It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Considering the source of this material - a TV broadcast older than I am – I expected little from this presentation but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the picture.
Sharpness generally appeared clear and crisp, though some mild softness interfered with the image from time to time. The show suffered from only mild instances of definition problems, as it usually looked fine. Moiré effects and jagged edges did not present concerns, and I noticed no edge enhancement.
In terms of source defects, it often became difficult to separate actual print flaws from sloppy clean-up animation. It became clear that most of the “defects” resulted from stray marks that didn’t get erased. However, I still noticed occasional specks, marks and dust. These were minor, at least. On the other hand, the show demonstrated a wobbly feel at times. A very distinct jitter affected the image at the two-minute, 55-second mark and lasted about two seconds. Minor frame jitter also occurred at times, but those instances lasted only a portion of a second and weren't as significant as the other event.
Colors were quite strong and pleasing, with nicely replicated hues throughout the show. All of the oranges and other tones were reproduced
cleanly and accurately. Black levels also looked deep and rich, and shadow detail was just fine. The occasional softness and mild dirtiness of the print kept it from offering a really great image, but overall I was reasonably pleased by the appearance of this show.
Pumpkin also provided relatively satisfying monaural audio. Dialogue sounded clear and crisp, with no edginess or dull qualities. Effects were sporadic and cartoonish but seemed acceptably clean and accurate. Vince Guaraldi's music was fairly lively and even offered mild bass at times. The overall production showed some thinness commonly found in recordings of the era, but I found it to provide pretty nice sound.
Only one extra appears here: 1972 special called You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown. You'll earn no bonus points for figuring out why Elected hit the airwaves in 1972, but in case you're not sure, it's because that was an election year. The program offers a mild satire of the ways of the politicos as Linus runs for class president. With Lucy as his campaign manager and Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Woodstock assisting, events are sure to be wacky.
And they are for the most part throughout this mildly entertaining special. Elected suffers slightly from its pairing with the superior Halloween show, but it nonetheless holds up fairly well on its own. The program deftly and subtly looks at the silliness of the electoral process and can be amusing and entertaining. As I earlier mentioned, this and all post-1969 Peanuts shows suffer somewhat from the lack of Peter Robbins as Charlie Brown, but it's still a pretty fun and effective special.
The third Peanuts special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown remains one of the best. It demonstrates many funny moments and entertains well through its short running time. The DVD provides decent picture and audio along with a good bonus program. This is a perfectly decent release for a classic holiday cartoon.
Note that this DVD also can be purchased in a boxed set called The
Peanuts Classic Holiday Collection. That package also includes A
Charlie Brown Christmas/It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving/The Mayflower Voyagers and it lists for $59.95. Yes, your math is correct: there's no discount for purchasing all three DVDs together, and the only bonus is that they come in a nice slipcase.
To rate this film visit the Deluxe Edition review of IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN