‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ Has a Deleted Scene You Won’t See on TV
Have you written your letter to the Great Pumpkin? Linus Van Pelt will be eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin — and the presents he’s sure he’ll bring — when It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown airs Oct. 24 on PBS. But when viewers tune in to watch the holiday classic, it won’t look exactly the same as the one that first aired in 1966. The original Peanuts Halloween special featured a brief scene highlighting the 25-minute cartoon’s two sponsors.
Coca-Cola and Dolly Madison sponsored ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’
In 1965, Coca-Cola sponsored the first-ever Peanuts animated special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Its unexpected success prompted CBS to quickly order a follow-up special focusing on another holiday: Halloween. As with the Christmas special, Coke was a sponsor of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Coca-Cola via Internet Archive), along with snack cake company Dolly Madison.
Both sponsors’ names were seen in a brief, now-deleted moment at the beginning of the special. At the end of the title sequence, several kids in costume run across a pumpkin patch, darting behind a scarecrow wearing a shirt that reads: “Brought to you by the people in your town who bottle…” The scarecrow holds a sign displaying the Coca-Cola logo. Next, we see another scarecrow, this one with a shirt that says, “…And the folks who bake…” It’s perched above a sign with the Dolly Madison logo. (You can see the original intro on YouTube.)
Charlie Brown got rocks in the Peanuts Halloween special, but Charles Schulz’s kids got plenty of sweet treats
When Charlie Brown goes trick-or-treating in It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, he gets rocks instead of candy in his treat bag. Some viewers felt so bad for the character that they actually mailed candy to CBS, which broadcast the original special, and to the home of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.
But there was no shortage of sweet stuff in the Schulz house, the cartoonist’s daughter Jill Schulz told The Wrap in 2018. Some of it came courtesy of the sponsors of the Peanuts specials.
“My parents were from Minnesota, so there was always plenty of ice cream, Hostess cupcakes, Dolly Madison — one of the first sponsors of the Peanuts specials,” she said.
The freebies made quite an impression on her as a child, she added.
“Even to this day, I still drink Coke if I am going to drink soda,” she said.
The Peanuts characters appeared in multiple Dolly Madison ads over the years
Dolly Madison didn’t just sponsor. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The company also used Peanuts characters on its packaging and in its ads for many years.
In one commercial (via YouTube), Charlie Brown chats with Lucy at her psychiatry/detective booth, explaining that whenever he tries to eat a Zinger, it’s stolen by the Zinger Zapper (Snoopy, wearing a trench coat and mask as a disguise). In another, Lucy tells Charlie Brown and the other kids that she’s going to catch the Zinger Zapper red-handed (via YouTube).
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown airs on PBS and PBS Kids on Sunday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET. (Check local listings.) It is also available to stream on AppleTV+.
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