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Cherry Pop

'Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown'
(Peanuts Gang, et al / DVD / NR / (1967) 2008 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz retired from the cartoonist's life early in 2000, and indeed left a few loose strings hanging among his chronically dissatisfied characters. He never did, for instance, cut Charlie Brown much slack in the romance department (or let him kick Lucy's football, for that matter). Sympathetic readers might have taken note of a story in the press just before Schulz said farewell, in which the inspiration for Charlie Brown's unrequited love interest--the never-seen, too-distant, "little red-haired girl"--was identified as a woman who turned down a marriage proposal from Schultz a half-century ago. That bit of biographical detail now adds poignancy to Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, a 1975 television special built upon years of Valentine's Day "Peanuts" strips.

DVD Verdict: I remember how excited I was when this special 1st debuted in 1975. Charlie Brown has high hopes of getting lots of valentine this Valentine's Day including one from the beloved little red haired girl (he brings a suitcase to school). Linus has spent his allowance on a big heart-shaped box of candy for Miss Orthmar and Voilet inquires about heart-shaped shaving lotion for her teacher (who's a man).

Lucy asks Schroeder: "Do you realize you could lose me some day?". Sally thinks the box of candy her sweet babboo bought is for her. Snoopy does his hand-puppets show (or should we say "paw-puppets"?). Guess how many valentines Charlie Brown Receives? (The painful in-class distribution of cards rings true to my own childhood experience. In my kids' classes, they now require them to bring valentines cards for everyone, probably to avoid the tragi-comic scene that Charles endures so charmingly.)

Even funnier is Linus's pining for his teacher, and Sally's mis-reading of the gift-buying by her "sweet babboo." As with all of the best Peanuts videos, this one works on (at least) two levels: Plenty of kid-friendly humor and hijinx, as well as wry dialogue for the more sophisticated viewers. Indeed, funny and sad, this special got a lot of valentines sent Charles Schulz's way when it was first aired, all for Charlie Brown! This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Two additional TV specials: It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, and You're in Love, Charlie Brown
All-new featurette: Unlucky in Love: An Unrequited Love Story