1969 animated movie directed by Bill Melendez
, with music by Vince Guaraldi
and Rod McKuen
. It was the first of four feature-length Peanuts
films, and its watercolor
style set a beautiful precedent for the films that followed it.
Charlie Brown begins the movie as the complete loser he has always been: he crashes a kite and loses a baseball game. Linus Van Pelt tells him to enter the school's spelling bee to prove that he isn't a failure. Surprisingly enough, Charlie Brown wins, and gets to go to New York City to compete in the nationals.
Then, Linus makes the biggest mistake of his life: he gives Charlie Brown his security blanket as a good luck charm. When Charlie Brown leaves, Linus starts shaking and passing out, forcing him to go to New York with Snoopy and retrieve the blanket. Plenty of dark hilarity ensues.
Some of the scenes in this movie are brilliant: Snoopy's ice skating routine at Rockefeller Center, the sixties-inspired psychedelic version of The Star-Spangled Banner, and Linus's slow breakdown on the bus to New York as Snoopy plays his mouth harp in the background. For hilarity value, there is Lucy's psychiatric work:
Lucy: See? I've put your faults on slides. Now I can project your faults onto a screen.
Charlie Brown: Project my faults onto a screen?!
Lucy: ...Look at your tendency toward fatness! (cues picture of Charlie Brown with a big red arrow pointed at his gut) Look at that stomach! And your legs! Even your nose is fat! Why, I bet if the truth were known, even your toes are fat!
Linus: You okay, Charlie Brown? You look like you've been taking shock treatments or something.
Charlie Brown: What could be more shocking than having your faults projected on a screen?!
Also hilarious is the word that Charlie Brown loses the National Spelling Bee with: "beagle
's breed. When the time comes, he spells it "B-E-A-G-E-L."
The music, for many, is the best part of the movie: it was an Academy Award nominee for Best Original Song Score in 1970 (beaten, incidentally, by the Beatles' "Let It Be"), and these lyrics from the theme song might give you an idea why:
He's just the kid next door
Perhaps a little more
He's every kid in every town
Though the world is full of people
Here and there, and all around...
He's just a boy named Charlie
A boy named Charlie Brown