It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! The Emmy-nominated 1966 television special was the third overall for Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts series and the second to be holiday-themed, after A Charlie Brown Christmas. It earned a whopping 49 share in the ratings and was so successful that CBS re-aired it every year through 2000, with ABC picking up the tradition after that. Yet despite a beloved score by Vince Guaraldi (who else?), a soundtrack album to Great Pumpkin had never been released in any audio format until a CD arrived in 2018 from Craft Recordings. In 2019, Craft brought that premiere soundtrack presentation to standard black and limited glow-in-the-dark vinyl. Now, on September 17, it will return from the label in a new 45 RPM pressing on orange pumpkin-shaped vinyl.
Featuring a reprise of the famous “Linus and Lucy” as well as the “Great Pumpkin Waltz,” Guaraldi’s score to It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was recorded on October 4, 1966 at Desilu’s Gower Street Studio in Hollywood by Guaraldi (piano) and his longtime trio members Monty Budwig on bass and Colin Bailey on drums. Emanuel Klein (trumpet), John Gray (guitar), and Ronald Lang (woodwinds) rounded out the sextet for the sessions. The recordings were overseen by composer, arranger and conductor John Scott Trotter, best-known for his long tenure as Bing Crosby’s musical director. The soundtrack audio has been derived from these original recordings as heard on the special; the music was never re-recorded for album release.
Late producer Lee Mendelson (who died on Christmas Day 2019) wrote in his 2018 introduction (retained for this new pressing) that “this is the quintessential Vince Guaraldi for our Peanuts specials…some of his best atmospheric jazz. Vince’s score carries the gang with the autumn leaves, through the scary and cold Halloween night. This music comforts the indomitable faith of Linus, still waiting for his hero since 1966 – forever in our ears, hearts and memories.” Vince Guaraldi historian Derrick Bang adds in his liner notes, “Guaraldi had a strong sense of how music could – and should – be employed to maximize the viewing audience’s emotional response. [He] emphatically established the Peanuts ‘musical personality’ with this third outing, and all subsequent prime-time specials owed much to the groovin’ atmosphere that is so prevalent in Great Pumpkin. Guaraldi had a gig for life…and his legacy lives on, expand[ing] by the year, thanks in great part to the jazz swagger given to an insecure blockhead and his lovably crazy beagle.”
The orange pumpkin vinyl presentation of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is available on September 17, just in time for any October Halloween parties. It’s housed in a clear bag, with a horizontal OBI-style strip on the bottom. The strip folds out to feature the liner notes on the reverse side. You’ll find pre-order links and the full track listing below!
Vince Guaraldi, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Music from the Soundtrack (Craft Recordings CR00113, 2018 – reissued 2021)
- Linus and Lucy
- Graveyard Theme
- Snoopy and the Leaf/Frieda (With the Naturally Curly Hair)
- The Great Pumpkin Waltz
- Linus and Lucy (Reprise)
- Charlie Brown Theme/Happy Linus
- The Great Pumpkin Waltz (Reprise)
- The Red Baron/Military Drum Waltz
- The Great Pumpkin Waltz (Reprise 2)
- Trick or Treat
- Fanfare/Breathless/Trick or Treat (Reprise)
- Charlie Brown Theme (Reprise)
- It’s a Long Way to Tipperary/There’s a Long, Long Trail A-Winding/Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag/Roses of Picardy
- Trick or Treat (Reprise 2)
- Linus and Lucy (Reprise 2)
- Charlie Brown Theme (Reprise 2)