Saturday, July 25, 2009

Peanuts 1960's Collection

Looking back in abiding fondness I still smile at the things which delighted and informed and entertained me mightily when I was a child.

I still smile when I remember reading Dr. Seuss and Charlotte’s Web, Animal Farm and Greek mythology, The Mighty Avengers and Adventure Comics starring Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.

I still smile remembering the joys that television could bring right into my living room: Star Trek and BatmanLucy and Laugh-InMission Impossible and I Spy and Get SmartBonanza and Gunsmoke and Twilight Zone …and Charlie Brown.

The Charlie Brown specials were “must see TV” for me each and every year…I knew them by heart but, in the days before VCRs and DVDs, I anxiously awaited there annual returns with sweet anticipation.

The Peanuts 1960’s Collection is a 2-DVD set chockfull of lovely nostalgia, eternal laughs, and pure wonderfulness. Collected here are the 6 Charlie Brown specials from the sixties all gloriously re-mastered (they look and sound just great) featuring the perennial holiday specials A Charlie Brown Christmas (maybe the best animated Christmas show ever) and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (with the faithful Linus and the love-struck Sally camped out in the “most sincere” pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to come.)

The put upon, but ever resilient, Charlie Brown is, of course, at the heart of these shows (especially in the bittersweet charmer You’re in Love, Charlie Brown which centered on his crush on the unseen “Little Red Haired Girl”) but the ensemble of indelible characters…the wise and optimistic Linus, the bossy Lucy, the brassy Peppermint Patty, the piano virtuoso Schroeder, the assertive little sister Sally, and, of course, the irrepressible Snoopy (whose whimsical adventures and antics weave through all of the shows especially his showcase He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown.)

The great music by the amazing Vince Guaraldi is also an indelible part of the shows and his life is engagingly explored in the new 35-minute documentary, The Maestro of Menlo Park, that (along with downloads of 2 songs…”Baseball Theme” and “Happiness Is”…from the soundtrack of A Boy Names Charlie Brown) rounds out this charming collection that should bring smiles to the faces of children of all ages (even and especially old duffers like me.)

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