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.

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.

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 is $24.99, but you should be able to get them for under $20 each. 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.)

July 27, 2016

A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home Blu-rays coming September 6, 2016 & other DVD news

Want to enjoy "I Before E Except After C" and "Fundamental-Friend-Dependability" in high definition? Soon you'll be able to, because the first two Peanuts theatrical films, A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home, will both be released by Paramount on Blu-ray disc on September 6, 2016.

Unlike the DVD releases, 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. Audio options on each disc are 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo mixes (in DTS MA). No bonus features are included. The list price for each disc is $24.99, but you should be able to get them for under $20 each.

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. It's good to know that when CBS went back to master the film in high definition and 4:3, they also used the unedited version of the movie.

Both films were released on Blu-ray disc in Australia last year; the Australian A Boy Named Charlie Brown was incorrectly stretched out and distorted. Fortunately this is not the case with the US release.

And no, there's no word on when or if the other two classic animated Peanuts movies will be released on Blu-ray - they were only recently finally released on DVD! - but we'll keep our fingers crossed, and in the meantime, we'll be able to enjoy seeing every little detail of the first two.

(Updated September 3, 2016 with corrected info about the aspect ratios used on the Blu-rays.)



Meanwhile, Warner Home Video has also announced a "new" Peanuts DVD - the so-called Charlie Brown's All Stars 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. This baseball-themed 1966 special - the Peanuts gang's second television outing - has already been released on DVD in the US before, as part of Warner's Peanuts 1960's Collection box set (and even before than, on Paramount's now out of print Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown disc).

This is Warner's first release of Charlie Brown's All Stars on a stand-alone disc. While the press release says "includes bonus material," it doesn't specify what that bonus material might be. However, the cover image says "includes a bonus Peanuts special," so it seems likely a second Peanuts episode will be included. (Guess it'll be a surprise, since they don't want to tell us in advance.)  Given that Warner's "50th anniversary" releases of A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown didn't include new bonus material, it seems doubtful there will be any new behind-the-scenes features on this new Charlie Brown All Stars disc.  If we learn otherwise, we'll let you know.

The Charlie Brown All Stars 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition DVD will be released on October 4, 2016, and will have a suggested retail price of $19.98 .

If you don't own this special already, we suspect you might be better off getting the similarly priced Peanuts 1960's Collection box set instead, which also includes several other fine 1960's Peanuts specials.

July 20, 2016

Peanuts rocks the vote

The Peanuts gang are no strangers to election season - Snoopy ran for President as far back as 1968 - and 2016 will be no exception.

Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, and friends are lending their support to Rock the Vote, the organization that encourages people to register to vote, and then go to the polls on Election Day - a sentiment we heartily endorse here at fivecentsplease.org. Read more about the Peanuts gang's and Jean Schulz's efforts in this article from the Hollywood Reporter.

As the article mentions, the gang is kicking off their campaign with a pop-up "campaign headquarters" in the Gaslight district of San Diego (226 Fifth Ave, to be precise), timed to coincide with San Diego Comic-Con, of course - see photos of it here.

There's also the Peanuts Rocks the Vote website where you can read campaign statements from, and vote for, the various Peanuts character "candidates," and get information on registering for real-life elections.

Finally, if you need a Snoopy for President bumper sticker or a Franklin for President t-shirt, visit the Peanuts "campaign merchandise" website.

And... don't forget to vote in November!

July 6, 2016

Peanuts: Friends Forever 2016 Special #1 out Wednesday, July 6

The final issue of Boom Studio's Peanuts comic book line, Peanuts: Friends Forever 2016 Special #1, is now on sale. Released on Wednesday, July 6, the series goes out big with an extra-long magazine featuring three stories - "Dress to Depress," "Sally Brown on Reading," and "Daisy Hill Days" - accompanied as always by a few classic Sunday Peanuts comic strips. Visit Comic Book Resources for a five-page preview.

Your local comic book store should be able to order it for you, if they don't have it in stock already. We're sorry the Peanuts comic book has come to an end, but at 39 issues, it's had a pretty good run!

May 7, 2016

New Peanuts shorts to air on Boomerang starting Monday May 9

New animated shorts starring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang are airing on the US cable channel Boomerang.  As of September 1, 2016, the shorts are airing from 11AM - 12 noon and from 4 - 5 PM (Eastern time) - the 4 PM block is a repeat of the 11 AM block.


The new shorts, created by French animation studio Normaal Animation, first aired in France in 2014 and 2015. Each short is based on a comic strip by Charles Schulz, and are drawn in a traditional 2D animation style, unlike the recent theatrical "Peanuts" movie. According to the PR, the shorts were designed to feel like the comic strips they are based on, with "watercolor art style, textured backgrounds and framing." According to Normaal, they created 500 of these shorts (!!), each about 1-2 minutes long.

(Back in December 2014, the Los Angeles Times ran a nice article about the shorts, which you can read here.)

The shorts have been re-dubbed in English by child actors who auditioned for parts in last year's "Peanuts" movie and who were rated highly, but didn't quite make the cut for the movie.  Based on the few shorts that have aired so far, they seem up to the task!

For the American broadcast, the shorts have been grouped together into 104 different approximately 7-minute "episodes."  As of September 5, Boomerang is airing six of the 7-minute shorts each day, but they are all repeats of shorts that aired in previous weeks.  As of September 2, 70 different shorts have aired on Boomerang.  It is not known when new episodes will resume airing.

Unfortunately, there are no good listings of which episodes will air each day, so the only way to find out if there are new ones are to watch or record the blocks each day and scan for new ones.

The broadcast history so far:

May 9 - May 13:  Two episodes, both new, aired each weekday from 11:30 - 11:45 AM (Eastern)
May 16 - June 24: One new episode, and one repeat, aired each weekday from 11:30 - 11:45 AM (Eastern)
June 27 - July 15: Six episodes, all repeats, air each day from 11 AM - 12 noon and again from 4 - 5 PM (Eastern)
July 18 - September 2: Six episodes, one new and the rest repeats, air each day from 11 AM - 12 noon and again from 4 - 5 PM (Eastern)
September 5 - ???: Six episodes, all repeats, air each day from 11 AM - 12 noon and again from 4 - 5 PM (Eastern)

Some of the individual 1-2 minute shorts also air sporadically whenever Boomerang has some time to fill.  It's expected that all those shorts will also air as part of the regularly scheduled episode blocks.

For the first week only - Monday May 9 through Friday May 15 - the shorts aired as a "preview" on the more widely available Cartoon Network channel, from 10:00 - 10:15 AM Eastern (7:00 - 7:15 AM Pacific). Alas, as of Monday May 16, the shorts are airing only on Boomerang.

If you're setting up your DVR to record the shows, check the times carefully - the program guide information for Boomerang has often listed incorrect lengths for the broadcasts.  Also, Boomerang has often started the episodes several minutes early - so you should to tell your device to start recording 5 minutes early (and to keep going for a few extra minutes later, too).

On YouTube, you can see Boomerang's 60-second promo spot for the new Peanuts shorts, and you can find several samples of the shorts themselves on Normaal's website.

Be sure to tune in and check out this latest adaptation of the Peanuts gang!

April 26, 2016

Peanuts #32 and the coming end of the Peanuts comic book

Issue #32 of Boom Studio's Peanuts comic book arrives in stores on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.

The issue features a single story, "Snoopy From the Block," based on the comic strip storyline where Snoopy is nominated for the "Daisy Hill Puppy Cup" award.  You can see a preview at Comic Book Resources.

Unfortunately, #32 will be second-to-last issue of the Peanuts comic book; Boom Studios has announced they're bringing the series to a close. The final mag will be titled Peanuts: Friends Forever Special #1, a bumper size issue scheduled to be released in July.

March 4, 2016

Two more home video versions of The Peanuts Movie on March 8

Since my previous blog post about the home video release of The Peanuts Movie - due out Tuesday, March 8, 2016 - two further options have come to light.

First, Target is offering a special version of the "limited edition gift set" (includes Blu-ray disc, DVD disc, HD digital download, and Snoopy Flying Ace plush) that features a third disc, a Target-exclusive bonus DVD with "over 25 minutes of extra content."   Target's description of that bonus material:
Meet the cast in the “The Voices of the Peanuts Movie” featurette, visit the Nickelodeon “Orange Carpet” to learn how an animated film is made with Owen Joyner from 100 Things to Do Before High School, and explains how to make cool stuff with 3 “Art of Dreaming Big” activities.
You can order this version from the Target.com website for $22.99, or you can pick it up at your local Target store on March 8. It will not be available elsewhere.


Second, The Peanuts Movie will be one of the first movies released in the new "Ultra HD Blu-ray" disc format. Ultra HD Blu-ray has four times the resolution (four times as many pixels) as current Blu-ray discs; this is commonly known as "4K." Of course, you need a new, Ultra HD Blu-ray player and a TV with 4K resolution to take advantage of this format - so probably it will appeal to a limited number of buyers. The Peanuts Movie Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack includes the Ultra HD disc, a regular Blu-ray disc, and an HD digital download (but does not include a DVD). Presumably it includes the same bonus features as the regular Blu-ray, but no official list of features has been announced.  The list price for this version will be $39.99, and it can be ordered from Amazon.com and other retailers.

February 19, 2016

The Peanuts Movie coming out on DVD, Blu-ray, and 3D Blu-ray on March 8, 2016

The Peanuts Movie, 2015's CGI feature film starring the Peanuts gang, will be released on home video on March 8, 2016 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film will be available in several formats and packaging:
  • A DVD "combo pack" - includes DVD disc and HD digital download (list price $29.98)
  • A Blu-ray "combo pack" - includes 2D Blu-ray disc, DVD disc, and HD digital download (list price $39.99)
  • A 3D Blu-ray "combo pack" - includes 3D Blu-ray disc, 2D Blu-ray disc, DVD disc, and HD digital download (list price $49.99)
  • A "limited edition gift set" - includes a Blu-ray disc, DVD disc, HD digital download, and a Snoopy dressed as the WWI Flying Ace plush toy (list price $39.99)
Actual sale prices will almost certainly be cheaper than the list prices. Note that you need a 3D television and 3D Blu-ray player to play and watch the 3D Blu-ray.



The Fox press release lists a variety of bonus features that will accompany the film; note that a couple of them are only available on the Blu-ray discs. Sadly, it doesn't sound like the film's amusing trailers will be included at all. Descriptions are from the press release:
  • Snoopy Snippets – Can’t get enough of your favorite Peanuts characters? These six all-new Snoopy Snippets will brighten your day!
  • You Never Grow Up, Charlie Brown (Blu-ray only) – In this fascinating documentary, you’ll learn about Charles Schulz, the history of the Peanuts gang, and their journey to the big screen!
  • Snoopy’s Sibling Salute (Blu-ray only) – It’s a Snoopy family reunion as The Peanuts Movie filmmakers introduce viewers to Snoopy’s siblings: Andy, Olaf, Spike, Belle and Marbles.
  • Learn To Draw Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie Brown – Director Steve Martino provides fun, step-by-step tutorials on how to draw Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie Brown.
  • Get Down With Snoopy and Woodstock Music Video – Clap, dance and sing along with Snoopy, Woodstock and Charlie Brown to an all-new version of everyone’s favorite Peanuts song!
  • “Better When I’m Dancin’” Meghan Trainor Music Video – Escape to a wonderful, whimsical world with Meghan Trainor’s music video for her hit song “Better When I’m Dancin’.”
  • “Better When I’m Dancin’” Meghan Trainor Lyric Video – The Peanuts gang is dancing up a storm with moves like you've never seen before—and on-screen lyrics so you can sing along.
  • Behind The Scenes of “Better When I’m Dancin’” – Meghan Trainor takes you on an exclusive tour behind the scenes and on the set of her “Better When I’m Dancin’” music video!
  • Snoopy’s Playlist – Now the music from the movie is at your fingertips—use Snoopy’s Playlist to jump directly to your favorite songs.
The Peanuts Movie is already available as a digital-only download from Amazon and iTunes and similar services; however, considering those downloads cost $14.99 and the discs will only cost around $18-22 and include an HD digital download, you probably want to wait and get the physical discs too!

After I first wrote this blog post, two more home video versions were announced - a Target exclusive with "25 minutes of extra content," and an Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack.  See this follow up blog post for further details about them.



In other home video news, now that all four classic Peanuts movies have been released on DVD, Paramount has put them together in one box set, titled Peanuts: 4-Movie Collection. Released on February 16, 2016, the set contains:

A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)
Snoopy Come Home (1972)
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977)
Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (1980)

The movies are on 4 separate discs. No new bonus material is included with this set (although presumably it includes the few bonus features that are on the individual DVD releases), so if you have the previous DVD releases of the movies, you don't need this set. But if you don't, the set's a good deal - list price is $26.99, but you can get it for around $20.

February 4, 2016

A History of Peanuts Balloons in the Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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

After watching last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and anticipating the oversized balloons of our pals Snoopy and Woodstock, I wondered about the Peanuts balloon legacy in this annual celebration.

1968 WWI Flying Ace Snoopy
I quickly discovered that information was both scarce, and frequently inaccurate.

In the interests, then, of providing an authoritative chronology of the association between Macy’s and the Peanuts gang, I spent considerable time researching the topic. The goal was to find and provide an absolutely accurate listing, at all times cross-checked with photos and news coverage from reputable sources.

Let’s start with a few fun facts:

• New York City’s famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade began in 1924, complete with live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. The live animals were replaced by large balloons, beginning in 1927.

• Snoopy, in various personas, has been in this parade more than any other character. 

Newspaper ad for the 1969 parade
• The average height of the large balloons, like our pal Snoopy, is roughly six stories.

• The ground-based balloon handlers must weigh at least 125 pounds.

• For many year's, Macy's promoted the parade with detailed, full-page newspaper ads that sometimes even listed the scheduled balloons and floats.  

• Until 2011, the floats and balloons were built in a former Tootsie Roll factory in Hoboken, New Jersey. The parade construction facility then moved to a larger warehouse in Carlstadt, also in New Jersey. 

• During the very early hours of parade day, everything travels through the Lincoln Tunnel, to get to the parade’s starting point in Manhattan. Once there, the balloons are inflated with a mix of helium and outside air, just a few hours before the parade begins.

• These days, roughly 2 million spectators line the streets of Manhattan, to view the parade. The event lasts approximately three hours, and covers two and a half miles.

January 30, 2016

ABC to show two Peanuts Valentine's Day specials on Friday, February 12, 2016

The old and new double-feature of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975) and A Charlie Brown Valentine (2002) will be shown on ABC on Friday, February 12, 2016 from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

January 13, 2016

Limited edition Snoopy Come Home prints from Dark Hall Mansion

Our best of buddies Dark Hall Mansion are getting it together to show they have fundamental-print-dependability with their first Peanuts print of 2016, an outstanding rendering for Snoopy Come Home, the gang's second theatrical outing in 1972.

Returning artist Tom Whalen has created an image full of scenes from the movie using an appealing symmetrical composition, as he did in his A Boy Named Charlie Brown print from last year, to cover Snoopy's journey from home, to Lila's hospital, back home again.

The print will be available in four editions: a standard edition; a variant edition with a different color scheme; and very limited foil editions of each color scheme.  They go on sale very soon - Friday, January 15, 2016 - so be ready to samba over to Dark Hall Mansion's store.

Standard edition (click to enlarge)
Variant edition (click to enlarge)
These officially licensed editions will measure 18" x 24", are screen printed, and hand-numbered.

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

The prices will be as follows:

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

The Snoopy Come Home prints go on sale Friday, January 15, 2016 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.

December 13, 2015

Dark Hall Mansion's A Charlie Brown Christmas limited edition prints for 2015

Our friends at Dark Hall Mansion haven't forgotten that it's the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas - they're marking the event by bringing us their yearly gift of a limited edition print based on the first Peanuts television special.

The exuberant art by Tom Doyle & Ridge Rooms (who also created one of this year's It's the Great Pumpkin prints) melds elements of the show's opening scene with the gang skating together, the closing scene of Charlie Brown's suprisingly festive tree, and a few iconic images from in between to create a new piece celebrating the show's long history.

The new Christmas print will be available in a standard edition, a variant edition with silver metallic ink highlights, and a small glow-in-the-dark edition.

Standard Edition (click to enlarge)
Variant Edition (click to enlarge)
Glow-in-the-Dark Edition (click to enlarge)

These officially licensed editions will be screen printed and hand numbered.

The prices and print run sizes for the 2015 A Charlie Brown Christmas prints will be as follows:

Standard Edition of 280 - $65
Variant Edition of 65 - $100
Glow-in-the-Dark (GID) Edition of 35 - $150

All editions go on sale Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at 9:30 AM Pacific time at Dark Hall Mansion's webstore. They're usually 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.

December 11, 2015

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown broadcast moved to December 15

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown has a new broadcast date - it will now be shown Tuesday, December 15, 2015 from 9 - 10 PM (Eastern/Pacific) on ABC.

Why the change?  It's because ABC will be showing a Democratic presidential primary debate on December 19, the originally announced show date for I Want a Dog for Christmas.

(While there is a Republican candidate debate on the 15th, it is being shown on CNN only - so ABC has decided that the 15th is an okay time to show I Want a Dog for Christmas, even though that may be an inconvenience to viewers who want to watch both.)

Thanks to reader Amy M for bringing this to my attention.

And remember, if you missed A Charlie Brown Christmas or the new retrospective special It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, both will be broadcast again on Thursday, December 24 from 8 - 10 PM (Eastern/Pacific).  Or you can watch them online at ABC.com:

A Charlie Brown Christmas
It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown

November 26, 2015

A classic Peanuts Christmas countdown on FiveCentsPlease.org for 2015

Christmas is coming, and so is FiveCentsPlease.org's tradition of counting down to the Big Day with the Peanuts gang. Starting Friday, November 27 and continuing every day through December 25, our home page will feature a different, seasonally themed single panel.

As we have for the past several years, we've chosen a countdown from the archives in order to continue this tradition.  This holiday season we'll be featuring the panels from 1998 for your enjoyment.

Please join us on our home page each day - we hope the Christmas countdown panels will bring you a little extra daily cheer!