Written by Charles M. Schulz
Directed by Phil Roman
Now this was what I was looking for, a DVD containing three classic Peanuts features focusing on love. By “classic” I am talking about the older features which seem to have more charm than some of the more modern offerings, whether it’s due to the animation style or the way the stories are handled. All three offerings on this DVD are older, from 1975, 1967 and 1977.
For all three the animation is older and hand-drawn which doesn’t have the clarity that some of the newer specials have. The colors are tempered and maybe not quite as bright. However, the transfers to DVD are good and the quality of the picture is excellent. The soundtrack for all three is excellent and clear. I have always loved the music that accompanies the Peanuts specials when it is done right, and that is the case for all three of these.
Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
The selection for which the DVD is named starts off with Charlie Brown waiting beneath the mailbox for Valentines. Snoopy is acting as cupid and keeps missing him. Such is the story of Charlie Brown’s life.
All of the Peanuts gang has romantic woes in this one. Linus has a crush on his teacher. Lucy is crabby over her unrequited love for Schroeder. Sally thinks the giant heart she saw Linus buying at the store is for her. As the Valentines are being handed out in school, there are none for Charlie Brown. Linus’ teacher leaves with her boyfriend before he has the chance to give her that very expensive present. Sally has no clue. In the end, Violet comes by and gives Charlie Brown a valentine the next day.
There are cute sequences in the middle of it all, such as with Snoopy and Woodstock. I liked having a central story with a few side-stories going on, rather than a montage of short skits as some more recent Peanuts specials have been. The story is sweet and even though Charlie Brown is the perennial loser here still, his eternal optimism at the end is an inspiration to all.
You’re In Love, Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown and Linus are walking to school when Charlie Brown spots the little red-haired girl going by on the school bus. While pining for her in class, he mixes up his papers and ends up reading a love note he was composing to the whole class instead of his report. With the next day being the last day of school, he’s desperate to meet her but lacks the nerve. A few more attempts also have disastrous consequences, and although he’s embarrassed, he seems to never lose heart and hope.
Linus must deal with his own woes due to the crush Sally has on him. There are enjoyable sequences on the playground that add to the story.
It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
It’s Homecoming in Peanuts world, and Charlie Brown is supposed to escort the Homecoming Queen to the Homecoming Dance. The only problem is that the Homecoming Queen is Heather, the “little red-haired girl” and the object of Charlie Brown’s affection for so very long.
Much of It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown actually takes place during the football game. It’s pretty progressive for 1977 to show girls playing football alongside boys and Peppermint Patty is the real hero of the day. Charlie Brown is the place-kicker, and you’d think by now he would know better than to have Lucy hold the ball for him. Snoopy is the ref for the big game, and his sequence where he has it out with his whistle is pretty funny.
I think what resonates is that we’ve all had an awkward moment with someone we’ve adored, whether that love was known to them or not. Somewhere along the line in these three specials, people will find a piece of their lives. I could remember a moment when I felt humiliated in front of a crush in school just like Charlie Brown did in, You’re In Love, Charlie Brown.
The best moments usually come with Snoopy. Although the stories center around Charlie Brown, Snoopy has excellent moments of comic relief, whether he’s performing his “pawpet show” or acting like a helicopter with his ears above the playing field. There’s enough for other characters to do as well and the expression of dread on the one little girl’s face when Pig-Pen comes to escort her in It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown is priceless. It’s also a testimony to life lessons that she goes through with the situation rather than refuse him as an escort.
This is a great DVD to have, and I would add it to our collection. It has all the charm of the Peanuts characters without being outrageous and is enjoyable for the whole family to watch. Perhaps remastering the original print would have helped, but this DVD shows the cartoons the way I remember them.
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