There was a Rerun Van Pelt? Even as a fan of Peanuts, the fact that Lucy and Linus had a younger brother never registered with me until watching I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown. Who was this Rerun? While the suspicion was he was a recent creation for the TV special, the tot was a part of the comic strip in 1973. It doesn’t help that Rerun looks a lot like Linus with slight less hairlines and overalls. They could easily be mistaken for twins or just Linus when Charles Schulz got lazy on drawing hair. Schulz left the character out of the panels for most of the ‘80s so that made him less memorable. It wasn’t till the late ‘90s that Rerun returned as a main character in the newspaper. During that time, I thought he was merely Linus without the Holy Roller Bible quoting. I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition contains two Peanuts winter holiday TV specials that feature Rerun and the rest of the gang.
I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003 – 41:22) adds to the holiday cheer found on A Charlie Brown Christmas. The “I” in the title is Rerun. The kid desperately wants a canine companion. His mom and Lucy think he’s not capable of caring for a pet. They shut down his request. The tyke gets Charlie Brown to loan him Snoopy. The world’s most popular dog isn’t into Rerun’s games. Snoopy gets his brother Spike to hang with Rerun. The Van Pelts aren’t sure what to make of the shaggy and skinny beagle from the desert. Is this the kinda dog Rerun wants? This a fine festive special with a message about dog ownership at Christmas. Maybe the kids would be better off with one of those robo-dogs? Even though Charles Schulz had been dead for a few years, there are no liberties taken with his material. The script comes from his comic strips with the jokes pouring out of the balloons. This special continues his legacy instead of re-imagining it.
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (1986 – 24:17) ruins Charlie’s holiday when the teacher assigns War and Peace for a book report during the break. So much for calling it a vacation. What’s worse is his slow reading speed. He takes a day to finish the dust jacket. Peppermint Patty has other plans for the wishy-washy superstar. She wants him to be her date for a New Year’s Eve party. She’s all over the boy to make sure he doesn’t spend midnight alone with his thick tome. Charlie wants the little red haired girl to be at the party. Why can’t he have a torrid night with Peppermint Patty? The big song involves musical chairs. Charlie ends up on Patty’s lap, but he doesn’t seem to excited touching her flip-flops. Rerun has a small part in the special. Although he’s supposed to be a baby, he’s the same size as Linus. In fact he looks like a clone baby of his brother. The big mystery is who gets first kiss on Charlie Brown. It’s completely unexpected.
As the holidays approach, it’s always nice to have Charlie Brown and the gang on the TV. I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown bring out the finer elements of the Peanuts gangs when it comes to the holidays. These are fine additions to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Just don’t let your new puppy chew on the disc.
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are worthy of being part of a Remastered Deluxe Edition. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround. The whole thing is recorded in a sound booth so nothing gets too quiet. The subtitles are in English, Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese.
Sibling Rivalry: Growing Up Van Pelt (11:09) has people defending Rerun as the normal member of the cast. More normal than Sherman? There is talk about how sometimes it’s hard to tell Rerun from Linus. They confirm that the dialogue for I Want A Dog For Christmas was taken directly from the comic strips.
I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition is a double dose of holiday time Peanuts. I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown reminds us of Charles Schulz’s ability to brighten up Christmas with his verbal wit. Happy New Year, Charlie Brown reminds us of why you can’t be distracted at Midnight or the really wrong person will be your first kiss when the date changes.
Warner Home Video presents I Want A Dog For Christmas, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition. Starring: Rerun, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and Charlie Brown. Running Time: 65 minutes. Released on DVD: October 6, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: charlie brown, Christmas, linus, New Year's Eve, peanuts, snoopy