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Peanuts Specials DVDs Reviewed:Peanuts 1960's Collection Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 2
Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection (It's the Great Pumpkin / A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving / A Charlie Brown Christmas)
It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown
You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown

You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition DVD Review

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Writer/Creator: Charles M. Schulz / Director: Phil Roman / Producers: Bill Melendez, Lee Mendelson / Music: Vince Guaraldi, John Scott Trotter, Ed Bogas, Judy Munsen

You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown

Voice Cast: Duncan Watson (Charlie Brown, Franklin), Stuart Brotman (Peppermint Patty), Gail Davis (Sally), Melanie Kohn (Lucy, Loretta), Jimmy Ahrens (Marcie), Liam Martin (Linus), Bill Melendez (Snoopy, Woodstock)

You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown

Voice Cast: Arrin Skelley (Charlie Brown), Patricia Patts (Peppermint Patty), Casey Carlson (Marcie), Michelle Muller (Lucy), Daniel Anderson (Linus), Tim Hall (Freddie Fabulous), Scott Beach (Announcer), Bill Melendez (Snoopy, Woodstock)

Running Time: 61 Minutes (49.5 - specials, 11.5 - bonus) / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Ratio), Dolby Digital Mono 1.0 (English, Japanese, Portuguese); Subtitles: English, Chinese, French, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai; Not Closed Captioned; Extra Subtitled in All but English
DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009 / Suggested Retail Price: $19.98
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Black Keepcase in Embossed, Reflective Cardboard Slipcover

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Everyone knows about A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Those two 1960s television specials have stood the test of time and remain widely adored today. But Charles Schulz's line of Peanuts comic strips
has been adapted into 44 animated specials over the years and you can bet that many of them are far less familiar to audiences.

Having covered thirteen of the franchise's half-hour creations, including most fan favorites, in last year's six DVD releases, Warner Home Video now reaches into the Peanuts catalog for some lesser-known works. 2009 finds the studio, which acquired the library from Paramount 14 months ago, with plans to treat forgotten and long-unavailable cartoons to the same types of releases that proved popular in 2008.

Kicking things off is You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown, Warner's first disc consisting entirely of Peanuts material never before released to DVD. Dubbed a Remastered Deluxe Edition like the half-dozen before it, this one also opts for Warner's now-established presentation of 2 half-hour specials and 1 all-new retrospective featurette.

As announcer of the motocross race, Marcie doesn't let Charlie Brown or any of his competitors say very much. Charlie Brown, Masked Marvel Snoopy, Marcie, and Freemont's Freddie Fabulous square off in one of the four decathlon races of "You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown."

Centering on a motocross race, the DVD's title short was the fourteenth Peanuts narrative to debut on CBS, arriving ten years after the treasured Christmas confirmed the small screen a viable showcase for the precocious children's witty experiences. Like ten previous Peanuts specials, You're a Good Sport was nominated for an Emmy. It won the award for Outstanding Children's Special, an honor it shared with ABC's Huckleberry Finn telemovie that starred Ron Howard and Donny Most of "Happy Days."

Appropriate accompaniment is offered in 1979's You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown. Eighteenth in the line, this track and field-themed special was nominated for the Outstanding Animated Program Emmy alongside the Phyllis George-hosted documentary Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown. Both would lose to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, a movie made by frequent Peanuts director/producer Bill Melendez.

If you've seen more than a few Peanuts specials, these two '70s works will seem familiar to you. While the plots won't be mistaken for those of the holiday specials, the characters remain true to themselves. Peppermint Patty is pushy, Charlie Brown has pressure put upon him, Linus builds confidence, and Snoopy plays by his own rules. There are also hallmark components, including one of Lucy and Charlie Brown's immortal football kick gags and Snoopy doing battle with ordinarily inanimate objects.

With this hand-drawn map, Peppermint Patty introduces the typical motocross course, complete with Whoop De-Do's. Having the Peanuts gang utter the special's name under its sudden appearance gives "You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown" one of the coolest title screens in the series.

You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown (25:06) (First aired October 28, 1975)

While Snoopy plays tennis and Charlie Brown practices his place kicking, Peppermint Patty informs all of the popular sport motocross. Linus and Charlie Brown pool their money to buy a bike for a major motocross race.
With Charlie riding and Linus acting as pit crew, they compete against Patty and a masked beagle in hopes of winning Pro Bowl tickets. Announcer Marcie provides colorful commentary.

You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown (24:24) (First aired March 19, 1979)

Wanting to participate in the Junior Olympics, Charlie Brown signs up for the only open event: the decathlon. It's the only part of the Olympics we see, as Charlie competes against Marcie, the Masked Marvel (Snoopy), and braggart Freddie Fabulous in the ten traditional events. The results are anything but predictable!

VIDEO and AUDIO

True to their origins, the two specials appear in 1.33:1 fullscreen and single-channel Dolby Digital mono sound. On You're a Good Sport, the colors are vibrant and at any given moment, the element appears to be quite clean. Little specks do turn up with some regularity and you'll notice them even if you're not looking for them. I imagine some of this is inherent to the budget animation and faithful to its original presentation. But, some of it could stand to be cleaned up, as when a line runs down screen or Charlie Brown's skin tone fluctuates within a single shot.

The picture quality on You're the Greatest is quite a bit weaker. The colors seem faded and there's an ever so slight flicker throughout. Specks and other flaws turn up here too, about as often. This B-side short never is as sightly as its older predecessor, but in certain patches, it's especially weak. One scene in the middle is grainy and compressed looking, something it absolutely shouldn't with barely an hour of overall video content on the featherweight disc.

There isn't much to say about the monaural soundtrack. The elements do not belie their age. Still, they're consistently intelligible, fairly consistent in dynamic, and perfectly serviceable. I'm sure there's some room for improvement here, but they're so simple in design that few viewers will even notice. Japanese and Portuguese dubs are offered, as are subtitles in English and five other languages.

Craig Schulz, son of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, comments on the authentic 1970s attire of this Motocross Snoopy statue in the featurette "Dust Yourself Off..., Charlie Brown." Though creativity seems to be lagging in Warner's cover-recycling Peanuts DVD menus department, the tennis ball cursors are still a nice touch.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, DESIGN and PACKAGING

The primary supplement is the new featurette "Dust Yourself Off and Pick Yourself Up, Charlie Brown" (11:30). It's a little slighter and more removed than the previous retrospectives Warner has put together. The best aspect is hearing from Charles Schulz's son Craig, whose motocross hobby inspired the strips and Good Sport special. He shows off his bike collection and is seen riding in home video footage. Some insight and analysis is also gained from the three other interview subjects: a psychologist/author and two Peanuts/animation historians. Hopefully, we haven't heard the last from those directly involved with the specials, who have bolstered Warner's past featurettes in the franchise.

The disc loads with the no-longer-cute Wizard of Oz anti-piracy spot and a promo for the Deluxe Editions of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. A "Trailers" menu holds two additional previews for all of the other Warner Peanuts DVDs plus ads for "Tom and Jerry Tales": Volume 6 and "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?": Volume 1.

Claiming another distinct color scheme, Good Sport's snazzy slipcover lines up perfectly with Warner's six prior Peanuts DVDs. Collectors are sure to appreciate the eye-catching rainbow the spines are producing. Nothing but the disc is found inside the keepcase. The understated menus recycle and maintain the package art with "Linus and Lucy" aurally adorning the main screen.

Snoopy is all smiles as he pulls ahead of pumpkin-helmeted Charlie Brown on his refashioned tennis ball machine vehicle. Peppermint Patty keeps Chuck apprised of his standing after each stage of his 1979 decathlon.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Having already put out the most famous animated Peanuts specials on DVD, Warner now moves to the lesser-known works.
Though You're a Good Sport and You're the Greatest do not have the reputation, merchandise empires or rerun histories of the gang's A-list shorts, they're certainly fine and entertaining programs in their own right.

In releasing the half-hour creations two at a time, the studio ensures that a Peanuts DVD collection will require plenty of time, money, purchases, and shelf space. It may not cater to the completist, but at least more of this wonderful, consistently pleasing series is being made available and with an apt companion featurette. The featurette and picture quality here are a bit below the standards of the previous Remastered Deluxe Editions. It's not enough to reconsider a planned purchase, but let's just hope the line maintains and improves its thus far commendable track record.

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Related Reviews:
You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Remastered Deluxe Editions)
Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 2 Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 Peanuts 1960's Collection
New to DVD: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipettes Walker, Texas Ranger: The Sixth Season Eagle Eye Swing Vote
1970s Television: Happy Days: The Fourth Season The Muppet Show: Season Three Schoolhouse Rock! Election Collection Jack Frost
1970s Cinema: The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh The Strongest Man in the World Freaky Friday Herbie Rides Again

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Reviewed January 16, 2009.



Text copyright 2009 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1975-79 United Feature Syndicate, Inc. and 2009 Warner Home Video. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.