In this CBS animated miniseries of eight episodes, the Peanuts gang (created by Charles M. Schulz) visit important events in United States history. The episodes were: "The Mayflower ... See full summary »
Based on the legend of the Pied Piper, it stars Snoopy as the title character, who tries to rid the Peanuts' gang's hometown of mice by playing his concertina, in return for a year's supply of dog food.
The song "Just One Person" from this musical was one of the late Jim Henson's favorite songs and was once performed on the Muppet Show as well as during Henson's memorial service. See more »
It's nice to know that there are some things in life that you can count on, like that leaf over there on that tree. I can go to sleep and I know when I wake up, that leaf will still be there.
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Having never seen the award-winning stage musical from which this particular special was derived, I'm probably not the best person to comment upon how much justice it does to its source (I do know, however, that they had to cut around two hours worth of material down to 50 minutes, so it probably feels rather rushed in comparison). In terms of just how much justice it does to Charles Schulz's delightful creation as a whole well, it's something of a mixed bag. The whole thing its undeniably sweet and so full of colour and energy that it's damned near impossible to dislike, but in capturing the charm and enigma and sets 'Peanuts' apart from your average family-friendly cartoon it's only partially successful. Unlike most of the TV specials, it lacks a coherent, overriding storyline, consisting instead of several all-singing, all-dancing vignettes that, while frequently enjoyable on their own, fail to make up a satisfying whole. And while a fair serving of the trademark downbeat humour has survived, perhaps most evident in the scene where Charlie Brown (falsely) believes that the Little Red-Haired Girl has slipped a note into his pocket, it's largely substituted for a range of happy, upbeat tunes and lyrics about what a wonderful place the world can be, making it just a tad more sugary than most adult fans may be able to stand. It doesn't help matters that, when most of the child characters perform their numbers, they have an unfortunate tendency to sing off-key.
But heck, you can slap Snoopy and Charlie Brown's likeness upon almost anything, and chances are I'll warm to it. It would probably be irrelevant to complain about this special's 'bonus feature' that, instead of his usual cat/hyena yowl, Snoopy gets proper vocal representation this time round (after all, that was exactly how it was in the original comic trip). I'm not really sure just how well the voice actually matches the character, but the fact remains that he's easily the most agreeable singer of the cast, with his solo performances being the most effective. 'The Great Writer' and 'the Big Bow Wow' are fun, catchy tunes, and the final number 'Believe in You', even though it entails those pesky kid-singers, is perfectly pleasant, as is Linus's melody about the Great Pumpkin. Whatever else you can say about them, the songs here definitely haven't aged quite as prominently as those of another musically-orientated special, 'It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown'.
In short, it's charming enough, but personally I much prefer the regular 'Peanuts' specials, in which you get a substantial narrative coupled with lots of melancholic exchanges, and where Snoopy doesn't need a twenty-something human voice to convey what's on his mind.
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