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STUDIO: 
Warner Home Video
MSRP: $29.98
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 175 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES:

Featurette








The Pitch


The Peanuts Gang take their adventures into a new decade.

The Humans

Chad Webber, Robin Kohn, Stephen Shea, Hilary Momberger and Todd Barbee

The Nutshell

Warner Brothers has issued a new volume of Peanuts Television Specials. The six programs contained in this release cover 1971-1974. Melendez’s animation started to show a new polish, as new effects were blended into the narratives. Plus, you got some rather clever 70s soul infused scores that played well off the changing culture. The old favorites remained the same, but none of these specials lived up to Great Pumpkin or The Christmas Special.



This is exactly how the Free Credit Report guys got started.



The Lowdown

Lucy wants Schroeder to fall in love with her. Schroeder is worried about selling out. Lucy and Linus fight over being class president. Peppermint Patty’s affections for Charlie Brown nearly causes the bald kid to fail a class. Charlie Brown has too many guests at his Thanksgiving dinner. Woodstock gets his nest stolen. Finally, the Easter Beagle pays the kids a visit.


Would you buy insurance from this character?



The
aforementioned problems are what faced the kids in the first half of the Me Decade. Outside of the Thanksgiving special with its Jazzy score, there’s no iconic moments to be had. Hell, even the Thanksgiving special is a little sketchy in the minds of casual fans. Can you tell me what the gang ate that Holiday? The Great Pumpkin gets pulled into the mix for the Election special. Linus using touchbacks for his campaign seems a little too much like ploy.



The Advocate’s Lady of a Lifetime


But, that’s the beauty of hindsight. Why did the later specials start to fall apart? Does it have something to do with the Peanuts rising on their commercial peak. At the same time, Snoopy was starting to shill for MetLIFE and the gang were getting their faces on collectible glasses at McDonald’s. Schulz found himself in an interesting position as a creator, but it also distanced his work from its roots. Gone were the slightly dark characters of the 1950s. Now, you’ve got the marketable brats of the 1970s.

The
material is presented uncut and full vivid color. Warner Brothers has gone back and cleaned up the original masters since they reacquired the Peanuts library from Paramount. What’s even more amazing is that they’ve cleaned up the audio, so that it doesn’t resemble the tinny drop presented on several of the 60s Collection shorts. The weird split for the episodes leads me to wonder why more shorts couldn’t be stuffed onto the release. How many gigs would take to put five more thirty minute specials into the set?



You will sit here and wear your fancy hat!


The opening salvo of the 1970s specials experimented with the flow and aesthetic style of the Peanuts television specials. Schulz and Melendez knew that they had the freedom to break free of past budget constraints and really explore what they could do on television. What they failed to accomplish was a tighter focus on story. These specials are more open and flowing in their design and execution. While pretty to look at it, the experience is less than the prior decade.


Any normal dog would’ve mauled them by now.


The Package

The
package includes a featurette about the creation of Woodstock. You see his rise as an antagonist for Snoopy to becoming a life-long friend. Outside of that, you’ve got nothing. What more do you need? Well, perhaps a complete look at the Peanuts specials in the 1970s. But, that forgoes a second DVD dip. You weren’t going to get away this easy.


6.7 out of 10