Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is a more recent Christmas special from 2002 and it is a nice little cartoon featuring the lovable gang created by Charles M. Schulz. This new DVD release also includes a bonus special Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown in which the gang faces the sad fact that two of their pals are moving away. So let’s join Charlie Brown and his mischievous pooch on two more of their TV specials newly put on DVD.Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is the first special on the disc for obvious reason and it’s a cute little (and I do mean little as it clocks in at only 18 minutes) collection of vignettes featuring various members of the Peanuts gang in different Christmas themes. In the opening piece, Lucy and Snoopy twirl on the ice as Snoopy shows off for Lucy. Next, we have Snoopy dressed as Santa on the street corner ringing his bell and playing accordion for donations which leads to Lucy’s baby brother Rerun (remember him?) confronting “Santa” about some gifts that he never got. This leads to Snoopy snapping at him, which is funny to see.
The next segment, “Yuletide Greetings From Linus” features Linus trying to write his letter to Santa Claus and having trouble getting to know the new girl in class who sits behind him and constantly blows him off. We then move to “Seasons Greetings From Sally” that has Charlie’s little sister writing up her list to Samantha Claus and going out to “fall down” a tree because she can’t cut one down. One does fall down in some ugly kid’s lawn and she manages to take it home much to the ugly kid’s dismay. We later find out that she gets laughed at in school for the ”Samantha” blunder, and she and the ugly kid patch things up before Christmas day.From there we head to a segment called “Peace On Earth From Lucy,” which really just has Lucy being her crabby self while spreading a bit o’ holiday cheer, her way. And finally there’s “Merry Christmas From Charlie Brown” that centers on Chuck trying to write the perfect card to the Little Red-Haired Girl. Of course he fumbles through it and we stumble to the end where we get to see some off the Christmas Day activities of some of the gang and what happened to some of their presents that got delivered to the wrong place.
The second special is actually funnier than the Christmas special and better written. Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown is from 1982 and finds the Peanuts gang facing the issue of two of their most loved friends having to move away. Linus and Lucy Van Pelt are forced to move as their father has gotten a new job in another part of the country. Some of the best scenes involve Snoopy in multiple disguises and roles. As he tries to steal Linus’ blanket in the very beginning, we see him hide behind a bush then try again as a blind man complete with pencil cup. Snoopy’s next role is as the replacement psychiatrist at Lucy’s therapy stand where he has his little round glasses on and a classic therapist goatee. From there Snoopy caters the Van Pelt children’s going-away party with dog treats while sporting his chef’s hat.Meanwhile, Schroeder winds up missing Lucy’s harassment as he plays Beethoven on his baby piano and sad Snoopy cherishes the blanket that Linus left behind just for him. Then there is the best part of the story where Peppermint Patty deals with the fact that she is “sweet” on old Chuck. This realization leads to her calling Chuck at 2 a.m. and a more than half asleep Chuck answering the phone (the sleepy look on his face is priceless) and replying in gibberish to her idea for them to go out on a date and eventually falling asleep standing at the phone.
Once he wakes up a bit and wonders why he’s on the phone with no one, he’s wide awake and can’t sleep. This leads to him pondering if he’ll ever fall asleep again or if he’s dead, which for some reason had me cracking up with laughter. He then falls fast asleep, and that date never happens as Chuck has no idea what was said over the phone and can hardly remember answering at all. In the end of course all ends well as Linus and Lucy’s father decides to turn down the new job and the family moves back. Snoopy gives Linus back his beloved blanket, Lucy resumes her crabby nature around the block, and all is right with the world again.Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales on DVD is worth it for fans who can’t get enough of the Peanuts gang and especially for the bonus gem of Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown. None of the later Christmas specials can top the original but for fans and younger children this disc will be well worth the 45 minutes it takes to sit back and enjoy the wonderful world of Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts gang. Happy Holidays.
Article first published as DVD Review: Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales on Blogcritics.