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July 23, 2014

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New TV on DVD releases this week

by Bob Sassone, posted Feb 18th 2008 6:05PM

Spongebob DVDsHere 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

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Charles Schulz's family not thrilled with PBS doc - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted Oct 9th 2007 6:03PM

Charles SchulzI'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.

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Jericho fans go 'nuts' over cancellation

by Anna Johns, posted May 23rd 2007 9:01AM
jericho; nuts onlineJericho fans aren't just sending sternly-worded e-mails and signing petitions to save the show, they've also launched a 'Send NUTS' campaign that is really picking up steam. This fan website concocted the campaign after CBS announced Jericho's cancellation at last week's Upfronts presentation. The reason for the nuts is based on something a Jericho character, Jake, said when New Bern's commander asked him to surrender. He said "Nuts!" That also happens to be a famous response given by WWII Gen. MacAuliffe when asked to surrender at the Battle of the Bulge.

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.

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Family Guy: No Meals On Wheels

by Brett Love, posted Mar 26th 2007 9:00AM
Family Guy(S05E14) The up and down season of Family Guy continues, and I thought this one was a bit of a valley, rather than a peak. It had its moments, to be sure, but as a whole, it was somewhat lacking. Peter summed up my feelings for this episode pretty well with his quote after seeing the opening to Maude, "That was an ordeal."

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.

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Encyclopedia Britannica guy really loves naked girls - VIDEO

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 15th 2007 1:39PM

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.

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ABC re-airing A Charlie Brown Christmas this month

by Adam Finley, posted Dec 4th 2006 7:01PM

charlie brown christmasJust 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.

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Charlie Brown's five worst cartoon moments

by Kevin Kelly, posted Nov 22nd 2006 8:31PM
It's a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Week! Charlie Brown, where have you been all these years? We've been missing you. We usually see you at the major holidays, like Christmas and Halloween, but to be honest those visits seem repetitive. What else have you been up to? Sure, you've taken some trips and had some valentines and such, but we've come to expect more Charlie Brown, and quite frankly, we need you these days. Please think about giving us Charlie Brown's Democratic Presidential Election, or something equally topical and timely.

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:

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Bill Melendez chats about It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 13th 2006 8:03PM

great pumpkinBill 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]

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Finally, the truth about the Lone Ranger and Tonto

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 6th 2006 11:55AM
lone rangerWhile some advances have been made in how gays are portrayed and accepted on television, one doesn't have to think too far back to remember a time when gays were either not on television at all, or those who were gay often played characters whose mannerisms were chalked up to them merely being "eccentric." That's probably a good topic for a more serious post some other time, but for today I just wanted to point you to this funny piece over at Cracked, written by comedian Vinnie Penn and titled "10 Movie and TV Duos That Were Probably Gay." The piece has some great lines, such as Penn's appraisal of the relationship between Tonto and the Lone Ranger: "Just ask yourself the last time you were at a club and saw a white-as-can-be, no-nonsense kinda guy sitting next to a considerably smaller, non-speaking, cowering foreigner, what was your immediate assessment? Golf buddies?" I also give Penn extra points for not taking the easy route with the Peanuts gang and going for the tired joke about Peppermint Patty being a lesbian. Instead, he insists it was actual Linus and Schroeder who had eyes for one another. I'm not sure Lucy would have handled that news very well.

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My worst Halloween ever, Charlie Brown

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 5th 2006 2:07PM
great pumpkinThis year marks the 40th anniversary of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which first aired in 1966, one year after A Charlie Brown Christmas made its debut. To celebrate, United Feature Syndicate, Inc., the company that distributed the Peanuts comic strip, is sponsoring an essay contest where people can write about their worst Halloween experience ever. If, you know, you can think of something worse than spending the night in a pumpkin patch only to be greeted by a beagle dressed as a World War I pilot. The deadline for the essays, which must be more than 500 words and less than 600, is July 21. Winners will be chosen by members of Charles Schulz's family, as well as his partners on the Peanuts animated specials, Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez. Peter Robbins, the first kid to voice Charlie Brown, will also be a judge. Winners will receive lots of Peanuts-related stuff, plus a trip to the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California. You can learn more about the contest here.

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Ever wish you were animated?

by Adam Finley, posted Jun 1st 2006 3:06PM

lucySo 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?

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It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown on ABC tonight

by Adam Finley, posted Apr 11th 2006 2:02PM
easter beagleI have a very deeply ingrained love for Charles Schulz and his Peanuts creation. If I were so inclined, I could bore you to tears right now with all the reasons I admire it so much, but I won't. I did want to let you know, however, that It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown will air on ABC this evening at 7p.m. CST. This particular Peanuts special doesn't quite stand up to It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and  A Charlie Brown Christmas, but it's still a fun special with lots of great gags, especially the one involving Marcie trying to make Easter eggs and having no idea how to do it. She tries frying them, boiling the yolks, and at one point cracks some eggs into the toaster. The plot is similar to Great Pumpkin, except this time Linus tries to convince everyone the Easter Beagle is coming to give eggs to all the children. There's also a subplot in which Snoopy tries to build a new home for Woodstock. Not as much of a "must see" as Pumpkin and Christmas, but still worth checking out if you're a fan of such specials.

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Early news: A Charlie Brown Christmas turns 40

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 17th 2005 1:13PM

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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