It has often been a dream of mine to have a dog. When I was but a wee lad, I certainly wanted one, and it’s a desire that has stayed with me to this day. I attribute my wanting a dog not only to the families around me who own canines, but also in part to the cartoon dog who has always epitomized everything I would want my dog to be able to do, Snoopy. Laugh if you will, but there’s nothing that Snoopy can’t do. Of course, as I have gotten older, I have come to realize that while Snoopy may be the coolest of dogs, he is not always the best pet, and no Charlie Brown story relates that quite as well as the just released to DVD as a “remastered deluxe edition” He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown.
Before we get into exactly what makes this remastered and deluxe, let’s look at the basic package. The DVD contains two Charlie Brown specials, the titular He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown and Life’s a Circus, Charlie Brown. Both are Snoopy-centric tales, and both illustrate just why Snoopy may not be the world’s greatest pet.
In the first story, the famed beagle gets into a great deal of trouble. It all starts off with Snoopy aggravating members of the Peanuts gang via various inappropriate actions like knocking people over, scaring them, and generally being a pest. His actions cause Charlie Brown to decide that Snoopy needs an obedience refresher course and sends him off to Daisy Hill Puppy Farm (or “from whence Snoopy came” if you prefer) to get the refresher.
Unfortunately, Charlie sends Snoopy on his own to go to Daisy Hill and Snoopy decides to extend a planned stopover at Peppermint Patty’s indefinitely. Even Patty eventually has enough of Snoopy’s demanding nature and puts the dog to work which helps convince the beagle that may he ought not have left Charlie in the first place.
It is a pretty simple tale, but a great deal of fun to watch unfold. As with the other Lee Mendelson-Bill Melendez-produced Peanuts stories, it is a slowly unfolding tale, and one where the specifics of the story sometimes take a back seat to comic moments. This particular story does have more of a plot than some, but it still takes time to have Snoopy kick a can during his walk to and from Patty’s and have various other asides take place.
The second story sees Snoopy falling in love with Fifi the Poodle and, even if mistakenly, joining the circus so he can be with her. Snoopy comes home in the end, but seeing Charlie Brown sit there and contemplate his lost dog is hard on us would-be pet owners. Snoopy, as Life’s a Circus, Charlie Brown shows, can in fact do anything (like ride a unicycle), but he often puts his owner’s needs well behind is own rather than establishing a real give-and-take relationship.
Please don’t get me wrong, I love the stories and think anyone who grew up with the Peanuts gang will as well, it just has to be said that while Snoopy may be the best dog ever he’s not the best pet. The style of the Charlie Brown cartoons with their slow pace and meandering stories is something that is not seen with more recent fare, but it works wonderfully well and the tales have proven themselves timeless.
Outside of the extra story and a couple of trailers, the DVD contains one bonus feature – “Snoopy’s Home Ice: The Story of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena.” This documentary focuses on the ice skating rink that Charles Schulz and his wife helped build. Over 20 minutes long, it talks to people who have been there for the life of the arena and is a fun trip down memory lane.
As for this being a “remastered deluxe edition,” what that means is that He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown was previously released to DVD and has now come around again, only this time they’ve gone back to the audio and video and tried to clean it all up as best they could. The end result is really quite good, one would never guess that the story originally aired over 40 years ago. The worrisome part of this release is that Charlie Brown tales have started being released to Blu-ray already and remastering is one of the steps on the path to becoming a Blu-ray. This reviewer would therefore caution anyone with a Blu-ray player who is considering buying the disc to consider the fact that it may arrive on Blu-ray in the not-too-distant future. On the other hand, if all you want is a great Charlie Brown tale and don’t care about Blu-ray, you’re not going to go wrong with this edition.