Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Yesterday, ABC aired the animated classic, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It was the 40th straight year the show has appeared on network television, but watching it last night I realized that in today's safety proof, think of the children world, it could never be made today.

In the first scene, you have 5 year old Linus struggling to carry a pumpkin up the stairs. Then you have 6 year old Lucy wander around unsupervised with a butcher's knife in order to carve the pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern. Nevermind the psychological torture she inflicts on poor Charlie Brown... from planting seeds of doubt about whether he was really invited to Violet's Halloween party to fooling him yet again by pulling the football out from under him.

And, no kids' production company would dare show that scene for fear of instilling replicable behavior in the child viewer. And of course, with the necessity of selling programming internationally, there is entirely too much text on the screen. How on earth could they sell this show to Spain today, with Linus' letter to the Great Pumpkin scrolling across the screen? It couldn't be done. No too mention, the idea of letting a couple of five year olds spend the night in the pumpkin patch together? Not gonna happen. But, thankfully, it could and did happen forty years ago and we can still enjoy the saccharine-free goodness today.

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