Posted by Richie on November 1, 2009
This was meant to be up yesterday, but it took a lot longer to make YouTube-able than I’d anticipated. I couldn’t link to someone else’s copy, either, because this is – as far as I’m aware – the first time that Lumpkin the Pumpkin has been available in a medium other than VHS.
Like so much cheaply-produced children’s animation, Lumpkin the Pumpkin is essentially a twenty-two-minute commercial masquerading as a story, and would not be worth dwelling on save for two key points. Firstly, it isn’t trying to sell us action figures or trading cards, it’s trying to sell us giant reflective stickers shaped like pumpkins. The idea behind this is that children with the stickers affixed to their costumes will be more visible to motorists while trick or treating, thus reducing the number of Hallowe’en road fatalities. “But Richie, that’s a very good idea, why are you laughing at them?”. Well, y’see, the stickers were never actually made. I’m not sure whether they’d planned on a big marketing push and it had fallen through at the last minute, or they’d given up on the concept long before but had been forced to release the cartoon due to some contractual arrangement, but either way, what we’ve got is a commercial for a product that you can’t actually buy. There’s a paper on post-modernism in there, somewhere.
Secondly, it’s a musical. Also par for the course of children’s animation, but instead of the music being written and performed by anonymous studio types, it’s all been done by Bobby Goldsboro. The same Bobby Goldsboro who reached #1 on the US singles chart in 1968 with the almost impressively sappy “Honey”. He also narrates it and plays the heroine’s mother. Did he approach them, or vice versa? I mean, if he’d always had his heart set on writing and performing a children’s musical, you’d think it would have happened roughly a quarter of a century earlier than Lumpkin. And yet, if that’s not the case, what made the producers think “Musical infomercial about glowing pumpkins… Hmm, better get Bobby Goldsboro”? Was he a distant relative, or what?
This copy isn’t exactly broadcast quality, since it’s been transferred from an NTSC VHS to a PAL DVD, ripped to an AVI file, converted to a low quality MPEG and then further encrappened by YouTube. Nevertheless, enjoy. It passes the Bechdel test and everything.