Monday, March 28, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic
But for those who want to see behind the curtain of this little animated classic, look no further than "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic" from Harper Collins.
Rather than an author, the front cover states: "Lee Mendelson with reminiscences by Bill Melendez."
And that's really what you're getting here.
The book is a quick read and is almost a transcription of Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez telling stories.
Stories of how the production came to be.
How undue pressure was put on the creative trio (including Charles M. Schulz) to deliver a hit.
How they cast real children (not adults who can do child-like voices) to voice the special.
If you own the Remastered Deluxe Edition of the DVD or Blu-Ray and have watched the featurette "We Need a Blockbuster Charlie Brown" you know a lot of the info and stories included already.
An illustrated script with tons of screen grabs from the opening credits all the way to Linus and Charlie leaning on the wall makes up the last quarter of the book. It should also be mentioned (and can be seen in the page scan image above) that there is a tiny screen grab in the bottom right corner of every page that, when flipped, will show The Great Pumpkin (aka Snoopy) rising out of the patch in front of a thrilled Linus and Sally. Just one of the many fun touches that make this worthy of perusing more than once.
Feeling very much like a coffee-table book, in its brevity and multiple visuals, the only minus I can see is that it's available in soft cover exclusively. Though that makes the cost more palatable (under $13 on Amazon), the book is hailed on the cover as a "Special 40th Anniversary Edition"and a hard cover edition would certainly make it feel more like a tome to be honored in a personal library.
If you're a fan of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown," this is definitely something to add to your collection. It's a breezy read, told by the team that solely made the decisions to bring this timeless classic to life.
Amazon link is below.