Outside of It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) and A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), which I watch every year when they come on, I haven’t seen any of the other TV specials and movies since I was a wee kid. I caught a little bit of that new Peanuts movie on HBO a few months ago and I could only stay with it for ten minutes. Too much amped up physical comedy. I mean on steroids. There seemed to be something having to happen every second. The original specials and movies were a lot more laid back. Of course I understand why a new Peanuts movie would have to be that way. Kids these days would be bored to tears by the pacing of the old versions.
Whenever I think of Charlie Brown my mind goes back to third grade, maybe second, where Brian, this classmate of mine, loved the Peanuts, and one day he had a ton of hard back books of their comics stacked up on his desk. He was getting them from the school library but he was reading them so fast he was just stacking them up on his desk this one day. And Peppermint Patty! Every time I see her I think of Betty Jo, this other classmate from grade school who had that same tomboy look, freckles and all.
There were four theatrical Peanuts movies made while the TV specials were being produced. A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) was the first one, and here we are re-introduced to the Peanuts kids, Charlie Brown being the center of this movie. And if you weren’t familiar with him before or since Charlie is a worry wart and he can’t do anything right. He can’t fly a kite properly or even kick a football without Lucy making sure he falls flat on his ass. Baseball is Charlie and his friend’s major pass time, but the opening of the season is no different than any other season they have. Simply put they lose all their games, which doesn’t ever put Charlie in a better place. He still lacks confidence, until one day he hits upon the idea to enter the class spelling B, and by God wouldn’t you know it, he wins! After that he’s put up against the best of the school and even wins that one.
Charlie Brown is now in the big leagues, though he didn’t plan on going that far, which has him more neurotic than normal.
Before he’s shipped off to the big city to battle it out on TV with other kids, Linus make the almost terminal decision to give Charlie is security blanket for good luck. What he learns after is how much emotional security that blanket gave him and he suffers from sporadic unconsciousness. That’s right; he passes out on a regular basis. This is the movie’s subplot. Linus must get his blanket back so he and Snoopy hop a bus and go to the big city to find Charlie. But he gets the worst news imaginable when Charlie tells him he can’t remember where it is. He thinks it might be at the library. So while Charlie is losing sleep and driving himself crazy reading the dictionary and trying to memorize every word in it Linus and Snoops hit the streets to find the blanket. It’s nowhere, not even at the bloody library. Not until they get back to the hotel does Linus see Charlie pull it out from under the bed and polish his shoes with it, Charlie not realizing it’s the blanket. Linus is now in one emotional piece and the focus of the film moves back to Charlie and his TV appearance as the spelling B commences.
In typical Brown fashion all the kids are eliminated one by one leaving only Charlie left with the most simplest of words to spell—beagle—and he manages to actually misspell it. He returns home head held low and even refuses to show up in school the next day. Linus pays him a visit and gives him some words of wisdom. So he lost, but the world didn’t end. Charlie gets dressed and heads out to meet his friends and everything is as it was.
The second Peanuts movie made was Snoopy, Come Home (1972). There were a few scenes that looked familiar, but when this film came out I was onlt three and I’m sure I didn’t see it until it came on TV years later. Poor Snoops is getting dumped on by his owner/best friend, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the gang. Even society seems to be against him for everywhere he goes (to the beach, or to the library) he keeps running into ‘No Dogs Allowed’ signs and getting thrown out. Meanwhile a little girl in a hospital is writing Snoopy a letter. When he gets it, he and Woodstock pack their bags and go off to see her, but most of his trek has to be on foot because there are no dogs allowed on trains and buses. Ironically this law will end up giving Snoops a happy ending.
Snoopy and Woodstock are sidelined in mid-trek when they stupidly approach a little girl in her backyard and she flips out thinking she found a stray dog and a bird and keeps them as pets. They eventually escape and continue on their journey only to find out even in hospitals there are NO dogs allowed, so they have to sneak up to Lila’s room.
But who’s this Lila? Charlie Brown and his friends are dumbstruck. Linus decides to call the puppy farm where Charlie Brown first got Snoopy and learns Charlie was not Snoopy’s first owner, a little girl named Lila was, but she had to give Snoopy back when her family decided to move.
Lila’s wants Snoopy to come live with her after she gets out of the hospital, and for a while Snoopy seems okay with that. She gives him time to return home and get his affairs in order with Charlie. Charlie and the kids throw a tearful going away party, but when Snoopy gets to her apartment complex they both realize there’s a sign outside telling anyone who comes and goes that there’s NO DOGS ALLOWED! Lila is heartbroken; Snoopy is overjoyed and returns home to Charlie.
Back on September 6th Paramount Pictures released A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Come Home on separate blu-ray editions, making this their blu-ray debuts, but come November 1st Paramount re-releases them both as a double feature blu-ray!
Video/Audio/Subtitles (A Boy Named Charlie Brown/Snoopy, Come Home): 1080p 1.33:1 full frame—5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio, 2.0 English Dolby Digital—English SDH subs only.
Extras included . . .