23 November 2006 | cricharddavies
The First Non-Holiday "Peanuts" Special
This third "Peanuts" TV special broke new ground -- the previous two, of course, were the classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", but this one doesn't deal with a holiday. Well, technically it does, as it's set on the last days before summer vacation, but while children doubtless view that as a holiday, it really isn't. Instead of being a new story, it was largely composed of adaptations of various "Peanuts" strips, including part of one that was also incorporated into "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown".
Perhaps the most interesting thing about it is that it is clearly a "try-out" of sorts for "A Boy Named Charlie Brown". In both that feature-length animation and in this half-hour special, we see Lucy, Violet and Patty dancing around Charlie Brown singing a mocking song. I suspect that the dance in "You're In Love" was done to see whether the animators could make such a musical sequence "work". It's notably less effective here, but the practice made perfect.
This was also the TV introduction of the newest member of the "Peanuts" family, Peppermint Patty. In this one, as yet unaccompanied by Marcie, she's very much as she was in her introduction, and the other characters aren't quite sure what to make of her -- "Chuck?" wonders Charlie Brown aloud, while Lucy is perplexed by her reference to her as "Lucille".
Probably the worst part of it is the frankly creepy scene where Charlie Brown crawls, spider-like, over the school fence as he tries to sneak into school. This is a kid who's supposedly one of the worst athletes in history, and he's able to do that? Come on. Also, why does the Little Red-Haired Girl sign her note to him, "The Little Red-Haired Girl"? (On the other hand, considering the low quality of one of the few episodes that featured her as an active character, 1977's "It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown", maybe I should be more thankful that the animators didn't see fit to give her a name yet ...)