Good grief! It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown has a new home this holiday season, streaming exclusively on AppleTV+ this Halloween season after decades as a broadcast TV staple. The Peanuts animated classic coming to AppleTV+ is part of an expanded partnership with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions, according to a Tuesday press release.
In addition to the iconic tale of the Great Pumpkin, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas will also be offered on the streaming platform for free to all — even nonsubscribers — throughout the holiday season. It's the Great Pumpkin will be available for free streaming on the service from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, the Thanksgiving special from Nov. 25 to 27, and the Christmas special from Dec. 11 to 13. The Charlie Brown holiday shows first debuted in the 1960s on CBS, later airing on ABC. This year will be the first time in decades the specials have not aired on broadcast TV.
Celebrate Halloween with the Peanuts gang. Stream "It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" exclusively on Apple TV+ and get ready for more Peanuts specials this holiday season. https://t.co/rq6TFCLS8L pic.twitter.com/DI14FsjR1l— Apple TV (@AppleTV) October 19, 2020
There will be more than just the holiday Peanuts specials moving to AppleTV+ — WildBrain announced plans to also develop original programming with the classic Charles Schulz characters for the platform surrounding Mother's Day, Earth Day, New Year's Eve and back-to-school season. Also included in the partnership will be The Snoopy Show and Season 2 of Snoopy in Space.
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown's release was a historic moment for Peanuts fans, as it was the first time Lucy's signature football prank on Charlie Brown — pulling the football away at the last second to send him flying up into the air — was animated. As also explained in the book It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic, Schulz revealed that the titular Great Pumpkin was satirizing Santa Claus.
"First of all, we forget that there are hundreds of thousands of poor kids in this world who are lucky if they get even one or two presents at Christmas time. And here they've heard so much about Santa Claus and all the gifts he delivers. It must be very hard on a lot of families...a lot of kids," Schulz said, as per CBR. "And, secondly, when a kid finally finds out that there is no Santa Claus, he must wonder how many other things he has been told that are not true."
Admitting he may be "way off" with Santa Claus, the cartoonist continued, "But the Great Pumpkin is really a kind of satire on Santa Claus, because Linus of course writes for gifts and expects to get them. And when the Great Pumpkin doesn't come, Linus is crushed. It shows that you can't always get what you hoped for but you can still survive...and you can still keep trying. Linus never gives up, just like Charlie Brown."