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My favorite holiday of all time is quickly approaching and believe it or not, some stores already had the Halloween decorations on shelves in the final days of August. While I’ll admit that’s a bit much, I still can’t help but get excited seeing the plastic pumpkins, creepy witches, and old school costumes that only had a front on them hit the store aisles. The fall season really brings about the start of my favorite time of year when the last couple months bring the cold weather, football, and some really great holidays. And with all of that comes something else that makes these last four months even more special…the Charlie Brown television specials.
Halloween night is on its way and everyone in the Peanuts’ gang is getting ready for trick-or-treating. Decorations are being hung up and all the kids are trying to decide what would be the best choice for a costume this year. There are going to be parties, scares, and tons of candy for all who want it. Make sure to realize that it is only for all who want it because one little boy in particular has other plans. Lucy’s blanket-toting little brother Linus is prepared to wait the entire night in a pumpkin patch so the Great Pumpkin can bring toys to all the little girls and boys. And always at the side of her sweet baboo is Sally who decides to miss the parties and candy, and wait it out with Linus.
Let’s not forget that at the same time all this is happening, Charlie Brown’s famous dog Snoopy is off on an adventure of his own. This Halloween night he is facing off against his arch-enemy, the dreaded Red Baron. He is shot down by his nemesis and must find his way across the countryside in order to find shelter and make it safely through the long night. It’s a great side story that brings a touch of seriousness to the fun and light-hearted tale involving the rest of the gang.
There’s just no better way to spend the holidays then with Charlie Brown and all of his friends because they take you back to simpler times. Even though I’ve got every Peanut’s special on DVD, I look forward to watching them on television when they come on at Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Valentine’s Day because they make me feel like a kid again. My parents always made sure to let me know when they’d be coming on, and I would get all excited, plop myself in front of the old boob tube, and just bask in the corny glory that is Charlie Brown and the all of Charles Schulz’s children.
The film is shown in 1.33:1 Full Frame format and it looks brilliant. Everything appears to have been touched up and made to look brighter, fuller, and more vibrant. They have really done a bang-up job here getting the entire episode to just come through looking fantastic for being so old.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital Mono sound and you can tell that this has also been remastered to come through a bit clearer then past releases. A little hiss and some pops can be heard here and there but for the most part all dialogue, and more importantly the music, is heard loud and clear.
It’s Magic, Charlie Brown – This is another full-length special that first aired in 1981. It is a really cute story that involves Snoopy putting on a magic show and doing a trick that turns Charlie Brown invisible. Even though it seems like a big problem, Charlie Brown actually looks to make the most of his situation. It’s not a bad episode and really has nothing to do with Halloween nor is it as good as the holiday specials, but its fun getting the fans more episodes into their collections.
We Need A Blockbuster – A blockbuster is what they get with this featurette that has comments and discussion from numerous people involved with the Peanuts’ gang. Writers, animators, studio executives, and even Monte Schulz, who is the son of the late great Charles, talk about everything you would ever want to know about Charlie Brown and all of his friends. This must-see feature runs just under fourteen minutes.
Digital Music Download – Included in the DVD case is a code to download two great Peanuts’ songs, “Great Pumpkin Waltz” and “Oh, Good Grief” from ITunes.
Even if you already have the 2000 release of this DVD, you need to pick up this version as well. The picture and sound is remastered to make it look and sound so incredibly awesome. Both special features are great and it gives you a chance to own It’s Magic, Charlie Brown which probably will never be made available again unless some huge collection comes out. Fans of Charlie Brown and the television specials need this for nostalgia sake and just because it is so good. Those who have never seen it before need to get it in order to start their own traditions. It is not the best special from Charles Schulz as that honor lies with A Charlie Brown Christmas, but it is second best and needs to be enjoyed by good boys and girls from around the world.
Warner Home Video presents It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition. Directed by: Bill Melendez. Starring (voices): Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Sally Dryer, Cathy Steinberg, and more. Written by: Charles M. Schulz. Running time: 25 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: September 2, 2008. Available at Amazon.com