Charlie Brown and Linus Get Their Revenge

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Well, this isn’t really in regards to me, but many of my writing amigos are participating in the 2012 Coffin Hop.  It started on the 24th and runs through the 31st.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to participate this year, but in my opinion, this is one of the best blog hops.  All sorts of fun contests and great prizes (including a copy of my novel, The Imaginings as part of the prize offerings from my TESSpecFic groupmates.  Marie Loughin had the idea of putting together this package). So if you’re looking for some good blogs and horror writers, you should really check this out.

The TESSpecFic Coffin Hop giveaway package.

For more info on the Coffin Hop, click here.

And you can find links to all my TESSpecFic mates in the right hand column a little ways down.

What does the future hold?

This week I was tagged by Mari Biella regarding my current WIP, so next week I’ll be answering some questions about said project.  I’m a little paranoid about these types of things, but I’ll let a few of the proverbial cats out of the bag.

But without further ado…

“We’re obviously separated by demoninational differences.”
– Charlie Brown (that’s right. Charlie Brown)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

And we were supposed to understand this stuff when we were kids?

This quote from the movie It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is from a scene where Charlie Brown asks Linus when he’s going to stop believing in the Great Pumpkin, some apparent spectre (or so it seemed) that would rise out of one chosen pumpkin patch somewhere in the world.

[Footnote: Ever since starting our own 4800 square foot garden, I think I’ve secretly hoped it would be my pumpkin patch.]

Linus responds that he’ll stop believing in the Great Pumpkin when Charlie Brown stops believing in some fat, jolly guy who squeezes down chimneys every year with presents (or some wording to that effect). Charlie Brown then fires off the aforementioned one-liner.

Think about that for a moment. Could it be a masked discussion of the differences between Pagans and Christians?  After all, these are the two mainstream holidays that most closely symbolize those two differing spiritual mindsets.

But I’m not going that deep today. We were just kids, for hell’s sake. And personally, I always liked this Charlie Brown cartoon as a child. It was a little spooky at parts, right?  And moments of discomfort. Kinda like the movie where they all go to France, and the chateau where Charlie Brown is staying catches on fire. Meanwhile, of course, Snoopy is drinking in the pub dressed as a fighter pilot.

Hey, if he’s got the money…

But even as a child, I always remembered the tension in that one.  I think it was Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!).  And there was something else spooky about that chateau if I recall correctly.

Or maybe it was just the French.

But anyway, one thing we understood as kids from the Peanuts cartoons was that we didn’t want to be Charlie Brown. In case any of you had forgotten (or have never seen in the first place), in Great Pumpkin, while trick-or-treating with the gang, after each door, the children compare their loot. Candy bars, caramel apples, a quarter, etc…

First off,  when I was a kid, I never got money when I trick-or-treated, but even more than this, apparently it was customary in 1966 (date of release) to give the children infortunado a rock in their bags.  Seriously?  Can you imagine the backlash in this day and age if a kid came home with a rock in his bag?  And poor Charlie Brown must’ve got five of ‘em.  Every house they stopped at dropped a stone the size of my fist instead of a treat into Charlie Brown’s bag. Can you imagine how heavy his bag would start getting?

And let’s be honest.  You know that the Charlie Brown we never saw in the cartoon was probably throwing those rocks through the windows of the houses at two a.m.  And why not? As far as I can tell, he didn’t have any real parental supervision.

“I’ll show you a treat,” he’d be grumbling as he scraped the rough edge of one of the stones along some new Camaro’s paint job just before hucking the rock through the owner’s bedroom window. He’d probably be cursing, as well.

Another quickie.

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
– C.S. Lewis, and to stick with the movie motif, also heard in The Usual Suspects.

The other thing we learn from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is that right up until the end, we want to be Linus seducing the little blonde into the pumpkin patch on Halloween. And he’s good, man. He’s the sensitive, honest guy, right?

“It’s the most sincere pumpkin patch anywhere…not a sign of hypocrisy.”              – Linus van Pelt

And Sally starts off playing it coy, tells him if he tries to hold her hand, she’d slug ‘im. Ahh, a challenge. Did we really care if the Great Pumpkin showed up or not?

But here’s the clincher. His romantic ideals were enough to reel her in, but in the end they weren’t enough to keep her around. When Linus couldn’t produce the Great Pumpkin, Sally walked out on him. Did this disprove the existence of the Great Pumpkin? Of course not. Only that his efforts had been insufficient. Somewhere lay a more sincere pumpkin patch. He had tried his best, and they called him a liar.

Even worse… a blockhead.

I bet next year Linus figures out how to rig up a mechanical Great Pumpkin rising out of that patch.  A patch which, during his efforts to develop the illusion, will have wilted… the once great green leaves having crisped in the sun, pumpkins brown and rotting. But they would believe him, damn it! And he’d get the girl. And maybe, just maybe, he’d jimmy a flamethrower in his Great Pumpkin.  And at the moment she admitted that she was wrong for having left him there alone last year…

You can almost see him working in the dusty shed late at night under a bare light bulb, welding the mechanical beast’s head together.

“I’ll show you a blockhead,” he’d be grumbling.

Probably cursing, as well.

Happy Halloween.

What do I want from you?

Hmm.  Any variety of comments would be welcome.  Did you like this particular Charlie Brown?  Any other cartoons that you think hold deeper (if unintentional) meaning?  Do you think I’m way off base on this one?  Did you ever get a rock (or even worse, a toothbrush) in your Halloween bag?  Did you ever pull a Halloween trick yourself (that you can legally admit to here)?  What was your favorite Halloween costume?  Anything else?

Don’t forget to check out the Coffin Hop over the next handful of days.

Have a Happy Halloween.

Check back next week for the answers to a few questions about my current WIP (is that redundant?)

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26 thoughts on “Charlie Brown and Linus Get Their Revenge

  1. Just a minor quibble from an old “Peanuts” fan: Lucy and Linus are brother and sister. Sally is the one who has a thing for Linus. Other than that, I really enjoyed your take on one of my favorite cartoons.

    1. Damn! I knew that actually. Just had the names mixed up. I will make the change. Thanks for pointing it out and stopping by with a comment.

  2. Holy @#$!!
    You have two of my faves in the same blog!!?
    The Peanuts AND CS Lewis.
    I am a very happy reader right now. The rock thing kills me every time. And I was the ghost with 5000 eyes one year because I loved this cartoon so much. 🙂
    And as for the Lewis quote–well you know how I feel about the devil–and that one scares me every time. Love it.
    Thanks for this Paul–glad you have a blog out even though you are not in the hop. The hop is how you ran into me last year. Met some great people because of it, including you.
    Great post–I’m still smiling.

    1. Thanks, Penelope. So glad you enjoyed the post. I had a really good time writing it. Now I just need to watch it again. Certainly it should be on any day now.

      And actually, my wife, who rarely ever dresses up for Halloween, was Charlie Brown one year. Pretty funny. I knew I liked you for a reason 🙂

      Thanks again. And so glad to have met you last year at the Coffin Hop. Hope it’s going well for you so far this year.

      1. Paul your wife is AWESOME!!!
        And I bet she NEVER gets rocks. 🙂

  3. Love the post, Paul. Can’t get the image out of my mind of Linus welding the beast’s head together lmao…and from the shadows behind him emerges Snoopy, a crooked fang hanging from his beagle snout, Linus’ blankie curled tightly round bloodied paws…

    1. Hey Joe. Yeah, I liked that image as well (if I do say so myself :)). Glad you enjoyed it. Still trying to get over to Pen of the Damned to read your recent piece. Looking forward to it.

      1. No worries buddy. You and I both suffer from the disease “lack of time to do everything we want” lol

  4. Great post, Paul. I can’t remember watching much Charlie Brown when I was a kid, but I feel like looking it up on Youtube now. “We’re obviously separated by demoninational differences.” – a brilliant quote, made all the more brilliant that it was from a kids’ cartoon!

    Looking forward to reading about your WIP.

    1. Thanks, Mari (and thanks for the tag). Not much Charlie Brown? Sheesh 🙂 Just kidding, but yes, you should look up It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown if you haven’t seen it.

      Thanks again for stopping by.

  5. The Halloween special is my very favorite childhood holiday special. They just don’t make ’em like that any more. The image of Snoopy crawling through the dark countryside totally captured my kid imagination.

    My second favorite holiday special is Rudolph. It just means “Christmas Time” to me.

    I sorta miss the days of having only 4 channels to pick from and waiting with anticipating for your favorite shows and specials…and having the world watch them with you.

    1. Marie, great point, especially the part about having the world watch them with you. I like that. I was watching Hunter’s Monster Men podcast, and they mentioned something similar about the fact that now you can get them on DVD, but when we were younger, you had to wait until that one time of year to see them.

      And “Rudolph” is great. Always loved that one. Speaking of DVD’s, we own it, but in that sense it’s fun for our younger daughter that she can watch it more than once during the holiday season. So I guess that side is kind of fun, but it’s still not the same.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope the Coffin Hop is treating you well. I want to get over and see how the story is progressing.

  6. Deep thoughts, my man. I rather enjoy keeping my Peanuts light and innocent. FYI… they are making a new Peanuts movies, scheduled for release in 2015!

    1. Hmm. I’m a little critical of the idea of a new one. Trying to remember what the newer one they show during the holidays following the more traditional one, but can’t remember if it’s on Halloween or Christmas. Either way, it’s just not the same.

      I’m pretty serious about my Peanuts, man. And as a teacher of high school students, suddenly it makes much more sense that sound the adults in the cartoon make. I know that’s how my students hear me probably most of the time.


  7. I hope that the Great Pumpkin does visit your garden, Paul.

    Happy Halloween!


    1. Oh, I’ll be waiting.

      I’ll be waiting.

  8. Great post about a great cartoon. Poor Linus. I make it a point to watch this every year, even though my kids are now too old and think I’ve lost my mind. By the way, good Halloween reading is The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. Chilling.

    1. Hunter, sorry I’ve been so slack to reply. I actually watched this one with my two year old. It was awesome. I’m sure there will be a day when I won’t be so fortunate 🙂

      And I definitely need to read The Screwtape Letters. Heard that from a few different people.

      Hope all is well. Oh, and I’m about to tag you in my post tomorrow. No pressure to do it.

  9. Such a pleasure to have you back posting, darling. This is a delicious one.

    1. Glad you enjoyed.

      And hope you had a great Halloween. Need to hop over to your blog (still have a tab open with “Red Balloon.” You piqued my curiosity).

      Thanks for stopping by.

  10. C.S. Lewis is high on my list of people I would like to have a conversation with. In addition to Narnia and The Screwtape Letters, he is also well known as having been a Christian apologist…he wrote Mere Christianity. His work in that regard has influenced other apologists such as Francis Collins, arguably one of the preeminent scientists of our time and a person of faith. These are interesting people, these apologists. At first they seem to be contradictions of themselves. After a little study, many just seem to find connections that others miss. Kind of like some writers I know.

    1. Not familiar with apologists, but I’ll definitely look into it. And I think I’ve been familiar with the concept (if I have the right idea). Basically saying that there doesn’t need to be this great chasm between science and religion, and that there are possible ways to link the two without giving up one or the other, right? Didn’t know Lewis fell into this category, but of course Narnia itself is commonly considered religious allegory.

      We’ll talk more at some point 🙂

    2. CS Lewis would be on my list too.
      I saw The Screwtape Letter as a play in NYC last year–I was very skeptical thinking they would veer or make it too commercial (like Christmas for the Peanuts) but it was amazing. That is one book I read and re-read.

  11. There are several story threads, but no one overall story. The gang’s plans for Halloween night are interspersed with scenes of Snoopy being a WWI Flying Ace and Charlie Brown trying to kick the football because he has a signed note from Lucy. (Classic line – “It’s not notarized.”) Charlie Brown cuts too many holes in his ghost sheet, gets rocks in his bag, and becomes a model for a pumpkin face. Meanwhile, Linus and Sally await the Great Pumpkin.

    1. Henrietta, thanks for your comments. Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I’ve been on a bit of an internet hiatus (again), and didn’t get notified of your comment.

      Yes, there are definitely many story lines interspersed in this supposedly “children’s” story. But this one was always the one that captured my attention the most. It was fun, however, watching it again this last year with my daughter and being reminded of all the other things taking place.

      Thanks again.

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