'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' Won't Air on TV for First Time in 54 Years

An annual tradition is about to change courses this year. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown will not air on broadcast television for the first time in decades, instead moving to a streaming platform. As various internet streaming services become more of the norm these days, AppleTV+ has taken it upon itself to be the new go-to place for the annual favorite.

As part of an expanded partnership with WIldBrain, Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film Productions, the spooky Charlie Brown segment was moved to AppleTV+, along with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Each will be offered for free on certain dates throughout the fall and winter seasons. As for Great Pumpkin, it will stream for free from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 — even for non-subscribers. The Thanksgiving special will air from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27, and the Christmas segment from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13.

The famous shows made their debuts back in the 1960s on CBS and were later moved to ABC. 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, American cartoonist Charles 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."

Due to the coronavirus still in play, Halloween trick-or-treating will also be different for families everywhere this year. Several events have been canceled and due to the rise in recent cases, many families will skip the tradition of knocking door-to-door. Watching Great Pumpkin could definitely be a way to still enjoy the spooky holiday in 2020, though fans will have to watch via AppleTV+ instead of on traditional broadcast television.