IT’S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN
Reviewed October 2nd, 2000 by Brian White
Continuing in the release of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts holiday specials to DVD is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. While it can’t touch the Christmas special, the Great Pumpkin is certainly a fond childhood memory of your reviewer, and perhaps many readers as well. This special hasn’t been shown on CBS for some years now. ABC has announced that they will air all of the holiday specials, to which they have just purchased the broadcasting rights: The Great Pumpkin will certainly fly again. Is it worth owning on DVD? That depends on how much you admire the title.
Reprising the success of the 1965 Christmas special is this 1966 Halloween special. The Great Pumpkin is a figment of Linus’ imagination. He treats the mythical character like most kids treat Santa Clause. As a result, Linus (and Sally, who turns out to be quite the loose canon) miss out on “Tricks or Treats” and the Halloween party to sit out in a Pumpkin patch waiting for the Pumpkin to rise and bring them toys. Interestingly, and inexplicably, there is an entire subplot about Snoopy battling the Red Baron. It’s pretty cool. Notice those Spidermanesque, late-sixties, acid-soaked skies.
The bonus cartoon, You’re Note Elected, Charlie Brown, is entertaining, but not as good as The Great Pumpkin. Most notable is Snoopy’s Joe Cool vignette.
The video on this disc is quite good, considering the age of the source material. Since the Christmas DVD review, I’ve learned that these specials were digitally remastered. This is surprising, given the less than extraordinary transfer seen on the Christmas special. This disc, in its 4:3 aspect ratio, boasts a better transfer than the Christmas special. The colors are quite bright. There is surprisingly little in the way of scratches and other picture noise.
The digital, 2.0 mix is functional, but does not show off the Vince Guaraldi score on both specials. Given the quality and class of this jazz, a 5.1 mix is in order. Certainly, dialogue and sound effects are more than adequate.
For extras, the episodes have chapter stops around the commercial breaks, and the inclusion of the second episode is certainly noteworthy.
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