It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown turns 50


The classic American television program It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown first aired on October 27, 1966. And old pal, these last 50 years have been great for the holiday classic.

It speaks volumes when a piece of work remains entirely undated, even five decades after it’s release. The Peanuts shows and films never spoke down to children, but directly to them, and it has made for a fine body of work that is still charming, even to adults. From the music to the various plots and subplots to the excellent jokes (“I got a rock.”), It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is certain to be around for many more years to come.

I have an extreme personal attachment to this show that started really late in my life, actually. While I loved it as a child, it wasn’t until the first autumn I lived away from home that I really grew my love for it. During those first few years, I had a series of unfortunate personal tragedies in my life. Like a warm blanket, I always turned to the Great Pumpkin to help me through things.

Heck, I own two copies of the thing on DVD. One to watch in the US and one for UK viewings. My poor husband has suffered through so many viewings, bless him. But despite being slow to understand the Peanuts gang charms, he has made the solid effort of actually suggesting we watch it.

I love that Charlie and Snoopy will always be there. I love that Vince Guaraldi’s score still sounds like perfection. When we think about autumn and everything that goes with the season: the pumpkins, the hot drinks and cold nights – none of it would ever be complete without watching this classic one more time.

Vinyl Friday #25: The Original Cast Album of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

P1010196 My thoughts for Vinyl Friday for the month of October was to choose some more “Halloween”-type albums. Turns out, I don’t really own any, but this one is orange and it certainly scares the crap out of me. So kids, here is the original cast recording of the Off-Broadway production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time now, you’ll know that I am a massive Vince Guaraldi fan. None of his Charlie Brown music is featured in this 1967 musical. The music was actually composed by Clark Gesner, who has written some rather nice songs for the production. But I hate musicals, and this isn’t an exception to the rule. I know it’s a popular production, but adults acting like small children really unsettles me instead of entertaining me. It’s a shame because I actually really like the music. I just can’t ever un-see that back cover. The music doesn’t hold a candle to anything Guaraldi did, but I suppose that’s just comparing apples and oranges.

But I think the most horrifying part of this album is the sound quality. Incidentally, the first release of this album was recorded during a live performance. The cast hated the quality so badly, they went into a studio to record it. Somehow it still ended up not being great. As I mentioned before, the songs are nice but they don’t make a great soundtrack of just stand-alone songs. There isn’t any dialogue included, so it jumps from song to song and includes all the really long, strange instrumentals.

FYI – it does NOT sound great in stereo. Thanks for that bullshit, cover.

So why do I have this album in my collection? Well, it’s one of the few things I ever inherited. My grandmother’s cousin died when I was in high school. I never met the man, but we had many similar interests. We both enjoyed the same types of classical music, enjoyed writing and of course, liked Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. He’s the man I inherited my 1990 Ford Probe from (RIP Big Red). So even though I would rather listen to the sound of nails on a chalkboard, I do feel a real sense of fondness for this particular album. I hope one day it grows on me and I’ll find more of an interest in it, but for now it just remains one part of my collection that I want to hide from.