Stories From the Making of “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”

Updated on October 17, 2018
Readmikenow profile image

Readmikenow enjoys writing about unique and interesting people. He likes to learn about individuals who live or have lived unusual lives.

Advertisement for It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown
Advertisement for It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown

The television special “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” has been a special part of celebrating Halloween since it first debuted in 1966. It tells the story of a special belief held by a member of the Peanuts gang named Linus. He waits for The Great Pumpkin to rise out of the pumpkin patch on Halloween night. According to Linus, the Great Pumpkin will only rise out of the pumpkin patch that is considered the most sincere.

Huge Hit

When it first aired in 1966, “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” was an extremely popular television special. The television program has been aired during every Halloween season since then. Many believe this show helped secure the Peanuts gang as a legend in television history.

Charles Schultz drawing comic strip
Charles Schultz drawing comic strip

Comic Strip

The first time the Great Pumpkin was mentioned happened in a 1959 Peanuts comic strip. He was described by Linus. During this time, there were also comic strips with Linus suggesting he and his friends join together and walk around singing pumpkin carols. Two of the comic strips in October and November of 1961 referenced the Great Pumpkin being spotted in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Texas. Charles Schultz stated his main motivation for creating the Great Pumpkin was the humor associated with having one of his Peanuts characters get mixed up with seeing similarities between Christmas and Halloween.


After the comic strips featuring the Great Pumpkin were published, Charles Schultz received complaint letters from fans. Some of them complained the Great Pumpkin was sacrilegious as well as ridiculous. They suggested he stop mentioning him in the Peanuts comic strips. Schultz responded that he felt that believing in Santa Claus was sacrilegious as well as ridiculous. This was also one of his inspirations when it came to creating the Great Pumpkin.

Peanuts gang trick or treating
Peanuts gang trick or treating


After “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” aired for the first time in 1966, it touched children all over the United States. Linus and Sally not going trick-or-treating with their friends and missing their opportunity to get candy upset many children. The Charlie Brown character only being given rocks when trick-or-treating also made them want to do something about it. A few days after the show was on television, children from around the country started mailing gifts and candy to CBS. They were all addressed to Charlie Brown, Linus, and Sally. The boy who provided the voice of Charlie Brown was 10 years old. When he went trick-or-treating that year, pranksters decided to give him rocks. It appears he also got some candy as well.

Snoopy painting and Apollo 10 astronauts
Snoopy painting and Apollo 10 astronauts

Snoopy the Flying Ace

Charles Schultz was inspired by his son Monte to have his Snoopy character be a World War I flying ace. Monte enjoyed building model airplanes. His favorite was World War I aircraft. One day Monte went into his father's studio. He suggested his father make Snoopy be an imaginary fighter pilot in constant pursuit of the feared pilot the Red Baron. Initially, Schultz wasn't really open to the idea. Over time, he tried it and then liked it. Charles Schultz eventually worked Snoopy into being an imaginary World War I flying ace in his Peanuts comic strip. The idea became very popular. In the show “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” Snoopy flies his doghouse against the Red Baron and is shot down behind enemy lines. The flying ace alter ego of Snoopy even became popular with NASA astronauts. The Apollo 10 crew took a painting of Snoopy as the flying ace into space with them. They nicknamed their lunar module for the mission Snoopy. They called their command module Charlie Brown.

Sally and a Loose Tooth

The children hired to provide voices for the characters in “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” did well, but having children do voices came with some special challenges. One of the youngest actresses provided the voice for Sally. During the taping, she almost had to be replaced. When the production was coming near the end, and finishing the recording sessions was about to happen, the girl’s mother contacted the producers. She explained her daughter has a very loose tooth. If she lost it, there could be a gap in her teeth that might result in her daughter speaking with a lisp. It could also cause her to sound different from how she sounded with the dialogue that had already been recorded. A decision was made to bring the girl to the studio immediately and have her finish recording her lines. When this was done, the girl's tooth came out as she was speaking her last line for the production.

Linus in pumpkin patch
Linus in pumpkin patch

Changing Cast

The cast for “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” was almost identical to the cast for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Since the Christmas special was such a success, they wanted to try and keep the cast together as long as possible. The show's producers realized they would have to get new cast members every two years. This is when a child's voice changes as they grow. The actress who did the voice of Lucy in the Christmas special had to be replaced shortly before work on “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” started. Her voice had simply changed too much.

It Had to be A Blockbuster

The producers of the show were told by network executive that if it wasn't a blockbuster, it was likely no other Peanuts specials would be funded in the future. Luckily, “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” was just as successful as “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Approximately half of those viewing television on the October night in 1966 when it debuted were watching the Peanuts Halloween special. This level of success resulted in the show's producers being given the green light to do more Peanuts specials.

Snoopy as World War I flying ace
Snoopy as World War I flying ace

Snoopy's Voice

When the television shows based on the characters from the Peanuts comic strip were created, the goal was to not have any noticeable changes from what was portrayed in the comic strip. In the animated television specials, Snoopy didn't have a voice except for a high-pitched groaning sound. They tried to hire an actor to do the voice, but couldn't find one that seemed to fit. The voice was ultimately provided by one of the show's producers, Bill Melendez. He also was the voice for Snoopy's friend Woodstock in other television specials.

Sally yelling at Linus in pumpkin patch
Sally yelling at Linus in pumpkin patch

The first broadcast of “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” occurred on October 27, 1966. CBS then ran the show annually until 2000. ABC picked it up and has run it annually ever since then. It was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1966. On September 2, 2008, the program was released on home video by Warner studios. In 2006, a book was published titled It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic. The book includes the entire script, interviews with the children who provided the voices and more. Most agree “It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” is a Halloween classic that will entertain children for many generations into the future.

Linus Explains the Great Pumpkin

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        8 months ago

        Nathan, thanks. I agree. It is a classic that only seems to get better with time.

      • wildbluefrontier profile image

        Nathan M 

        8 months ago from Tucson

        Enjoyed the look behind the scenes look the "Great Pumpkin" special. Must have seen this one 20 times over the years.

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        12 months ago

        Yves...thank you so much!

      • savvydating profile image


        12 months ago

        I adore Linus. He was indeed always one of the most sincere characters of the Peanut's gang. Charles Schultz was a genius, a fact known to all but which bears repeating nevertheless. I didn't realize there was a Great Pumpkin book. Think I'll look it up and decide whether I should buy it.

        Another great article Readmikenow. You never fail to entertain and inspire!

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        14 months ago

        John, thanks for reading it. I agree. It is a timeless class that will entertain many future generations.

      • GoldenRod LM profile image

        John R Wilsdon 

        14 months ago from Superior, Arizona USA

        I was one of those watching the 1966 Peanuts special. It's so much fun watching the specials with the grandchildren. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Love reading of the details. Thanks.

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        14 months ago

        Nell Rose, thanks. It is a Christmas classic here.

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        14 months ago from England

        We never really got the series over here, of course it was in the newspaper but never really shown. Still, interesting to read the 'behind the scenes' story.

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        14 months ago

        Marlene, that is a great story. Thanks for sharing. I confess to having some Peanuts items, and I am far from a teenager.

      • MarleneB profile image

        Marlene Bertrand 

        14 months ago from USA

        This was fascinating! I enjoyed reading about the background of this show that I remember watching every year. Snoopy was my favorite character. I remember on my 16th birthday, my parents gave me a stuffed Snoopy doll. Teenagers aren't supposed to be interested in dolls, but I loved it!

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        15 months ago

        FlourishAnyway thanks. I like that story and the one about Snoopy.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        15 months ago from USA

        Back before VCRs I remember that my siblings and I would eagerly anticipate this special on tv. I liked the background stories’you present here, especially the one about the girl’s loose tooth.

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        15 months ago

        Peggy, thanks. I thought the stories behind it were pretty interesting.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        15 months ago from Houston, Texas

        It is fun learning some of the behind the scenes inspirations for the Peanuts gang as well as Snoopy. Great timing for the writing of this post!

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        15 months ago

        Mary, I agree. It is a wonderful story.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        15 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        I love Peanuts and I think the book I'ts the Great Pumpkin is one kids would definitely enjoy.

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        15 months ago

        Ralph, thanks. I'm a big fan of Peanuts. Charles Schultz was a brilliant man.

      • RJ Schwartz profile image

        Ralph Schwartz 

        15 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

        Great read and great timing Mike - you gotta love Peanuts and their staying power.

      • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR


        15 months ago

        Liz, thanks.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        15 months ago from UK

        Thanks for explaining this. I hadn't come across this one in the UK.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)