BOOTLEG FILES 744: “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (1973 television production of the Off-Broadway musical).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Most likely due to a problem with rights clearance.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely at this time.
One of the big entertainment stories this week was the announcement that the classic year-end holiday specials featuring the characters from Charles M. Schulz’s “Peanuts” comic strip will not be shown on broadcast television, but will instead be seen on a streaming service. Many fans of these productions were deeply disappointed, as these specials have been an integral part of the holiday season television line-up for decades. However, there is another television special based on “Peanuts” that has not been broadcast since its only offering 47 years ago. Continue reading →
BOOTLEG FILES 662: “It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown” (1988 TV special).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS video.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It is out of circulation for many years.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely at this time.
Following the dismal reception of his 1988 made-for-television special “It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown,” Charles M. Schulz lamented that “I wanted this to be my ‘Citizen Kane,’ but it’s not.” From an Orson Welles analogy perspective, the production might have been closer to those infamous drunken outtakes for the Paul Masson champagne – a weird, embarrassing blip in the late stages of a brilliant career. Continue reading →
BOOTLEG FILES 584: “How Did You Happen to Get Snoopy, Charlie Brown?” (2017 fan film based on the Charles M. Schulz characters).
LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: The unauthorized use of copyright-protected characters.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
There has been so much talk about childhood bullying in recent years that it is difficult not to recognize the role that Charles M. Schulz played in encouraging this negative environment. Yes, the creator of the long-running and beloved “Peanuts” comic strip used the concept of casual bullying as a light comedy theme focused on the character Charlie Brown. But let’s face it, the idea of a young boy constantly being harassed and insulted for his alleged stupidity, lack of personality, lack of athletic ability and overall clumsiness is not exactly hilarious in principle – and the fact that Charlie Brown’s tormentors are never punished or are very rarely remorseful for their malice is equally problematic.
I wish Hollywood would display this much respect and restraint with Dr. Seuss as they have with Charles Shulz. As a hardcore fan of Peanuts, I was initially very weary about how the series would be treated for a more mainstream modern audience. Thankfully my fears were laid to rest watching “The Peanuts Movie,” which isn’t just an adaptation of the original series, but is also a love letter to boot. Fans of the series will love how Steve Martino treats Charlie Brown and his world, opting for a wholesome respectful film, rather than ramming in pop culture references, and a sugary pop soundtrack. There’s nothing remotely cloying or obnoxious about “The Peanuts Movie,” and the new animation format even works in the series favor.
While the rest of America is celebrating the resurgence of the Peanuts with “The Peanuts Movie,” those that want an education in to the appeal of the series can pick up Warner’s latest release. While the holiday series from the Peanuts are typically timeless and quite iconic, the Peanuts has also earned themselves plenty of Emmy nominations and a few wins with some non-holiday themed Charlie Brown specials that are also quite good in their own right. Warner releases over four hours of Charlie Brown specials on a two DVD set that is so worth the pick up. Especially if you’re a hardcore Peanuts fans like yours truly.
Rife with political satire and social commentary, “You’re Not Elected” is one of the more entertaining animated adventures by the Peanuts Gang. In it Charles Schulz and co. tackle the political industry by pinning the classmates of Charlie’s school against each other in a brutal match for class president.
5. Tie: Fred Flinstone/Snoopy
In the end, I really couldn’t decide who I loved more. They’ve both had a significant impact on my childhood, they’ve both managed to garner more than a few chuckles out of me over the years, and they’re also interesting creations who have garnered a long shelf life thanks to the innovation of their creators. Snoopy was the much needed edge in the “Charlie Brown” cartoons always giving the characters a run for their money, even during hard times. And I don’t know a single person who didn’t like the Red Baron. From his interaction with Woodstock, to his battles with Peppermint Patty, Snoopy is an enduring icon. Fred originally began as a spoof of Ralph Kramden and thankfully gained his own individual cult status in one of the funniest cartoons ever created. Fred has that particular personality to him that warrants the same laughs as Kramden did, but also revealed a sweet center that showed on more than one occasion. Even at its absolute worst, “The Flintstones” strived thanks to the combined comedy of Fred and Barney.
Being a rather big fan of Charles Schulz’s “Charlie Brown” franchise, it was of most interest to me to watch the often talked about “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” a production that I’d often heard about in the past and yet could never quite watch. Finally it’s on Deluxe DVD and it’s a pretty darn good representation.