The American prime time animated television special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966), based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, was the first “Peanuts” special to use the titular pattern of a short phrase, followed by “Charlie Brown”, a pattern which would remain the norm for almost all subsequent “Peanuts” specials. It was a Halloween special that now airs annually during the Halloween season. However, it inspired less scary actions from viewers…and in fact inspired a strange act of kindness.
The repeated line “I got a rock” quoted by the lead character Charlie Brown (Played by Peter Robbins) caused some stir among many viewers of the show, according to Charles Schulz in the book and retrospective TV special “Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown” (1979). Schulz said that after the program first aired, bags and boxes of candy came in from all over the world, as Schulz quoted, “just for Charlie Brown.”
Charlie Brown may have been an animated character but he has remained a popular character and almost a real person it seems as a simple TV special brought out an act of kindness in real audience members. Sometimes fictional characters have the power to bring out the very real good in people. Maybe it’s because of this good that Charlie Brown and his gang continue to appear both in classic specials that are played seasonally or new stories that continue to bring him to life.