Films about Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are annual viewing during the holiday season, and there is a long history for the popular characters which comes from the original comic strip. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is the Halloween movie starring the characters, but a lot was going on behind the scenes and on the screen that many viewers don’t realize.
The Film was the First Time Lucy Pulled the Football Away from Charlie Brown
One of the most recognizable running gags in the Peanuts series is when Charlie Brown tries to kick a football and ends up falling on back when Lucy pulls the football away at the last second. This sequence had never been used in animation before, so the film is the first time it appears outside the comic strip ever.
Children Sent Charlie Brown Candy For Years After the Film Aired
At its core, the film is a Halloween movie and Halloween is a holiday when children receive candy. However, Charlie Brown opens his Halloween sack to discover he has been given rocks instead of candy. Charles M. Schulz once explained that viewers got so angry that Charlie Brown doesn’t receive candy, that dozens of large bags of Halloween candy were sent to his California office for years after the special first aired. All of the bags were addressed specifically to Charlie Brown.
The Film is Really About Santa
According to Schulz, that while the film takes place during Halloween, it’s actually a satire about Santa Clause. Schulz himself was not a fan of the idea of Santa, so he created the film to explore the hope and disappointment associated with Santa Clause, as Linus is rather upset when he doesn’t see The Great Pumpkin.
Academics Thought The Great Pumpkin was a Real Myth
After the special first aired, Schulz began receiving mail from academic scholars who were interested in the origin of The Great Pumpkin and the basis for the legend. But Schulz actually conceived the idea for the story himself, and none of it was based on legend.
Child Actress Anne Altieri Puked After Every Single Recording Session
The Peanuts specials actually used child actors for many of the voice roles, instead of hiring adults. One little girl, Anne Altieri who voiced by Frieda and Violet, got quite nervous about having to record her sessions and ended up throwing up when she was finished with each recording session.