Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Pumpkinification I: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
As a kid who grew up in a religion that strictly prohibited tricks-or-treats, it was a glimpse into forbidden fun for us. But Linus's situation as someone who believed in a system alternate to the mainstream paradoxically had special meaning to me at the same time. And it's applicability appears widespread: "Linus's seemingly unshakable belief in the Great Pumpkin, and his desire to foster the same belief in others, has been interpreted as a parody of Christian evangelism by some observers. Others have seen Linus's belief in the Great Pumpkin as symbolic of the struggles faced by anyone with beliefs or practices that are not shared by the majority. Still others view Linus's lonely vigils, in the service of a being that may or may not exist and which never makes its presence known in any case, as a metaphor for mankind's basic existential dilemmas. Charles Schulz himself, however, claimed no motivation beyond the humor of having one of his young characters confuse Halloween with Christmas."
Little bits of animation (since edited out) announced the sponsors:
And I'd like to end by adding for the record that, for all her crabby reputation, Lucy shows herself to be a truly caring sister. Her objections to Linus's belief in the Great Pumpkin are partly worry for the social grief it could bring Linus himself. Throughout her own trick or treating she constantly asks for candy for Linus, so he will not be left totally out. In the end, she wakes up at four o'clock in the morning to herd her little brother out of a freezing pumpkin patch and into his warm bed. Pretty tender for a girl with such a hard outer shell.
 "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown": The Making of a Television Classic, by Lee Mendelson.