It’s the Great Pumpkin is classic Halloween treat

Posted: October 31, 2013 at 3:03 a.m.

In this day of multimillion-dollar, computer-generated DreamWorks and Disney/Pixar 3-D animation, will little kids still enjoy Peanuts?

My guess would be “yes.” Peanuts may be old-school, but a classic is a classic.

Gather the kiddies, sit back and enjoy It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at 7 p.m. today on ABC. It’ll be followed by a second Peanuts special, You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown, to fill out the hour.

If you and the munchkins are canvassing the neighborhood for treats at that hour, record the show to distract them from the candy when you get back. All the little ones ought to be finished by 8. If not, expect a sugar high of wall-climbing proportions.

You don’t have to have kids to watch. I was a freshman in college when Great Pumpkin first aired Oct. 27, 1966. I was therefore way too cool to watch that initial showing. I’ve wised up since.

I’ve seen the special a half dozen times over the years (twice with our son when he was young) and it never gets old. The late Charles M. Schulz was a genius.

All your favorite Peanuts characters are in it - Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, Sally, Violet, Frieda and Snoopy. This was the third Peanuts special and aired on CBS through 2000 before being picked up by ABC in 2001.

There may not be any kung fu pandas, talking cars or toys, lost fish or archery expert princesses in Great Pumpkin, but the universal life lessons shine through.

Not as well-known, You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown was Peanuts’ eighth prime time animated TV special and first aired Oct. 29, 1972, just before the 1972 presidential election that featured Richard Nixon and George McGovern.

In the special, Linus runs for student body president with Lucy and Charlie Brown as his campaign managers. Things are going well until Linus casually mentions The Great Pumpkin. That’ll derail any campaign.

We won’t spoil what happens with Linus. Nixon stomped McGovern while winning 49 states … before going on on to Watergate infamy and resignation a couple of years later.

Primo location. Every year industry observers look at what the network decides to air following the Super Bowl to see where the emphasis is going.

This year, Fox has announced that it will air two comedie , New Girl and freshman Brooklyn Nine-Nine, following the game Feb. 2.

The theory is that the slot will give a huge ratings boost to whatever program is highlighted. The assumption is that viewers are too lazy, or too bloated from snacking and drinking beer to bother to change the channel.

I love New Girl, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been a disappointment. Fox seems to be happy, however. It recently ordered “the back nine” episodes to round out a full season of 22. Fox claims the sitcom is doing well “with upscale viewers and young men.”

The numbers don’t lie. Here are the viewers in millions for the shows that have aired after the last five Super Bowls.

2009 - The Office (NBC), 22.9.

2010 - Undercover Boss (CBS), 38.6.

2011 - Glee (Fox), 26.8.

2012 - The Voice (NBC), 37.6.

2013 - Elementary (CBS), 20.8.

Trivia: The most-watched show to air after a Super Bowl was Friends in 1996. The two-part episode, “The One After the Superbowl,” netted an amazing 52.9 million viewers.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

Weekend, Pages 32 on 10/31/2013