Tuesday, November 17, 2015

You're In Love, Charlie Brown

Premiered June 12, 1967.

Charlie Brown:Why can't I have lunch with that little red-haired girl?  I get all worked up and my stomach starts to hurt I don't know what's the matter with me.  I don't feel very well
Linus:I know what's the matter with you.  You're in love, Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins) is nervous all the time.  He can't stop thinking about one of his classmates, the little red-haired girl.  Linus (Christoper Shea) understands right away that Chuck is in love.  He encourages his friend to tell the girl he likes her, but Charlie Brown is too shy to express his feelings.  But Chuck is running out of time.  There are only two more days of school before Summer Vacation begins.

This unrequited love dominates every moment of Charlie Brown's daily life.  He composes a love letter to the girl while at school.

When the teacher calls on him to present an oral report about Africa, he takes his notes up front to read.  Unfortunately, he gets his love letter gets mixed up with notes about Africa and he reads the letter aloud in front of the whole class.

During lunchtime, the little red-haired girl walks right by Charlie Brown.  It's a great opportunity to talk to her, but Chuck is so nervous he puts his lunch bag over his head!

The events of the day make Charlie Brown the laughing stock of the school.  Lucy (Sally Dryer) and Violet (Ann Altieri) are particularly cruel to him when he encounters them after school.  They mock him and sing a song about how no one could love Chuck because his head is "too darn round."

Charlie Brown is dejected.  He walks home alone declaring that he's just experienced "the worst day of my life."

Love is also in the air for other kids.  Lucy vies for Schroeder's attention.  When conventional methods fail, she takes drastic action.

Sally (Kathy Steinberg) also swoons over Linus, much to his embarrassment.

Chuck is unsure of what he should do, so he turns to Peppermint Patty (Gail DeFaria) for advice. Charlie Brown tells her he has a crush on a girl in his class, so Peppermint Patty decides to play matchmaker.

 The results of her matchmaking are less than spectacular.

The last day of school arrives and Charlie Brown decides that he's going to break down and tell her how he feels.   Knowing that the girl takes the bus to school, Chuck wakes up at the crack of dawn to be the first one at the bus stop.

Will Charlie Brown tell the little red-haired girl that he likes her?  If he does, how will she react?


You're In Love, Charlie Brown is the 4th Peanuts special and it's very good.  This is the first special to introduce the unseen little red-haired girl that Chuck crushes on.  I enjoyed this special, but I should mention that you may tire of hearing the phrase "that little red-haired girl" after the umpteenth time Charlie Brown says it.

Chuck plays "she loves me, she loves me not; Linus doubts that "a flower has the gift of prophecy."
Just like in other specials, some of the dialog was taken directly from Peanuts comic strips.   One of my favorite lines from Charlie Brown is "there's nothing like unrequited love to take all the flavor out of a peanut butter sandwich."

We get a rare sign of "continuity" between Charlie Brown specials.  Lucy mentions that she was "the Christmas Queen," which is, of course, a reference to A Charlie Brown Christmas.

You're In Love, Charlie Brown is historically important for two reasons:

Peppermint Patty makes her first appearance in animated form.  She's a great character and an important member of the cast.  In my book, the definitive Peanuts "ensemble" doesn't really come together until Peppermint Patty arrives on the scene. 

This is also the first time we hear Chuck's school teacher speak in the "wah-wah-wah" voice.  This would become a staple in Charlie Brown specials for more than a decade.  The teacher's "voice" was created using a muted trombone.

Most of the original Peanuts voice actors appear in this special.  Peter Robbins is good as ever as Charlie Brown.  When Chuck says he's having the worst day of his life, Robbins makes us believe it.  Gail DeFaria makes her first of three appearances as Peppermint Patty and she's great too.  Ann Altieri and Sally Dryer are perfectly vicious as Violet and Lucy.  

Sally prepares to graduate from Kindergarten.  We get a rare glimpse of her room.
The animation in this special is gorgeous from beginning to end.  There a lots of beautiful flowers in the background, giving the impression that Springtime is in full bloom.  We even get a nice brief scene of various animals falling "in love."

And we get some great animation of Charlie Brown's reactions whenever he sees the little red-haired girl.

There's an odd moment near the end of this special I must address.  Charlie Brown runs out to the school bus so he can talk to the little red-haired girl before she gets on.  We see a crowd of students walk past Chuck.  Linus walks past him twice.  

Charlie Brown doesn't see the little red-haired girl, but in this shot, you can see a red-haired girl through the bus' windshield:

Perhaps it's not THE little red-haired girl, but this would've bothered me as a kid.  I'm sure this is just a case of the animators running out of time, money and characters to use.

Peppermint Patty talks to "Lucille."
Vince Guaraldi's title theme is very bouncy, catchy jazz waltz.  It also serves as the tune for Lucy's and Violet's nasty song about Chuck.  Guaraldi also wrote a new theme for  Peppermint Patty that's introduced here and it's one of my favorite Guaraldi compositions. 

Snoopy's visit to the playground is nicely choreographed with a Guaraldi piece titled "The Red Baron."

Snoopy jumps rope while simultaneously kicking a tetherball!

This special has been released multiple times on dvd.  It can be found in the Peanuts 1960s Collection and another dvd called Happiness Is Peanuts:Friends ForeverIt also streams on Amazon.

You're In Love, Charlie Brown is a great special from the classic era of Peanuts animation.  It has universal appeal because we've all likely been in a scenario where we were too shy to express our feelings.  The first appearances of the teacher's voice and Peppermint Patty earn it an extra half-Sparky.

4 Sparkys!

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