Friday, September 30, 2016

Peanuts Halloween 1958: Linus isn't so sure about trick-or-treating

A single Peanuts strip celebrated Halloween in 1958.  We are starting to see why Linus would prefer to sit in a pumpkin patch on Halloween night than to go trick-or-treating.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Peanuts Halloween 1957: Pumpkins and ghosts

None of the 1957 Peanuts strips were used as content for "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"...

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

1956: Halloween Peanuts

In 1956, three Peanuts strips appeared that at least partially ended up in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown".

Here we have another reference to Charlie Brown's head being used as a model for a jack o'lantern.

The October 30, 1956, comic strip was used as the basis for Lucy's conversation with Sally Brown.  At this point, Linus was still trick-or-treating, and he gives a much different response from Sally's not wanting to be accused of taking part in a rumble.


 And for Halloween 1956, Linus was the one who cut holes in his ghost costume, not Charlie Brown.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

1955: Peanuts Halloween

It's hard to believe, but at this point in the mid-1950s, Charles Schulz was one of the only ones celebrating Halloween in comics!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

1952: Peanuts Halloween and Linus' first appearance

If there was a Great Pumpkin in 1952, Linus couldn't have known it yet.  His first appearance in "Peanuts" was in the September 19, 1952, strip, when Lucy announced to Charlie Brown that her baby brother could sit up all by himself.  Kind of.

Here we have another reference to Charlie Brown's head looking like a pumpkin.

Friday, September 23, 2016

1951: First Peanuts Halloween

Linus didn't even exist yet when Charles Schulz' first Halloween-themed comics first appeared in October 1951.  Lucy's little brother wouldn't appear in the comic until 1952.

We can see right off the bat that the October 30, 1951 strip was used as the basis for the scene in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", in which Violet uses the back of Charlie Brown's head to design her jack o'lantern.  In the original comic strip, though, it was Patty Swanson (not to be confused with Peppermint Patty), who uses Charlie Brown's frowning face, not the back of his head.

This is one of the few instances of Snoopy actually talking:

And apparently, these were the days before costumes became the norm for trick-or-treating, even if it is the day after Halloween...

Monday, September 19, 2016

O Great Pumpkin, Where Are You?

This site is dedicated to Linus' annual quest to see, and to get others to believe in, the Great Pumpkin.  Join us every day from September 23 through October 31 as we look back on how Halloween was celebrated in Charles Schulz' comic.

2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the TV special, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". How did the comics influence the TV special?

Will Linus ever get to see the Great Pumpkin?

Who did Linus enlist to help him convince others to believe in the Great Pumpkin?

Who sat in the pumpkin patch with Linus?

Will Linus ever go trick-or-treating instead of waiting for the Great Pumpkin?

It may be hard to believe, but there was a time before the Great Pumpkin was even a twinkle in Linus Van Pelt's eye.  In fact, it wasn't even a twinkle in Charles Schulz' eye when "Peanuts" was introduced to the public. It was just another "wild idea" that Sparky came up with after he introduced Linus' character.

"Peanuts" first appeared in American newspapers on October 2, 1950, but it wasn't until the following year that Charles Schulz' characters began to celebrate Halloween.  With few exceptions, Halloween and, eventually, the Great Pumpkin, were a part of "Peanuts" from 1951 until its last original comics ran in 1999.

Schulz explained that the and Linus came up with the idea of the Great Pumpkin together, since his thumb-sucking philosopher "is a youngster to whom everything must have significance--nothing is unimportant.  Christmas is a big holiday, and it has Santa Claus as one of its symbols.  Halloween is also a special kind of day, so it ought to have some sort of a Santa Claus also.  This is what bothered Linus. As a matter of fact, it bothered me, too.  So between us we came up with the Great Pumpkin."

In a later interview, Charles Schulz described the Great Pumpkin's origins in a more down-to-earth way:  "That came to me while I was sitting at my desk in Minneapolis trying to think of a holiday angle and came up with the idea of a kid getting a holiday ahead of himself. That's what happened with Linus.  He started thinking of Halloween in terms of Christmas.  I tried to figure what a kid like that would do about writing a letter to Santa Claus.  He'd have to come up with some substitute.  That's when I came up with the idea of the Great Pumpkin."

Don't worry, this site is strictly non-denominational:  we won't get into the Santa Claus vs. Great Pumpkin debate (although we know who would win, don't we?).  We're just going to sit back and enjoy the ride.