Written by Charles M. Schulz
Directed by Phil Roman
The Peanuts characters seem to have a special for every holiday season. By far, the best one is A Charlie Brown Christmas. However, many of their other specials hold a very dear place in my heart for creating some great memories while I was growing up.
In It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown we have more of the traditional central-themed story that ties everything together rather than just short stand-alone bits. I like these stories best as there’s more of a plot to the entire feature rather than feeling like I have attention deficit disorder as it constantly seems to switch from story to story.
As the tale begins, Marcy brings eggs to Peppermint Patty’s house for dying. As she’s “preparing them” she wants to know how they color the eggs after she fries them. This is a recurring theme as throughout It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown Marcy finds new ways to screw up the eggs and the two of them keep returning to the store for more until Peppermint Patty is out of money.
Lucy is looking for a present from Schroeder. Schroeder scolds her that it’s a time of renewal. She sets out to dye eggs that she will hide and find, thus giving herself instant gratification.
Woodstock sits in his nest getting soaked from the rain. He walks over to Snoopy’s house (it’s not raining there) and tells his friend his tale of woe. Snoopy walks back to the nest with him and sees it filled with rainwater.
Linus tells Charlie Brown, Sally, and Lucy that they don’t have to worry about coloring eggs or buying baskets. The Easter Beagle will do all that. Sally is skeptical. She still has memories of listening to Linus’ ramblings and being out in a pumpkin patch all Halloween night.
The gang goes to the mall so Sally can look for shoes. They meet up with Patty and Marcy. Linus keeps reassuring everyone that the Easter Beagle will take care of everything. Snoopy sees a birdhouse that he buys for Woodstock to replace his nest. Woodstock doesn’t seem happy with it at first, but when Snoopy comes back, the interior is a sight to behold! Snoopy gets his nose stuck in the hole and accidentally smashes the birdhouse.
Peppermint Patty: How am I going to teach my friend here about Easter and coloring eggs when I can’t get any eggs to color?
That line is the biggest gripe I have with It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. Unlike A Charlie Brown Christmas which managed to capture what the season is really about – the birth of Christ – It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown doesn’t even briefly mention the real reason for this season. Schroeder almost touches on it when he starts to talk about it being a time for renewal. He talks about it being spring and plants growing but stops short at a discussion of the resurrection. I can appreciate that not everyone is Christian, but if you have something that’s supposed to be an Easter special, it should have something to do with the real reason behind Easter. I have grown to expect more from the Peanuts characters.
That said, otherwise, this is a heartwarming and fun feature that will entertain the family and get everyone in the mood for Easter. I say that as the snow is still melting where I live and we still are eking out ski time.
The characters all behave in their usual ways. Charlie Brown isn’t seen much as the focus is more on Linus and his unbelievable theories of how to celebrate the holiday. Sally is acting like a prima-donna, needing new shows before she can celebrate Easter (and boy do those 1974 clogs look like the crocs of today). Lucy is trying to make sure she’s on top in the end, even if she has to do all the work herself. Snoopy walks around whimsically messing with everyone. Despite being at the mall, there is not a grown-up in sight.
The animation is rather flat, but this was more than thirty years ago. The backgrounds are painted and we see the characters moving through scenes in front of them. It may not have the fullness of the computer-generated animation of today but I think I like this better. It seems to have more heart and soul and depends more on the story than dazzling the viewer.
There’s a lot to like about It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. The characters are great and there’s nothing to offend the kids while they are watching. Make sure your family tunes it in this Easter season.