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When a big Apple squashes a 'Great Pumpkin'

“Hey, aren’t you going to wait and greet The Great Pumpkin? It won’t be long now. If The Great Pumpkin comes, I’ll still put in a good word for you! Good Grief! I said ‘IF’! I meant, ‘WHEN’ he comes! I’m doomed”

We all are, Linus, my good man. We all are.

If like young Master Van Pelt you’ve been waiting for the appearance of the humongous orange gourd no, not that one to rise from his patch and bring treats for all the children of the world — well, allow me to squash those hopes here and now.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” — the venerable classic that has jump-started the candy-craving juices of Halloween since first appearing in 1966 — has been pulled from itys current broadcast network home at ABC with a sleight of hand akin to Lucy snatching the football out from an on-rushing Charlie Brown.

The special is now the property of the Apple TV+ streaming service , which has acquired the rights to all things Peanuts — lock, stock and Sopwith Camel — leaving viewers still reliant on “free TV” to rummage through their attics for their trusty security blankets.

“There are three things that I’ve learned never to discuss with people — religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.”

To that, Linus can add how we watch our favorite shows.

Minds indoctrinated into the streaming of unconsciousness that dominates the cultural landscape likely aren’t bothered that they just have to find the Peanuts gang through a different outlet.

Heck, in this month’s press release announcing the move, Apple TV+ was more than happy to note that the service “is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions, on over 1 billion screens, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung, LG, Sony, and VIZIO smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices

and at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month (with a seven-day free trial). For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, or iPod touch can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free.

This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device.1”

(1 Restrictions and other terms apply.)

As my my eyes glazed over, I half-expected a disclaimer warning me not to activate Apple TV+ if you are allergic to Apple TV+.

“That stupid blockhead of a brother of mine is out in the pumpkin patch making his yearly fool of himself.”

This all might be fine and dandy for those who own iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung, LG, Sony, VIZIO smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV or Roku devices but, what about the rest of us?

Those who, as Charlie Brown realizes when debating the validity of the Great Pumpkin versus Santa Claus, decides he and Linus are “obviously separated by denominational differences.”

Well, while we’re digging into the change jar to cough up nickels — intended for our weekly appointments at Lucy’s “Psychiatric Help” booth — to fork over to the folks at Apple TV+ for the right to pay for something we’re used to seeing for free, the streamer does have something for those of us on their doorstep holding out old pillow cases.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!,” which was made available on Oct. 19, will be shown without charge from Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in what Apple TV+ calls “a special treat”

and what others might consider to be a sack-full of rocks.

Consider this: Apple TV+ (or any such service) gives you a tiny morsel (albeit one you have to take advantage of at a time of their choosing), hoping you’ll nibble at this thumb-sized piece of candy, acquire a taste for it, and then seek out more and larger pieces waiting just past the stoop.

No doubt you’ll even get handy-dandy email reminders about how great it was to reunite with your old friends and wait until you see what they’re doing behind this door!

“Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. I don’t see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there’s not a sign of hypocrisy.”

Let’s face it, it’s marketing. If Apple TV+ is so hurting for money that it needs to usurp holiday traditions, then that’s just the way pumpkin — and eventually, come December, the hunched and forlorn Christmas tree — crumbles.

And, honestly, has any pop culture phenomenon ever made more out of savvy marketing than “Peanuts”?

Still, there’s something inherently decent, something sweetly naive, about Linus sitting through the night among his pumpkins — even after his Material Girl sweetheart Sally abandons him — because he has put his faith in something he has never seen, but knows to be real.

We wait there beside him and, in this year filled with more tricks than treats, even the smallest disruption in the force can shake one’s equilibrium.

“Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you,” Linus writes in his letter to the Great Pumpkin. “ P.S.: If you really are a fake, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”

Terms and restrictions apply.

Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin is allergic to rgalvin@rosebudmedia.com

Robert Galvin