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Warner Home Video presents
It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Remastered Deluxe Edition) (1966)

ďThis year, Iím really going to kick that football.Ē
- Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: October 10, 2008

Stars: Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Kathy Steinberg, Tracy Stratford
Other Stars: Ann Altieri, Chris Doran, Sally Dryer, Bill Melendez, Karen Mendelson, Geoffrey Ornstein
Director: Bill Melendez

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 00h:25m:13s
Release Date: September 02, 2008
UPC: 883929006496
Genre: family

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- A+AB B-

DVD Review

Itís hard to believe that itís October and Halloween is just a few weeks away. It seems like just yesterday that families were roaming my street while the little ones looked to bag some sweet candy loot. The only thing better than trick-or-treating is the annual television broadcast of the animated classic Itís The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Why wait for your local station to show this half-hour of pumpkin patch bliss when you can own Warnerís new Remastered Deluxe Edition DVD release and get a jump start on what is arguably the second-best holiday season of the year?

With Halloween a few days away, Linusí (Christopher Shea) one wish is that he finally gets a visit from the mythical Great Pumpkin. He makes it a nightly ritual of sitting and waiting for the Pumpkin in the pumpkin patch, but has yet to catch a glimpse of him. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins) crafts a ghost costume out of a sheet, but has a few too many holes cutout for his eyes. As a result, Charlie isnít making out so well with the treats during his trick-or-treating. Also getting into the spirit is Snoopy, who changes into his World War I fighting ace persona and takes on the Red Baron yet again, not caring who might get in his way.

After more than 40 years, thereís very little left to say about a classic seasonal treasure like this, but itís still fun to try. The best thing to note is that the show has aged as gracefully as anything of its era. Watching this for the first time since the old laserdisc release, I was overwhelmed by a flood of childhood memories. This timeless classic had my four-year-old instantly mesmerized as well, and sheís used to the more hyper, action-oriented cartoons that are on TV these days.

This is a program that is watched almost in a ritualistic manner, as it symbolizes the coming of the Autumn season for those that grew up on it. It begins simply with Charlie Brown, Linus, and Snoopy raking up some leaves, and culminates with the kidsí Halloween party, but quite a bit is crammed into a brief 22-minute running time. None of it feels rushed, as the story flows seamlessly and includes all of the characters weíve grown to love in other Charlie Brown cartoons over the years. Snoopy fans will love to see another battle against the Red Baron, while we also get another look at Sally (Kathy Steinberg) romancing Linus, Lucy (Sally Dryer) taking the football away from Charlie Brown, and even another great piano solo from Schroeder (Glenn Mendelson).

The music, while not as memorable as that in A Charlie Brown Christmas, is one of the showís biggest assets. Vince Guaraldiís score is present from beginning to end, and does an amazing job crafting the appropriate mood from scene to scene. Director Bill Melendez, who helmed most, if not all of these cartoons, recently passed away, and the new DVD releases of this and the upcoming re-releases of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas are more than a fitting tribute to a man that made the holiday seasons even more special for kids of countless generations.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Presented in its original full frame aspect ratio, the show has clearly benefited from a nice remastering effort. Quite a bit of the old dirt and grain has been eliminated, as thereís much more detail and sharpness than in previous releases. Fortunately, this clean-up job hasnít compromised the nostalgic look of the piece, as all of the colorful, hand-drawn animation is intact.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Spanish, Japanese, Portugueseyes

Audio Transfer Review: The original mono audio is what weíre offered, but all aspects of the track appear clean and clear. The dialogue is crisp and easy to understand, while the wonderful music is seamlessly integrated into the overall mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Thai with remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Jack Frost: Remastered Deluxe Edition, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Remastered Deluxe Edition, A Charlie Brown Christmas: Remastered Deluxe Edition, Wiggles: You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Itís Magic, Charlie Brown
Extras Review: The highlight of the extras is the inclusion of the 1981 special Itís Magic, Charlie Brown. This 24-minute show is nowhere near as fun and entertaining as Great Pumpkin or the other, holiday-oriented specials, but the magic-themed material is more than enough to keep the young ones busy for awhile.

We also get We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown, a nearly-14-minute featurette that focuses on the first two Charlie Brown TV specials and how their success led to Itís The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. There are plenty of interviews with the crew behind the special, and they tell some truly informative candid stories about the making of the program.

Some trailers for other Warner Home Video releases are also on board.

Extras Grade: B-


Final Comments

If youíre already busy carving pumpkins and getting the kids' Halloween costumes ready, take a break and sit down with the holiday classic Itís The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. There isnít a better way to revisit this old favorite than Warnerís new remastered release, which has the program looking and sounding better than ever.


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