Created by Charles Schulz
Directed by Bill Melendez
Voices by Peter Robbins, Christopher Shea, Sally Dryer, Gail and Lisa DeFaria
Okay, I know I can’t be the only one that feels this way. It just isn’t Halloween, or Thanksgiving or Christmas unless you hear Charlie Brown’s voice emanate from your TV. I know it just doesn’t feel like the holidays until I hear the gorgeous melancholy Vince Guaraldi score from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Warner Brothers Home Video recently released Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection on DVD.
The TV Specials:
Warner Brothers has offered up newly remastered editions of these television specials. Here is a quick look at the specials, but don’t you already have these plots memorized already?
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) finds the gang dealing with the commercialization of the holiday and this has got Charlie awfully down. Even though he is directing the local Christmas pageant, he still has the blues. Snoopy only cares about winning a decorating contest, so he can’t provide him any insight. Even taking Linus shopping for a new tree isn’t raising his spirits. Until, Linus finds a way to share with Charlie Brown the true meaning of the holiday.
It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966): Okay, who is this person who is giving out rocks during Halloween? Charlie Brown lives in one cruel neighborhood. There is a big Halloween party for everyone, but how did Charlie get invited? While everyone is out trick or treating and Snoopy is imagining being a fighter pilot during World War I, Linus and Sally are freezing their butts off waiting for Linus’s Great Pumpkin, who only visits the most sincere pumpkin patches and rewards those who wait for him. Does he ever show up?
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973): This seems to be the least popular of the holiday trio, but I still like it. Charlie Brown is hosting a dinner at his house and Peppermint Patty invites herself, Marcy and a bunch of other people over. Break out the ping pong tables, popcorn, jelly beans and toast, kids! Snoopy and Woodstock lend a paw and a wing to try to help out the overly stressed out Charlie.
Bill Melendez captured the sweet, simple and subtle cynical undertones of Schulz’s comic strip to absolute perfection. The voice work by all involved is marvelous.
These specials have not looked this good in years, a vast improvement over the release several years ago. There is not an instant of weak colors, dirt or damage in these transfers. And, there are some nice bonus features are included.
So, with the holiday’s approaching, this has got to go on your shopping list. You just can’t rely that they will be broadcast again this year, especially the Thanksgiving special. Trust me; it is a trip down memory lane that you will want to take again and again. These specials are the very definition of TV classics.
Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection is presented in the original full frame aspect ratio. The transfer looks great and there are no instances of grain, dirt or damage in all of the specials. If you haven’t bought these yet, this is the one to own. And if you have already bought the collection before, put it up on Ebay and get this one.
Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection is in the original mono mix. However, the audio restoration is nicely done with absolutely clean dialogue. The music is nicely presented. These haven’t sounded this good in many years
The Packaging and Bonus Features
Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection is presented in a amaray cases enclosed in a cardboard slipcover.
Some nice bonus features await your discovery on this release. A Christmas Miracle: The Making of A Charlie Brown Christmas brings Jeannie Schulz, Producer Lee Mendelson, Bill Melendez, Animation writer/historian Mark Evanier and Peanuts historian Scott Mc Guire together to recollect the production of the Christmas Special. We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown and Popcorn and Jellybeans: Making a Thanksgiving Classic are also offered recalling the making of the Halloween and Thanksgiving specials.
In addition to the three classic Peanut’s specials, there are also three bonus specials offered: It’s Magic, Charlie Brown (1981), The Mayflower Voyagers (1988) and It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992). While these are not as wonderful as the others offered, any Peanuts fan will still enjoy them.
There is also a six song sampler CD of music, including My Little Drum, Linus and Lucy, Hark, the Herald Angels Sin, Christmas is Coming, Fur Elise and Greensleeves. There are also some codes for free downloads on ITunes too.
Overall ( Not an Average) 8/10
The Series 10/10
The Video 7.5/10
The Audio 7/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 7/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10