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The Peanuts gang present the final specials from the decade.

DVD Review: Peanuts 1970’s Collection Vol. 2

This two-disc set completes the run of television specials that aired during the decade. Disc 1 opens with two previously reviewed specials, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975) and the Emmy Award-winning, motocross-based You're A Good Sport, Charlie Brown (1975). Rounding out the disc is It's Arbor Day, Charlie, Brown (1976), which is notable for being the last special for which Vince Guaraldi created music. He died shortly after completing his work. Arbor Day is very amusing as it draws attention to a minor holiday that encourages the planting of trees.

Sally has to give a complete report on Arbor Day after mistakenly identifying it as when "all the ships come sailing into the 'arbor." After she and Linus go to library and learn the holiday is about the future rather than the past like so many others, they decide to build a garden. At the encouragement of Lucy, they and others build it in an open lot, which is where they play baseball.

Charlie Brown had already made plans to play Peppermint Patty's team, which regularly beats his team. They go ahead with very funny results as the plants have an effect on the game. For the first time ever, Charlie Brown's team is up by one run with a chance to win. When someone mentions rain being the only thing that could stop them, Peanuts fans can guess the weather report.

Disc 2 opens with What A Nightmare, Charlie Brown (1978) making its DVD debut. Charlie Brown tries to turn Snoopy into a sled dog, but fails. After a dinner of pizzas and a milkshake he made for himself, Snoopy dreams he is a member of a pack of Alaskan sled dogs. He finds life harsh. When he tries for a scrap of food or a place at the watering hole, the other dogs put him in his place. After a stop at a tavern, Snoopy gets something to eat but ends up causing a riot when he is found cheating at poker. He eventually takes over as lead dog, but wakes up soon after. This special is different from the others because it only features Snoopy in the lead and Charlie Brown appears in a limited role, yet that makes it no less enjoyable.

The disc also offers the previously reviewed specials: the Homecoming-themed It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (1977) and the Junior Olympics-themed You're The Greatest, Charlie Brown (1979). Containing interviews and archival footage, the featurette "You're Groovy, Charlie Brown: A Look at Peanuts in the '70s" (18 min) reveals the strip's evolution.

Other than the misstep of First Kiss, the creative team maintains a high degree of quality throughout the decade, offering great laughs and insight. If you haven't bought the majority of these specials previously on DVD, then this set is a must-have.

About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS

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