June 16, 2015

Time to order that Snoopy license plate!

We haven’t checked in on California’s drive to issue a Snoopy license plate since Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation to launch the effort back in October 2013, and it’s definitely time for an update.

Since then, progress has been both hopeful ... and a bit discouraging.

You might want to read this earlier post, for some back-story. (Go ahead; we’ll wait for you to come back.)

All set? Very good.

First of all, it’s necessary to understand that California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has a policy of not stamping a specialty plate until it’s ordered by at least 7,500 people. While well over that number officially expressed interest in the plate via its web site, the next phase — securing a $50 deposit from at least 7,500 of those folks — hasn’t been moving as rapidly. As these words are typed, slightly more than 5,500 people have done so.

Unfortunately, the clock is ticking. The first “soft deadline” for sign-ups was January 24 of this year. The California Cultural Historical Endowment was granted an extension, but — and here we’re quoting — “Typically, the DMV issues a one-year extension.”

Existing DMV rules don’t allow for more than one extension, so that means a final deadline of January 2016 ... roughly seven months away. The bottom line is obvious: California’s Peanuts fans need to more aggressively promote this program to their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers.

Public service has been a great selling point, from the very beginning. Once the sign-up threshold is achieved, every non-personalized Snoopy plate sold will give $40 to the California Cultural and Historical Endowment, which expects (hopes) to collect roughly $300,000 for California’s museums, during the first year the plates are stamped. The news is even better when purchasing a personalized plate: $50 to museums, and $48 to the California Environmental License Fund.

In an effort to further sweeten the deal, the program recently introduced a “Beagle Backer” bonus. The first 7,500 purchasers will become Beagle Backers, and receive one-time discounted or free admission to 58 museums throughout the Golden State. The list of participating museums keeps climbing, and the current retail value of this incentive is more than $850 ... which is a pretty sweet return for the initial license plate fee.

Granted, you’d need to travel a bit, to take advantage of every opportunity ... but who wouldn’t enjoy an ambitious museum road trip? On top of which, the participating venues are an impressively varied bunch, including the California Science Center, the Japanese American National Museum, the Aerospace Museum of California, San Diego’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’ Museum of Tolerance, the Santa Barbara Zoo, the Western Railway Museum and — of course — the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center. You can see a complete list of participants here.

As of 2013, California boasted 24,390,236 licensed drivers. We find it hard to believe that there aren’t at least 7,500 eager to put a beagle on their vehicle of choice.

Consider this a reminder, then: Encourage all your California Peanuts fans to stand up and be counted. Send ’em to snoopyplate.com, to sign up.

As California goes, so goes the nation ... and the faster we get the World-Famous Beagle on those plates, the sooner folks in the other 49 states may be inspired to do the same!

May 19, 2015

Peanuts #28 arrives Wednesday, May 20

The comic book Peanuts #28 goes on sale Wednesday, May 20, 2015. New stories in this month's installment from Boom! Studio include "Studs," "Sunny Disposition," and "Happy Any Day." The issue also includes a "Comic-Con Pull-Out Poster" and several classic Peanuts Sunday strips. Comic Book Resources has a five-page preview.

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

It appears that the Peanuts comic book will be taking an extended break after this month - no issues are scheduled to come out in the next two months.  Whether the comic book will return eventually or not is unknown.

May 6, 2015

Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection DVD set, featuring DVD debut of two specials, announced

Coming this September from Warner Home Video is the Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection, a two-disc DVD collection of 11 Peanuts specials that were either Emmy Award winners or nominees.

The set features two specials that are being released on DVD for the first time in the U.S.: What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? and Why, Charlie Brown, Why? Somewhat inconveniently, however, you'll also get nine other previously released specials that may already be in your Peanuts DVD collection.

The full list of specials included in the collection are:

You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown (1975) (Emmy winner)
You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown (1979) (Emmy nominee)
She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown (1980) (Emmy nominee)
Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown (1980) (Emmy winner)
It's Magic, Charlie Brown (1981) (Emmy nominee)
Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown (1981) (Emmy nominee)
Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? (1983) (Emmy nominee)
What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? (1983) (Emmy nominee) (new to DVD)
It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (1984) (Emmy nominee)
Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985) (Emmy nominee)
Why, Charlie Brown, Why? (1990) (Emmy nominee) (new to DVD)

Note that this set is neither a complete collection of Emmy Award winning Peanuts specials, nor of the Emmy nominated specials. The better known specials A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving also won Emmy Awards, and 13 other animated specials not on this collection received nominations. You can see a complete list of all the winning and nominated Peanuts shows at the Peanuts Animation and Video Page.

Warner touts that the shows have been "brilliantly remastered in all-new 4K Ultra HD transfers," and while that is true, the difference in quality between this release and earlier Warner DVD versions of the shows is likely to be small. All the previously released shows had already been remastered and looked quite good for their initial appearances on Warner Home Video DVDs, and more to the point, since DVD is a standard-definition format, it cannot take advantage of the high resolution of the remasters. Sadly, no high definition Blu-ray version of this set, which would have shown the remasters to much better effect, has been announced.

There are no bonus or special features on the set.

The Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection DVD set will be release on September 15, 2015 has a suggested retail price of $26.99, and can be pre-ordered from Amazon and other stores now.

March 18, 2015

Peanuts #26 in stores Wednesday, March 18

Issue #26 of the Peanuts comic book from Boom! Studios went on sale Wednesday, March 18. This month's installment contains two new stories - "Revenge is Sweet" and "Dirty Dancing" (featuring cover boy Pig-Pen), plus the usual handful of classic Sunday comic strips. 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.

And if you didn't get it already, also look for last month's Peanuts #25, a special extra-long issue featuring one 32-page long story, "It's Summer Camp, Charlie Brown" (see preview).

March 8, 2015

Limited edition A Boy Named Charlie Brown prints from Dark Hall Mansion

As you'll know if you've a regular reader of this blog, Dark Hall Mansion has produced many high-quality "movie poster"-style prints for the well-loved classic Peanuts television specials. Now they've turned their talents to creating a fantastic limited edition print for A Boy Named Charlie Brown, the very first Peanuts theatrical film itself.

Tom Whalen, artist for several of Dark Hall Mansion's previous Peanuts prints, has drawn a wonderfully complex and detailed work, chock full of many of the 1969 movie's memorable moments, deploying a clever use of symmetry to balance all the elements together. There's even a shout-out to Vince Guaraldi, whose music you'll probably be humming while you admire the artwork.

The print will be available in three editions: a standard edition; a variant edition with a different color scheme; and a very limited wood editions of each color scheme.

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

These officially licensed editions will measure 18" x 24" and are screen printed.

The standard edition will be limited to 280 prints, the variant edition will be limited to 50 prints, and the wood editions limited to just 10 prints of each color palette.

The prices will be as follows:

Standard: $65
Variant: $100
Wood (Standard): $250
Canvas (Variant): $250

The A Boy Named Charlie Brown prints go on sale Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 9:30 AM Pacific time at Dark Hall Mansion's webstore. The prints are always very fast sellers, so be ready to act when they go on sale!

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

February 12, 2015

Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown DVD is now out!

The much-anticipated DVD of the third Peanuts theatrical movie, Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977), is now available.  Released on February 10, 2015 by Paramount Home Video, the DVD presents the film in 16:9 widescreen, and the only bonus feature is the film's theatrical trailer.

(The trailer is something of a curiosity, featuring narration by a voice that sounds an awfully lot like Bill Hinnant, who played Snoopy in the original 1967 off-Broadway production of You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  Either that or it's his brother Skip, of The Electric Company fame.)

Interestingly - as was the case with the A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home DVDs - the Race For Your Life DVD actually shows less picture than the VHS release of the movie. The entire movie was originally drawn as a 4:3 (square) image, like the Peanuts TV specials, and that is what was released on VHS.  When the movie was presented in theaters, the top and bottom of the image were removed, and the DVD replicates that 16:9 (rectangular) image. This is not necessarily good or bad, but just noting the difference, since typically DVD releases include more of the picture than the VHS tape.  Regardless, it's great to be able to add a DVD with better picture quality to our collections.

While there isn't a Blu-ray disc release of the movie to go with the DVD (alas), Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown is now available in high definition as a digital rental or purchase from iTunes or Amazon Instant Video (and possibly other providers). None of the other three theatrical movies are available as digital files at this time, although many of the TV specials are.

While the initial announcements of the Race For Your Life DVD said that the fourth movie, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown would also be coming out this year, so far there's no sign of it - no release date has been announced and no preorder listings have appeared. But keep your fingers crossed!

The website ToonZone has an interview with producer Lee Mendelson about Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown in honor of the new DVD release.

In related news, at the 42nd "Annie Awards" ceremony on January 31st, the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA-Hollywood) awarded Lee Mendelson the Winsor McCay Award for career contributions at to the art of animation, in particular, his work on the Peanuts specials.  A justly deserved award, and you can watch the presentation and Mr. Mendelson's acceptance speech on YouTube.

Finally, don't forget that Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown together with A Charlie Brown Valentine air at 8 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on ABC on Friday, February 13th, 2015!

January 28, 2015

Limited edition 2015 "Snoopy Valentine" prints from Dark Hall Mansion

Dark Hall Mansion is celebrating Valentine's Day 2015 with a set of eye-catching prints featuring the Peanuts gang, going on sale this Friday, January 30.

The very colorful prints by new-to-the-line artist Nicole Gustafsson, titled "Snoopy Valentine," are inspired by the TV special Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and one of Charles Schulz's enduring themes of the comic strip - the joys and difficulties of love.

The print is available in four editions: a standard edition; a variant edition with a different color scheme; and very limited canvas editions of each.

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

The officially licensed glicée prints measure 16" x 20" and will ship in time for Valentine's Day.

The standard edition will be limited to 280 prints, the variant edition will be limited to 50 prints, and the canvas editions limited to just 5 prints of each color scheme.

The prices will be as follows:

Standard: $65
Variant: $100
Canvas (Standard): $225
Canvas (Variant): $225

The 2015 "Snoopy Valentine" prints go on sale Friday, January 30, 2015 at 9:30 AM Pacific time at Dark Hall Mansion's webstore.

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

January 27, 2015

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown & A Charlie Brown Valentine to air Friday, February 13, 2015 on ABC

You'll be able to get ready for Valentine's Day by watching Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975) and A Charlie Brown Valentine (2002) on Friday, February 13, 2015 evening.  ABC will broadcast the two specials back-to-back from 8-9 PM (Eastern/Pacific time).

November 27, 2014

A classic Peanuts Christmas countdown on FiveCentsPlease.org for 2014

It's time again to join the Peanuts gang in counting down the days until Christmas, starting Friday, November 28, on the FiveCentsPlease.org home page. A different single-panel comic with a holiday theme will appear each day through December 25.

Like the previous two years, we've visited the archives and selected a countdown from the past in order to continue this tradition.  This time around we'll be featuring the panels from 1997 for your entertainment.

(While GoComics is also running Peanuts Christmas countdown panels, they aren't new either. In fact, they're the same panels they ran last year... and the year before that... and the year before that!  We wanted you to have something different and less recently seen.)

We hope you'll visit our home page each day and enjoy these mini-comics with us as Christmas approaches.

November 20, 2014

Limited edition A Charlie Brown Christmas prints for 2014 from Dark Hall Mansion

Dark Hall Mansion's yearly tradition of prints celebrating A Charlie Brown Christmas continues this year with a new officially licensed limited edition print by artist Nicolas Delort.

The Christmas print is in the same style as his Great Pumpkin print from last month:  an expansive scene centered around the character at the heart of the television special, Charlie Brown, holding his famous little tree as he takes in the wonder of the season, created with fine etching-like strokes.

The print is available in three editions: a standard edition in evocative black-and-white; a blue-tinted variant edition; and a very limited foil edition.

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

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

The standard edition will be limited to 375 prints, the variant edition will be limited to 80 prints, and the foil edition limited to just 30 prints.

The prices will be as follows:

Standard: $65
Variant: $100
Foil: $150

The 2014 A Charlie Brown Christmas prints go on sale Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at a random time between 9:30 AM and 12 noon (Pacific time) at Dark Hall Mansion's webstore.  Delort's Halloween prints sold out very quickly, so you'll need to move fast if you want one of these new prints.

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

November 19, 2014

Peanuts #23 out Wednesday, November 19 & a look ahead for the Peanuts comic books

The latest installment of Boom! Studio's ongoing Peanuts comic book arrived in stores this Wednesday, November 19, 2014. Issue #23 includes the stories "Eraserophagia," "The Eyes Have It," and "Toodle-oo Caribou," as well as the regularly featured classic Peanuts Sunday comic strips. You can see an eight-page preview - including the alternate variant cover - at Comic Book Resources.

Comic Book Resources also has a new interview with Peanuts comic book writers and artists Paige Braddock and Vicki Scott. In it they reveal that Peanuts #25, due out February 2015, will be an extra-large, single-story anniversary issue focusing on the gang going to summer camp (which, as fans know, was a recurring storyline in the original comic strip).

November 18, 2014

Peanuts 2015 movie: first trailer, new pictures, interview with the creators

Fans eager to learn more about next year's 3D computer-animated Peanuts film are in luck this week.

The big news is the official first trailer for the film, released today by Fox Family Entertainment.

And yesterday, USA Today ran an article interviewing producers Paul Feig and Craig Schulz, and director Steve Martino. The article includes five new still pictures from the movie.

Check them out to get a taste of what's coming in November 2015!

Also, in case you didn't know... the movie has its own Facebook page and Twitter account.

Snoopy and Woodstock balloon to return in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2014

Snoopy and his best buddy Woodstock will return to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.

The balloon featuring Woodstock atop a soaring Snoopy debuted in last year's parade; 2014 will be its second outing, and Snoopy's 38th parade appearance overall.

The TV broadcast of the 88th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Thursday, November 27, 2014 from 9 AM - Noon on NBC. (All time zones; the Macy's Parade broadcast starts at 9 AM, regardless of which time zone you're in.)  Advance press says there will be a live stream of the broadcast on NBC.com as well.

November 13, 2014

December 2014 TV broadcasts: A Charlie Brown Christmas will air twice along with two other Peanuts specials

As the Peanuts gang often notes, holiday time is fast approaching, so ABC has announced their holiday special broadcast plans.

They include two outings of the very first Peanuts TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. The initial broadcast of the 1965 classic will be on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 from 8:30 - 9:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific); this showing will be edited to fit into the half-hour timeslot.

The second showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas will be on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific). It will be unedited, and accompanied by the 2002 skit compilation Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales.

Also coming in December on ABC are I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown on Saturday, December 20, 2014 from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific), and Happy New Year, Charlie Brown together with She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown on Monday, December 29, 2014 from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

November 11, 2014

Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown Finally Come to DVD in 2015

Fans have been asking about DVD releases of the third and fourth Peanuts theatrical movies for years, and at last Paramount will release the films on DVD next year, according to news reports on TVShowsOnDVD.com (here and here).

Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) is set to be released on February 10, 2015; there will apparently be no bonus features. The Amazon pre-order listing claims the DVD will be widescreen.

The fourth movie, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (1980) doesn't have a firm release date yet, but is planned for October 2015. (TVShowsOnDVD.com reports that Paramount says they're delaying until that time in order to tie the release in with the 35th anniversary of the film... which is kind of odd since the film first hit theaters in June 1980.)

The first two Peanuts movies, A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) and Snoopy Come Home (1972), have been available on DVD for some time, and will be re-released on February 10, 2015 as well - most likely those will just be re-packagings with no new features.