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IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN ($20) is a childhood favorite, that I’ve watched on television long into my adulthood. Based upon the Peanuts comic strip, created by Charles M. Schulz, this animated television special features Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Sally and Snoopy, who gather together to celebrate that wonderful childhood holiday- namely Halloween. The plot of IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN finds Linus at odds with the rest of the gang due to his belief in The Great Pumpkin, a creature that supposedly rises up out of the pumpkin patch every Halloween to bring toys to all of the good little girls and boys. Of course, no one but Linus believes in The Great Pumpkin, which always leaves him alone in the pumpkin patch waiting, while everyone else spends the evening Trick Or Treating. However, this year Linus doesn’t spend Halloween alone, thanks to one little girl, who is smitten with our blanket-carrying hero. While Linus does his thing in the pumpkin patch, Charlie Brown ends up screwing up his Halloween by making himself a ghost costume, which looks more like Swiss cheese than anything else.

Even though I should have out grown IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN a very long time ago, there is something about the Charles M. Schulz’s imaginative story and delightful characters that makes it appealing to all age groups. IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN features the vocal talents of Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Tracy Stratford, Kathy Steinberg and Bill Melendez. As a bonus, the DVD includes YOU’RE NOT ELECTED CHARLIE BROWN, another half-hour special featuring the Peanuts gang. In YOU’RE NOT ELECTED CHARLIE BROWN, we find Linus running for student body president, with his pushy sister Lucy running his campaign.

Paramount Home Entertainment has done a really nice job transcribing IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN to DVD. I doubt that this television special has looked this good, since it debuted back in 1964. It would appear that the 1.33:1 image has been digitally cleaned up to remove almost all of the age-related markings from the print. The picture on this DVD is very crisp and very clean looking. Colors are a lot more vivid than I ever remember seeing them in the past, although they do appear a tad subdued towards the end of the program. Additionally, there is very little perceivable film grain, making this a truly impressive presentation for a thirty-six year old TV special. 1972’s YOU’RE NOT ELECTED CHARLIE BROWN also looks quite good on DVD, displaying a clean and colorful image, with almost no visible imperfections being present. There are no signs of digital compression artifacts on either program on this single layer DVD. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks for both programs have somewhat limited fidelity. However, the dialogue is crisp and intelligible, plus Vince Guaraldi’s music will take a goodly amount of amplification without any signs of distortion. Through the basic interactive menus, one can select which program to watch, as well as having access to individual scenes within each. Additionally, English subtitles can be accessed on through the menu system.

IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN is a worthwhile DVD acquisition for children of any age, thanks to Paramount’s fine presentation.

Note: In addition to the individual release, IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN is available as part of the Peanuts Classic Holiday Collection ($60), which also includes A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and A CHARLIE BROWN THANKSGIVING.


 It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
 Peanuts Classic Holiday Collection



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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