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The Great Pumpkin turns 50, airs tonight

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Consider this a public service announcement

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown might be the best adaptation of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts ever made. This month, it turns 50 years old. Get the kids together, because ABC is airing the unedited original live at 8 pm ET, 7 pm CT.

The debut of the made-for-television special was on Oct. 27, 1966. TV Insider actually got executive producer Lee Mendelson to chat about making it. You can read the full interview here.

Mendelson tells TV Insider that, “Mr. Schulz liked it just as much,” as A Charlie Brown Christmas special. He also talked a bit about how it was inspired by its success.

Pumpkin rose from CBS’s desire to repeat the success of 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. Since Schulz had already introduced Linus’s elusive hero in the comic strips, he decided to focus on the Great Pumpkin. “It was that simple,” Mendelson says. Most of the child voice actors from the Yule outing returned, as did composer Vince Guaraldi, who Mendelson feels was “essential” to bringing the seasonal story to life. “His music really helped create the atmosphere.”

It’s a great story, and even includes a clipping from the original TV Guide listing.

Sadly, Mendelson does not mention the very best Charlie Brown special which, as everyone knows, is Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown.

I will fight you.