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Bill Melendez
Peter Robbins, Gail DeFaria, Christopher Shea, Sally Dryer, Bill Melendez
Writing Credits:
Charles M. Schulz (and creator)

This collection of two Peanuts cartoons including a tale of Snoopy considering throwing Charlie Brown over for a different owner, and a story of Snoopy running away with the circus.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English Monaural
Spanish Monaural
Japanese Monaural
Portuguese Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 25 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 9/21/2010

Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown
• “Snoopy’s Home Ice” Featurette
• Trailers


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition (1968)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 6, 2010)

Already found as part of a package called the Peanuts 1960s Collection, 1968’s He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown receives “Deluxe Edition” treatment on this DVD.

As I quoted the original press materials when I reviewed the earlier set, here's the story of Dog: “Mischief-maker Snoopy tries everyone’s patience. Can he be rehabilitated into a nice, obedient puppy?”

Dog starts with something of an odd premise, as I don’t recall Snoopy ever being a poorly behaved dog – or at least I don’t remember the kids getting so annoyed at him. This seems like an artificial theme because it is. The Snoopy of the animated specials was no different than the character in the comic strips, and that one was never particularly rambunctious. Oh, he’d go on the occasional tear – usually aimed at possession of Linus’s security blanket – but he didn’t seem like such a pushy jerk.

Which gives me the impression Charles Schulz came up with an idea for a show and fit the characters around it. That’s a strange approach, especially given the longevity of the Peanuts series. Dog was an early TV special – it was only the fourth Peanuts program to air – but the strip had been around for 18 years at that point. While characters changed somewhat over the years, this Snoopy doesn’t really match the one we’d seen elsewhere. It’s weird to see him act so mean toward the kids.

Nonetheless, the show overcomes its awkward plot and a general lack of story to become amusing. Snoopy’s antics – especially “on vacation” at Peppermint Patty’s – offer quite a few fun bits. The “diva Snoopy” we view there makes more sense in the strip’s context than does the mean-spirited one who provokes his obedience school banishment.

Dog doesn’t compete with the three earliest specials, but it entertains well. If it fit the character better, I’d find it to be a total winner. The weird stretches in logic harm it a little, but it’s still an enjoyable show.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD. Due to those dimensions, the image has NOT been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Across the board, the program displayed an attractive presentation.

My only minor complaint stemmed from source flaws, and even that wasn’t a big concern. Indeed, I don’t thing many true “print defects” appeared here. When I saw specks and marks, they appeared to relate to iffy clean-up work; they rarely felt like actual dirt or debris on the print.

Sharpness looked nice. Very little softness appeared, as the show provided consistently concise visuals. Some light jaggies occurred, but no shimmering materialized, and I witnessed no edge haloes or artifacts.

Colors appeared positive. The show went with a bright palette, and the color came across as lively and vivid. Blacks were dark and tight, and shadows were fine; the program didn’t include much in the way of low-light sequences, so that was a minor factor. Overall, I felt pleased with this attractive transfer.

I also had no complaints about the solid monaural soundtrack of Dog. Music showed nice clarity and breadth, with good reproduction of the jazzy score. Effects were a fairly minor factor, but they sounded clean and distinctive. Though speech seemed a little dated, the lines were always intelligible and usually appeared pretty natural. This was a pleasing track for a 42-year-old program.

A few extras flesh out this “Deluxe Edition”. In addition to Dog, we find a 1980 special entitled Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown. In this one, Snoopy meets a female poodle who performs in a traveling circus. Smitten, he decides to leave home with her and he becomes part of the show.

Circus provides a rather mediocre special. It’s certainly watchable, and it has some amusing moments, but it seems pretty lackluster.

It also suffers from some of the character lapses found in Dog. Since when did Peppermint Patty realize that Snoopy’s a dog? One of the series’ running gags came from her lack of realization that he’s anything other than a funny-looking kid with a big nose. Suddenly Patty understands that he’s actually a pooch?

And what kind of circus has dogs, bears and lions all sleep together? Yeah, I get that this illogic exists for gags, but I’d accept the silliness if more laughs resulted. Circus certainly resides far from the bottom of the Peanuts heap, and I admit it surpassed my (fairly low) expectations. It’s okay, but it’s not any better than that.

Next we find a featurette called Snoopy’s Home Ice: The Story of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. During this 22-minute piece, we hear from Charles Schulz’ widow Jean, son Craig, Arena operations manager Kevin McCool, Arena skating director Skippy Baxter, Peanuts executive producer Lee Mendelson, skating professional Lisa Illsley-Navarro, and retired Arena general manager Jim Doe. We hear about Schulz’s creation of the Arena and aspects of its usage and history.

Other Peanuts specials have tended toward featurettes that dealt with the creation of the animated shows. Since it has nothing to do with that subject, I didn’t expect much from “Ice”, but it turns out to be a reasonably enjoyable program. I never heard about the Arena, so it’s interesting to learn about the Rink That Snoopy Built.

Finally, the DVD provides two trailers. We see ads for You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and the Lego Harry Potter videogame.

While not one of the all-time great Peanuts specials, He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown amuses. Sure, it suffers from a general absence of plot and some strange character choices, but it includes more than enough good comedy to compensate. The DVD boasts strong picture, more than adequate audio, and a couple of decent supplements. Most Peanuts fans will probably be happiest to have Dog as part of the 1960s Collection, but this is still a good release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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