Review: The Making of a Great Pumpkin

Years ago, I was hired to write a biography of race car driver Richard Petty in comic book form. Problem was, the publisher had already published two Richard Petty biographies, so my job was to find things that hadn’t been covered in the first two issues, so that all three could be combined (with some additional pages) into a single graphic novel at some later date (a date which never came, as it happened.)

I’d like to think that I did a pretty good job, given the circumstances. Still, the book was a mishmash of unrelated smaller stories, and I expect to the uninvolved reader, it felt a bit like filler material.

Great Pumpkin coverIt’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”: The Making of a Television Classic has much the same effect. Released for the 40th anniversary of the original special, it’s a follow-up to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”: The Making of a Tradition, which carried text about the making of the first Peanuts special, with shots of production materials, and then a pictures-and-dialog “script” of the end result. This new volume follows that same format. The problem is, there isn’t that much to tell about the making of this special that varies from the previous special; there are a few specific and interesting anecdotes, and some more general discussion of how the Peanuts specials were made that either overlaps with the previous book or feels like lets-throw-anything-in-here filler.

So if you have an interest in how the Peanuts specials were made, get the first book. You should get this new book only if you feel a particularly affinity to this particular TV special, or if you’ve already read the first book and feel that you want more.

Classic finds
The Moist Menace

While I’ve covered various Happiness is a Warm Puppy parodies in the past, and while I have a number of programs from Reuben Award ceremonies held by the National Cartoonist Society, I haven’t seen the 1963 program, which is where Carol Tilley (U of Illinois professor who focuses on comics …

New releases
Review: Good Grief, Charlie Brown

So life has been full, and even after I got around to ordering Good Grief, Charlie Brown: Celebrating Snoopy and the Enduring Power of Peanuts, and even after it arrived slowly from England, I let it sit around for over a month before finally getting around to giving it a good …

Animated Peanuts
The Charlie Brown Christmas that slipped by me

So there I was, burning off some time in the mall waiting for my daughter’s movie to let out, so hey, I head into the Hallmark, figure I’ll look at some of the Peanuts stuff that I’m not going to buy (one thing about focusing on books is that it …