Like many American kids of a certain age, I grew up watching all those Peanuts TV specials. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Sally, Woodstock, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Franklin, Frieda. I think I hit got all the main cast members. Several times a year, and sponsored by the Dolly Madison pastry company, the Peanuts gang would come into our living room with a half hour or so of animated grade-school level humor, and the occasional life lesson, too.
The most-famous of all the Charlie Brown specials remains “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, which is highlighted by Charlie Brown looking for the meaning of Christmas, Vince Guaraldi’s score featuring the song “Linus and Lucy”, the skinny Charlie Brown Christmas tree, and Linus doing the still jaw-dropping recitation of the King James version of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 8-14. The program remains event television to this day.
Of course today, thanks to DVDs and DVRs, you don’t have to make sure you are at home at 8 p.m. on a specific day to catch Chuck & Co. engage in their shenanigans. And that includes one of the more lighthearted of the Charlie Brown specials, “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”.
Every year, I tell myself to make sure to have my daughters watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”, and it seems that every year, due to standard Turkey Day Insanity, and all the lead-up to that feast and travel of the day itself, we forget to watch Charlie Brown as he tries to make his way to his Grandma’s house for his own Thanksgiving. At least I think that’s the main gist of the show, because, again, I haven’t been able to see it in so long I just have to guess a bit at what happens during those 30 minutes that the show is on.
But this year, we weren’t heading out for our family feast until mid-afternoon. Thus, I decided to take a break from my morning breakfast of pecan pie ala mode to throw “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” into the Blu-Ray player, have my daughters watch it, and keep a running diary of the festivities.
You might be able to guess how this turned out, but let me fill you in, anyway…
8:10 a.m.: I turn the DVD on…I immediately have to get up to get coffee, start dishwasher and answer a million requests for drinks from the screaming kids.
8:17: Back to the video. Daughters are digging into toys that they say they “need” in order to watch the movie.
8:19: Lucy holds the football. Charlie Brown goes for the kick. Lucy pulls the ball away. Charlie Brown goes splat on his back. I laugh heartily. All is right with the world.
8:20: Our five-year-old has found some plastic Easter egg, with something rattling around inside of it. She also found this egg inside of a Jack-O-Lantern trick-or-treat bucket. On Thanksgiving. Holidays are mixed up here.
8:21: Peppermint Patty calls “Chuck” on the phone.
8:22: Five-year-old hands me a Ziploc bag for full of doll feet. I wonder if I have a female “Dexter” on my hands. Peppermint Patty invites Marcie to Chuck’s for Thanksgiving.
8:23: Six-year-old asks me to put a dress on a teddy bear. Five-year-old immediately says she wants to paint on the easel the kids haven’t used in probably three months.
8:25: Snoopy and Woodstock are playing hoops. Snoopy breaks out the ping pong table.
8:27: Six-year-old wants me to squirt paint out of some tubes for the five-year-old, who then asks me to open some box of doctor’s toys.
8:29: Charlie Brown, Snoopy and Linus are making up a mess of toast, and since this special first aired in 1973, Woodstock is likely slathering margarine and not butter upon each slice. Snoopy burns his ear in the toaster.
8:30: Somebody, I don’t know who, shouts, “DADDY!” Tattling ensues over something insane and which I couldn’t care less about.
8:31-8:37: I get up to help my wife clean paintbrushes for the five-year-old. It’s an even money bet that she’s forgotten she wanted to paint.
8:38: Marcie is trying to cheer “Charles” up as he feels he let everyone down for Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, our six-year-old is digging through a thousand Happy Meal toys and singing “WE WILL, WE WILL ROCK YOU!” apropos of nothing.
8:39: Chuck and the gang load up to go to Grandma’s for T-Day. The six-year-old wants me to put batteries into a “My Little Pony” flashlight thing.
8:43: Well, Chuck & Co. may have driven off the road on the way to Grandma’s for all I know because I had to get up and put out some sort of fire that in 10 minutes won’t mean anything to anyone, least of all me.
I gave it my best shot, but I think that the girls watched maybe five minutes in total of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”. I was disappointed, but also felt there was still time to salvage the day. Three NFL games were yet to come. There was still plenty of time for the kids to get in their recommended daily allowance of Daddy’s TV Shows.