Happy Birthday to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

One of the greatest television specials of all time, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year! Let’s take a moment to recognize this essential piece of our childhoods and to pay homage to the man behind it all, Charles M. Schulz.

The now-yearly tradition began on October 27, 1966, when CBS debuted the half-hour animated special — the third such Peanuts show — as part of its Thursday evening lineup. Here are a few newspaper ads from that day.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown advertisement, 1966 (CBS) It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown advertisement, 1966 (CBS)

Now as far as I can tell, the first reference to the Great Pumpkin appeared in the Peanuts comic strip almost exactly 7 years before the show, in October 1959. Here is that strip:

Peanuts strip from October 26, 1959.

Chris Holmes Author