Happy Birthday to everyone’s favorite TV Halloween special. “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,”—the third Peanuts special produced and animated by Bill Melendez, based on Charles M. Schultz’s comic strip—turns 50 this season. A total of 45 Peanuts television specials exist. Vulture, an entertainment news site, evaluated all 45 specials and created a “worst to best list.” No surprise, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was rated as everyone’s all-time favorite Peanuts special, and “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” followed in second place.
This Halloween classic debuted October 27, 1966 at a time when children had but one chance a year to see any Peanuts special. All ages planned ahead, marked their calendars, cleared their schedules, had dinner early, finished their homework so as to be able to sit together for the single annual opportunity to enjoy “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” This one-time-only opportunity made these specials even more “special.”
Today, it doesn’t have to be Halloween for us to enjoy any Peanuts classic. In fact, you can celebrate Halloween and the 50th Birthday of “The Great Pumpkin” by watching it right now.