April 22, 2014

Peanuts #17 out Wednesday, April 23

The Peanuts comic book from Boom! Studios returns this Wednesday, April 23, with issue #17. This month's new stories are "Balloon Bother," "Tasty is a Virtue," and "Dear Pen-Pal." You can see a 5-page preview at Comic Book Resources.

Look for Peanuts #17 at your local comic book store, or you can order it directly from Boom! Studio's website.

April 3, 2014

Limited edition It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown prints for 2014 from Dark Hall Mansion

Spring is here, and so are two new eye-catching limited edition It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown prints from Dark Hall Mansion, going on sale Tuesday, April 8.

Artist Jayson Weidel captures the 1974 television special in two very different styles. The standard edition print sports cheerful colors and an nifty Easter egg motif encircling scenes from the show in great detail, including Woodstock's groovy birdhouse pad (one of my personal favorites). The variant print has a simpler but no less attractive design of the Easter Beagle himself bursting forth from a basket full of eggs, to the delight of two adoring fans.

Standard edition (click to enlarge)
Variant edition (click to enlarge)

The officially licensed, numbered editions measure 18" x 24" and are individually screen printed.

The standard edition will be limited to 280 prints, and the variant edition will be limited to 50 prints. In addition, there will be a special wood edition of 5 each of both the standard and variant artwork.

The prices will be as follows:

Standard: $65
Variant: $100
Wood: $250

The 2014 Easter Beagle prints go on sale Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at at a random time between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM (Pacific time) at Dark Hall Mansion's webstore.

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

April 1, 2014

It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown & Charlie Brown's All-Stars To Air Sunday, April 20, 2014 on ABC

The Easter Beagle will be making a timely visit to television screens on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014. ABC will be broadcasting the traditional springtime special It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown together with the baseball-themed special Charlie Brown's All-Stars from 7-8 PM (Eastern/Pacific time).

In 1974's It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, Linus tries to convince the gang that there's no need to decorate their own eggs, because the Easter Beagle will bring them - but given Linus' history with the Great Pumpkin, his friends are skeptical. Meanwhile, Peppermint Patty and Marcie (ignoring Linus' advice) go through a series of mishaps preparing eggs for coloring.

Charlie Brown's All-Stars was the second-ever Peanuts television special, airing in 1966, just six months after the successful broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas. In this special, Charlie Brown tries to keep his baseball team together with the lure of getting actual uniforms and playing in a real league, but he faces a tough decision when he learns that the sponsor will only provide them if he takes the girls and Snoopy off the team.

March 25, 2014

50th Anniversary LP & CD release of Vince Guaraldi's A Boy Named Charlie Brown album

Vince Guaraldi's first album of Peanuts music, titled Jazz Impressions of A Boy Named Charlie Brown, was initially released nearly 50 years ago, in December 1964. (The album's title was later shortened to just A Boy Named Charlie Brown.)

The music on the record was the soundtrack for a documentary by producer Lee Mendelson about Charles Schulz and Peanuts. But Mendelson was unable to sell the documentary, also titled A Boy Named Charlie Brown, to a network and it was never seen on television... although it did lead to Mendelson getting the job to produce the holiday classic A Charlie Brown Christmas and many more Peanuts specials. (The original, unbroadcast documentary can be ordered on DVD from the Charles Schulz Museum's online store.)

Even though the documentary never aired, Fantasy Records and Vince Guaraldi went ahead and released the album, introducing the world to "Linus and Lucy," now instantly recognized as "the Peanuts theme." Several other themes on the LP, such as "Charlie Brown Theme" and "Baseball Theme," also appear regularly in the early Peanuts animated specials.

This May, Concord Music - the modern owners of the Fantasy label - is releasing two different 50th anniversary editions of the A Boy Named Charlie Brown album, one on vinyl and one on CD.  Both feature newly remastered tracks of the original album music.

(Note: the information about the contents of the releases was updated and corrected the day after this entry was original posted, based on new information received.)

The original LP cover
The "limited edition, collectible" vinyl may be of the most interest - it will be a faithful reproduction of the 1964 LP release, featuring the album's original cover (the artwork was completely replaced for later LP and and CD releases), the original liner notes in a gatefold jacket, and reproductions of the dozen 8" x 10" lithographs that came with the album. On top of that, it will be pressed on orange vinyl (which may not be authentic to the original, although Fantasy did have a tradition of releasing albums on colored vinyl in the 1960's).  However, it appears - although this hasn't been definitely confirmed - that the LP will only feature the nine tracks that were originally released in 1964.

The CD release will sport the modernized cover (same as the current CD) and a less elaborate booklet, but it will include new liner notes by Guaraldi historian (and FiveCentsPlease.org co-author) Derrick Bang, and 11 tracks - the original nine from the LP; "Fly Me to the Moon," a bonus track that has been part of all CD releases of the album; and a new bonus track, an alternate take of "Baseball Theme."  Derrick's new liner notes will only appear with the CD, and as mentioned above, it appears the bonus tracks will also only be on the CD.

It sounds like dedicated Vince Guaraldi fans will want (need?) to buy both releases, which are both due out on May 13, 2014.  The vinyl edition should be available from Amazon, CDUniverse, or any other music store willing to order and stock it (it wasn't listed for preorder at the time of writing, look for it in a couple of weeks).

For more information, see the Concord press release and Derrick's post about the release at his Impressions of Vince blog.

(Note that this is not a release of the soundtrack for the 1969 movie also titled A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Sadly, that soundtrack remains unreleased.)

March 18, 2014

First details and teaser trailer for the 2015 Peanuts movie revealed

The first promotional push for the new Peanuts theatrical movie, currently scheduled for release on November 6, 2015, arrived this morning from 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios.

The studios released the first teaser trailer for the movie, giving a taste of how the new CGI-based animation will look. You can watch it on YouTube.

Next, producers Craig Schulz (son of Charles Schulz) and director Steve Martino talked with USA Today in two articles about the movie, Sneak Peek: 'Peanuts' cracks big screen again and 'Peanuts' true loves: Red-Haired Girl and Fifi step out.

From the articles we learn that "the story will bring together the entire cast from the strips and television specials" and will also feature a large on-screen role for the "little red-haired girl" (who was an off-screen character in the comic strips, but who did appear on-screen in the TV special It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown). Also appearing as a love interest for Snoopy will be Fifi, a poodle who appeared in the TV special Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown. Other small reveals are that we'll see the World War I Flying Ace in action and familiar strip locations such as the skating pond and "the wall" where characters often ponder life.  Both Schulz and Martino promise that "the settings will not be updated to the present, continuing with the eternal look of the strip."

Finally, there's now an official website for the movie, http://www.peanutsmovie.com , although at the moment it's pretty much a placeholder with just a very short blurb about the movie and a link to the trailer.

March 6, 2014

Peanuts postage stamps coming in 2015

The United States Postal Service plans to issue Peanuts postage stamps sometime in 2015, according to this article from the Washington Post from a couple weeks ago.

Assuming the Postal Service doesn't change its mind, this will be the second time Peanuts characters have been featured on a United States stamp.  The first was a 2001 stamp (back when postage stamps were only 34 cents) featuring Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace.

While no details have been announced yet - and probably won't be until 2015, since stamps aren't officially revealed until much closer to their release - I'd guess that this time more of the Peanuts gang will get in on the action.  Maybe if we're lucky, it will be a sheet of stamps with several different designs on it… we'll see next year!

February 25, 2014

Peanuts #16 arrives Wednesday, February 26

Issue #16 of Peanuts goes on sale Wednesday, February 26.  New stories in this month's installment of Boom! Studio's comic book include "The Artists," "New Shoe Zoom," "The Doctor is Way In," and "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not."  Comic Book Resources has a five-page preview of the issue.

Look for the mag at your local comic book store, but if you can't find it, you can purchase it from Boom! Studio's website.

As it does after every four issues, the monthly Peanuts comic book will be taking a break in March and return in April.

However, early in March will see the release of Peanuts Volume 3, a trade paperback collecting issues #5-8 of the comic (which were published separately last year).

February 20, 2014

This is America, Charlie Brown returns to DVD on June 17, 2014

On June 17, Warner Home Video will release all eight episodes of This is America, Charlie Brown in a two-disc DVD box set.

Promoted as "the first animated miniseries ever," the specials were broadcast in prime-time on CBS during the 1988-89 television season. Meant as both education and entertainment, the shows find the Peanuts gang witnessing and participating in historic events and discoveries. For more details, visit the Peanuts Animation & Video Page.

The eight episodes are:

  • The Mayflower Voyagers
  • The Birth of the Constitution
  • The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
  • The NASA Space Station
  • The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad
  • The Great Inventors
  • The Smithsonian and the Presidency
  • The Music and Heroes of America

This isn't the first time all the episodes of This is America, Charlie Brown have been released on DVD - Paramount released a DVD set with the exact same contents back in 2006 - but that set has been out of print for many years, so this is a welcome reissue. (Given the previous release, Warner's claim on the cover that the specials are "together for the first time" is hogwash.) The Mayflower Voyagers appears as a bonus feature on the A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving DVD and Blu-ray, but otherwise, there is no duplication with other Warner Peanuts DVDs.

The list price for the set is $26.99, and it can be pre-ordered at Amazon and other retailers now.

February 2, 2014

New limited edition Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown prints for 2014 coming February 5

Dark Hall Mansion kicks off a new year of limited edition prints with two distinctly different Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown designs, going on sale Wednesday, February 5.

Drawn by artist Lorelay Bove (making her first contribution to the line of Peanuts prints), the standard edition evokes the 1975 television special's opening credits and a couple of key scenes with an appropriately pastel palette.  The contrasting variant print has a simplicity similar to Schulz's artwork for the comic strip, while still capturing the essence of the show's (and the strip's) somewhat maudlin take on Valentine's Day.

Standard edition

Variant edition

The officially licensed, numbered editions measure 18" x 24" and are individually screen printed.

The standard edition will be limited to 280 prints, and the variant edition will be limited to 50 prints.  In addition, there will be a special wood edition of 5 each of both the standard and variant artwork.

The prices will be as follows:

Standard: $65
Variant: $100
Wood: $250

The Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown prints go on sale Wednesday, February 5, 2013 at at a random time between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM (Pacific time) at Dark Hall Mansion's webstore. Dark Hall Mansion says they'll be shipping out the prints immediately so they'll arrive in time for Valentine's Day.

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

January 31, 2014

You're in a Pre-Superbowl Ad, Charlie Brown

The Peanuts gang's long association with insurance company MetLife continues this Sunday, February 2, when a new television commercial titled "National Anthem with Peanuts" will air during the 2014 Superbowl pre-game show.

But you don't have to wait for the Superbowl to see it - as is increasingly common, MetLife has posted the ad to YouTube in advance of the big game.  A week ago they posted a 30 second version, and today they posted a 60 minute version, which you can view by following this link:

National Anthem with Peanuts

While you're there, you can check out the other YouTube videos from MetLife - quite a few feature the Peanuts characters.

January 28, 2014

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown + A Charlie Brown Valentine to air February 14 on ABC

ABC is celebrating Valentine's Day 2014 by airing two Peanuts specials that evening - the 1975 special Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and the 2002 special A Charlie Brown Valentine. They'll air back-to-back from 8-9 PM on Friday, February 14 (Eastern/Pacific time).

In Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown hopes for Valentine's cards at the school Valentine's Day party while Linus worries about how to show his affection for his teacher, Miss Othmar.  Then in A Charlie Brown Valentine, Charlie Brown tries to impress the little red-haired girl, but instead Peppermint Patty asks him to a Valentine's Day dance.

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And another modest item of Peanuts television news: a signed letter from Charles Schulz with a drawing of Linus will be one of the items featured on the February 10, 2014 episode ("Detroit, Hour 3") of the PBS show Antiques Roadshow.  Typically new episodes air at 8 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on Monday evenings, but check local listings to confirm the time on your PBS station.

January 21, 2014

Peanuts #15 in stores Wednesday, January 22

The comic book Peanuts #15 arrives Wednesday, January 22, 2014.  In this issue you'll find the new stories "Joe Stockcar," "The Best Defense," "Woodstock's Lonely Day," and "Press Here," along with a few classic Peanuts Sunday strips.  There's a five-page preview at ComicVine.

You can buy Peanuts #15 at your local comic book store, or order it directly from Boom! Studio's website.

December 18, 2013

Peanuts #14 on sale Wednesday, December 18

Boom! Studios' Peanuts #14 comic book went on sale on Wednesday, December 18, 2013.  In this issue are the seasonally themed new stories "December 16" and "Naughty or Nice," together with "How to Be a World Famous Author" and "Give It a Shot."  See a five-page preview at comicattack.net .

The Peanuts comic book can be purchased at your local comic book store, or ordered directly from Boom! Studio's website.

December 17, 2013

Reminder: Three Peanuts specials on TV this week

Just in case you haven't marked your calendar yet, three Peanuts specials air on three consecutive days at the end of this week:

A Charlie Brown Christmas + A Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales airs again Thursday, December 19 on ABC from 8 - 9 PM

Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown airs Friday, December 20 on FOX from 9 - 10 PM

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown airs Saturday, December 21 on ABC from 8 - 9 PM

If you missed either of them, you can watch A Charlie Brown Christmas or I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown at hulu.com .

Enjoy and happy holidays!

December 11, 2013

Peanuts news tidbits: ABC extends contract for specials; Harris holiday poll; Jeannie Schulz chat at Reddit

Late last week, the ABC network announced they've extended their contract to show the Peanuts holiday shows - It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; and A Charlie Brown Christmas - through 2020. The specials moved to ABC in 2001, and have consistently garnered good ratings; last week, the 48-year old A Charlie Brown Christmas attracted a larger audience than FOX's brand-new show Almost Human. You can read the full press release here.

So it's not surprising to hear that in a new Harris Interactive poll about the holidays, Americans chose A Charlie Brown Christmas as their favorite animated holiday special. You can read the full press release and poll details at Harris Interactive's website.

Finally, on Wednesday, December 11, Jean Schulz participated in an online chat at the popular site Reddit. The chat is quite lengthy; Mrs. Schulz's name is highlighted above her responses.