November 26, 2020

A very classic Peanuts Christmas countdown on FiveCentsPlease.org for 2020

FiveCentsPlease.org's annual tradition celebrating the approach of Christmas with the Peanuts gang starts Friday, November 27. A different single-panel comic with a holiday theme will appear on our home page each day through December 25.

Like previous years, we're presenting a classic countdown from the past, since new ones are no longer being made.

However, this time we have something special:  a few months ago, dedicated research efforts by FiveCentsPlease.org co-host Derrick Bang uncovered 12 years of previously lost countdown panels, from 1985 through 1996.  (You can read all about his hunt in his blog post from earlier this week.)

So, this year we're reprinting the 1987 Christmas countdown panels, unseen (as far as we know) since their original run over 30 years ago.

Unfortunately, the sources for these panels weren't high quality and required a fair bit of cleanup, and as a result, they aren't as crisp or detailed as the panels from the late 1990's and 2000's that we've been running before.

We hope you'll enjoy visiting our home page each day to see these newly recovered bits of seasonal Peanuts history!

November 24, 2020

The Peanuts Christmas Countdown Panels: A (long-awaited!) complete history

[Authors’ note: 5CP posts generally are informal — and much shorter! — like newspaper press releases. But because of the way this particular saga unfolded, a first-person approach seemed best. As a result, Derrick is stepping out from behind the curtain.]

 

I spent almost two decades wondering about this.

 

Very little in the way of Peanuts and Charles M. Schulz lore remains untapped, at this late stage. Thanks to the Schulz Museum’s debut in August 2002 — along with Fantagraphics’ Complete Peanuts book series, David Michaelis’ biography of Schulz, and all manner of other books, articles and essays from numerous quarters — we’ve been blessed with detailed revelations about almost every possible aspect of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang.

 

Almost.

 

I first learned about the annual Peanuts Christmas countdown panels in late 1997, after signing on as a desk editor at my hometown newspaper. At that time, they were distributed on slick pages, multiple panels to a page, as shown at left:

 

The panels themselves were lifted from existing Peanuts newspaper strips, but the word balloons were amended with a holiday-themed sentiment; alternatively, “silent” panels were assigned holiday-themed “titles” above the artwork. (My understanding is that selecting and captioning each year’s panels was something of a contest among various United Feature Syndicate staffers; they were not done by Schulz.)

 

By the 21st century, the panels also were available digitally — in both monochrome and full color — via various Internet delivery systems. The panels were sent, at no additional charge, to all client newspapers that published the daily Peanuts strip. The idea was to add a bit of holiday cheer to the season, starting the Friday after Thanksgiving, and concluding on Christmas Day.

 

But our local paper didn’t use them, and — for that matter — I don’t recall ever having seen them in any of the newspapers that commonly came to my attention. They weren’t in the Los Angeles Times, or the San Francisco Chronicle; even the Santa Rosa Press Democrat declined to run them (which seems odd, given that Schulz lived in Santa Rosa for so many years).

 

November 18, 2020

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving & Christmas specials to air on PBS on November 22 and December 13, 2020, respectively

Great news - A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on broadcast television this year after all.

And no, that's not a typo in the headline - via an agreement with Apple, the classic holiday specials will be shown commercial-free on your local PBS (public broadcasting) station, a change from airing on ABC in previous years.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is scheduled to air Sunday, November 22, 2020 from 7:30 - 8:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

A Charlie Brown Christmas is scheduled to air Sunday, December 13, 2020 from 7:30 - 8:00 PM (Eastern/Pacific).

Check the listings of your local PBS channel to confirm; note that these broadcasts were just announced, so it may take a day or two for your station's listings to be updated.

The specials will also air on PBS Kids, which is a broadcast sub-channel available over the air in many areas as well - so if you don't see it on your local PBS station, check PBS Kids, if you receive it.

You can read the full press release from PBS.

The two specials will still also be made available for free via the Apple TV+ subscription streaming service, as previously announced.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving will be available free to watch, without a subscription, on Apple TV+ from Wednesday, November 25 - Friday, November 27, 2020; A Charlie Brown Christmas will be available from Friday, December 11 to Sunday, December 13, 2020.

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To watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving or A Charlie Brown Christmas on Apple TV+, you'll need to either install the Apple TV+ app on a supported device; or watch it via a web browser, on any computer, at tv.apple.com .

Supported devices include: Apple devices including the iPad, iPhone, Apple TV set-top boxes, and Macs; Roku or Amazon Fire TV streaming devices; and select smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio, or Sony. For more information about supported devices and setting Apple TV+ up on them, see this Apple support webpage.

You do not need to subscribe (or even start a free trial) to Apple TV+ in order to install the app on any of those devices and watch the specials during the free period.  However, you will have to sign in with a new or existing account Apple account (such as the one you use for iTunes, Apple Music, or iCloud).  Signing in does not subscribe you to Apple TV+.

Once you're in the Apple TV+ app, the show will likely be featured on the front page of the app, or can be found in the "Kids" section.  At the tv.apple.com website, if you don't see the show listed right away, you may need to scroll quite a ways through the list of shows to find it.

See Apple's website for more information about the AppleTV+ streaming service in general.

November 15, 2020

Snoopy is back again!

Save the date!

On November 26th, the 94th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will air from

9 am to noon, all time zones, on NBC-TV.

 

Due to COVID19, this will not be the typical crowd-filled, two-and-a-half-mile route starting at West 77th Street.  The balloons will not be flown by handlers; they will be driven by utility vehicles and joined by floats gliding just one city block down 34th Street, near the flagship department store, and without an audience.  Marching bands will not be included, but the casts of four currently shuttered Broadway shows will perform instead. 


A scene from 2019, when handlers were allowed to fly Snoopy.


 

Astronaut Snoopy will return, continuing his record as the longest-running balloon character.


For a complete history of the various Peanuts character balloons that have flown in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, see here.

October 29, 2020

Reminder: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown streaming for free Oct 30 - Nov 1, 2020 on Apple TV+

Most folks are justifiably disappointed that It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown isn't being shown on regular broadcast television this year, due to the new deal that moved the Peanuts specials exclusively to the streaming service Apple TV+.

However, the Halloween classic will be available to watch for free, without a subscription, on the Apple TV+ app or website for three days: Friday, October 30 to Sunday, November 1, 2020.

Watching it via the Apple TV+ app definitely isn't as simple or universally accessible as a television broadcast - the length of the explanation in this post is proof of that - but it's the only free option on offer this year, if you don't already own the show on home video.

To watch, you'll need to either install the Apple TV+ app on a supported device; or watch it via a web browser, on any computer, at tv.apple.com .

Supported devices include: Apple devices including the iPad, iPhone, Apple TV set-top boxes, and Macs; Roku or Amazon Fire TV streaming devices; and select smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio, or Sony. For more information about supported devices and setting Apple TV+ up on them, see this Apple support webpage.

You do not need to subscribe (or even start a free trial) to Apple TV+ in order to install the app on any of those devices and watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown during the free period.  However, you will have to sign in with a new or existing account Apple account (such as the one you use for iTunes, Apple Music, or iCloud).  But signing in does not subscribe you to Apple TV+.

Once you're in the Apple TV+ app, the show is featured on the front page of the app, or can be found in the "Kids" section.  At the tv.apple.com website, for the moment it's listed at the very top, but if you don't see it there, you may need to scroll quite a ways through the list of shows to find it.

See Apple's website for more information about the AppleTV+ streaming service in general.

October 19, 2020

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and other Peanuts holiday specials move to Apple TV+; new specials and series also announced for Apple TV+

If, like me, you've been wondering why ABC hasn't set a broadcast date yet for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - even though there are less than two weeks until Halloween - today we learned the apparent answer.

Today a press release from Apple and WildBrain Entertainment announced that the subscription streaming service Apple TV+ will "become the home for all things 'Peanuts,' bringing together new original series and specials, along with iconic beloved specials to fans around the world, all in one place."

The new series and brand-new specials coming to Apple TV+ will include:
  • The Snoopy Show (premieres Feb 5, 2021 - see below for more information);
  • New specials about Mother's Day, Earth Day, New Year's Eve, and "going back to school." (Yes, there's already a New Year's special.. but it sounds like they're going to make another one.);
  • A brand-new documentary for the 70th anniversary of Peanuts;
  • A second season of Snoopy in Space (the first season has been part of Apple TV+ since the service launched - see this blog post for more details).

No release date has been set for the other new shows other than The Snoopy Show.

But perhaps the more significant part of today's announcement is that the three classic Peanuts holiday specials - It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas - will now exclusively be part of the Apple TV+ streaming service.

Each holiday special will be made available to view for free without a subscription via Apple TV+ for three days only.  (Of course, if you have an Apple TV+ subscription, they will be viewable whenever you want.)

While it hasn't been officially stated, most sources agree that ABC has lost the rights to broadcast the Peanuts holiday specials and none of them will appear on network television this year. (Three pieces of information support this: the announcement from Apple and Wildbrain; ABC's most recent contract to broadcast the specials expired this year; and the lack of any broadcast dates announcement by ABC.

This means the 55 year tradition of over-the-air, network broadcasts of the beloved holiday specials starring Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang has come to an end, unfortunately.

The Apple TV+ premiere and free streaming dates for the classic holiday specials will be as follows (all dates 2020):
  • It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - begins streaming on October 19, free to non-subscribers from October 30 to November 1
  • A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving - begins streaming on November 18, free to non-subscribers from November 25 to November 27
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas - begins streaming on December 4, free to non-subscribers from December 11 to December 13

It's not clear if other classic Peanuts specials will also become available as part of Apple TV+ or not.

The streaming service Apple TV+ costs $4.99 a month.  You can watch it on Apple devices (including iPad, iPhone, Apple TV boxes, and Macs); on streaming devices such as Rokus, Amazon Fire boxes, and select smart TVs; or on the web at tv.apple.com .  You do not need to subscribe to the service to install the Apple TV app on any of those devices and watch the holiday specials during the free periods; you may, however, need to sign in with an existing or new Apple account.  See Apple's website for more information .

You can read today's full press release on either Apple or WildBrain's website.

While the press release doesn't use the word "exclusive" when referring to the classic Peanuts specials, it appears that at least for now, they are no longer available for digital rental/digital purchase from other services such as Amazon Prime or Vudu.  It's unknown if this is a temporary period of exclusivity, or a permanent one... time will tell.

The five theatrical Peanuts movies are not part of the Apple TV+ deal.

DVDs and Blu-rays of the classic specials remain available for purchase, however.

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More details about the upcoming new Peanuts series The Snoopy Show:

It will premiere Feb 5, 2021 on Apple TV+ and each episode will consist of "three, seven-minute cartoons".

It's described as "a new animated series for kids and families that stars the internationally beloved beagle and his feathered best friend Woodstock as they tackle all new adventures. [..] All of Snoopy's bold, beloved personas are on full display in this brand-new animated comedy."  Exactly how many episodes there will be has not been revealed. You can watch the teaser trailer on Youtube.

October 2, 2020

It all began ...

... 70 years ago today: October 2, 1950.

Three small children, an average neighborhood, an apparently congenial tone ... and an unexpected little sting in the final panel.

And thus tradition was born.

Fun facts: Although we're immediately introduced to Charlie Brown in this debut cartoon, his two companions — Patty and Shermy — weren't named until (respectively) October 26 and December 18, also in 1950.

(Snoopy debuted in the third strip, on October 4, but wasn't named until November 10.)

As we celebrate this platinum anniversary, let's remember how it all began: with one man, his pen, a blank artist's board ... along with a rich imagination, and an extraordinarily perceptive understanding of the human condition.

To quote the title of the documentary/retrospective that aired January 9, 1976 (and won an Emmy Award, for "Outstanding Informational Children's Special") ...

Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown!

February 12, 2020

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown & A Charlie Brown Valentine to air Friday, February 14, 2020 on ABC

If you and your sweet babboo don't have a night out planned for this Valentine's Day - Friday, February 14, 2020 - while you're at home you can enjoy watching Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown together with A Charlie Brown Valentine on ABC from 8 - 9 PM (Eastern/Pacific).