‘It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’: Peanuts Classic Celebrates 51 Years, Kicks Off Halloween Programming

It wouldn’t be Halloween without It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. The Peanuts classic will celebrate its 51st run on network television on Thursday, Oct. 19 and again on Sunday, Oct. 29. The beloved Halloween special will be air before Disney-Pixar’s 2013 special, Toy Story of Terror, for its first showing and it will be paired with another Peanuts short, You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown later in the month, according to TV Guide.

It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown first aired on Oct 27, 1966, on CBS. It was the third primetime Peanuts special to be broadcast, following the successful A Charlie Brown Christmas and the baseball-themed Charlie Brown’s All-Stars. The Peanuts Halloween special aired on CBS annually through 2000, until ABC picked up the rights to it in 2001. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has aired on ABC ever since.

Fans of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown annually tune in as the Peanuts gang celebrates Halloween while Linus prepares for a long-awaited visit by The Great Pumpkin. Cast members for the 1966 TV special include Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown), Christopher Shea (Linus), Sally Dryer (Lucy), Chris Doran (Schroeder), Bill Melendez (Snoopy), Kathy Steinberg (Sally), Tracy Stratford (Violet), and Ann Altieri (Frieda).

Charlie Brown Halloween special
[Image by ABC]

While the animated half-hour special has become a Halloween tradition, the all-powerful Great Pumpkin was first mentioned by Linus in a 1959 Peanuts comic strip, according to Zap2It. Now, with 50 television airings already under its belt, just about everyone is familiar with Linus’ trek to the pumpkin patch in search of the mystical Great Pumpkin.

According to 6ABC, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will kick off ABC’s Halloween programming this season. While reality shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos (Oct. 22, 8 p.m. ET) and Dancing With the Stars (Monday, Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. ET) will feature Halloween-themed episodes, almost all of ABC’s scripted comedies will also give viewers the trick or treat treatment.

ABC Halloween programming
[Image by Eric McCandless/ABC]

On Tuesday, Oct, 24, the primetime festivities continue at 8 p.m. ET with The Middle, Fresh Off the Boat, black-ish, and The Mayor all delivering Halloween goodies.

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, expect even more Halloween fun with The Goldbergs, Speechless, Modern Family, and American Housewife. Even the daytime chatfest The Chew will have a Halloween bash.

Check out the original 1966 promo for It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown below.

[Featured Image by ABC]