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It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Deluxe Edition

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 25 Minutes

Starring the voices of: Peter Robbins, Sally Dryer, Chris Shea, Cathy Steinberg

Written by: Charles M. Schulz

Directed by: Bill Melendez

 

Studio: Warner Bros.

Retail Price: $19.99

Features: It's Magic, Charlie Brown, We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown! Featurette

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Dolby Mono, Spanish Dolby Mono, Japanese Dolby Mono, Portuguese Dolby Mono, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chinese Subtitles, Japanese Subtitles, Korean Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Thai Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Chapters (5 Chapters)

Released: September 2nd, 2008


 

 

This classic special has been remastered, and is presented in 1.33:1 full screen. It's an excellent transfer that should please long time Peanuts fans, as the picture quality doesn't even suggest that this was originally produced in 1966. The print used is remarkably clean, and the overall image quality is pretty sharp (but here and there can be a little on the soft side). Detail is excellent and the animation really flows smoothly. There is some noise, but color saturation is consistently strong: colors are bright and pretty rich (however, I did find that Lucy's hair sometimes looked more navy blue than black). In all, this is a very fine and worthy transfer for an all-time classic.


 

Also getting an exceptional restoration is the special's sound track, presented in English Dolby Digital Mono. Typically, everything blends together and doesn't have much "oomph" compared to modern mixes - but purists should be happy nonetheless, as this special was mono to begin with. All the dialogue, sound effects and Vinvce Guaraldi music comes through nicely, with high fidelity to boot. I did not detect any hisses, pops or any sort of distortion on the track either. Much like the transfer, the audio here is pleasing, crisp and clean. Mono tracks are also available in Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish.

English closed captions from your TV are available, plus a slew of subtitles on the disc: English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Thai. Phew!
 




A bonus Peanuts cartoon - It's Magic, Charlie Brown - is also included on the disc. It might not reach the heights of "Great Pumpkin," but it's still a nice and entertaining edition (especially for all you Peanuts completists).

But the major supplement here is the 14 featurette We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown. Despite the success of the first two Peanuts specials, CBS brass wanted the third special to be a "blockbuster" - otherwise they may not have ordered more Peanuts specials. I think the pressure to deliver might be a bit played up here just for drama's sake, but there are lots of great anecdotes nonetheless: animation challenges, getting the child actress who voiced Sally to finish her lines before her tooth fell out (which would have created a lisp) and the work of Vince Guaraldi. Telling the story of the special's creation are former CBS honcho Fred Silverman, producer Lee Mendelson, Peanuts historian Scott McGuire, director Bill Melendez, Schulz's son Monte Schulz, Jeannie Schulz and animation writer/historian Mark Evanier. Essential viewing, for sure.

Also, inside the package is a code to download two free musical selections from the special on iTunes.

 

"It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" certainly ranks as one of the most beloved television specials ever to be aired, and in the Peanuts canon, probably only second to the other perennial favorite, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." This new Deluxe Edition is a must own for any Peanuts fan, with a top notch restoration and an excellent featurette about the special's production. Viewing it all is pretty bittersweet, as long time Peanuts director Bill Melendez recently passed away. Coupled with another Peanuts special and a more-than-decent price makes this a disc that's very easy to recommend.