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Tag Archive: Bill Melendez


great-pumpkin

On Halloween night the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children. 

Sally was Lucy.  Kathy was Sally.  Chris was Charlie.  Peter was Linus.  And Bill was Snoopy.

For fifty years Charles M. Schulz’s Linus Van Pelt has been trying to convince us all to believe in The Great Pumpkin in The Peanuts holiday special It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!  Following on the success of the Peanuts Christmas special, Schulz was tapped to pick a holiday and subject and went with Halloween over Thanksgiving and the Great Pumpkin was destined for the small screen in October 1966.

It’s the one time Charlie Brown wasn’t the only ostracized kid in the neighborhood (although he’s the one who gets rocks every year and we never learn why).  Remember when all the little kids dressed up in the same costumes?  Here the costumes of choice were ghosts and witches.  And a World War I flying ace–Snoopy took his first flight on the screen in his Sopwith Camel in The Great Pumpkin.  

Chris Shea voiced Linus, Kathy Steinberg voiced Sally, Peter Robbins was Charlie Brown, and Lucy was voiced by Sally Dryer.  And Bill Melendez was the voice of Snoopy.

rocks

Who knew Sally was such a little lawyer?  You don’t remember that?  Watch it again and see.  And who saves the day?  Big sister Lucy.

If you missed the annual television viewing of It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!, don’t fret, you can watch the entire show here:

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Peanuts movie clipIt’s something that fans of Charlie Brown and Snoopy have been waiting for, for several reasons.  The Peanuts Movie hit theaters late last year, but it was lost in the movie season among the spectacle that was Star Wars released just weeks later.  Yet if you saw it in the theater, you realize this movie was a keeper.  The Peanuts Movie is what all family movies strive for:  classic characters, good-natured humor, something to enjoy for every moviegoer.  The very young will love Snoopy and understand the relationship of the Peanuts kids that we older folks have known and loved for years, in newspaper funnies, in paperback editions, and the many Peanuts specials.  The Peanuts Movie does something else–it provides the best version of Charlie Brown and friends we’ve seen since the original 1965 favorite A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The Peanuts Movie gets it right from the beginning, in its pedigree.  It’s written by Craig Schulz, Charles M. Schulz’s son and a writer on the Community comedy series, and Charles’ grandson, Bryan.  So, unlike the onslaught of lackluster adaptations that have plagued the Dr. Seuss properties after his death, the same heart and soul of Charles’ creation is as powerful as ever.  The writers have turned to the source material for many interactions in the film, like Lucy’s converted lemonade stand/psychiatry office and the famous wall where Charlie and Linus ponder the worlds’ problems, and yet they have updated the story in subtle and important ways that are both loyal to the original and still give loyalists a satisfying pay-off.  And don’t worry, the updating ends with the inclusion of standardized tests–you won’t find any cell phones, smart phones or texting issues for the kids in this movie.

The story centers around Charlie Brown’s attraction to the little red-haired girl who moves in across the street and the lengths he will go to to try to impress her.  This love affair was the core of many original Peanuts comic strips, based on Charles Schulz’s real-life attraction from afar with a red-haired girl.  Snoopy’s parallel exploits in this movie mirror this love affair, as he pursues his own love story on paper, revealed to us as a story of a dog trying to win over air pilot Fifi in his World War I Sopwith Camel fighter plane on a mission in France, also taking on the famous Red Baron.

Peanuts blu-ray

The Peanuts Movie hails from Blue Sky Studios, who brought us the Ice Age franchise.  Even without a 3D television the depth of field here is spectacular, and with the 3D effect director Steve Martino does not shell out standard 3D gimmicks, but lets the characters simply float off the comic strip and into their own full-color, beautiful “real” world.  The backgrounds look like the homes and backyards of any American town cul de sac.  And if you look close enough you’ll see Snoopy finally has fur.

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CB Xmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired December 9, 1965, and tonight ABC will mark its 50th anniversary with an airing of the holiday classic and a new special about the show.  It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, will be hosted by Kristen Bell and feature several celebrities including singer Sarah McLachlan.

As with each year since 1965, the most beloved Christmas classic of all time is airing early in December, so early that it’s always so easy to miss.  Set the DVR now to catch both the show and the documentary.  It will feature details about the creation of the show and creators Charles M. Schulz, Bill Melendez, Lee Mendelson, and Vince Guaraldi.

If you miss the show tonight, pick up this DVD anniversary edition of the classic here from Amazon.com and the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack re-mastered in 2012 here.

It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown airs tonight, November 30, 2015. at 7 p.m. Central on ABC, followed by the original A Charlie Brown Christmas at 8 p.m.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com