© 2016 Peanuts Worldwide LLC
by Carol Muse Evans
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Charles Schulz’s “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” story and television special, pumpkin patches and corn mazes across the country are presenting special Peanuts-themed designs to honor the Peanuts Gang, including 4D Farm in Cullman.
“The Great Pumpkin and cornfield mazes are two of the world’s greatest fall traditions, eagerly anticipated by fans every single year,” says Jill Schulz, daughter of the late Peanuts creator, “and we’re so excited to bring them together for this landmark anniversary. It’s only fitting that we should find a tribute that’s both joyful and visually compelling, just as my father’s characters have been for more than 65 years.”
“We’ve had a corn maze since opening the farm to the public,” says Beth Daniel, owner of 4D Farm in Cullman. The Charles Schulz folks reached out to farms across the United States to join them in celebrating their 50th anniversary. We are proud to partner with the Charles Schulz Company. Who doesn’t love Charlie Brown?”
The 4D Farm maze is somewhere between 4 and 5 acres, and just a part of what visitors can experience there this year. There are cartoon-styled buildings housing the friendly farm animals, an 80-foot slide, pillow bounce, live pig racing, a 200-foot zip line, Goats on the Barn, great food and other activities. They are open Thursdays and Fridays, 2-6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sundays 1-6 p.m. Visit www.4dfamilyfarm.com for more information and pricing, as well as information about their maze.
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” originally aired in October 1966. It was the third Peanuts television special to be created by Schulz, a father of five himself, Jill Schulz, the youngest, explains. Music was again by Vince Guaraldi, whose famous “Linus and Lucy Theme” is heard at the beginning. After the special first aired, Schulz reported that distressed fans around the world sent packages of candy “just for Charlie Brown.”
“Our family couldn’t be more excited and proud of Dad’s legacy,” Jill Schulz says, and these milestones and anniversaries that are still celebrated. Newspapers still carry his comic strip and the people around the country that feature Peanuts in their theme parks, the licensing for all sorts of products – my family are thrilled that people to continue to support our Dad’s dream.”
Schulz, who died in 2000, always said he was “just a cartoonist,” his daughter says. He was always surprised and humbled by the response he got to the characters.
Jill Schulz says Snoopy was mostly modeled from their beagle, Spike, who used to carry his bowl around, just like Snoopy. If there was one character that was her dad, it was Charlie Brown, she says. Many of the characters came from kids he knew growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota, and then from his own children and their friends – the crabby brother or sister, feeling left out, being bullied, the little red-haired girl that Charlie had a crush on – all themes that are still pertinent today.
And the “Great Pumpkin” was similar to the theme and hope of Santa Claus: “Tonight The Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch. He flies through the air and brings toy to all the children of the world.” – Linus
For more information on mazes across the country, visit www.themaize.com.
Carol Muse Evans is publisher of Birmingham Parent.