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Kevin Krock, editor
DVD Review
Peanuts Classic Holiday Collection
(2000)
| Approx. 150 Minutes | Not Rated | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

Set includes It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas. See individual titles for disc specific details.

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
(1966)
| Approx. 50 Minutes | Not Rated | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
(1973)
| Approx. 50 Minutes | Not Rated | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value
A Charlie Brown Christmas
(1965)
| Approx. 50 Minutes | Not Rated | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

The Television Shows

I’m sure most people are familiar with at least one of these three classic Peanuts holiday season specials. As a child, I fondly remember awaiting their annual appearance on television because they always signaled the start of some special holiday season. It has been years since I have sat down and watched them, but this past year the ABC television network acquired the broadcast rights (beating out CBS which debuted them).

Just about a year ago, Paramount Home Video released three of the most popular holiday titles, and now is the perfect time to revisit the nice three- disc box set. (The titles have also been released individually.) All three of the discs contain shows that are simple, insightful, and entertaining for both children and adults. After watching them, I had forgotten how well these 28- to 35-year-old television specials echo themes pertinent to today.

Here are brief summaries for those unfamiliar with each of these television specials:

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

  • "It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" – Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang get together for a Halloween celebration and trick-or-treating. Linus and Sally pass up on the fun and patiently wait in a pumpkin patch for the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, the Halloween version of Santa Claus.
  • "You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown" – Linus loses the class election when he begins to talk about the wonders of the Great Pumpkin.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

  • "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving""Wishy-washy" Charlie Brown gets roped into providing a Thanksgiving dinner for all of his friends, even though he will not be home for Thanksgiving. Snoopy almost saves the day by whipping up a feast of toast, popcorn and an assortment of other goodies for everyone before Charlie Brown has to leave for his grandmother’s Condo. Fortunately for the Peanuts gang, grandma comes through and invites them all over for a real dinner.
  • "The Mayflower Voyagers" – The story of the Pilgrims’ voyage to the New World as told by the Peanuts gang.

Promotional art © Paramount Pictures
Promotional art © Paramount Pictures

A Charlie Brown Christmas

  • "A Charlie Brown Christmas" – Charlie Brown gets the blues because he feels that the message of Christmas has been lost amid the seasonal commercialism, so to get over them, he gets involved with the Peanuts’ Christmas play. While his efforts to direct the play fail, the pitiful tree he selects as a stage prop becomes a symbol of the true meaning of Christmas and brings the whole gang together to share a little love.
  • "It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown" – Another Christmas, another Christmas play for the Peanuts gang. Produced in 1992, this is the most recent of the shows, and it is more of a disjointed collection of seasonal vignettes than a show with a plot.

All of these exhibit a very simple animation style, with very simple backgrounds and flat character animation. Although, keep in mind that the television shows were originally designed to simply bring the comic strip characters to life, so the styles of the two media look very similar. In the end, this simplicity actually works in favor of these shows, because much of the charm stems from the character development and stories rather than flashy animation.

CLICK TO BUY
This book (shown above) may be of interest if you are a fan of the first special, it contains the complete history of the Christmas show, including the scrip and sheet music for the songs Click here to Buy

The Goodies

The goodies are where the discs fall seriously short. The bonus shows are nice, but they only fill up another 25 minutes of space on the discs. I would have been interested to have a little Charles Schultz video biography or video clips of Schultz talking about the genesis of these shows. Alas, that will apparently have to wait for another day. Beyond the bonus show on each disc, there are no additional materials.

Promotional art © Paramount Pictures
Promotional art © Paramount Pictures

The Video, Audio and Interface

Along the same minimalist line as the goodies, the video, audio and interface, which are nothing to shout about. The video transfers look pretty good for being as old as most of them are, and they are completely adequate for routine viewing. The audio on all of the shows is a very basic, English monaural transfer, and while clear and clean, will not push an audio system to its limits. The user interfaces are also about as basic as they get. The menus are simply static screens with no audio accompaniment.

For the hard-core home theater fan, these add up to a big disappointment. For children and many family DVD viewers, these factors are secondary to the shows, and do not really detract from their enjoyment.

Promotional art © Paramount Pictures
Promotional art © Paramount Pictures

The Final Evaluation

If you are a big Peanuts fan, you either already own this three- disc set, or should probably go out and buy it. It is a classic set of shows that are perfect for the whole family during the upcoming holiday season. For the rest of you, though, it may come down to how much you enjoy a particular show. With the distinct lack of bonus material, the set and individual disc costs may be a bit much for those marginally interested in good ol’ Chuck and his friends.

I have seen the set on sale for around $45 to $55 and the individual discs for about $15 to $17, but when compared to other recently released, DVDs rich in bonus material in the same price range, such as Dumbo and Snow White, the Peanuts discs come up a bit short.

Promotional art © Paramount Pictures
Promotional art © Paramount Pictures

GREAT PUMPKIN
DVD FEATURES

Goodies

  • Bonus feature You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown

Technical Specifications

  • Region 1 Encoded
  • Single-sided, single-layer
  • English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • English subtitles
  • Full-frame - 1.33:1
THANKSGIVING
DVD FEATURES

Goodies

  • Bonus feature The Mayflower Voyagers

Technical Specifications

  • Region 1 Encoded
  • Single-sided, single-layer
  • English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • English subtitles
  • Full-frame - 1.33:1
CHRISTMAS
DVD FEATURES

Goodies

  • Bonus feature It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown

Technical Specifications

  • Region 1 Encoded
  • Single-sided, single-layer
  • English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • English subtitles
  • Full-frame - 1.33:1
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