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Sam Jaimes
Kevin Brando, Michael Dockery, Brad Kesten, Jeremy Scott Reinbolt, Tiffany Reinbolt, Jessie Lee Smith
Writing Credits:
Clark Gesner (play), Charles M. Schulz (and creator)

Just when it seems homework is going to ruin their lives, the Peanuts kids learn to make it fun. Partially based on the stage musical of the same name.

Rated NR

Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Monaural
Portuguese Monaural
Japanese Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 48 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 1/26/2010

• “Animating a Charlie Brown Musical” Special
• Trailers


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

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You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown: Deluxe Edition (1985)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 13, 2010)

1985’s animated You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown took a complicated path to the TV screen. It came based on a stage production… that was based on a record album… that was based on Charles Schultz’s original Peanuts strips. If that’s not convoluted, I don’t know what is.

While most Peanuts specials follow a specific story line – often based on a holiday or notable event - Good Man comes with a broader scope. Essentially episodic, this show simply provides an ongoing series of musical numbers. These cover a book report, a baseball game, kite flying and a mix of other subjects.

This means Good Man lacks any thematic consistency. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, as many Peanuts specials take notable detours and don’t always stick with their many topics. Initially, it’s somewhat disconcerting to see a program that has no actual plot, but once the show gets going, the presentation becomes more natural to the viewer.

Fans will recognize many of the story points from the comic strips. Good Man often literally adapts the old dailies, though it’ll give them a new twist via the musical performances. Some of these work while others seem less satisfying. I like the book report tune, and Snoopy’s “Suppertime” has always been a standout. Others lack as much punch and just come across as space fillers. Nonetheless, most of the songs are acceptably satisfying.

I would guess the presentation probably works better on the stage, though, largely because it doesn’t seem so odd. By the time Good Man hit the small screen, fans had experienced 20 years of Peanuts specials, and these followed a similar format. Good Man alters that template enough to throw off the audience in a moderate way, and that can be a minor issue.

In particular, it’s jarring to hear Snoopy’s thoughts. This actually makes Good Man hew closer to the original strips, but Snoopy never came with vocal representation in the other animated specials, so it’s disconcerting to hear his “voice” here. No, he never actually speaks – even “Suppertime” comes as an internal song – but it’s still strange to hear a voice attached to Snoopy after all those earlier specials.

All of this leaves Good Man as a fairly middle of the road Peanuts program. It’s never tremendously entertaining, and the lack of a consistent plot means it comes with more ups and downs than most. Still, it boasts a few clever songs and it manages to keep us interested over almost an hour.

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

You’re a Good Man, 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. This was a good but unexceptional presentation.

No issues with sharpness occurred. Although a few wide shots were a little soft, those instances didn’t create notable concerns. Overall, the show looked pretty accurate and well-defined. I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, but mosquito noise cropped up through the show; it was especially obvious around the eyes and mouths of the characters. Source flaws also became a distraction. I noticed moderate examples of specks and marks throughout the program. Many of these stemmed from sloppy clean-up animation, but others seemed to just come from a slightly dirty print.

Colors appeared nice. The show went with a vivid palette, and the DVD delivered it in a satisfying way. While hues never quite popped, they provided good clarity. Blacks were also dark and firm, and the rare low-light shots seemed satisfactory. This became a perfectly acceptable transfer.

Good Man provided relatively satisfying monaural audio. Speech remained concise and fairly natural; lines could seem slightly dull, but they were always intelligible and without overt problems. Music delivered nice range and clarity, as the score and songs boasted good bounce. Effects were a minor area, but they appeared accurate and clear. Nothing here excelled, but the audio worked fine for the material.

Only one extra appears here: a featurette called Animating a Charlie Brown Musical. In this 14-minute, 42-second piece, we hear from producer Lee Mendelson, Peanuts historian Nat Gertler, original Broadway Charlie Brown Dean Stolber, and Charles Schulz’s wife Jeannie. “Animating” talks about the original Good Man album, its adaptation into a stage production, and then its move onto the TV screen as a cartoon special. “Animating” traces the production’s complex history well and gives us a nice overview. I especially like the short snippet from a mid-1970s Charles Schulz appearance on The Tonight Show.

A few ads open the DVD. We get promos for Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, and Peanuts 1970s Collection Volume 1. The disc also provides a trailer for Scooby-Doo: The Mystery Begins.

While not a classic Peanuts special, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown offers decent entertainment. It succeeds mostly on the strength of some good musical numbers; it lacks a real story, but it has a few clever tunes. The DVD offers fairly good picture and audio; it skimps on extras, though I like the behind the scenes featurette. Peanuts fans will want to give this one a look.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 8
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