Inspired by the airing of Happy New Year, Charlie Brown last month, I began to reflect upon some of my favorite Peanuts specials. A staggering number of specials have aired on television or debuted on video since 1965. Looking down the list, there are a few that I remember like Snoopy’s Reunion (I think I even had the children’s book adaptation), You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown and It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown. I’m sure by way of school and video rentals and TV airings, I’ve seen most of the Peanuts output from the late ’70s into the early ’90s but most of these specials are a blur.
Here are the five specials that are special to me. You may find the absence of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to be shocking but, despite my obsession with Halloween, I never found that to be a very compelling special.
Which specials do you look fondly on most?
1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
A Peanut special that needs no introduction and it is certainly an undisputed holiday classic that would rank at or near the top of anyone’s Christmas specials list, let alone a Peanuts specials list. You really can’t go wrong with Christmas. It was the very first Peanuts special to air (but not the first to be produced) and it set the tone for heart & humor the franchise is known for.
2. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go! Man, just thinking about that feast the gang had is making me hungry right now! Truly a Thanksgiving feast for the ages! Another classic special that everyone should be aware of by now.
3. It’s Magic, Charlie Brown (1981)
I really, really loved this special as a kid. I’m not sure if this is considered “classic” material amongst Peanuts aficionados, but it certainly is a classic to me as my family had this one recorded onto a VHS tape and I watched it about a hundred times during the ’80s.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with it, here’s a brief description of what’s going on: Snoopy has learned a few magic tricks and ends up turning Charlie Brown invisible and Snoopy tries to get him to back to being visible. There’s some really funny moments with Snoopy’s various magic tricks her performs during his magic show and in the ways Snoopy comes up with as a temporary fix to make Chuck visible again. Oh yeah, there is a really awesome scene featuring Chuck and Lucy that vindicates Chuck after years of a playing the fool… if only temporarily.
I haven’t seen this since the and ’80s and to my delight, this special is available as a bonus feature on 2008 edition of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
4. Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (1986)
Already discussed this one in a previous post. Fun stuff featuring Charlie Brown being Charlie Brown and unintentionally screwing himself over while trying to do what he thought was the best thing to do.
Girls > school work. Always remember that, kids.
This one is available on DVD as a bonus feature too, on the release of I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown.
5. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975)
Another special where we viewers take perverse pleasure and humor in seeing just how sad and pathetic Charlie Brown is. In short… a classic! There’s two stories going on in this one: Linus has fallen in love with one of his teachers and Charlie Brown frets over no one giving him a Valentine’s Day card.