"Why couldn't I have gotten work in a pie or something?" asks the poor pumpkin. "I'm a failure. I can't help it. That's the way I was carved." And he cries - his tears are pumpkin seeds. Nice touch. Chuck Jones, the Looney Tunes director, directed this special, and there are times when it shows.
Anyway... far away, on the other side of town from the lonely pumpkin in the introduction, Raggedy Ann and Andy are almost as sad as the pumpkin because of a nearby little boy named Ralph whom they've never seen smile. He has no reason to - he lives with an aunt who happens to be a real pill. The aunt's house is an old Victorian, and she dresses and acts as though she's been in there since it was built. She won't let Ralph go trick or treating, and, when kids come to trick or treat at her house, she runs them off and shouts "can't you find honest jobs?" Her voice is instantly recognizable as that of June Foray - Hazel the Witch in "Donald Duck: Trick or Treat," "Witch Hazel" in various Looney Toons, Mother Nature in the Smurfs, the old lady who owns Tweetie Bird, etc. She's also the voice of Raggedy Ann. Her voice is all over the specials on this site.
The Raggedy pair try to come up with plans to make Ralphie smile. Andy suggests accusing the aunt of income tax evasion. Ann, who is not nearly as funny as Andy, suddenly shouts "Pumpkin!" to which Andy replies "Pumpkin? What do you mean 'pumpkin?' Heh. You're always yelling 'pumpkin.'" Life at these guys' house must have been strange.
The two hit on the notion of bringing the poor boy a pumpkin and go to work (with the help of a skateboarding stuffed dog who would have been far more at home in the 80s). The last pumpkin in the patch is still sitting on the shelf, beating down on himself so loudly that even the nearby mice get fed-up and leave.
So, that's act 1. Act 2 and Act 3 consist entirely of Ann, Andy and the dog getting the pumpkin and bringing it back (which is kind of hard for dolls who aren't strong enough to lift a jack-o-lantern.) It's not a terribly involving plot - each scene moves along at a very, very leisurely pace. There's no suspense for even a second.
|Luckily for the viewer, Chuck Jones was involved not just as director, but as a writer. If the plot lacks any twists or suspense (and it does), he made up for it by having some pretty clever dialogue, mostly on Raggedy Andy's part. It's though Jones said "well, I have to write a show about talking dolls that will appeal mainly to the under 6 set. Might as well make the most of it." And, being Chuck Jones, he got away with it (I can easily imagine getting notes from the producers telling writers to dumb the script down, make the plot even MORE generic, etc. - that happens all the time when you're working for hire on something for kids).|
Consider this dialogue:
Raggedy Andy: "Why don't we just take someone else's pumpkin?"
Raggedy Ann: "You can't make someone happy by making someone else sad!"
Raggedy Andy: "Ever try it?"
Or how about this:
Ralph (on the trick or treaters): But it's Halloween, aunt Agatha! They were just having fun!
Aunt Agatha: That is no excuse, young man, for threatening honest citizens....be a good boy, and tomorrow we'll go to the museum and look at the rocks.
What do you know - trick or treating CAN get you accused of taking part in a rumble, just as Sally suspected in It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!
Sure, I got bored at times while watching this special as an adult. The song at the end is pretty forgettable (it's the polar opposite of the disco ending songs that were popular at the time), but the funny moments seem all the funnier in a special like this, and make it worth finding a copy of, though it's pretty rare these days.
The good folks at DTV-5 have posted the whole thing, re-edited to look like an epsidoe of CBS Storybreak. I don't know WHY DTV-5 does these things, but it puts the whole episode into one file.