On October 27, 1966, CBS introduced the world to “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” and a Halloween classic was born.
The program, adapted from Charles Schulz’s newspaper strip, “Peanuts,” featured scores by jazz composer Vince Guaraldi; Snoopy’s World War I Flying Ace in a doghouse dogfight; Lucy snatching the football away at the last moment as Charlie Brown attempts to kick it; and the classic line from Charlie Brown who, peering into his trick-or-treat bag while his friends revel in candied glory, says “I got a rock.”
According to Schulz, Charlie Brown getting a Halloween bag full of rocks so saddened viewers that for years his California office was inundated with treats addressed to Charlie Brown.
A limited-edition animation cel from "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" recently sold at auction for $1,620 at Heritage Auctions. The cel was created by José Cuauhtémoc “Bill” Melendez, an Emmy-winning animator who brought Charlie Brown and the “Peanuts” gang to life on television and in films.
One of the very few Hispanics in the business when he began his career in the 1930s, Melendez was the only animator Schulz allowed to shepherd his characters onto the screen.
He did so in more than four dozen TV specials, four feature films, a slew of Saturday-morning cartoons and scores of commercials. Melendez won six Emmy Awards, starting with “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965), the first “Peanuts” television special and still a holiday staple.