• Tyler Ham

The Great Pumpkin votes Republican

Sometimes the perfect storm of awesome, rare, and cheap materializes right before your eyes in the form of old campaign propaganda!

When I was researching reference for my The Great Pumpkin / Halloween 3 mash-up poster, I came across a picture in google image search of an old paper Jack-O-Lantern with a ring on top, which read “Even the Great Pumpkin is voting Nixon-Agnew.”

Being the impulsive collector I am, I immediately went on ebay to see if one was available. Coincidentally, one had just been listed with a Buy It Now a few hours before I did the search. I picked it up for 10$, shipped.

The glare is from the frame because – of course – I framed it.

Now that I HAD one, I wanted to find out a little more about it.Being that there is very little early Great Pumpkin memorabilia, there wasn’t a lot online about this thing. However, I was able to kind of piece together it’s history, based on the obvious clue that it was made around the time that Nixon and Agnew ran.

“It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” premiered on October 27, 1966 on CBS with a massive Nielsen rating of 31.6, which was the top TV airing for that week (actually it tied with BONANZA on NBC) . I can’t find the numbers for the 1968 broadcast, but I assume they were similar. That is a LOT of houses. I am not sure how exactly to calculate the number of people that represents (considering population changes since 1966) but the 1969 Superbowl had a rating of 36, and they estimate that was almost 42 Million viewers (Also consider that in 1960, there were only 52 Million Televisions in the United States!)

Needless to say, The Great Pumpkin was a hot item around Halloween 1968, and with the election taking place on November 5th that year, a clever campaign manager could easily find a fun way to tie the two together. What I gather, Nixon supporters placed these on the doorknobs of potential voters to try and sway them towards Nixon. It worked, and the Great Pumpkin won the 68′ election for Nixon.

I have no idea how many of these they passed out. For something that seems like it would have been produced in the tens of thousands, there sure aren’t a lot of them out there. Of course, they also hold little-to-no value, so it’s not like motivated individuals are searching through their grandparents attics to find them, either.

Overall this is just a cool halloween “thing” that now lives framed above the door in my office. At least I now have a reason to vote Nixon-Agnew this year!