Whether it was Halloween, Christmas, or Easter, the Peanuts animated TV specials have entertained children and grown-ups alike for many a festival.
The 14th February TV special “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown”, brilliantly portrays the Peanuts kids and their love-struck shenanigans on Valentine’s Day.
In the TV special, Linus tries to show his affection for his teacher with a box of chocolates, while Sally thinks that the chocolates are for her; then there’s Snoopy’s misguided puppet show for Lucy, and Schroeder’s big Valentine’s Day rant defending Charlie Brown. These are the sub-stories that have become heart-warming classic plots that never seem to get old.
The TV specials were highly successful and garnered much attention throughout the ages, proving their general impact on culture. The many other TV specials like “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, brilliantly shows what the Christmas spirit is all about. Likewise, the Halloween special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, remains a TV favorite to this day.
What makes the TV special “special” are the little details and amusing events that happened during, and after the production process and premiere. It originally aired on the CBS network on January 28, 1975, and has continued airing annually on ABC ever since 2001.
As the story goes, Linus is trying to win the heart of Miss Othmar, his teacher, while Lucy misunderstands the gesture and decides to give him a Valentine in return. Snoopy’s shenanigans are in on the fun as well, performing a zany, romantic puppet theater for Lucy.
The star of the Valentine’s Day special is Charlie Brown as he hopes to receive a Valentine from “the little red-haired girl” he is so fond. The school day ends and Schroeder tries to organize the boxes filled with Valentines. He counts out the Valentines, mentioning every name except Charlie Brown’s, who eagerly awaited his Valentines with a briefcase ready, in case he got too many.
The scene where Charlie Brown sits next to his mailbox, patiently awaiting a Valentine’s Day card to no avail, sparked an “outrage” among the children who watched the 1975 premiere. A day after the original airing, children and fans all over the US sent the Peanuts studio countless valentines for the heartbroken Charlie Brown, showing their sympathy for him, and their disapproval of his treatment on Valentine’s Day.
As a hidden gag, caricatures of Charles Schulz, Bill Melendez, Lee Mendelson and others, can also be seen near the end credits. Another hidden detail can be noticed when Schroeder counts and passes the Valentines and mentions the name Joanne Lansing, a staff member who worked as an ink and art supervisor.
The beloved TV special was released as a VHS edition in the 1980s by Kartes Video Communications and Media Home Entertainment, and by Paramount Home Entertainment in 1994. The “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” TV special stays true to its tradition and remains a classic rerun on the ABC channel and still entertains kids and adults to this day.