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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

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition DVD Review

Buy I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition DVD from Amazon.com Specials & DVD Details

Writer/Creator: Charles M. Schulz / Directors: Bill Melendez, Larry Leichliter, Sam Jaimes / Producers: Lee Mendelson, Bill Melendez / Music: Vince Guaraldi, David Benoit, Desiree Goyette, Ed Bogas

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown

Voice Cast: Jimmy Bennett (ReRun), Adam Taylor Gordon (Charlie Brown), Ashley Rose Orr (Lucy), Corey Padnos (Linus), Hannah Leigh Dworkin (Sally), Nick Price (Schroeder), Jake Miner (Pig Pen, Franklin), Kaitlyn Maggio (Little Girl), Bill Melendez (Snoopy)

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown

Voice Cast: Chad Allen (Charlie Brown), Kristi Baker (Peppermint Patty), Melissa Guzzi (Lucy), Aron Mandelbaum (Schroeder), Jeremy Miller (Linus), Jason Mendelson (Marcie), Elizabeth Lyn Fraser (Sally), Bill Melendez (Snoopy, Woodstock)

Running Time: 77 Minutes (65.5 - specials, 11 - bonus) / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Ratio), Dolby Surround 2.0 & Dolby Mono 1.0 (English, Portuguese, Japanese, Spanish); Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Thai; Not Closed Captioned; Extra Subtitled in All but English and French
DVD Release Date: October 6, 2009 / Suggested Retail Price: $19.98
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Black Keepcase in Embossed, Reflective Cardboard Slipcover

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When Charles Schulz died in 2000, Peanuts did not die with him. Poetically, his final comic strip appeared in Sunday papers just hours after his passing. And Schulz had enough control and foresight to ensure that no one would be able to tell new stories in the beloved universe he created. But Schulz's contracts did not prohibit new animated television specials from being adapted
from the comics he had himself written and drawn. The brain trust Schulz left behind, namely producers Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, put together the first post-Schulz cartoon in 2002's A Charlie Brown Valentine. Four additional Peanuts TV programs have since been created for ABC, two of which have been set at the season famously celebrated in the franchise's first and still best-loved animated outing, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown is by far the longer of the two 21st century Peanuts Christmas cartoons. It requires an hour of network airtime, something only two vignette-driven specials and two stage musical adaptations had previously commanded in the animated Peanuts canon. Despite that, I Want a Dog is not a particularly ambitious or extraordinary production. It is, however, completely faithful to the universe and adequately charming in a story that elevates youngest Van Pelt kid Rerun to star for the first time to date.

Linus and Lucy's kid brother Rerun is the star of "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown." Peppermint Patty pulls Charlie Brown away from Tolstoy for dance lessons in anticipation of her New Year's Eve party.

Last month, I Want a Dog became the ninth Peanuts special that Warner Home Video has treated to a Remastered Deluxe Edition DVD bearing its title. It seems pretty evident that more than a particularly positive public opinion. the special's holiday setting earns it title attraction designation. Christmas DVDs tend to sell better than non-Christmas ones, especially when prominently displayed in the final two months of the year.

This isn't Warner's only 2009 holiday Peanuts release; A Charlie Brown Christmas recently came to Blu-ray and this decade's other yuletide TV special, the 17-minute Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales, has come to DVD exclusively at CVS Pharmacy outlets. Of course, none of these three is likely to sell as strongly as last year's Charlie Brown Christmas DVD and Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection box set, what most fans consider the crθme de la crθme.

Despite running nearly twice as long as a typical classic Peanuts show, I Want a Dog is not asked to go it alone. It's accompanied by Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, which helped ring in 1986 at CBS and has never before been released to DVD. Based on the subject matter and production eras, it would have made more sense to pair I Want a Dog with previous Deluxe Edition lead Snoopy's Reunion (1991), the only other special that deals heavily with Snoopy's kin. Then Reunion's accompaniment, 1984's It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, could have been teamed with New Year and you'd wind up with two apt lineups and two marketable holiday-ready packages. Man, Warner's marketing division should hire me as a consultant!

Enough tomfoolery, let's look at the specials you actually do find here...

Rerun offers Snoopy a frosted cookie during one of their fun times together. Trying to take Schroeder's mind off Beethoven and his piano, Lucy gets hurt.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (41:11) (First aired December 9, 2003)

This special centers on Linus and Lucy's comparatively level-headed but no less precocious younger brother Rerun. As the title suggests, Rerun wants just one thing this Christmas: a dog. But with his mother against the idea, Rerun isn't counting on Santa to come through. So, he bonds with Snoopy, as the beagle shows off his many talents. But Snoopy is Charlie Brown's dog and Rerun wants his own. He decides he can settle for Spike, Snoopy's thin, hirsute brother, who leaves behind the desert he calls home to move in with the Van Pelts.

With the double-length runtime, there's room for a number of secondary subplots, if they can quite be called that. These include Lucy trying her best to pull Schroeder away from his Beethoven, Charlie Brown telling Rerun about Snoopy's other siblings,
Rerun's bumpy rides on the back of his mother's bicycle, Sally's short "flight" on Snoopy's Ace Airline, Snoopy again becoming a bell-ringing street Santa Claus, Rerun getting suspended from school for harassment (he jokingly invites a female classmate to run away to France with him), and Lucy fattening up Spike.

This cartoon does an excellent job of staying true to the Peanuts style. The animation is steadier and cleaner, but no more complex. And in a nice touch, bits of Vince Guaraldi's famous A Charlie Brown Christmas jazz score are recycled in arrangements by David Benoit. There are also some good visual gags, as when Snoopy catches music notes that Schroeder plays and uses them to decorate his Christmas tree.

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (24:17) (First aired January 1, 1986)

In the final moments before school lets out for Christmas break, Charlie Brown's teacher assigns a reading and book report of Tolstoy's War and Peace. Charlie Brown struggles to get past the fifth of the book's 1,136 pages. Meanwhile, everyone else is excited about the New Year's Eve party Peppermint Patty and Marcie are throwing. The gang takes a dance class. And since boys are supposed to ask girls to the party, Sally awaits an invitation from her "Sweet Baboo" Linus and preoccupied Charlie Brown worries his way into asking red-haired girl Heather. At the party, musical chairs is played to an original Peppermint Patty song and Chuck falls asleep with his book outside. This is one of the most likable Peanuts shorts out there. Among the highlights are Charlie Brown trying to find a less dense alternative to the Tolstoy text and Rerun blowing square balloons.

Snoopy's brother Spike brings a little bit of home (a desert cactus) with him to suburbia. Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, and Marcie enjoy playing musical chairs in "Happy New Year, Charlie Brown."


As you'd expect of a modern creation, I Want a Dog looks just about perfect here. You might notice a few very brief shots in which the animation takes on a pixelated appearance. Beyond those, the short's wonderful 1.33:1 video is without issue. Happy New Year isn't as presentable. But its light grain and occasional minor specks don't put much of a damper on the viewing experience.

In another benefit to being a recent production, I Want a Dog carries a Dolby Surround track. It's no potent house-rocker (that'd be a complete betrayal of the Peanuts style), but the mild rear channel reinforcement is noticed and appreciated. New Year's 1.0 affair is fairly standard, its dated recordings are satisfactorily heard.

A scene from "I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown" is compared to the comic strips that inspired it in the Rerun featurette "Sibling Rivalry: Growing Up Van Pelt." Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Rerun rejoice at the number of foreign translations offered on the Languages menu.


True to Warner tradition, I Want a Dog comes equipped with one brand new featurette. "Sibling Rivalry: Growing Up Van Pelt" (11:08) puts Rerun in the spotlight, discussing his introduction, personality, wants, appearance, and behavior. Weighing in are producer Lee Mendelson, Charles Schulz's wife Jeannie, Peanuts historian Nat Gertler, and parenting author Dana Chidekel.

It's odd for Rerun to get such a detailed analysis (psychoanalysis, even) ahead of the many better-known characters (only Woodstock has elsewhere gotten his own featurette), but this DVD is the one best suited to hold this interesting study.

On its first DVD release from former Peanuts distributor Paramount, I Want a Dog was joined by Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales and the 16-minute 2001 documentary "The Making of A Charlie Brown Christmas" hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. As mentioned above, Christmas Tales has just received from Warner a separate CVS-exclusive DVD release, where it's accompanied by 1983 special Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?. Apparently, the DVD is hard to find in the drugstore chain, so don't go running off just to buy it right now. It will probably receive general retail release next year. The absence of the 2001 making-of documentary is a bit troubling. While it ought to be found alongside A Charlie Brown Christmas since that's what it deals with, it wasn't. Nor was it on the 1960's Collection that also held the special. With all four Peanuts Christmas specials now out on DVD, I can't think of any logical place we'd get this now. I haven't actually seen the documentary, so I can't recommend tracking down I Want a Dog's out-of-print Paramount disc for it, although that could be the only chance to own a legal copy of it for a while.

The Trailers page holds promos for Snoopy's Reunion, Peanuts: 1970's Collection, Vol. 1, The Wiggles Go Bananas!, Charlie and Lola 6: How Many More Minutes Until Christmas?, It's the Great Pumpkin and You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, A Miser Brothers' Christmas, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Ultimate Collector's Edition. Playing at disc insertion are previews for Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins! and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I Want a Dog for Christmas is snazzily packaged like Warner's other Remastered Deluxe Edition Peanuts DVDs, with a shiny, extensively embossed cardboard slipcover. There are no inserts inside the environmentally-cut keepcase. The static menus also stay consistent to the line, their bright two-color scheme matching the case's.

Snow falls and Charlie Brown falls asleep with "War and Peace" as midnight and a New Year approach. Santa Snoopy and Woodstock observe the Christmas season with some sidewalk bell-ringing and collecting.


Avoiding temptations to modernize, I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown offers a pretty good time. 1980s cartoon Happy New Year, Charlie Brown is better. The specials' presentations and new featurette on Rerun are commendable. And yet, this DVD is probably only worth getting if you're a Peanuts completist or if I Want a Dog is one of your only favorites of this decade's few specials. Otherwise, in time these cartoons should show up on the decade collection sets Warner has been (and presumably will continue) issuing, which are both a better value and a major saver of shelf space. If you need a quick holiday Peanuts fix, definitely pick up the 3-DVD set, which with Amazon's current discounting, is just $10 more than this disc.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

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Related Reviews:
New: Santa Buddies • Four Christmases • Up • Cars: Ultimate Cars Gift Pack • Walt Disney Treasures: Zorro - The Complete First Season
21st Century Holiday TV Specials: A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa • Shrek the Halls • A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!
Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse • In Search of Santa • Eloise at Christmastime
Peanuts: Deluxe Holiday Collection • Peanuts 1960's Collection • Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 • Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 2
You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown • You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown • It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Classic Holiday Gift Set • Holiday Treats: T.V. Sets • The House Without a Christmas Tree
Mid-1980s: Mickey's Christmas Carol • One Magic Christmas • The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1 • Gummi Bears: Volume 1 • The Christmas Star

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Reviewed November 18, 2009.

Text copyright 2009 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 1986-2003 United Feature Syndicate, Inc. and 2009 Warner Home Video. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.