It’s one of the sweetest legends in all of “Peanuts” lore.
The story goes that following the TV debut of “The Great Pumpkin” on Oct. 27, 1966, kids across the country felt so bad that hapless Charlie Brown only had rocks to show for his trick-or-treating that they sent him their own Halloween goodies.
The legend recently resurfaced in none other than Snoopy’s own verified Twitter account, which is maintained by Peanuts Worldwide LLC, brand owner and copyright holder of “Peanuts.”
“Did you know? After It’s the #GreatPumpkin, Charlie Brown first aired, children mailed their Halloween candy to Charlie Brown,” the tweet read.
The tweet really resonated in times like these, when kindness seems to be in short supply. It had more than 800 retweets and more than 4,000 likes.
We, too, thought it was one of the nicest things we’d heard in a long time, so we set out to learn more.
The animated TV special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” debuted on Oct. 27, 1966, and aired annually on American network television until October 2019. For generations of kids, watching it was a Halloween tradition.
It tells the story of Linus, the pint-size philosopher from Charles Schulz’s classic “Peanuts” comic strip, who every year keeps a lonely vigil in his pumpkin patch awaiting the arrival of The Great Pumpkin, who will bestow gifts upon all the boys and girls who truly believe.
The Great Pumpkin never appears, even though Linus is sure his pumpkin patch is the most sincere in all the land.
Meanwhile, the rest of the “Peanuts” gang goes trick-or-treating. Everyone gets plenty of goodies, except for poor ol’ Charlie Brown, who gets only rocks.
Like Linus’ futile vigil for The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown getting rocks instead of candy could be seen as an adult metaphor for life’s disappointments.
In the eyes of a child, though, life’s disappointments usually can be overcome with a little kindness — a kiss on a boo-boo, a hug when you’re sad and a little of your own Halloween candy for a cartoon kid who didn’t get any.
In our quest to find out more about this mass act of kindness, we reached out to the woman who helps preserve the legacy of the late Schulz, Sarah Breaux.
She’s the archivist at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. The famed cartoonist moved to Sonoma County in 1958, and lived in Sebastopol before he adopted Santa Rosa as his hometown, where he lived until his death in 2000.
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