When the holidays roll around, I can’t help but think about the many great Charlie Brown television specials that appear throughout the year. Of course you have It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown at Halloween, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas at Christmastime, but you also have Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, with many others. The jazzy piano music of Vince Guaraldi provides much of the soundtrack in my mind to this very day.
Based on the Peanuts comic strip of creator Charles M. Schultz, which began appearing in newspapers by 1950 and ended in 2000, each of the animated specials has offered a slice of the world Charlie Brown and Snoopy inhabit. And I know I for one will happily revisit that world just about any day of the week. Even so, I know I haven’t seen all of the Charlie Brown/Peanuts television specials that have aired over the years. The usual suspects appear every year on TV, but there are many that appeared once and then seemingly disappeared into that space where forgotten cartoons go.
That’s why I’m very happy that Warner Brothers has been re-releasing many of the older animated Peanuts features that we haven’t seen before. Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is one of the specials that falls into this category. I don’t remember ever seeing it on television, but am happy to share it with my two daughters who haven’t seen very many of these amazing cartoons.
Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales focuses on a series of Christmastime vignettes featuring a different Peanuts character. Snoopy, Linus, Sally, Lucy, and Charlie Brown are all featured. Snoopy struggles with trying to forge a Christmas peace with the ferocious cat next door and wants to ice skate with Lucy though she wants nothing to do with him. Linus works on his letter to Santa and tries to figure out the girl who sits behind him in class who is always changing her name. Sally writes a letter to “Samantha Claus” and embarrasses herself in class, Lucy tries to be nice, and Charlie Brown tries to prepare for the holiday.
Through each little story, you catch a glimpse into the minds of these characters. And though I prefer A Charlie Brown Christmas, I think Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales may be added to the long list of holiday specials to watch as Christmas grows near.
Also included on the DVD is “Is this Goodbye, Charlie Brown?” in which Linus and Lucy unexpectedly move away, forcing Charlie Brown, Sally, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang to deal with their loss. Though I liked this feature, I have to wonder why it would be included on a holiday-themed DVD.
But if you’re looking for another classic holiday special for your arsenal of DVDs, I’d definitely check out Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales!
This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.
p.s. Pick up this and other animated classics below!