It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown is presented in a series of little moments chronicling the various characters getting ready for the holiday. On the surface, the special seems like an interesting idea. Unfortunately, the various vignettes don’t really takes us anywhere. Then, the entire framework takes a backseat to essentially a repeat of the original as the characters look for the meaning of Christmas. Sadly, the special goes nowhere.


I really wanted to take a chance on this second Charlie Brown Christmas special. It just went off the rails. There isn’t a through-line here to go on. I can see now why this special was originally abandoned before being salvaged back together.



-Kyle A. Goethe


For more 12 Days of Christmas, click here.

For my review of Bill Melendez’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, click here.

[12 Days of Christmas] On the Third Day… A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)


Director: Bill Melendez

Cast: Peter Robbins, Chris Shea, Tracy Stratford, Kathy Steinberg, Bill Melendez

Screenplay: Charles M. Schulz

25 mins. Rated TV-G.


Okay, this isn’t exactly a feature film, but it is a staple of the holidays, more so than yesterday’s film.


Anywho, Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins) is depressed. It’s Christmas, and he isn’t feeling the holiday spirit. At the idea of Lucy Van Pelt (Tracy Stratford), Charlie decides to direct the Christmas play, all the while trying to discover the true meaning of Christmas.

This is a rather family lesson with some rather adult ramifications. I love that Charlie Brown is feeling what a lot of us feel when the Holiday season arrives. I’ve always treated the holidays as a gift or a blessing, a time when we come together and reset our relationships with those around us who haven’t treated each other right throughout the year. Charlie Brown discovers that the commercialism around Christmas is killing it, and while I don’t entirely believe the it is commercialism as much as the over-commercialism during this time of year. Don’t fight over the latest toy but just be happy you can receive anything from your loved ones. I have worked in retail in the past, and my favorite part of it during the holidays is that I can help people find the perfect gift for the perfect people in their lives. My least favorite is watching people tear each other apart just to find an item that is impossible to find. People need to realign their priorities and accept that it isn’t that big of a deal and Christmas will still go on and people will still be happy.

I digress.


A Charlie Brown Christmas is a magical special, perhaps only burdened by all the specials to come after it, but it stands as a powerful part of the holidays. Peace on Earth, yo.



-Kyle A. Goethe

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