Monday, June 24, 2013

He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown

AIRDATE:  2/14/68

Snoopy is making trouble!  Scaring Linus out of the placid lucidity he'd attained whilst sitting in the kiddie pool; ruining Lucy's reading of The Three Little Pigs by moving her from one place to another with the sheer power of his canine breath (eventually depositing her into yet another kiddie pool); kicking Schroeder.  Well, he actually kinda had it coming.  

From there, the mischievous beagle lies in wait, attired in Flying Ace gear, eyes trained on Patty and Violet as they unknowingly step into his trap.  He suddenly leaps out, blocking their path, and proceeds to "shoot" them with a hand-cannon worthy of Samus.  (This sequence features one of the few times Snoopy "speaks," bleating out "BANG! BANG!" so the girls realize they've been gunned down.  Rather sounds like he swallowed a duck.)

Then he scampers his cute beagle butt across the yard,  and launches right into his owner's chest.  Linus gets a boot to the butt, and finally Snoopy flees, satisfied to have brought Animals Being Dicks to life.

The kids have reached a consensus:  Curb Your Canine, Charlie Brown.  So the zig-zagged wonder makes arrangements for Snoopy to attend classes at Daisy Hill Obedience School.  For reasons known only to no one, 'cause this is not real life, he trusts his recalcitrant pet to make the trip on his own.  This goes as well as that one time and one time only that I tried Jagermeister.  Snoop stops by Peppermint Patty's crib and decides that he is in France circa the Second World War.  The gracious patio is a quaint cafe, and the root beer is quaffed to quenching.  Who'd want to leave, especially for a stupid school?  Soon, Chuck is hipped to his truant quadruped, and comes to retrieve him.  However, Snoopy the overly civilized underly dogified dog does not cotton to the leash that his owner brings, and Pep Pat orders Chuck to leave "my shortstop" alone.  

It's been a glorious week for lazy dogs with fantastical gifts, but soon Patty puts Snoopy to work washing a million dishes, which given that she and her father are the only occupants of the house, means the plates 'n things have been piling up for approximately three months.  

Snoopy misses his freedom; the kids, hearts grown plenty fond, miss Snoopy.  And if he doesn't get out of that house soon, Snoopy's gonna come up missing for real.  Charlie Brown's second attempt at retrieval is successful, and the neighborhood is back to normal.

I love He's Your Dog. My favorite Peanuts character hangs out with my second favorite.  Their warm spots for each other make me feel all cookie inside.  10.  If you have not seen this, watch it immediately.   It's on DVD now, as part of the Peanuts 1960s collection, and your money will appreciate being used for such a noble cause.

MUSIC:  Vince Guaraldi's fingers are having a frolicking good time.  I can just visualize them bouncing and dancing over the black-and-whites.  Straight happy jazz, homey.  9

ANIMATION:  Still in that classic style, with slight tweaks, giving the proceedings a familiar and pleasant look.  Unlike the star of the show, it's no trouble whatsoever.  8, with points deducted for the recycled Flying Ace footage from It's the Great Pumpkin.

VOICESHe's Your Dog is the last special to use the original voice actors.  Peter Robbins notches his usual perfect score.  His Chuck B. has never been surpassed, and most likely never will be.  (Oh that this young boy would grow up to be a man driven to violence by a botched boob job.   It does no good to ponder, I tell you.)  Sally Dryer's Lucy is an 8, and Christopher Shea's Linus a 9.  

Schroeder and 5 are seen but not heard from; same with Roy and his puzzling shirt.  (This is a nice gesture though, as Roy accompanied Peppermint Patty in her inaugural strip appearance.)  Oh, and about the sandal-ed one…Gail DeFaria does a fantastic job, her voice as sandy as the characters hair.  And it gets everywhere.  10, no question.


--The kids proclaim "Snoopy, come home!" Years later, he would make it a point to do just that, in one of the most morose kiddy films ever.

--Pep Pat is shown reading a Peanuts book with Charlie Brown and Lucy on the cover.  The meta melts metal.

--"A little chow," she just said.  Goddamn I love Peppermint Patty.  She and Snoopy, given their own strip, could have been a formidable entity of entertainment.

--Now that's a tummy just made to tickle.

--He refers to himself as "Chuck Brown."  You won't hear that often.

--Eatin' some Fluf!  

--When Snoopy rebels against the sudden domestic role that Peppermint Patty shunts him into, he starts bashing and smashing dishes at the sink.  Unsurprisingly, she is displeased, wondering "What's all this ruckus?" and then ordering, "You better ease up on that noise."  For someone who's growing up without a mom around, Patty sure does a great imitation of one.  Or of someone in the audience of a Grey Wolves gig.


--When Charlie Brown first attempts to bring Snoopy home, he remarks, "Tomorrow we'll see the kids.  They'll be glad to see you too."  Sounds like something one spouse would say to another as they bring their estrangement to a pleasant end.

--It took Daisy Hill Puppy Farm Obedience School a week to call Charlie Brown with the news that his dog had not yet arrived for classes.  

--There's being cool...then there's diving into a pool while wearing sunglasses.

--Characters that played a prominent role at the beginning of Peanuts but were relegated as Charles Schulz created more interesting children and devoted more time to Snoopy's wild mind get shot with dog-finger!  Not a coincidence!  Total visual metaphor!  It makes you laugh and reflect!  Garfield never did that!

Again, I implore you, watch He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown.  It takes the story in one Sunday strip (6/23/66) and extends it masterfully, imbuing the proceedings with humor and heart to spare.  This is why I love Peanuts.

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