Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show-Episode 1: "Snoopy's Cat Fight"

Premiered September 17, 1983.

Peppermint Patty: Stop chewing on your eraser, Chuck, it bugs me!.  Stop drumming your fingers on the desk, Chuck.  It grosses me out!
Charlie Brown: (sigh)
Peppermint Patty: And don't hassle me with your sighs, Chuck!

The first episode of this 1980s series gives us several short segments featuring Charlie Brown and the gang:

"Woodstock"-Snoopy (Bill Melendez) is playing basketball and decides to use Woodstock's (Melendez) nest as a basket.

 Ouch!  But the little birdie gets the last laugh.

"Baseball"-Charlie Brown (Brad Kesten)  is determined "bear down and pitch a great game" when he learns the Little Red Haired Girl is watching the game.  Chuck wants to impress her,but he freezes up, then can't stop shaking and is unable to finish the game.

 How will his team do without its starting pitcher?

Sally says the contents of the box will fill her classmates "with terror and horror."
 "Sally"-Chuck's little sister Sally (Stacy Heather Tolkin) has difficulty when she attempts to give "Show & Tell" reports at school.

"Peppermint Patty"-When his school building collapses, Charlie Brown is forced to go to another school...and share a desk with Peppermint Patty ().  This leads to Peppermint Patty criticizing everything Chuck does...and a trip to the Principal's office for both of them.

"Piano"-Lucy gets some competition for Schroeder's (Kevin Brando) attention, as Freida (Mary Tunnell) decides to lean on the piano as well.

 Plus, Shroeder gets some musical competition when Snoopy shows up to play the accordion.

"Blanket"-Eudora (Mary Tunnell), the new girl in the neighborhood asks Linus if she can hold his security blanket.  When Eudora smiles at him, it convinces Linus () to let her take the blanket home.

But he soon realizes his mistake when he starts having a nervous breakdown.

When he tries go get it back, Linus discovers that Eudora has given the blanket to the cat next door.  Linus then gets Snoopy and Woodstock to help him rescue the blanket from the cat.  This leads to a dog/cat/boy and bird fight!

 J.A. Morris says:
I realize this is an episode of a tv series, rather than a special, but I think it's "non-holiday" nature makes it worth covering here.

Snoopy stops a baseball game to get his ears scratched.
 This was a series I watched occasionally (I was "transitioning" into my teen years & out of Saturday morning cartoons) when it first aired. I remember enjoying it at the time, but I hadn't seen in 20+ years until it was released last year on dvd.  I want to recommend that series (and dvd) to any fan who might have missed it until now.

Marcie (Micheal Dockery) points out the Peppermint Patty mis-spelled "disturbance".
 As for "Snoopy's Cat Fight", it's a very good first episode.  What we get in this series is (quite literally) animated adaptations of Schulz's comic strips. Most of them are less than five minutes long.  Even if you know the "plots" of these shorts from the strip, it's still fun to see them animated.

Many of the familiar and beloved tropes from the specials and comic strip are featured here:Charlie Brown's pitching difficulties, Lucy seeks attention from Schroeder while questioning the greatness of Beethoven, Snoopy attempts to steal Linus' blanket, Peppermint Patty falling asleep in class, and so on. 

Snoopy attempts to "charm" the blanket away from Eudora.
The voice actors were all well cast, most of them also worked in Charlie Brown specials that were made in the 1980s.  Ed Bogas and Desiree Goyette composed the music for the show.  It's pretty good piano/flute jazz music.

One thing that jumped out was that while this series was aimed at children, it wasn't "dumbed down" for Saturday mornings.  When Charlie Brown gets nervous about the Little Red Haired Girl, Schroeder suggests they may need a neurologist.  How many kids cartoons ever mentioned the word "neurologist"?

I'd say my favorite short was the "Peppermint Patty" segment.  I always enjoy seeing her interact with Charlie Brown.  In many of the specials, Peppermint Patty hints that she might have a crush on Chuck.  But not here, as their close proximity brings out the worst in Peppermint Patty.

And the last short, "Blanket" was also good.  It was interesting to see a new-ish character like Eudora (introduced in the comic strip in 1978) interact with long-established cast members like Linus and Sally.
A note about the availability of this show:The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show is only available on dvd from the Warner Archive, a Manufactured-On-Demand service.  The series (and individual episodes) can also be streamed (for a fee, of course) at Amazon.

I don't plan to review every episode of The Charlie Brown And Snoopy Show, but I will give a solid recommendation to the whole series.  And "Snoopy's Cat Fight" is a very good beginning to the show. 

J.A. Morris' rating:


3 and a half Sparkys.

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