Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition
February 15, 2008
Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown originally aired on the CBS network in 1975 and was the follow-up to It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (which had its debut in 1974). It featured the Peanuts gang that we all know and love, and their continuing trials and tribulations. This prime-time animated television special was originally released on DVD in 2003 by Paramount but Warner Brothers recently acquired the back catalogue to all of the Charlie Brown T.V. specials and this is their first release. How does it hold up? Pretty well, actually.
Valentine’s Day is approaching and Charlie Brown, the quintessential eternal optimist, hopes he will receive a valentine from… well, just about anybody will do. Linus hopes that he’ll receive one from his favourite teacher, Miss Othmar. Lucy hopes that Schroeder will finally give her the time of day. If you know anything about the Peanuts gang, you pretty much know how this is going to end up for them. Charles Schultz and company manage to maintain a careful balance between whimsy and melancholy as nobody really seems to find happiness in this special – except maybe the happy-go-lucky pair of Snoopy and Woodstock.
As with all Charlie Brown specials this one really works based on nostalgia factor but above and beyond that it also really taps into the feeling of unrequited love that everyone has felt at one point or another in their life. These are pretty complex emotions for a children’s cartoon but Schultz, once again, pulls it off.
Also included on this DVD is the sequel, It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, which aired in 1977. Once again, Charlie Brown pines after the Little Red-Haired Girl with predictable results. This special sparked minor controversy when the Little Red-Haired Girl, who, previously had only been shown in silhouette, was finally revealed and, naturally, did not live up to fans’ expectations. This also marked the first T.V. special without the jazzy music of Vince Guaraldi who had died in 1976. His presence is sorely missed.
Also included on this DVD is You’re in Love, Charlie Brown, which aired on CBS in 1967. It is significant in that it marked the on-screen debut of Peppermint Patty and was the first time the now famous “tromboning” was used – a muted trombone in place of adult voices. Once again, Charlie Brown seeks the Little Red-Haired Girl’s affection and ends up enlisting the help of Peppermint Patty. This one is much more optimistic in tone, especially for the long-suffering Charlie Brown. This one also features many of the original children who voiced some of the vintage T.V. specials like the Christmas and Halloween ones.
These specials have been re-mastered and look great. This is definitely worth upgrading from the inferior Paramount edition.
There is a fairly substantial featurette entitled, “Unlucky in Love: An Unrequited Love Story” that gives the inside scoop on how Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown was made with interviews with writers, cartoonists and some of Schultz’s family. What’s interesting is how much the story was based on the man’s own life.