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. 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:
Several years before classic TV specials such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown secured the place of Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters in the hearts of millions of Americans, Charlie Brown and his friends came to life to sell cars. In 1959, Ford Motor Company secured licensing rights to the Peanuts for use in a series of color TV commercials for its cars and the intros for Ford-sponsored The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. The first spots appeared in January 1960 and marked the first time that Schulz's creation had been animated. Here's one of those early show intros: While that show left the air in June 1961, the Peanuts' association with Ford was just getting started. The gang's most high-profile (and memorable assignment) was to he
Here's a very odd piece of political ephemera. It's a Halloween-themed jack-o-lantern door hanger used during the 1968 Richard Nixon/Spiro Agnew presidential campaign. In big, block letters it announced "Even the Great Pumpkin Is Voting Nixon-Agnew." This bit of ephemera is a clear nod to the classic Peanuts TV special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The CBS animated special debuted in October 1966 and was no doubt fresh in the minds of American voters. Whether or not this door hanger was enough to tip the scales in favor of the GOP ticket is debatable, but Nixon and Agnew cruised to a sizable Electoral College victory over Democrat Hubert Humphrey and running mate Edmund Muskie.
Print advertisements, brochures, and TV commercials help give us a glimpse into the automotive past. Today’s ad collection shines a spotlight on the 1960 Ford Motor Company domestic American car lineup, which featured four main models — the brand-new, compact Falcon, full-size Fairlane and Galaxie, and the second-generation, luxury Thunderbird -- as well as the usual assortment of wagons and trucks. 1960 was a fairly significant year for Ford in terms of change. On the consumer front, the recently introduced Galaxie was completely remodeled, while the Falcon made its debut. The Falcon represented Ford's entry into the compact car market, and its development was spearheaded by company president Robert S. McNamara -- who in 1961 became United States Secretary of Defense under Presiden
Had he never recorded a note for any of Charles Schulz's Peanuts specials, Vincent Anthony Guaraldi's legacy as a brilliant composer and pianist would still be secure. His joyful and supremely melodic style is as immediately recognizable as any in music, and more than thirty years after his death his admirers encompass a wide range of musicians and music lovers; from casual jazz fans to purists, and even to outright jazz haters who proclaim, "I don't really like jazz, but I love his stuff." For this primer of Guaraldi's recorded output, I've categorized his music into three main areas rather than go with a strictly chronological approach. These categories are not meant to be rigidly applied, but for the novice I think it makes more sense this way. There's great music to be found