Generally when one thinks of Peanuts cartoons the first ones that come to mind are the holiday specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas or It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. While those certainly are timeless classics, the creative team behind Peanuts have been cranking out TV specials almost once a year since 1965 and comes times two or more in one year. The 11 specials included in this set were released between 1975 and 1990.
While being the “Emmy Honored Collection” only two of these actually one Emmys. The cartoons in this set never quite reach the greatness of the early holiday specials, but none of them are stinkers either. This is a really solid collection with two covering surprisingly serious subject matters. Let’s run down the collection, shall we?
You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown!, wherein Charlie Brown decides to compete in the the decathlon in the Junior Olympics. At one point Lucy proclaim: “You could be the next Bruce Jenner!” which had exactly one meaning in 1979 when this was released, while today it means something decidedly different.
She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown (1980), which is a Peppermint Patty centric story about her training to be in an ice skating competition, with Snoopy being her trainer. Charlie Brown, is actually hardly in this one. This is one of the weaker offerings in the collection, but it’s still not that bad.
It’s Magic, Charlie Brown (1981), where Snoopy discovers magic and decides to put on a magic show for the kids. All is going well until he turns Charlie Brown invisible and can’t figure out how to fix it!
Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown (1981), Charlie Brown sees a girl on TV while watching a local football game and falls madly in love with her, so he and Linus go on a quest to find out who she is and where she can be found. Charlie Brown is nervous and has Linus do all the work for him, which backfires when they finally find the girl and.. well I don’t want to spoil it. Charlie Brown is a little annoying in this one, but it’s cute.
Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? (1983), probably one of my favorite in the collection, Charlie Brown is devastated to learn that Lucy and Linus’ parents are moving and thusly the kids are going with them. Charlie Brown is crushed that his best friend is gone and even Schroder realizes that he doesn’t hate Lucy as much as he pretends to. There are some real emotions in this story that elevate it above the rest.
Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown (1980), this is the Emmy winner on disc 1. Frankly I’m not sure why, this one wasn’t as good as some of the others, maybe it was a slow Emmy year. Snoopy falls in love with a poodle in the circus and ends up going on the road as part of their act in the circus. Charlie Brown is sad that his dog is gone, hijinks ensue, and you can probably guess how it ends.
What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?, released in 1983, this is a sequel to the feature film Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (1980). It picks up right where the film left off where the gang are headed to the airport to fly home. Along the way they stop off at Omaha Beach where Linus teaches the group about what happened here during World War II. This is actually a pretty heavy cartoon. I guess it’s designed to teach kids about WWII, but you might not want to let you kids watch this one alone, they’re sure to have questions.
It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (1984), with a name like that, this one had a lot of potential. The story is kind of all over the place, but in the end Sally brings Snoopy to show and tell and he ends up impressing the class with his sweet dance moves. This one is very silly.
Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985), I really enjoyed this one if only because it featured Snoopy’s brother Spike, from Needles, California, who I’m a big fan of. Snoopy has fallen in love with another poodle (he certainly has a type) and decides to get married, so the kids throw him a big party. But will he be able to go through with it?
Why, Charlie Brown, Why? (1990), seriously, grab your tissues, unless you have no soul. Charlie Brown and Linus are shocked to learn that one of their classmate as Leukemia and go to visit her in the hospital where she teaches them both about what Leukemia is and how they are going to try and help her get better. Later after her chemo she is back at school, but wearing a hat because she has lost all her hair. A bully picks on her, but Linus defends her and yells at the bully making him feel bad. This is an important cartoon, but again, watch it with your kids.
You’re A Good Sport, Charlie Brown (1975), disc 2 ends with the other Emmy winner in this collection. In this story, Peppermint Patty shows up on a motorcycle and tells the gang about motor-cross. Her, Charlie Brown and The Masked Marvel (Snoopy in disguise) compete in the big race. This one is probably the best cartoon in the collection, hence why they saved it for last even though it’s the oldest cartoon here. Marcie is particularly funny in this one.
There you have it. Fifteen years of Peanuts cartoons. Eleven nominations and two wins. Some are better than others, but they’re all worth watching. There is a certain innocence to Peanuts cartoons. The move at a slower pace that maybe the young kids today might get bored with, but maybe if you start them young enough, they’ll get used to it and loves these cartoons the way you did growing up.
The TV Specials are presented in a full screen format and Dolby Digital sound. You’re the Greatest and You’re a good sport are actually 5.1 surround. These cartoons a presented beautifully here, they look and sound fantastic.
There are no special features.
If you love Peanuts and want your kids to love them as much as you, this is a great collection to pick up. Sure, it doesn’t include the classic Holiday specials, but if you’re a Peanuts fan, you already have those. Add this to your collection and enjoy it with your kids (if you have them, that is).
Warner Bros. presents Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection.. Created by Charles Schulz. Running time: 265 min. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: September 15, 2015.
Tags: Charles Schulz, charlie brown, Emmy Honored Collection, peanuts, snoopy