Peanuts is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, and in that time there has been 44 animated television specials. Almost all of those specials were released on VHS way back when, and a lot were released on Paramount DVD. But in late 2007, Warner Home Video acquired the rights to release the specials on DVD. Since then it has released a lot of specials that have never been on DVD before, and improved the video and audio quality of the specials that have been previously released. Still there seems to be no rhyme or reason on what special gets their own “Deluxe Remastered Edition” release, especially since it appears that they will also continue to release the comprehensive chronological decade collections on DVD. Eventually every special should be on DVD that way, but the next television special to get its own “Deluxe Edition” release is the fifth special ever made, He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown.
He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown centers on the bad behavior of Snoopy. Snoopy ignores every order Charlie Brown gives him, and everything Snoopy does drives the entire Peanuts gang crazy. Eventually, Charlie Brown has had enough with Snoopy’s antics, and decides to send Snoopy back to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm for obedience training. But first Snoopy is supposed to stay one night at Peppermint Patty’s house, since it was halfway between Charlie Brown’s house and the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. That one night stay turns into an extended visit, and Snoopy never makes it to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. Will Snoopy stay there forever, living in his own fantasy world? Or will he find out that life at Peppermint Patty’s house might not be that great either, and finally see the error of his ways?
This was the first special to feature Snoopy as the central character. You mainly get to see him daydream once again as the World War II “Flying Ace,” and just live his fantasy life. This special is more fun overall than the previous four specials simply because Snoopy doesn’t have a care in the world, unlike Charlie Brown who is always worrying about something. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lesson to be learned here, because there still is one. Kids will learn that “the grass isn’t as green on the other side.” This special is for every kid that has ran away from home, and found out that their lives aren’t as bad as they thought.
Snoopy and Peppermint Patty get the main starring roles here. But all of your other favorite Peanuts characters appear in this special as well. The key word is appear as in they only briefly appear on screen. This is the biggest problem with this special. The original, and no doubt best, voice cast come back for this special, but they are completely waster. All of the Peanuts characters are pretty much just whining and complaining about Snoopy’s bad behavior. Not the best use for the best voice cast of these characters.
He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown is definitely not the most memorable Peanuts special. In fact, it could easily be towards the bottom half of the most memorable list. But with its more upbeat tone and first starring role for Snoopy, it’s a welcome change of pace for Peanuts fans. The original voice cast is back for this special, but unfortunately they are largely underused. That is perhaps the only realy complaint with this special. It certainly entertaining and worth watching, but you don’t necessariily have to watch it on this DVD set.
The video is given in 1.33:1 fullscreen color. Like previous Warner Peanuts DVD releases, you shouldn’t expect a widescreen version of this animated feature since it is over 40 years old. However, the video has been digitally remastered so this is without a doubt the best this feature is going to look. It’s really about as good as you would expect and a vast improvement over the original release.
The audio included is available in either English Mono sound, Spanish Mono sound, Japanese Mono sound, or Portuguese Mono sound. There are subtitles available in English, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Thai as well. The music and dialogue come out loud and clear, so no major problems either. Simply does what it needs to do.
Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown Bonus Feature – This is also a previously unreleased full-length animated special. In this special, Snoopy once again runs away from home. This time Snoopy joins the circus, though. He soon falls in love with a poodle, who is also part of the circus. But he eventually finds out that life as a circus animal is not the greatest. There is some human on dog violence here, but this special still works well with the feature title. Not really that memorable, but still entertaining.
“Home on Ice: The Story of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena Featurette – This runs 22 minutes and it tells the story of Charles Schulz’s second home, the popular Northern California indoor ice rink that his family opened in 1969. The Arena offers public skating, private ice time, figure skating, junior hockey, and adult hockey. It is also host to the annual Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament, in which 64 teams from all over the world come to Santa Rosa for a week-long hockey tournament in the summer. Various people get interviewed here, including Lee Mendelson (executive producer), Kevin McCool (operations manager, Redwood Empire Ice Arena), Craig Schulz (Charles’ son), Skippy Baxter (professional skater/director, Redwood Empire Ice Arena), Jean Schulz (Charles’ wife), Lisa Illsley-Navarro (skating professor), Jim Doe (general manager, Redwood Empire Ice Arena. This part of Charles Schulz’s life is probably not known by many, except hardcore Peanuts fans. So this is pretty interesting.
He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown and Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown are both entertaining specials with a different feel to them, since Snoopy is the star. Eventually, Life is a Circus should be released on the Peanuts 1980s collection, though. So really for casual fans is this set worth the money based on the special feature, which won’t likely be on the 1980s collection. For hardcore fans, this is a good buy, because the special is fantastic.
Warner Home Video presents He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown. Directed by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman. Voice Cast: Peter Robbins, Michael Mandy, Gai De Faria, Brent Hauer, Chris Shea, Kristen Fullerton, Sally Dryer, Casey Carlson, Earl Reilly, Shannon Cohn, Christopher Donohoe, and Bill Melendez. Written by Charles M. Schulz. Running time: 49 minutes. NOT RATED. Released on DVD: September 21, 2010.
I'm not embarrassed to say that my favorite television show of all-time is The O.C. I live by the motto "you can't fight fate!" More importantly, I watch WAY too much television, but I do so for the benefit of everyone reading this now. So to my mom and my wife, I say thanks for reading! To everyone else that might stumble across this, remember TiVo should be your best friend!