As iconic as its storyline, its characters, and the animation itself, one of the most beloved elements of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is its score from Vince Guaraldi, with Craft Recordings honoring that score this fall with an all-new pumpkin-shaped vinyl release of the album. The record is currently available to pre-order on Amazon and will be released on September 17th, with the 45-RPM LP featuring 17 selections from the 1966 animated TV special. The release also includes liner notes from PEANUTS historian Derrick Bang to shed extra insight into the beloved recording, just in time for fans who are getting ready to celebrate the Halloween season later this year.
Per press release, "While the music for the first two [Charlie Brown] specials was managed entirely by Guaraldi, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown marked a new era in PEANUTS specials. This time, the seasoned composer, arranger, and conductor John Scott Trotter — best known for a three-decade run as Bing Crosby's music director — was brought in to oversee the entire scoring process. As Derrick Bang notes, 'The first two PEANUTS specials had been a learning process for all concerned…Trotter brought order to chaos.'"
"What didn't change from the last two productions was the quality of Guaraldi's spirited cues, which brought beloved characters like Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Sally, Lucy, Linus, and Schroeder to life. Underscoring much of the film is the sophisticated 'Great Pumpkin Waltz' theme, inspired by Linus' wholehearted belief in the supernatural squash. Ominous selections like 'Breathless' create moody textures, while more whimsical tracks like 'The Red Baron' add lightness."
"By this point, Guaraldi had a strong sense of how music could — and should — be employed to maximize the viewing audience's emotional response," Bang explained. "Guaraldi emphatically established the PEANUTS 'musical personality' with this third outing, and all subsequent prime-time specials owed much to the groovin' atmosphere that is so prevalent in Great Pumpkin."
Mendelson added, "Vince's score carries the gang with the autumn leaves, through the scary and cold Halloween night. This music comforts the indomitable faith of Linus, still waiting for his hero since 1966 — forever in our ears, hearts, and memories."
"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown debuted on October 27, 1966, and captured an astonishing 49 percent of the audience share, meaning that nearly half of the TV-watching population was tuned into the PEANUTS special. Tying with Bonanza for first place, the special proved to be even more successful than the debut broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was also a critical success and earned a well-deserved Emmy nod the following year.
"Unlike its yuletide predecessor, the soundtrack to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown wasn't initially made available. While select tracks were added to compilations over the decades, a comprehensive collection of music from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown wasn't released until 2018."
The record is currently available to pre-order and will be released on September 17th.
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