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It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown 

Bill Melendez/Charles Schultz


It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Directed by: Bill Melendez/Charles Schultz
(Warner Home Video)
"Let's face it...Santa Claus has had more publicity," writes steadfast Linus to his Halloween hero, the Great Pumpkin, in pop-cultural institution It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. "But," he continues, "being number two, perhaps you try harder." The line's apparently a reference to an old ad for car rental company Avis. Today, the joke's outdated, and hasn't aged quite as well as the much-loved special that features it. The rest of ITGPCB isn't start-to-finish spectacular, either: The scenes with Snoopy strutting his stuff as a "WWI flying ace" are boring, and the Charlie Brown-gets-rocks-in-his-treat-bag sequence runs a little long. But the rest of the special's remained beloved for a reason. There's something rather lovely about the gleeful nose-in-the-air jig that Charlie Brown embarks upon when he thinks he's finally been invited to a party, and about dopey, faithful Linus' annual vigil as he waits for a giant gift-giving pumpkin that he's never seen. "Each year the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. I don't see how a pumpkin patch could be more sincere than this one," declares Linus. Me, neither, Linus---and I'll gladly join you and your earnestness for Great Pumpkin duty any year.
---Lindsay McCarney

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