Today’s blog entry is a brief look at the Peanuts/Charlie Brown animated television specials that aired in the US during the 1980s.
She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown
This special was adapted from a series of comic strips by Schulz that revolved around a single idea. The comic strip ran for five weeks. Ice skater Mary Ellen Kinsey was studied in order to help create Peppermint Patty’s ice skating scenes.
- Premiere: February 25, 1980 on CBS
- This special won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (1980-81)
- Voices: Patricia Patts: Peppermint Patty, Arrin Skelley: Charlie Brown, Rocky Rilley: Linus van Pelt, Laura Planting: Lucy van Pelt, Casey Carlson: Marcie, Debbie Muller: Teacher, Bill Melendez: Snoopy, Scott Beach: Announcer, Jason Serinus: Woodstock (whistling Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro”)
Life’s a Circus, Charlie Brown
Snoopy has left home to become a circus performer when he falls for the charms of a French poodle named Fifi who is part of the circus act, Miss Polly and her Poodles. Wowing audiences as Hugo the Great, Snoopy loves the limelight almost as much as he loves Fifi.
Poor Charlie Brown is sad and doesn’t get my sympathy from Linus who tells him that there is more to life than a plastic supper dish.
Snoopy and Fifi run away from the circus, but things don’t go as planned, Fifi misses the circus life and returns leaving Snoopy heartbroken. He then heads back home to good ole Charlie Brown’s house, takes a shower, dons his sleeping cap and takes his usual comfortable place atop his dog house.
- Premiere: October 24, 1980 on CBS.
- This special won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program in 1981.
- Voices: Michael Mandy as Charlie Brown, Brent Hauer as Peppermint Patty, Casey Carlson as Polly, Earl “Rocky” Reilly as Linus van Pelt, Kristen Fullerton as Lucy van Pelt, Sherm Cohen as Marcie, Christopher Donohoe as Schroeder, and Bill Melendez as Snoopy.
It’s Magic, Charlie Brown
But, the most awesome thing that The Great Houndini does is make Charlie Brown invisible only to discover that making him visible again isn’t so easy. Charlie feels that he is doomed to walk the world as a lost soul. His spirits do take an upswing when runs across Lucy who is practicing holding the football for a placekick. Being invisible, he manages to kick the ball three times before Snoopy is able to wave his wand and make Charlie visible again.
- Premiere: April 28, 1981 on CBS.
- The 21st Peanuts special.
- Voices: Michael Mandy as Charlie Brown, Sydney Penny as Lucy Van Pelt, Cindi Reilly as Sally Brown, Earl Reilly as Linus Van Pelt and Franklin, Brent Hauer as Peppermint Patty, Shannon Cohn/Casey Carlson as Marcie, Christopher Donohone as Schroeder, Bill Melendez as Snoopy and Woodstock.
Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown
- Premiere: October 30, 1981 on CBS
- Theme Song: Alone performed by Becky Reardon
- Voices:Grant Wehr as Charlie Brown, Earl Reilly as Linus Van Pelt, Bill Melendez as Snoopy and Woodstock, Nicole Eggert as First girl, Jennifer Gaffin as Mary Jo
A Charlie Brown Celebration
This was the first hour long Peanuts animated television special and some of the short skits include Charlie Brown trying to fly a kite, Peppermint Patty’s adventures at Dog Obedience School and Lucy and Shroeder discussing marriage while he plays the piano.
- Premiered on May 24, 1982 on CBS
- Recycles some of it’s ideas and footage from There’s No Time for Love, Charlie Brown and Play It Again, Charlie Brown.
- Schulz hosts the program
- Was originally going to be titled The Best of Charlie Brown.
Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?
Lucy sells her advice booth to Snoopy who has raised the price from 5 to 50 cents. And the goodbye party, who is really in the mood to create that kind of get together, but that is taken care of by Snoopy who had opened up Joe Cool’s Catering, but it serves up the finest in dog biscuits and kibble.
Of course, there is a happy ending to this as Lucy and Linus returning and not having to leave their friends after all!
- Premiere: February 23, 1983 on CBS
- 24th Peanuts prime-time special
- Voices: Brad Kesten as Charlie Brown, Jeremy Schoenberg as Linus van Pelt, Angela Lee as Lucy van Pelt, Stacy Heather Tolkin as Sally Brown, Bill Melendez as Snoopy and Woodstock, Kevin Brando as Schroeder and Franklin, Victoria Vargas as Peppermint Patty, Michael Dockery as Marcie.
It’s An Adventure, Charlie Brown
The second story saw Marcie blow a butterfly off of sleeping Patty’s nose. Patty became convinced, thanks to Marcie, that it turned into an angel and flew away and that this miracle was a sign that she was chosen to bring an important message to the world.
Our third story is about unrequited love between Lucy and Schroeder. She manages to slip some sheet music in front of him as he was playing and before he knew what was happening, he was playing her a love song, which she sang along with as she danced wildly atop his piano much to his horror.
Lucy was being her usual nasty little self and decided to mess with Linus and his blanket. She said that it hissed at her and even went so far as to chase her outside. She got hold of it and buried it. As Linus went through withdrawal, kindhearted Charlie Brown sat up with him all night. Snoopy recovered the blanket only to have Lucy make a kite out of it and it flew out over the ocean. A rescue team made up of various Peanuts characters went after it.
Finally, poor old Charlie Brown thought he was going crazy as it seemed that everything he looked at was round like a baseball. Taking the advice of his pediatrician Dr. Sweet, Charlie headed off to summer camp for two weeks. While there, he became a hero of sorts, first when a kite swallowing tree “ate” his first kite of spring, he struck back with fury, only to become fearful that he might end up being put in prison by the Environment Protection Agency. He ran away and came upon a group of small children who wanted him to manage their baseball team, The Goose Eggs.
- Premiere: May 16, 1983 on CBS
- Voices: Michael Catalano as Charlie Brown, Angela Lee as Lucy van Pelt, Earl Reilly as Linus van Pelt, Cindi Reilly as Sally Brown, Brent Hauer as Peppermint Patty, Michael Dockery as Marcie, Brad Schacter as Schroeder, Frank Oz as The Kite Eating Tree, Bill Meléndez as Snoopy/Woodstock
What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?
Charlie Brown fondly looks back over his trip to France as an exchange student with some of his Peanuts friends. With Snoopy as driver and mechanic, the gang travel in a dilapidated old car over country roads as they head toward the Normandy coast. Marcie acts as the interpreter and Peppermint Patty offers her help, but only manages to keep throwing out the wrong phrases from the guidebook. When the clan set up camp for the night on a bluff near the sea, Linus is restless and goes for walk along the beach at dawn. The sound of the waves and wind is his only company. But he tries hard to visualize Omaha Beach on V-Day, June 6, 1944 and creates in his mind a ghostly reenactment of the Allies landing.
Later as the clan move along the coast, past trenches, German bunkers, and a mine crater, the gang also stops at the place where Lt. Col. J.M. McRae wrote his famous poem, In Flander’s Fields. Linus recites the first verse and after a moment or two of quiet reflection, he turns to Charlie Brown and asks “What have we learned, Charlie Brown?”.
- Premiered on May 30, 1983 on CBS.
- Brad Kesten as Charlie Brown, Jeremy Schoenberg as Linus van Pelt, Stacy Heather Tolkin as Sally Brown, Brent Hauer/Victoria Vargas as Peppermint Patty, Michael Dockery as Marcie, Monica Parker as French Lady, and Bill Melendez as Snoopy and Woodstock
- Charles Schulz provided the introduction to this special.
- Special won the Peabody Award for “distinguished achievement and meritorious public service”.
- Linus recites the famous poem In Flander’s Fields by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian physician.
It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
Peppermint Patty is having problems in class, falling sleep, failing a test, but in gym class she shines by showing off to the other students that she is in shape.
Lucy takes over a game of Simon-Says and turns it into her own lively musical number and even old Charlie Brown proves he is no square when he leads the class in a good old fashioned barn dance.
- Premiered: April 16, 1984 on CBS.
- Voices:Brett Johnson as Charlie Brown, Stacy Ferguson as Sally Brown,Jeremy Schoenberg as Linus van Pelt, Heather Stoneman as Lucy van Pelt, Gary Goren as Schroeder, Gini Holtzman as Peppermint Patty, Keri Houlihan as Marcie, Bill Melendez as Snoopy/Woodstock.
- Marine Jahan who performed much of the dancing in the film Flashdance and Schulz’s daughter, Jill, were the models for Snoopy dancing and Peppermint Patty’s aerobics, through the rotoscope animation process.
Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown
Spike living in Needles, California, then goes about trying to earn enough money to make the trip, but eventually after several unfortunate events decides to hitch hike instead. `
All the Peanuts gang get in on the preparations: Charlie Brown goes shopping with Snoopy to find the right top hat and tails. Woodstock and his friends paint Snoopy’s dog house pink and white, Linus works on the marriage vows and Lucy comes up with the menu. Schroeder is in charge of the bachelor party, which of course is a wild affair with everyone toasting the husband to be with huge glasses of root beer. Even though the event is meant to be one to celebrate great happiness, it is also twinged with some sadness as well as the guests think about Snoopy leaving to start his new life. But, what is this, Snoopy crying in his root beer because he is getting a case of cold feet? The gang try to cheer him up, Sally, with the help of Shroeder offer up a romantic ballad and Linus prepares to read the marriage vows. Lucy offers up “bad” news, it seems the bride to be, Genevieve, has run off with a golden retriever! A relieved Snoopy, dines on the wedding feast atop his dog house with his best friend Woodstock. Spike sets out to go back home and hops a slow going freight train.
- Premiered: March 20, 1985 on CBS.
- 28th animated Peanuts special.
- Voices: Brett Johnson as Charlie Brown, Jeremy Schoenberg as Linus van Pelt, Stacy Ferguson as Sally Brown, Heather Stoneman as Lucy van Pelt, Gini Holtzman as Peppermint Patty, Keri Houlihan as Marcie, Daniel Colby as Schroeder, Dawnn D. Leary Sally Brown (singing voice),Bill Melendez as Snoopy, Woodstock, and Spike.
- This special was inspired by a comic strip of Schulz’s from 1977. In that version, Genevieve runs of with Snoopy’s brother Spike!
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
- Premiered: November 6, 1985 on CBS.
- Voices: Brad Keston as Charlie Brown (Singing voice Kevin Brando), David Wagner as Linus, Jessie Lee Smith as Lucy Van Pelt, Jeremy Reinbold as Schroeder, Michael Dockery as Marcie, Tiffany Reinbold as Sally, Robert Tower as Snoopy.
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
Lucy, Marcie and Peppermint Patty were determined that this New Year’s party wold be a memorable one, at least romantically. Lucy set her sights on Schroeder and Marcie was interested in getting Linus to the New Year’s party and Peppermint Patty was determined to win the heart of good old Charlie Brown. Alas, things didn’t go as planned of course, and Schroeder was more interested in playing his piano. Linus was his usual philosophical self and not too interested in romance, and Charlie Brown was way too involved in trying to get his book report finished. Oh, and to make matters worse, he actually invited the Little Red-Headed Girl to the party… can you sense just how much of a disaster that would turn out to be?
Lucy enrolled everyone in a dance class, and everyone learned some new moves, except for Chuck who was stuck on the sidelines reading his book. The night of the party, found Charlie Brown still not having any luck getting his report finished, but he decided to join the fun and got involved in a rowdy game of “Musical Chairs”.
Chuck does manage to write his book report and gets a D on it and becomes even more exasperated when he learns the next book report will be on Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. He just can’t win!
- Premiere: January 1, 1986.
- Voices: Chad Allen as Charlie Brown, Jeremy Miller as Linus van Pelt, Melissa Guzzi as Lucy van Pelt, Kristie Baker as Peppermint Patty, Elizabeth Lyn Fraseras Sally Brown, Aron Mandelbaum as Schroeder, Jason Mendelson as Marcie, Bill Melendez as Snoopy and Woodstock.
- Song: Slow Slow Quick Quick performed by Desiree Goyette.
Snoopy The Musical
- “Don’t Be Anything Less Than Everything You Can Be” – With Snoopy watching, Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, Sally and Linus sing about being the best that you can be.
- “Snoopy’s Song” – Will poor Snoopy will be traded in on a cat (thanks to Lucy) if he doesn’t obey Charlie Brown more often?
- “Woodstock’s Theme” – Woodstock wakes up and flies and Snoopy makes comments on his flying technique.
- “Edgar Allan Poe” It’s that sort of sick feeling you get when you know your teacher is going to call on you to answer a question that most always has something to do with Poe!
- “I Know Now” – A musical number with Sally, Peppermint Patty and Lucy singing about all the things they have learned as they have grown up.
- “The Vigil” – Linus is once again patiently and faithfully waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear. He is kept company by Snoopy, who wears a pair of dark glasses, he doesn’t want anyone to recognize him.
- “Clouds” – The Peanuts gang take a nice time out and lay in a grassy meadow and talk about the shapes and things they see in the clouds.
- “The Great Writer” – Snoopy tries to write his masterpiece: “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night”.
- “Poor Sweet Baby” – Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown are paired in this cute piece about love.
- “The Big Bow-Wow” – What do you do when you get selected as Head Beagle, well if you are Snoopy you celebrate by going out on the town and putting on a stage show!
- “Just One Person” – The Peanuts gang sing this ensemble piece that encourages each of us to believe in ourself!
- Premiere: January 29, 1988 on CBS.
- Voices: Sean Collings as Charlie Brown, Ami Foster as Lucy van Pelt, Jeremy Miller as Linus van Pelt, Tiffany Billings as Sally Brown, Cameron Clarke as Snoopy, Bill Melendez as Woodstock, Kristie Baker as Peppermint Patty
It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown
This special was a departure from the usual Peanuts specials in that it was a mix of animated and live action scenes. It wasn’t well received by critics and viewers alike, perhaps because it lacked many of the core Peanuts characters that audiences had grown to love over the years. Charlie Brown makes a brief appearance as does Snoopy, but the real star of this special is Snoopy’s brother, Spike.
Spike, who lives in Needles, California meets pretty Jenny, an aerobics instructor with secret dreams of becoming a big city jazz dancer. Together the two of them enjoy exploring the desert vistas in Jenny’s sturdy old red pick-up truck. Soon Spike is in love, but sadly, Jenny already has a boyfriend, Jeff and things are strained between the two, because, without Jenny’s permission, Jeff set up a dance audition for her. This not only interferes with her dance class schedule, but also means, that if she does well at the audition, she has to move away from the desert she loves so much.
After a nice little drive through the desert, Jenny takes Spike home so they can share a nice root bear float, but her boyfriend, Jeff shows up and he is a little bit jealous of Jenny’s friendship with Spike. The trio then decide to go to a roller rink, where Spike is accidentally thrown out of the place and ends up being chased by a group of hunters on a coyote chase. Jenny and Jeff go in search of him and end up rescuing him from the hunters. They want him to come home with them, but Spike simply can’t leave his beloved desert.
Jeff realizes that Jenny is mature enough to make her own choices and it was wrong of him to try to make them for her.
- Premiered on September 27, 1988 on CBS.
- Voices:Jason Riffle as Charlie Brown, Steven Solifar as French teacher, Jill Schulz as Jenny, Molly Brice as Molly, Greg Deacon as Jeff and Bill Melendez as Spike.
- This production took four years to make and Schulz’s wasn’t as pleased with the finished product as he had originally hoped.
- Some critics suspected that the special was inspired by the success of that summer’s feature film Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which had a mixture of live action and cartoon action, but Schulz denied it, saying he had created the idea in 1984, from a comic strip he had drawn.
- Monte Schulz, the son of Charles, co wrote the script which some reviewers considered to be rather “thin” in content.
Copyright: Glory Miller/Graple’s Entertainment Archive 2017