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What should Universal Studios do with David S. Pumpkins?

September 28, 2017, 1:38 PM · Looks like Universal Studios owner NBCUniversal is going all in on David S. Pumpkins.

NBC announced today that it will bring back the character from last season's "Haunted Elevator" sketch on Saturday Night Live for an animated special on the network.

"Set in a small suburban town on All Hallows’ Eve, the special centers on David Pumpkins and his skeleton sidekicks who show a young boy and his sister the true meaning of Halloween, answering none of their questions along the way," according to an industry report.

The half-hour special will run in Saturday Night Live's spot on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 11:30 Eastern.

Since NBCUniversal seems ready to make David S. Pumpkins (originally portrayed by Tom Hanks) into a franchise, let's just go ahead and ask the question: how could this fit in a theme park? After all, the original Haunted Elevator sketch was a fairly obvious call to Disney's Tower of Terror ride with a Halloween overlay. So a theme park application is part of this potential franchise's DNA.

The initial thought is that Universal Orlando could use David S. Pumpkins to replace Bill & Ted for its annual Halloween Horror Nights' musical spoof show. An SNL franchise seems overdue in the parks, after Universal Studios Florida built a Jimmy Fallon ride, and the late-night, younger-skewing, irreverent sketch show would a perfect fit for Halloween Horror Nights' demo. Plus, David Pumpkins fits the Halloween theme better than anything else SNL has to offer.

So does this happen? Obviously, the ratings for the upcoming special will determine how enthusiastically NBC orders new David Pumpkins installments. But if this special blows up as much as the original sketch did, NBCUniversal could have a popular new seasonal franchise at its disposal.

If you missed the original sketch, here it is:

Replies (16)

September 28, 2017 at 1:50 PM · SNL skits have a terrible track record when it comes to moving off the show. I think Blues Brothers and Waynes World are the only two that really succeeded.
September 28, 2017 at 2:04 PM · Why would it need to broadcast at 11:30pm as an animated special? I would hardly call it a franchise, maybe one-off.

Universal seems be in the Horror business, not kid friendly theme park-ready franchises. I suggest they do a live action Polar Express movie.

September 28, 2017 at 7:02 PM · no no no no no absolutely not please. This was a horrible sketch that wasn't funny at all and even made Hanks himself slightly uncomfortable with how blatantly unfunny it was.
September 29, 2017 at 3:49 AM · At least Wayne's World and Blues Brothers were reoccurring characters that proved their worth with audiences. I was no different than the people in that elevator..."David who??? Should I know you?!" None the less, I laughed pretty hard when watching the clip but I think it's a one and done.
September 29, 2017 at 5:21 AM · you tell me where universal would put the show and im game for it.

and i say this becouse as of next year there will be no useable amphatheaters at Universal Studios Orlando. the concert venue amphitheater is a que line for 1 or 2 houses (depending on the year). wild west sunt show / fear factor live is getting demolished for make way to ministry of magic 1 of 2 expansions to the wizarding world of harry potter. animal actors also is slated for demolition to make way for nintendoland feat. mario cart.

so where would the show go??? that's why bill and teds is having their final year there is no theater to use next fall.

September 29, 2017 at 7:27 AM · With so few original ideas out there, it's actually refreshing to see a company take a risk on something that's new a different. Honestly, I think the David Pumpkins shtick won't resonate beyond the SNL/viral video status it's reached, but maybe I'll be proved wrong. The sketch itself was so absurd, and that's what made it work (like so many SNL skits). So perhaps the joke is in that they're actually trying to make a legitimate IP out of this character. Trying to stretch out "I'm David S. Pumpkins" out for 22 minutes could either be stupidly brilliant or downright agonizing.

"Why would it need to broadcast at 11:30pm as an animated special? I would hardly call it a franchise, maybe one-off.
Universal seems be in the Horror business, not kid friendly theme park-ready franchises. I suggest they do a live action Polar Express movie."

First Anton, it's based off an SNL skit, so it makes perfect sense to broadcast the special during the SNL timeslot (11:30 PM EST on Saturday nights). Just because it's animated doesn't mean it's meant for kids - there are more adult animated series and specials these days than ever before (Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park, Archer, Aqua Team Hunger Force, Adventure Time, the list goes on and on).

David S Pumpkins is not meant for children, so I'm not sure why you seem to think it's not appropriate for an HHN application. BTW, Sea World owns the US theme park IP rights to Polar Express.

September 29, 2017 at 9:38 AM · This one's up there with the "Cowbell" sketch as my all time favorites.
September 29, 2017 at 11:27 AM · "David S Pumpkins is not meant for children, so I'm not sure why you seem to think it's not appropriate for an HHN application."

Huh? This makes no sense. You inverted my argument.

DSP would be irrelevant in a HHN application. I suggested it would be more suitable for kids as an animated movie if developed and shown at a time slot for families and kids. Anyways, if it was merely adult humor, it still wouldn't work in HHN. I was observing Universal doesn't have much family friendly franchises.

September 29, 2017 at 12:22 PM · "DSP would be irrelevant in a HHN application. I suggested it would be more suitable for kids as an animated movie if developed and shown at a time slot for families and kids. Anyways, if it was merely adult humor, it still wouldn't work in HHN. I was observing Universal doesn't have much family friendly franchises."

Well, you seem to miss the point, because DSP is an adult sketch. It's in no way supposed to be for children or families despite its obvious parody of Tower of Terror. If Universal tried to twist it into some kid-friendly schlock, it would create more enemies than friends. Perhaps you missed the original sketch (Robert embedded it in the story), and note that it aired as part of an adult sketch show (SNL) that comes on at 11:30 PM. In fact, if I recall correctly, DSP was one of the last sketches of the episode, which means it didn't come on until after 12:30 AM.

Robert even notes how DSP might be an appropriate replacement for the outgoing Bill and Ted, a HHN attraction. While I think it's a bit of a stretch considering we're talking about a single sketch to this point, I could see how DSP could be potentially developed into a similarly irreverent stage show in the vein of Bill and Ted. However, I think DSP works on a comedic level because it's Tom Hanks (voice of Woody and wholesome American actor) playing the creepy, strange, and awkward character with 2 carefree skeletons. Without Hanks, I think it falls flat - Hanks is voicing the animated special, but not sure if the strangeness will translate as funny.

I think you're way off base here Anton. DSP is decidedly adult and HHN is billed as an adult event (kids are not prohibited, but strongly discouraged from attending). UO has plenty of kid franchises - Despicable Me, Shrek, Seuss, Harry Potter, and Nintendo on the way, and those should stay out of HHN (the only reason Diagon Alley is used is to help spread out the crowds).

September 29, 2017 at 12:30 PM · Oh he was in the bill and Ted show at hhn but had no idea what he was
September 29, 2017 at 12:34 PM · "UO has plenty of kid franchises - Despicable Me, Shrek, Seuss, Harry Potter, and Nintendo on the way."

You're missing my point that Universal doesn't CREATE its own home grown family friendly franchises for Universal theme parks.

September 29, 2017 at 12:45 PM · Why does it have to create its own? They own Dreamworks (so anything Dreamworks is technically "home grown"), and have contractual access to Illumination Studios and Seuss IPs. SNL sketches should not be co-opted into kids shows. It sets a dangerous precedent. Animation does not always equal family friendly.
September 29, 2017 at 1:18 PM · The story of the Simpsons. Was an adult oriented animated short on Tracy Ullman show.

Blues Brothers, Jimmy Fallon, Simpsons. Exactly why you don't bother bringing kids there.

Blues Brothers originated on SNL. Now featured in Universal Studios parks.

September 29, 2017 at 1:24 PM · The Simpsons is an adult oriented animated series (not exactly family friendly depending upon your parenting philosophy), so what's your point??

They still have Despicable Me, Shrek, HP, E.T., and Kidzone. No one is comparing USF or IOA to MK. UO has always offered more attractions for adults. They know what their audience is, and have done an excellent job of growing their fanbase while layering in enough attractions to occupy the little ones. They have plenty of in-house IPs to develop family attractions without having to co-opt a decidedly adult character.

September 29, 2017 at 1:28 PM · That skit might be the worst thing I've ever seen.
September 30, 2017 at 8:18 AM · Not sure if a whole show, cause'though I love David Pupkins, not sure if it's got what it takes to support a whole show. But I wouldn't be surprised if they made him appear on other shows and on photo-pos throughout the park. Plus, I've been waiting for a SNL related thing on the parks

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