Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown

Peppermint Patty: Now look, kid: these eggs are *not* to be fried. Nor are they to be roasted, toasted, or waffled.
Marcie: Yes, sir.
Peppermint Patty: These eggs have to be boiled. You boil them, then I'll show you how to paint them.

First aired April 9, 1974

Easter is coming soon, Charlie Brown (Todd Barbee) and the gang are getting ready to celebrate.

Peppermint Patty (Linda Ercoli) tries (unsuccessfully) to teach Marcie (Jimmy Ahrens) how to dye eggs. Marcy fries them instead.

Woodstock (Bill Melendez) needs a birdhouse, rain is beating down on him.

 Sally (Lynn Mortensen) has nothing to wear for Easter.

So the kids head to a department store in search of eggs, clothes and a birdhouse. Linus (Stephen Shea) says they don't need to shop for eggs and jelly beans;The Easter Beagle will take care of all that. Everyone is skeptical about this "Easter Beagle" (they're familiar with Linus' odd notions about holiday visitors), especially Peppermint Patty.

Peppermint Patty doesn't share Linus' faith in "The Easter Beagle."
The store already has it's Christmas decorations up and signs that announce "pre-Christmas" sales and "246 days until Xmas".

Snoopy finds a display of sugar eggs.

He looks inside one and imagines himself dancing with bunnies.

Marcie continues to fail at making Easter Eggs and Linus keeps telling her & P. Patty that the Easter Beagle will bring the eggs.

Is Linus right?  Will the Easter Beagle come bearing eggs and candy?  Will Marcy learn how to properly make Easter Eggs?

J.A. Morris says:
It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is lots of fun, but there's not a lot of plot to discuss.  It's mostly just a series of scenes that feature beloved characters interacting with each other and amusing dialogue.

Mild 40-year-old spoiler:Unlike his Halloween folly, Linus' faith is rewarded, even if the Easter Beagle arrives due to Snoopy's intervention.  Marcie's attempts at dying Easter Eggs are very funny, I still cover my eyes every time she "waffles" eggs.

The special doesn't spend a lot of time on the spiritual aspects of Easter.  But we get a scene where Lucy (Melanie Kohn) calls Easter the gift-giving season.  Schroeder (Todd Barbee) tells her that "Easter's not a time for getting, it's a time of renewal, the start of Spring."  That's a nice way of summing up Easter's meaning and the season.

When this special was produced, the original Peanuts voice actors were long gone.  But the kids here are all well cast.

Vince Guaraldi was still around and provides another great soundtrack.  At this point, Guaraldi's music was heavily influenced by funk and fusion, he plays some electric guitar here.  The soundtrack is very different than the piano-based tunes we heard in the earlier specials, but it's still excellent.

For those interested in math and trivia:
When the kids visit the shopping mall, there's a sign that reads "Only 246 shopping days until Christmas."  For those keeping score, that would make it April 23.  Which is pretty late in the calendar for Easter, but not impossible.

It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is a lot of fun and is highly recommended.

J.A. Morris' rating:

4 Easter Eggs!

RigbyMel says:

This is one of my favorite Easter specials.   I love that it refers back to the Great Pumpkin special.

Unlike the Great Pumpkin, the Easter Beagle does show up
I love its gently anti-consumerist message.

Christmas seems to come earlier each year!
I love (and am simultaneously frustrated by) Marcie's egg ineptness.
Marcie fails to grasp the concept of the hard-boiled egg
I love Woodstock's swinging bachelor pad with groovy sound system.
Groovy, man!
I love that Snoopy thinks to get him a birdhouse. (As we know, I am partial to Woodstock.)

I love watching Snoopy dance with his imaginary bunny friends.

I even love the springtime background paintings used -- I think they are exceptionally pretty.

Check out the daffodils and the blossoms on the tree
As J.A. Morris says,  Vince Guarldi's funk and fusion inspired score is way cool and it gets extra points in my book for excellent use of Beethoven's Symphony Number 7.  When all seems bleakest we get the somber second movement of the symphony.

When the Easter Beagle appears, we get the happier, dancing strains from the midst of the first movement.  Great stuff.   There's even some Minuet in G a la Bach that shows up in the scene where Snoopy dances with Peppermint Patty and Marcie at the shopping center.

It's The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown does a great job of presenting wonderful vignettes that give us the spirit of the characters and the spring season in a very satisfying way -- even if the plot is rather slight.

This special is still shown on TV often (sadly, it did not get a network airing in 2015) and is readily available on DVD and streaming services like Amazon Instant Video.   If you enjoy the Peanuts and have not seen the Easter Beagle, you owe it to yourself to check this out!

RigbyMel's rating:

4 Easter eggs

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