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PEANUTS: 1960'S COLLECTION ($30) assembles six TV specials from the decade that feature Charles M. Schulzís lovable comic strip characters. The collection features two major attractions, which are complemented by four other delightful programs, which havenít quite achieved the same level of pop culture relevance. A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS and ITíS THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN are perennial favorites that have been enjoyed countless times by numerous generations. CHARLIE BROWN'S ALL-STARS, YOU'RE IN LOVE, CHARLIE BROWN, HE'S YOUR DOG, CHARLIE BROWN and IT WAS A SHORT SUMMER, CHARLIE BROWN are less well known programs that find the Peanuts gang delivering the same kind of innocent amusement as their holiday themed specials.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, finds the Peanuts gang getting ready to celebrate the Yuletide season. Everyone is happily going about his or her business preparing for Christmas, all except Charlie Brown, who is somewhat depressed that the holiday has lost its meaning due to rampant commercialization. Charlie Brown visits Lucyís psychiatry stand for a nickelís worth of advice, where she determines that our hero needs some seasonal involvement to overcome his holiday blahs. This leads to Charlie Brown being made the director of the Christmas pageant. Of course, no one is willing to take direction form someone as wishy-washy as Charlie Brown, so he ends up instead, having to secure a Christmas tree for the pageant. As one might expect, the tree that Charlie Brown selects isnít what any of his highly commercial friends would consider ideal.

The plot of ITíS THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN finds Linus at odds with the rest of the gang due to his belief in The Great Pumpkin, a creature that supposedly rises up out of the pumpkin patch every Halloween to bring toys to all of the good little girls and boys. Of course, no one but Linus believes in The Great Pumpkin, which usually leaves him alone in the pumpkin patch waiting for his toys, while everyone else spends the evening Trick Or Treating. However, this year Linus doesnít spend Halloween alone, thanks to one little girl, who is smitten with our blanket-carrying hero. While Linus does his thing in the pumpkin patch, Charlie Brown ends up screwing up his Halloween by making himself a ghost costume, which looks more like Swiss cheese than anything else.

This brings us to the remaining programsÖ CHARLIE BROWN'S ALL-STARS is a summertime tale that finds the Peanuts gang playing baseball on a team managed by everyoneís favorite loser. Unfortunately, the team has never won a game and the gang quit the national pastime in disgust. When an opportunity to play in a real league, with real uniforms arises, Charlie Brown attempts to reassemble his team. Despite Charlie Brownís good intentions, things donít go as planned. YOU'RE IN LOVE, CHARLIE BROWN takes place at the end of the school year, and our boy hero realizes he is in love with the Little Red Haired Girl, but finds himself unable to work up the nerve to even talk to her. HE'S YOUR DOG, CHARLIE BROWN focuses on Snoopy causing mischief and Charlie Brown needing to send him back to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm for a refresher course in obedience training. However, Snoopyís journey goes astray and he winds up living with Peppermint Patty. IT WAS A SHORT SUMMER, CHARLIE BROWN finds the Peanuts gang reliving their summertime adventures at camp, via their five hundred word essays written for their first day of school.

Warner Home Video has made all the programs that comprise the PEANUTS: 1960'S COLLECTION ($30) available on DVD in their original 4:3 full screen television ratios. All six of the animated specials have been given good-looking presentations for this release. Across the board, each boasts a crisp, well-defined image, limited only by what was present in the original animation. Colors are bright and attractive, in addition to appearing quite stable. Blacks are deep and the whites accurate. The elements from which the specials have been mastered appear relatively clean, although there are some irregularities traceable back to the original animation process. Digital compression artifacts usually remain under the radar.

All the programs featured in the PEANUTS: 1960'S COLLECTION come with good quality Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks. Most signs of background hiss and other audible flaws have been cleaned up during the mastering process. Dialogue is clean and fully understandable. Fidelity has the expected age related limitations, but nothing too bad. Despite the limitations, the music still sounds fairly pleasant. Japanese and Portuguese language tracks have also been encoded onto the DVDs. Subtitles are available in English, French, Japanese, Portuguese and Thai.

Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard scene/episode selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras. Vince Guaraldi: The Maestro Of Menlo Park is a thirty-seven minute program on the man responsible for the iconic Peanuts music. A Trailer for You Must Remember This closes out the extras.

The PEANUTS: 1960'S COLLECTION contains some of the best-loved specials featuring Charles M. Schulzís comic strip character. The presentations are pretty sweet and will make these programs worthwhile additions to any collection that is lacking them.



Peanuts: 1960's Collection (A Charlie Brown Christmas / Charlie Brown's All-Stars / It's the Great Pumpkin / You're in Love / He's Your Dog / It Was a Short Summer)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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