It’s all about faith.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown first aired in 1966 and it has aired every year since. For 52 years, audiences have watched as Charlie Brown gets a rock, Snoopy flies his doghouse, and Linus and Sally spend the night in the pumpkin patch, waiting for the Great Pumpkin to show up. I watched it every year. Usually, I watch it twice.
Why has It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown withstood the test of time?
Some of it is the animation. Snoopy flying that doghouse makes me smile every time. So does Lucy and Linus searching for the perfect pumpkin and Charlie Brown’s messed up ghost costume. (How clumsy is Charlie Brown with a pair of scissors?) I love that, if you pay attention, you can actually see the rock getting tossed in Charlie Brown’s trick or treat bag.
Some of it is because we can relate to the characters. Who hasn’t done a happy dance when, like Charlie Brown getting an invitation to Violet’s party, they feel like they’ve finally been accepted?
But for me, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is all about faith.
It’s about Charlie Brown’s faith that Violet meant to invite him to her party. Even after Lucy tells him it had to have been a mistake, Charlie Brown still goes to the party. It’s about Charlie Brown’s faith that he’ll get candy. Even after he gets a rock at every house, he still keeps trying. He doesn’t give up.
It’s about Snoopy’s faith that he’ll defeat the Red Baron, even though World War I has long since ended and doghouses can’t actually fly. No matter how many times his doghouse is shot down, Snoopy keeps chasing his enemy.
And finally, it’s about Linus’s faith that some night, the Great Pumpkin will emerge from a sincere pumpkin patch and will bring toys to all the good children on Halloween night. It doesn’t matter that people laugh at him. It doesn’t matter that he might miss out on the chance to get candy. What matters is that Linus believes and nothing can shake that belief. Even when Sally abandons him, Linus stays in that pumpkin patch and waits.
And when the night passes without the Great Pumpkin showing up, Linus doesn’t give up. Instead, he says that he’ll find a new pumpkin patch next year and a new one after that. Linus will wait every year the Great Pumpkin because he has something more important than candy. He has faith.
And, every year, we’ll be right there waiting with him. Because even if we don’t believe in The Great Pumpkin, we do believe in Linus.
It’s all about faith.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown gets an encore airing tonight on CBS.