December 24, 2016

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown airs December 26, 2016

It's nearly the end of the year, which means it's time for the last Peanuts special broadcast of the year - ABC will be broadcasting Happy New Year, Charlie Brown together with She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown on Monday, December 26, from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

December 20, 2016

A Charlie Brown Christmas airs again on Thursday, December 22, 2016

If you missed it the first time - or just felt it was too early in the season to watch - you can still catch A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV when ABC shows it a second time on Thursday, December 22, 2016 from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

Meanwhile, the cable channel Boomerang will be airing six new Peanuts shorts, most with a Christmas or winter theme, on Saturday December 24 and Sunday December 25, 2016 from 11 AM - 12 noon Eastern (the same six shorts air each day).  After this broadcast, Boomerang will have aired all 104 of the shorts that were produced - although hopefully they will continue to cycle through them as repeats.

And if you don't get Boomerang, good news: Warner Home Video is releasing Peanuts by Schulz: Snoopy Tales, a two-DVD set containing 32 of the shorts, on January 17, 2017.

December 16, 2016

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown airs December 17, 2016 on ABC


Just a quick reminder that the holiday special I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, starring Rerun, Snoopy, Spike, and the rest of the Peanuts gang will be broadcast on Saturday, December 17, 2016 from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on ABC.

December 10, 2016

The Complete Peanuts is truly complete: Volumes 25 & 26 (the last two!) now available

The final box set containing the last two volumes (#25 & #26) of The Complete Peanuts went on sale a couple of weeks ago. (Both volumes are also available to purchase separately, but as has been the case in all previous years, if you buy the box set, you get them in an attractive slipcase and save money.)

At last, after 12 1/2 years, every single Peanuts comic drawn by Charles Schulz - all 17,897 of them - has been reprinted in this monumental collection of 26 volumes from Fantagraphics.

Volume 25, released earlier this year, reprints the comics from 1999 and the strip's final days in 2000 - and it features a brief introduction from no less than President Barack Obama.

Since there wasn't a full year's worth of comics in 2000 (as Schulz passed away early in the year), Fantagraphics has filled out the rest of the volume with a complete set of reprints of "Li'l Folks," the weekly comic panel that Schulz drew from 1947 - 1950, prior to creating Peanuts. (When you read them, you'll see that Peanuts was an evolution of Li'l Folks.)

While this is nice thought for readers who haven't seen those panels before, unfortunately the presentation is very awkward. The Li'l Folks panels are printed sideways on the pages, in order to maximum the reproduction size. But that means to read them, you also have to turn the book sideways, and because The Complete Peanuts volumes are much wider than they are tall in their normal orientation, it's quite difficult to hold the book sideways because now it's really tall and thin and the pages try to flop down.

For a superior presentation of the "Li'l Folks" panels, fans should consider getting the book Li'l Folks: Li'l Beginnings, published by and available to be ordered online from the Charles M. Schulz Museum. This book, published in 2003, also reprints all the Li'l Folks panels and was designed with them in mind, so it can be held like a normal book. Plus, the panels are reproduced in a larger size, and is full of annotations and editorial commentary on the panels from Peanuts historian Derrick Bang. (Disclaimer: Derrick is a co-host of FiveCentsPlease.org. But I'd be suggesting the Li'l Beginnings book regardless, due to its more sensible layout.)

This is not to say you should avoid Volume 25 of The Complete Peanuts - far from it, since you'll want it for the final Peanuts comic strips - but the fact that it includes the Li'l Folks panels should be regarded only as a modest bonus.  Nevertheless, kudos to Fantagraphics to trying to make it a truly complete collection and bringing a complete collection of all 50 years of the Peanuts strips to us.



Since Volume 25 reprints the final Peanuts comic strips, what is in The Complete Peanuts Volume 26, you ask? Over the years, Charles Schulz drew a variety of Peanuts material outside of the comic strip itself. This volume collects much of that work, a lot of it out of print for decades, and some of it never previously collected in a book at all. The contents include:
  • Peanuts storybooks, such as Snoopy and the Red Baron, Snoopy and "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night," Charlie Brown's Christmas Stocking, and more;
  • Peanuts comic books, drawn by Schulz himself (while most Peanuts comic books were not drawn by Schulz, he did draw a few with his own hand);
  • Two series of Peanuts panels on the subject of "Things I Learned After It Was Too Late;"
  • Themed books on golf and tennis, including Snoopy's Grand Slam and Snoopy's Tournament Tips;
  • Strips and panels drawn specifically for advertisements, such as for the Kodak Brownie camera, the Ford Falcon car, and Butternut Bread;
  • All 17 of the single-panel cartoons Schulz contributed to the Saturday Evening Post;
  • A nice, long afterword from Jean Schulz reflecting on the life, times, and work of her husband.
All in all, it's a worthy addition to a Peanuts fan's collection, although as with the "Li'l Folks" panels in the previous volume, sometimes the material in Volume 26 is ill served by puzzling and suboptimal layout choices (for example, why were the storybooks printed three panels to a page, resulting in very small panels and wasted space on the page that could have been used to make the panels larger, if there were only two to a page? Why did they decide to alternate between white and yellow backgrounds in some of the other storybooks, when the content did not call for alternating colors?)

Nevertheless, if you've been buying all the volumes of The Complete Peanuts, you'll definitely want to get this final volume too - most of the material is just as charming, entertaining, and clever as the Peanuts comic strip itself.

And if you haven't been buying The Complete Peanuts, now's the time to start - or make a fellow fan or relative very happy by putting 26 volumes underneath their Christmas tree!

(Disclaimer, again: FiveCentsPlease.org co-host Derrick Bang was among the researchers who helped find and suggest material to be reprinted in The Complete Peanuts Volume 26.)

By the way... if for some reason you don't want a nice set of hardback The Complete Peanuts, Fantagraphics has also started releasing the volumes in paperback. However, they're only up to Volume 6 in paperback (just released last month), so you'll have to wait a long while before you can complete your collection!



Also recently published by Fantagraphics is the fourth volume of Peanuts Every Sunday, covering the years 1966-1970. This series of books - published once a year - reproduces the Sunday Peanuts comic strips in their glorious original color at a coffee table book size of 13 1/4" x 9 1/2".  (Unlike The Complete Peanuts volumes, where Sunday strips are reprinted in black & white and much smaller.)  Seeing the comics as they originally appeared in the Sunday funny pages is another great joy for Peanuts fans.  (The Peanuts Every Sunday volumes are also available in slipcased box sets of two.)

December 9, 2016

More A Charlie Brown Christmas prints from Dark Hall Mansion

Dark Hall Mansion wants to make sure that no one's Christmas stocking is without a Charlie Brown Christmas limited edition print this year. A few days ago, they announced another batch of prints with three different takes from three different artists, plus variant versions - this on top of the four prints they announced the previous week (which are still available at the time of writing). There's definitely a print for every taste and occasion - they're spoiling fans with choices!

The second 2016 batch includes prints created by Dan May and Eduardo Sanabria, available both high-quality paper and canvas, and prints from Mike Dubois available as standard prints or groovy foil editions. See below for details, and Dark Hall Manson's webstore to place an order!

Click any of the images below for a larger version.

Dan May edition:


Mike Dubois editions:

Standard
Variant
Lava Foil Standard (also available in variant color)
Sparkle Foil Standard (also available in variant color)

Eduardo Sanabria editions:

Standard
Variant

Prices, sizes, and number of prints are as follows:

Dan May Editions:
Standard 18" x 24" edition of 225 - $65
Standard 11" x 14" edition of 100 -  $35
Select 18" x 24" Canvas edition of 25 -  $125
Select 11" x 14" Canvas edition of 25 - $75

Mike Dubois Editions:
Standard 12" x 12" edition of 195 - $45
Variant (Charlie in lavender) 12" x 12" edition of 175 -  $60
Lava-Standard (Charlie in blue) Printed on Lava Foil edition of 45 - $75
Sparkle-Standard (Charlie in blue) Printed on Sparkle Foil edition of 45 - $75
Lava-Variant (Charlie in lavender) Printed on Lava Foil edition of 45 - $75
Sparkle-Variant (Charlie in lavender) Printed on Sparkle Foil edition of 45 - $75

Eduardo Sanabria Editions:
Standard (blue) 18" x 24" edition of 225 - $65
Variant (red and green) 18" x 24" edition of 50 - $95
Select 18" x 24" Canvas (blue) edition of 25 - $125
Select 18" x 24" Canvas (red and green) edition of 25 - $125

The Dan May and Eduardo Sanabria editions are hand numbered and giclee printed.

The Mike DuBois editions are screen printed and hand signed by the artist.

Visit Dark Hall Mansion's Facebook page and their blog for more information, larger pictures of the artwork, and behind-the-scenes photos.

December 3, 2016

Dark Hall Mansion's A Charlie Brown Christmas limited edition prints for 2016

Our friends at Dark Hall Mansion have been doing releases of limited edition A Charlie Brown Christmas prints for long enough that it's starting to feel like it isn't the holiday season without their annual announcement. Fortunately, we won't have to do without this year - not by a long shot, since this December you can choose from five different (but equally wonderful) prints celebrating the 1966 Peanuts special by artists Steve Thomas and Eric Robison. Or, if you can't choose, get them all!

The prints are available in several formats - 18" x 24" high quality paper, 18" x 24" canvas prints, or sets of 11" x 14" on high quality paper. The prints are already on sale (they were first offered on December 2), so don't delay visiting Dark Hall Manson's webstore if you want any of them.  Click any of the images below for a larger version.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" Standard Edition by Steve Thomas:


"A Charlie Brown Christmas" Variant ("Dance Break") Edition by Steve Thomas:


"A Peanuts Christmas" by Steve Thomas:


"A Charlie Brown Christmas" Standard Edition by Eric Robison:


"A Charlie Brown Christmas" Variant Edition ("Hope & Retrospection") by Eric Robison:


Prices and number of prints are as follows:

Steve Thomas Editions:
"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Standard 18" X 24" Ornament Edition of 225 - $65
Select 18" X 24" Canvas Edition of 25 - $125

"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Variant 18" X 24" Ornament 'Dance Break' Edition of 75 - $95
Select 18" X 24" Canvas Edition of 25 - $125

"A Peanuts Christmas"
18" X 24" 'Snoopy And Santa' Edition of 150 - $65
Select 18" X 24" Canvas Edition of 25 - $125

Special 3-Print 11" X 14" Set containing all 3 Steve Thomas editions: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" standard, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" variant, & "A Peanuts Christmas" prints:
Edition of 150 - $55

Eric Robison Editions:
"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Standard 18" X 24" Edition of 225 - $65
Select 18" X 24" Canvas Edition of 25 - $125

"A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Variant 18" X 24" "Hope & Retrospection" Edition of 75 - $75
Select 18" X 24" Canvas Edition of 25 - $125

Special 2-Print 11" X 14" Set containing both standard & variant Eric Robison prints: 
Edition of 150 - $55

Visit Dark Hall Mansion's Facebook page and their blog for more information, larger pictures of the artwork, and behind-the-scenes photos.

November 30, 2016

A Charlie Brown Christmas airs December 1 & 22, 2016 on ABC

On Thursday, December 1, 2016, A Charlie Brown Christmas will make its seasonal debut from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on ABC - unlike some years, the initial broadcast appears like it will be complete and unedited, and followed by Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales.

The special will be broadcast again on Thursday, December 22, from 8 - 9 PM.

If you can't wait until then, you can watch the special by streaming it over the Internet at ABC.com (although the video is relatively low quality).

Also coming in December 2016 on ABC:

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown - Saturday, December 17, 8-9 PM 

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown + She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown - Monday, December 26, 8-9 PM

All times Eastern/Pacific.

November 25, 2016

A classic Peanuts Christmas countdown on FiveCentsPlease.org for 2016

FiveCentsPlease.org's tradition of celebrating the approach of Christmas with the Peanuts gang starts Friday, November 25, on our home page. A different single-panel comic with a holiday theme will appear each day through December 25.

As in the past several years, we've chosen a classic countdown from the archives, since new ones are no longer being made. This holiday season we'll be featuring the panels from 1999 for your entertainment (except for the first panel, which comes from 2006, due to the difference in Thanksgiving dates).

We hope you'll enjoy visiting our home page each day for the latest panel... and don't put off your holiday preparations until too late!

November 15, 2016

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to air November 23, 2016 on ABC

Get your pilgrim hat, your chef's hat, and your ping-pong table ready... A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will have its annual outing on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on ABC. As usual, the show will be accompanied by This is America, Charlie Brown: The Mayflower Voyagers.

Then the following week on Thursday December 1, A Charlie Brown Christmas will make its seasonal debut from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on ABC - unlike some years, the initial broadcast appears like it will be complete and unedited. While the special usually airs a second time, closer to Christmas, a second broadcast has not yet been announced.

November 7, 2016

Charlie Brown returns to the sky!


(This special post is by 5CP Associate Editor Gayna Lamb-Bang)


This is a maquette of the new Charlie Brown balloon, used in the Macy's studio as a
reference for the full-size balloon.
This upcoming 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will replace last year’s Snoopy and Woodstock balloon with an updated version of the Charlie Brown balloon.  Our favorite blockhead previously flew the New York sky back in 2012.  (See previous blog entry for a complete history and rundown of the Peanuts balloons in the annual Macy’s parade.)

This all-new 2016 balloon will feature our good friend Chuck flying his kite, rather than attempting to kick his football.

Details on his creation can be found in this nifty article.

October 13, 2016

It's the Great Pumpkin broadcast update: full, unedited show airs October 28 on ABC

Good news!  As expected, ABC has announced a second, unedited broadcast of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Now the special will be shown first in an edited version on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 8:00 - 8:30 PM (Eastern/Pacific), and then the full unedited version together with You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown will air Friday, October 28, 2016 from 8:00 - 9:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was first broadcast on October 27, 1966.  As far as we know, there will be no TV commemoration of the 50th anniversary; but at least the original unedited special will air 50 years and 1 day after it first aired!

October 9, 2016

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown to air October 19 & 28, 2016 on ABC

ABC will be broadcasting It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown twice this October: an edited version on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 8:00 - 8:30 PM (Eastern/Pacific), and the full unedited version together with You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown on Friday, October 28, 2016 from 8:00 - 9:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

This October is the 50th anniversary of the It's the Great Pumpkin - it was first broadcast on October 27, 1966.  As far as we know, there will be no special TV commemoration of the anniversary; but at least the original unedited special will air 50 years and 1 day after it first aired!

October 4, 2016

A Charlie Brown Celebration now on DVD + movie double-feature Blu-ray coming November 1

On October 4, Warner Home Video released a DVD titled Charlie Brown's All Stars 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition.  It turns out the titular baseball-themed 1966 special is not the interesting part of this release (since it has been released on DVD before; see the previous blog post).

The real reason for Peanuts fans to pick up this disc - even if you have Charlie Brown's All Stars on DVD already - is that the "bonus episode" included on the disc is the 1982 special A Charlie Brown Celebration, which has never been released on DVD in the US before.

This 48-minute show consists of skits based on storylines from the Peanuts comic strip (similar to "The Charlie Brown & Snoopy Show" episodes). The special is introduced by Charles Schulz himself, and some of the skits are: Peppermint Patty accidentally enrolls in dog-training classes; Charlie Brown goes to the hospital, and Lucy promises not to pull away the football if he gets better; and while on a field trip, Linus meets a new paramour "Truffles," gets trapped on top of a barn and must be rescued by helicopter (aka Snoopy).

Unfortunately, A Charlie Brown Celebration has not been restored or remastered for this release, looking particularly rough at the beginning, and suffers from scratches, dust spots, and occasional washed out colors throughout.  (Which is ironic considering how the press release touts that All Stars has been given "completely remastered in beautiful high definition.")  It's probably still better than the special not being released on DVD at all, but it's disappointing that Warner made no effort to clean A Charlie Brown Celebration up.  It may be the poorest quality I've seen on a Peanuts DVD release.

The Charlie Brown All Stars 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition DVD featuring A Charlie Brown Celebration is out now, and and has a suggested retail price of $19.98.



In other home video news, CBS/Paramount has announced they will be releasing the A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home Blu-ray discs in a double-feature set on November 1.  The set contains both films on two discs in one case, and at $29.99 list price, is significantly cheaper than buying the two films separately (which have a list price of $24.99 each).

Releasing a cheaper double-feature set less than two months after the first releases is rather insulting to those of us who supported CBS/Paramount by buying the films in September.  If you haven't picked up the films yet, definitely wait for the double-feature set.

September 26, 2016

A History of Redwood Empire Arena's Peanuts Ice Shows

(This special post is by 5CP Associate Editor Gayna Lamb-Bang.)

A recent trip to Knott’s Berry Farm featured a wonderful Peanuts ice show, called Blockbuster Beagle.  I was reminded immediately of the fantastic Christmas ice shows once held annually at the Redwood Empire Ice Skating Arena, in Santa Rosa, California.

1983 summer show program 
Redwood Empire, a lovely, Swiss Chalet-style skating rink, was a gift to the Santa Rosa community from Charles M. Schulz, who’d been distressed over the closure of the city’s only other ice rink.  The opening gala, on April 28, 1969, starred 1968 Olympic Gold Medalist Peggy Fleming, with music provided by the Vince Guaraldi Trio.
 
Schulz’s beloved Christmas ice shows didn’t begin immediately; indeed, the venue catered mostly to local families and hockey teams for the first decade. Starting in 1979, Redwood Empire’s schedule began to feature professional ice shows, presented in the summer and autumn.

1985 summer show program
The first, in July 1979, honored the rink’s 10th anniversary.  That show, called Ice Decade, also starred Fleming, in keeping with the earlier opening day celebration.

For the next several years, such professional productions alternated with spring ice shows provided by the Santa Rosa Figure Skating Club; the first of these was presented in 1980, followed by others in ’82 and ’84.

In July 1981, Love Is Here starred  British competitive figure skater Robin Cousins, a 1980 Olympic Gold Medalist and 1980 European champion.

1986 holiday show
July 1983’s show, Perhaps Love, also starred Cousins.

Flashbeagle, in July 1985, featured American figure skater Scott Hamilton, a 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist, and winner of four consecutive World Championships.

The following year, 1986, marked the debut of the beloved Christmas shows.

Schulz truly loved producing all of Redwood Empire’s shows.  As he noted, in a quote supplied by The Charles M. Schulz Museum, “The thing I enjoy most of all, even more than drawing cartoons, is putting together an ice show… I think that is the ultimate in happiness.”  He produced all the ice shows until he died in February 2000.  His daughter, Jill Schulz, took over for the final four ice shows, from 2000-03.

September 6, 2016

A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home Blu-ray discs out now

The US Blu-ray releases of the first two Peanuts theatrical films, A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) and Snoopy Come Home (1972), are now in stores and shipping from online retailers.

A double-feature set, with both films on two discs in one case, will be released on November 1. This release is much cheaper than buying the two films separately, so if you haven't picked the films up yet, wait for the double-feature set. (Releasing a cheaper, double-feature set less than two months after the first release is quite the insult to those of us who supported CBS/Paramount by buying the films in September.)

It turns out that the advance information about these high-definition releases was incorrect - unlike the DVD releases of these movies, on the Blu-rays the films are presented in the 4:3 (1.33:1) aspect ratio. This is how the movies were originally animated; the widescreen aspect ratio used on the DVDs cut off the top and bottom of the picture, and resulted in a very cramped look. So this is a welcome change.  Audio options on each disc are 5.1 surround (DTS-HD Master Audio) and 2.0 stereo mixes. Alas, no bonus features are included.

Even though the back covers of the discs say that the "music has been changed for home video," there is no evidence of any music changes - probably this was just boilerplate text that someone forgot to remove.

Also worth noting is that the A Boy Named Charlie Brown Blu-ray includes the full 86-minute version of the film (as was the case with the DVD). A shortened 79-minute version had been released on VHS, Laserdisc, and was used for TV broadcasts for many years. It's good to know that when CBS/Paramount went back to master the film in high definition and 4:3, they also used the unedited version of the movie.

(And while the Australian Blu-ray release of A Boy Named Charlie Brown was incorrectly stretched out and distorted, fortunately this is not the case with the US release.)

The list price for each disc separately is $24.99; the double feature disc lists for just $29.99. For reviews of the Blu-rays, visit The Aisle Seat, written by entertainment critic and fellow Peanuts fan Andre Dursin.  (Spoiler: he says they look good and recommends them.)