Halloween is nearing! That means so is the air date for the beloved holiday special “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” The annually aired classic, which was created by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in 1966, will return to the small screen on Tuesday, Oct. 20, and Thursday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.
But regardless of how many times Peanut-lovers have watched the iconic series, animated by Bill Melendez, there may be some things long-time fans might not have known about the spooky, 30-minute show.
1. Third Time’s a Charm – “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” was the third special, based on Schulz comic strip “Peanuts,” to be produced and animated.
“CBS called and said: ‘We need another holiday blockbuster,’” producer Lee Mendelson told the Washington Post, explaining that the network, which originally hosted the Charlie Brown specials, wanted another holiday hit following “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
2. Satire On Santa Claus – In the book, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic,” Mendelson recounts that Schulz admitted to “The Great Pumpkin” being a “satire on Santa Claus.” In the series, Linus (voiced by Christopher Shea) writes to the mystical holiday hero for gifts – like the children do during the Christmas special. The character is then “crushed” when the pumpkin patch king doesn’t show.
“It shows that you can’t always get what you hoped for but you can still survive … and keep trying,” the producer explained. “Linus never gives up – just like Charlie Brown.”
3. Shea Was The Star Of The Specials – Peter Robbins, who voiced everyone’s favorite blockhead Charlie Brown, attributes the success of the holiday specials to Linus voice actor Shea.
“If not for Chris Shea, those two specials don’t work,” Robbins admitted. “I give him all the credit in the world. I’m like the pitcher who sets him up for each line.” And Shea kept knocking the line-readings out of the park.
4. Sally’s Loose Tooth – Mendelson reminisced that he flew Kathy Steinberg, the voice of Sally, out to the studio after her mother revealed that Kathy’s front tooth was about to fall out.
“Her mom said: ‘You don’t understand — she’ll have a terrible lisp,’” the producer stated, adding that Kathy lost her tooth the next day. “You couldn’t understand her at all.”
Steinberg addressed the front-tooth story in a blog, where she dished that it was one of the funniest stories that she remembers from her stint as Sally – along with being unable to read the script for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
“I remember not being able to read the script for the Christmas show because I was too young to read,” the California native said.
5. Res-ti-tu-tion - Mendelson revealed to the Washington Post that in addition to having issues with the children’s speech due to wiggly teeth, the kids who voiced the Peanuts had trouble pronouncing some of the words within the script.
“My favorite moment is when [Sally] is yelling at Linus in the pumpkin patch: ‘I demand restitution!” he said, revealing that he couldn’t get young Steinberg to say restitution so the line had to be recorded syllabically and the spliced together.
“So it went: ‘Rest-ti-tu-tion.”
6. Charlie Brown Gets A Rock – Mendelson revealed to the Washington Post that it was Schulz' idea to give Charlie Brown rocks instead of candy – despite what his co-workers thought.
“I said, ‘Oh, come on, that’s a little too harsh and cruel.’ But the more I protested, the more he wanted it. And after I protested more, [Schulz] said: ‘Okay, he’ll get three rocks!’”
7. Candy For Charlie Brown – It was reported by AOL.com that children felt so badly for Charlie Brown after he received rocks while trick-or-treating that they sent candy to the studio for the fan favorite Peanut to snack on.
8. Emmy Nominated – The holiday special was nominated for three Emmy Awards in 1967, including outstanding children’s program.
“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” will air Tuesday, Oct. 20, and Thursday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC.