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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 150 Minutes
The 1960s brought the Peanuts gang from comic strips to televisions.
Little did they know that they were skating over the frozen graves of their early counterparts.
Peter Robbins, Sally Dryer, Christopher Shea, Ann Altieri and Gail DeFaria
Peanuts – The 1960s Collection starts what I hope becomes a long line of decade themed Peanuts releases. Sure, you’re going to see a dip in quality around the early 1980s. But, that’s to be expected. Where else can you go after Flash Beagle? Most of the quality shorts are presented on this first release, but there are still favorites to be had.
The Peanuts and their television specials have become cornerstones of the American television experience. How many people out there haven’t seen the pathetic little Christmas tree? Who hasn’t watched Linus wait year after year for The Great Pumpkin? But, there’s all two newbies to the bunch. He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown and It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown are making their DVD debut here. You’re not gaining much with their inclusion.
Charlie Brown’s six 1960s adventures range in quality. You get the classic Christmas debut that contains some of the most memorable moments in American animation. Plus, there’s the Halloween follow-up that forever placed runaway children in pumpkin patches on All Hallows’ Eve. But, what’s to be made of these extra specials about baseball, dog training, summer camp and love? Why can’t anyone seem to remember these escapades?
Charlie Brown’s All-Stars is the special that surprised me. Baseball and Charlie Brown go hand-in-hand. How many strips, books, cartoons, MetLife commercials have been dedicated to that little guy trying to keep his game face on? This short appears to be the first animated venture dedicated to showing that no matter what Charles Brown tries, he will never be able to beat the odds. Yet, you’re supposed to identify with him because he won’t kick Snoopy or the girls off the team. What kind of commie shit is that?
The humor is timeless, as everyone can relate to making fun of a bald kid for being a failure. Unless you were a bald kid, then this might be a constant reminder of the failures of your youth. Out of the previously unreleased to DVD shorts, It Was a Short Summer stands out more. It obviously plays as a test run for the Peanuts feature film Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown. What stands out about it is the fact that you see Peppermint Patty developing a personality and becoming a foil for Brown. She lacked the mean spirit of a Lucy, but she so uncouth.
The audio is really thin for what’s supposed to be six remastered shorts. Sure, there’s probably not a whole lot that you can go for the original mono tracks. But, a modicum of remastering can go a very long way. I don’t know how Warner Brothers treated the audio tracks after the transfer from Paramount. But, I’ve heard far cleaner audio on the same Paramount discs from 2002.
DVD only has one featurette as a supplemental. It’s a rather lengthy look at Vince Guaraldi and his musical compositions for the Peanuts gang. There’s enough material to be fleshed out to a feature length documentary, but no one seems that concerned with it here. It’s just a basic rundown of the Peanuts theme and photos that show off Guaraldi’s handlebar moustache. You’ll get one good viewing out of it and then skip it upon returning to this disc.