I can remember a time when there were Peanuts TV specials that aired in prime time. They were special events. They were must-see television, especially for kids like me. You know, the one where Charlie Brown makes a Thanksgiving feast out of popcorn and toast, so that he and Sally and Peppermint Patty and Marcie and Franklin (and Snoopy and Woodstock) can have their own Thanksgiving meal. Or the one where Charlie Brown and Linus find an old, dilapidated Christmas tree and try to use it in their grade school Christmas pageant.
And around October, we would get the TV special, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which featured the story of Linus waiting in a pumpkin patch, hoping to see the mysterious gift-giving Great Pumpkin, who would only show up in an area of sincerity.
This was once an October staple on CBS. Then, it (along with all the other Peanuts cartoons) moved to ABC. It would air on ABC, and it would also air on ABC’s sister cable channel Freeform.
This year, things are different.
In order to watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, you have to pay for it.
No, seriously. You need an AppleTV+ subscription.
Earlier this year, AppleTV+ purchased the rights to ALL the Peanuts specials and TV shows, so that they can exist as part of AppleTV+’s lineup. And that means on their lineup EXCLUSIVELY. No more broadcasts on ABC or on any other free or cable network.
Now, of course, some people are losing their mind over this. They may not understand that AppleTV+ now owns the rights to these classic cartoons. That story doesn’t sound juicy enough. I’m sure there’s some people who think that this must be some sort of “cancel culture” thing. Maybe they thought that the scene in the pumpkin patch with Linus and Sally was too close to the #MeToo movement. Or that the daydreams of Snoopy as a WWI fighter pilot might give the wee ones nightmares for violence. Or that Charlie Brown’s inherent luck at receiving rocks in his trick or treat bag is symbolic of the struggle of life – nothing good is just handed to you.
Nope, it’s simply a business deal. It’s the same reason why Sesame Street is on HBO Max, after decades as a PBS staple. The television landscape changes with increasing alacrity.
And, no, there’s no truth to the rumor that there will be a sponsorship return by the good people in your town who bottle Coca-Cola, or the good people who bake Dolly Madison pastries.
Besides, we’re already dealing with one Great Pumpkin in our world today…
Have you seen that orange goblin in the White House? 😀
I have something on this over at Saturday Morning Archives, Chuck. It sucks, I know, but, as I wrote last night, it’s all about the dolla-dolla bill.
I have it on DVD. I have no TV service of any kind. For what it costs here you can buy every program you want and watch it whenever. So much for corporate plans to monetize 50-year-old cartoons.
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