Here are the new TV DVDs, in stores tomorrow.
- Coach - Season 3
- Cops - 20th Anniversary Edition
- Dragon Ball Z - Season 4
- Father Ted - The Holy Trilogy
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - Vol. 1
- Peanuts - It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown (Deluxe)
- SpongeBob SquarePants - Home Sweet Pineapple/SpongeBob Goes Prehistoric
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Season 2, Part 1
- Walker, Texas Ranger - Season 4
I'll say right up front that I am a huge Charles Schulz fan. I think Peanuts is one of the most important things in the history of pop culture (not just comics, but in all of pop culture - film, literature, TV, music and art). It's the type of comic that's entertaining and fun for all of the obvious reasons but something that can also show you a little bit about how to live your life too. I mean, who doesn't like Snoopy or A Charlie Brown Christmas?
So I've been a little antsy about a new biography of Schulz that is coming out next week, Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, by David Michaelis. It's a bio that supposedly gives a fuller picture of Schulz, including the sad, unhappy parts of his life. Now I see that I'm not the only one who is a little antsy about the book and a new American Masters that will profile Schulz too.
Fans have enlisted the help of a family-owned New Jersey nut company called NutsOnline, whose employees are working overtime to handle the sudden increase in demand for nuts. The business is taking orders and sending bulk shipments to CBS. As of Tuesday, nearly 5,000 pounds of nuts have been ordered and/or shipped. You can order here if you, too, think CBS is NUTS for canceling Jericho.
*Update: NutsOnline is donating $.10 on each pound of nuts shipped to rebuild Greensburg, Kansas, which was destroyed by a tornado earlier this month.
That bit is a good example of what was wrong with this installment. Aside from the fact that it was a reference to a show that you have to be 40 years old, or a tv nutter, to get, it just wasn't funny. And no matter how long the song went on, it was never going to be funny. I found myself in much the same situation while watching tonight. I was just sitting and watching, waiting for it to get funny.
Remember those commercials for the Encyclopedia Britannica, the ones that ran in the late 80s and early 90s and featured the kid with blond hair and glasses? His name is Donavan Freberg, son of veteran advertising man and comic Stan Freberg, and he's still in the business. He's done voiceover work (Charlie Brown and Linus in various commercials, The Weird Al Show, cartoons), is an artist and filmmaker, and he has a blog that has acheived some cult status.
Now, you'll want to click on that link above but please note that the guy loves boobs. No, I mean he really loves them, and I counted approximately 11,000 pics of naked women on the front page alone. But it's an interesting site.
One bit of trivia: he didn't even have a name until he was five years old. He was just called "Baby Boy" for the first 5 years of his life. After the jump, one of the commercials.
Just like last year, ABC is airing A Charlie Brown Christmas twice this year. If you missed it when it aired late last month, you can catch it again on ABC on Sunday, December 17 at 7 pm. I recorded the special when it aired in November but haven't yet gotten around to watching it. When I do finally get time to sit and watch it, I'll do my usual ritual of dousing the lights, unplugging the phone and immersing myself in the special as I've done every year since I was a kid. I could purchase the DVD, but I have no interest in that. I like keeping this special tied to the holiday season, it's like a gift I get to unwrap and enjoy at the end of every year. I only wish ABC had also re-aired It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, since my local station moved it to 3 am so they could air some insipid midterm election debate.
10 Zen Monkeys has compiled a list of Charlie Brown's five worst cartoon moments. Check it out on their site which comes complete with YouTube embedded video and spot-on commentary. Continue onto see my thoughts about the list:
Bill Melendez was an animator for several of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, but these days he's most recognized outside animation circles as producer/director of the Peanuts animated specials. Melendez, now 89, spoke to the guys at Just My Show about It's the great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and you can download or listen to the podcast here (link is to an MP3 file). It may be hard for some to believe that Melendez was also an animator for Warner Bros, given the flatness of the Peanuts specials compared to the likes of Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, but those specials were meant to reflect the simplicity of Charles Schulz's drawing style. Melendez claims the special was original and not based on anything from the comic strip, which is actually false, the Great Pumpkin story did appear in the comic strip long before the special debuted in 1966. I'll forgive him, though, because he's pushing 90 and he helped to create the greatest Halloween special of all time.
[via Cartoon Brew]
So I was reading this piece about Bonnie Hunt, who says she used to sit with a cup in front of her television to try and catch characters like Fred Flintstone in case they slipped out of her television screen. Her plan as a young girl was to keep Fred and other cartoon characters stowed away in her dresser drawer for safe keeping. I have to admit that's rather adorable, and it also made me think back to when I was younger and cartoons seemed more "real" to me than they really are. I used to wish I could be a character in any of the Peanuts specials. I'd philosophize with Linus, be extra nice to Charlie Brown, and maybe get in a shouting match with Lucy. Although, her psychiatric rates are reasonable, I'll give her that.
So how about the rest of you? Was there a cartoon you loved so much you wished you could somehow have your body altered a la Kid Video and jump in and join all your favorite characters?
I've been a great admirer of Charles Schulz and Peanuts for most of my life. The simplistic drawings, complex characters, not to mention the profound sadness and unrequited love that propelled the strip drew me in as a youngster and remain affecting even today. The existential humor of the strip, the core of which was Charlie Brown's Sisyphusian existence, also expanded to the early television specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, which turns 40 this year. I make a point of watching the show every year, and can become quite agitated if I miss it. While I still admire other classics like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Burl Ives' soothing, grandfatherly voice is one of those harbingers of Christmas I always look forward to) I will run several red lights and cause massive traffic accidents just to make it home in time to see A Charlie Brown Christmas. It's easy to forget after forty years just how groundbreaking the show was. When it was conceived, many thought an animated Christmas special with religious overtones centering on a chronically depressed child would fail, but the naysayers were proven wrong, and what might have been a gaudy, diluted version of the strip became an animated study in spirituality and human compassion that, years later, can still warm the heart of a secular person such as myself.
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