You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, the television special that aired originally in 1985, is making its debut on DVD. The comic strip Peanuts, by Charles Schulz, is one of the most beloved of all time. You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown is an animated television special based on a Broadway musical. This play was based on a concept album featuring Orson Bean as Charlie Brown, and this record was based on Schulz’s famous comic. Clearly the influences of Peanuts are far reaching, and now a whole new generation can enjoy this classic TV special.
Since You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown is based on Peanuts, it definitely tries to capture the spirit of the comic strip. As such, it has many individual scenes that are only loosely connected, featuring different characters from the Peanuts universe. Charlie Brown tries (and fails) to fly a kite. Schroeder plays the piano as Lucy sings an unwanted accompaniment. Linus, Lucy, Charlie Brown, and Schroeder each work on a book report, with differing and entertaining results. The moment with the most emotional resonance comes at the conclusion of a baseball game. Charlie Brown botches his team’s chance to win, and as he writes a letter to his pen pal a single tear falls and punctuates his note.
Snoopy has a voice for the first time in this special. In previous Peanuts programs, Snoopy’s dialogue had been relegated to laughing or growling. In You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, Snoopy has a lines and even some solos. Voiced by Robert Towers, Snoopy gets to sing about longing for his dinner and other topics one can imagine would preoccupy a dog. Towers is an adult, but the rest of the cast is comprised of children. This really gives You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown its lasting charm. The interaction between the characters feels genuine. The kids are good singers as well, and their youth is certainly a benefit to the finished product.
There is one featurette included in the special features called “Animating A Charlie Brown Musical”. It includes interviews with many people involved with You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. This featurette runs for about 15 minutes and is very informative. Unfortunately no other special features are included, but fans of Peanuts won’t be disappointed with this introspective look at the making of You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown.
You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown has all of the classic Peanuts characters and it stays true to the innocence and intelligence of the comic strip, but it adds in the new twist of being a musical. Fans of the classic strip will enjoy revisiting this program, and this is a great way for a new flock of children to grow acquainted with these iconic characters.