September 26, 2022

US Postal Service to issue new Peanuts stamps on September 30, 2022

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Charles Schulz's birth, on Friday, September 30, 2022 the United States Postal Service will be issuing a new set of first class stamps featuring the Peanuts characters.



The stamps will feature 10 different Peanuts character designs, and each sheet will have 20 stamps (two sets of the 10 designs).  Like all first class US stamps released in recent years, they will be "forever" stamps, always good for mailing a first class letter regardless of future price increases.

This is the third time the USPS has issued stamps celebrating Peanuts - the first was a Snoopy "flying ace" stamp in 2001, and the second was a set of stamps celebrating "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 2015.

The official release and first day ceremony for the new Schulz centennial Peanuts stamps will take place at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California on Friday September 30. The event is free; for details see the Museum website and this USPS announcement.

You should be able to buy the new stamps at your local post office, or they can also be ordered online from the USPS website.

In addition to the stamps themselves, you can also order a variety of related merchandise at the USPS website - such as first day covers, a stamp pin, collectible stamp stationery sets and portfolios, "field notes" notebooks, and a 48-page book reprinting a variety of mail-themed Peanuts strips.




August 17, 2022

Five-disc deluxe edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack coming October 14, 2022

It's going to be a good year for Vince Guaraldi and Peanuts music fans! Not only are we getting a proper music-only release of the It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown soundtrack in August, now Craft Recordings has announced a 5-disc "super deluxe edition" of the A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack coming on October 14, 2022.

While the beloved holiday album has been reissued and rereleased numerous times over the years, nearly all those reissues have had the same content - just the original 11 album tracks, gussied up in some new packaging or with a sheen of slight remastering.

But this fall's deluxe edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas offers something truly different and new: more than 50 tracks of previously unreleased alternate performances, outtakes, and additional bits of music, all sourced from the original tapes of five different 1965 album recording sessions. There are 16 alternate versions of "Christmas is Coming" alone!



The primary release is a 5-disc "super deluxe edition" with four CDs and one Blu-ray Audio disc. The contents are:
  • Disc 1: A new stereo mix of the original 11 album tracks, together with the original album mix of the same;
  • Discs 2 - 4: A total of 58 tracks of alternate takes, outtakes, etc. from the recording sessions;
  • Disc 5: Blu-ray Audio disc featuring a high resolution stereo version of the album, and a new Dolby Atmos surround-sound mix of the album.
(A Blu-ray Audio disc can be played in a regular Blu-ray video disc player.)

The discs come in a 56-page hardbound book with extensive new liner notes by Peanuts historian and Vince Guaraldi biographer Derrick Bang.

See Craft's press release for a complete, detailed track list.

Interestingly, the recording session tracks will not be edited to remove the discussions between Guaraldi and his fellow musicians, so along with hearing how the pieces evolved between takes, you'll also be able to hear their thoughts - and occasional frustrations when a performance doesn't go as planned - as if you were in the studio with them.

For those who don't need every single alternate take, on the same day Craft is also releasing a separate, single CD "highlights" deluxe edition that contains just the new 2022 stereo mix of the original album tracks, plus a selection of the best 13 additional alternate takes/outtakes and a condensed version of Derrick Bang's liner notes.

There will also be a 2-LP deluxe edition with the same content as the single CD release, and an 80-track digital release matching the 4 CDs from the "super deluxe edition."

All editions are available to pre-order now.

Note that this new deluxe edition is based on recording sessions for the A Charlie Brown Christmas album, not the recording sessions for the television show, which were done separately. So despite the extensive content, not all the music from the television show is included.  And for the most part the exact performances from the special's audio track will not be found here - although the differences are subtle enough that most people won't notice. Unfortunately, the recording sessions for the television soundtrack performances have yet to be found, despite the determined efforts that led to this release and the upcoming Great Pumpkin release. For more details, see Derrick Bang's blog post.

But don't let that take away from the fact that there's an amazing amount of new material for even the most devoted fan to delve into!



In regards to the "new 2022 stereo mix"... if you're wondering, what's the deal with the "new stereo mix" vs "the original album mix?"  How is a "new mix" different from a "new remaster?" Let me try to explain.

Typically, when music is recorded for an album, each instrument - or group of instruments - is initially recorded to a separate tape. Then a mixing engineer combines those separated recordings onto a single tape, balancing the volume level and adjusting the stereo placement of each instrument to create a pleasing listening experience. That final mixed tape is the "album master."

When an album is remastered, an engineer starts with the original album master tape - with all the instruments already combined - and tweaks or cleans up the sound based on the original mixing, trying to improve the sound while retaining the original balancing and placement of the instruments.

By contrast, when an album is remixed, the engineer instead goes back to the original separated tapes for each instrument, and creates a new combination of them, possibly with different volume choices for each instrument, or different stereo placement. New technology and techniques developed since the time of the original mixing means that a remix can sound cleaner, fuller, and "better" than the original, revealing subtleties hidden by the original mix. But a new mix can also be controversial, because the result will sound different from the original mix that fans have been listening to for decades. And many people - not unreasonably - want to enjoy the album as they remember it sounding.

With this new 5-disc A Charlie Brown Christmas deluxe edition, Craft has decided to try their hand at creating a new mix of the original album tracks. While some listeners may end up preferring the new mix, Craft is wisely also including the original album mix for those who prefer the original.

August 10, 2022

Lucy's School and new episodes of The Snoopy Show premiere August 12, 2022 on Apple TV+

Lucy's School, the latest Peanuts special from Apple TV+, will arrive on the subscription streaming service on Friday, August 12, 2022.


Apple has released a trailer for the special, which you can view now on YouTube, and here's a short description of the show:
The Peanuts gang are anxious about starting at a new school in the fall, inspiring Lucy to start her own school instead, but teaching isn’t as easy as it sounds. “Lucy’s School” is a love letter to teachers, and an appreciation of the impact a teacher can have on a child. It explores the fear of change, and shows how Lucy, supported by her friends, faces and overcomes her own fears.
Also coming Friday, August 12, 2022 - a week later than originally announced - are new episodes of The Snoopy Show season 2.

For more information about Apple TV+, including how to watch and subscribe, visit tv.apple.com and this Apple support page.

June 17, 2022

New, much improved version of It's the Great Pumpkin soundtrack album coming in August 2022

Waiting in the sincere pumpkin patch has finally paid off!

Craft Recordings has announced a new, improved version of the It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown soundtrack album is coming on August 26, 2022 - and this time they've got it right.

To get straight to the point: all the tracks on this new version of the soundtrack are completely free of the special effects sounds and volume fluctuations that marred the previous 2018 release, have better sound quality in general, and in a few cases, do not have the abrupt edits found on the previous release.

Even better, along with the full, clean versions of the tracks from the 1966 television special, this new 2022 Great Pumpkin album will also include seven bonus tracks of alternate takes from the recording sessions.

You may recall I was not impressed with Craft's 2018 release, which was, shall we say, a compromised listening experience.

The new 2022 release is the version we were all hoping for the first time around.

The original recording session tapes for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown had long been thought lost, but over the past couple of years, the good folks at Lee Mendelson Film Productions did a new, thorough inventory of their archives, and found the original recording reels.

You can read all the details in Craft's announcement, which you can find here.

The new release will be available on CD, a regular LP, a pumpkin-shaped LP, and digitally - all formats can be pre-ordered now. (A "Pumpkin Patch splatter design" LP was also announced, but is already sold out.) The physical releases feature new liner notes from fivecentsplease.org co-host and Guaraldi expert Derrick Bang.



Craft has released one of the alternate takes, "The Great Pumpkin Waltz (Alternate Take 2)" as a preview; you can listen to it on YouTube or Bandcamp, or find it on other digital platforms as well.

Unfortunately, Craft has made a puzzling decision to give the new release a cover almost identical to the cover of the 2018 release; it would have been much less confusing if the covers were more distinct from each other. The sole difference between the covers is that the 2022 release says "Original Soundtrack Recording" at the top, whereas the 2018 release says "Music From The Soundtrack" at the top.  Unfortunately the font, size, and coloring are all the same, making the difference easy to miss.

But rest assured, every single track on the new release is from a new, better source. The new album can be identified by the seven extra bonus tracks, the 2022 release date, and the slightly different cover text.

Tantalizingly, the Craft Recordings press release states that the team at Lee Mendelson Productions discovered "a treasure trove of materials from Vince Guaraldi," of which the Great Pumpkin tapes were only a part. So yes, it's possible that there may be more albums of other Guaraldi material to come; research is still ongoing, and of course, good sales of this new 2022 version of the album will be helpful in encouraging future releases.

Meanwhile, we can all breathlessly look forward to the updated Great Pumpkin soundtrack on August 26.

June 8, 2022

New special Lucy's School, more Snoopy Show, and more Peanuts classics coming to Apple TV+ in August 2022

Apple TV+ continues to expand their collection of Peanuts shows, with several additions coming to the subscription streaming service in August 2022.

First, a second batch of episodes from Season 2 of The Snoopy Show will arrive on Friday, August 12, 2022.  (Originally announced for August 5, the release was delayed a week.)

On the same day, Apple will also add nine more classic Peanuts specials:
  • A Charlie Brown Celebration
  • He’s A Bully, Charlie Brown
  • He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown
  • It Was A Short Summer, Charlie Brown
  • It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
  • There’s No Time For Love, Charlie Brown
  • Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
  • You’re In Love, Charlie Brown
  • You’re The Greatest, Charlie Brown

And finally, a new Peanuts special (the third this year!) titled Lucy's School debuts on Friday, August 12, 2022. Apple PR describes it as follows:
The Peanuts gang are anxious about starting at a new school in the Fall, inspiring Lucy to start her own school instead — but teaching isn’t as easy as it sounds. Lucy’s School is a love letter to teachers and an appreciation of what makes teaching such a noble and fulfilling profession. It explores the fear of change, and shows Lucy facing and overcoming her fears with the support of her friends.


For more information about Apple TV+, including how to watch and subscribe, visit tv.apple.com and this Apple support page.

May 3, 2022

To Mom (and Dad), With Love - new Peanuts special premieres May 6, 2022 on Apple TV+

The next new Peanuts special - To Mom (and Dad), With Love - will premiere on the Apple TV+ subscription streaming service on Friday, May 6, 2022.


You can watch a trailer for the special on YouTube, and here's the short description of the show:
To Mom (And Dad), With Love is a sweet Mother’s Day celebration of friendship and family featuring the beloved Peanuts gang. While the other kids are excited to celebrate the special day, for Peppermint Patty it’s just a reminder that she didn’t grow up with a mom. With her good friend Marcie by her side, she soon realizes that real families come in all shapes and sizes, and that Mother’s Day is an opportunity to thank that special person in your life who means the most to you. Meanwhile, Snoopy and Woodstock embark on an epic adventure to find Woodstock’s long-lost mom.
For more information about Apple TV+, including how to watch and subscribe, visit tv.apple.com and this Apple support page.

April 1, 2022

It's the Small Things, Charlie Brown coming to Apple TV+ on April 15, 2022


Apple has announced that the new Earth Day-themed Peanuts special, It's the Small Things, Charlie Brown, will premiere on the Apple TV+ subscription streaming service on Friday, April 15, 2022.

You can watch a trailer for the special on YouTube, and here's the short description of the show:

In celebration of Earth Day, It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown follows Sally’s bond with a special little flower on the baseball field that may spell disaster for the big game. For Charlie Brown and the team, it’s just the inspiration they need to make a positive impact on their environment.

Apple also announced that the classic special It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown from 1976 will be available on Apple TV+ starting Friday, April 29, 2022 (which is, in fact, Arbor Day).

For more information about Apple TV+, including how to watch and subscribe, visit tv.apple.com and this Apple support page.

February 23, 2022

Season 2 of The Snoopy Show, two new Peanuts specials, and more classic specials coming to Apple TV+ in spring 2022

This week Apple announced that Season 2 of The Snoopy Snow, consisting of six new episodes, will be released on Apple TV+ on Friday, March 11, 2022.




Apple also announced two new Peanuts specials for the subscription streaming service, both coming this spring:

  • It's the Small Things, Charlie Brown, celebrating Earth Day, premieres on Friday, April 15, 2022;
  • To Mom (and Dad), With Love, celebrating Mother's Day, arrives on Friday, May 6, 2022.

So far there are no further details beyond the titles of the specials.

Finally, you'll be able to stream five more classic Peanuts specials on Apple TV+ starting Friday, March 4, 2022:

  • Charlie Brown's All-Stars
  • You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown
  • She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown
  • It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
  • Snoopy's Reunion

For more information about Apple TV+, including how to watch and subscribe, visit tv.apple.com and this Apple support page.