She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown
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|She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown|
|Genre||Animated TV Special|
|Created by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Directed by||Phil Roman|
|Voices of||Arrin Skelley
Jason Victor Serinus
|Country of origin||USA|
|Executive producer(s)||Lee Mendelson|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|First shown in||February 25, 1980|
|Preceded by||You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown|
|Followed by||Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown|
She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown is the 19th prime-time animated TV specials based upon the popular comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. It was originally aired on the CBS network on February 25, 1980, making it the first Peanuts special of the 1980s. It is also one of the few Peanuts animated specials to feature clear and intelligible adult voices.
Peppermint Patty is practicing figure skating with her coach Snoopy (in a role modeled on real-life skating coach Carlo Fassi) for an upcoming competition, but the many days of getting up to practice at 4:30 A.M. are starting to take their toll, and she falls asleep constantly in class. One of her practices is halted briefly when a group of ten hockey players threatens her if she does not leave the ice so they can play. Patty and Snoopy take care of the situation by shoving the lead hockey players on each squad, causing both teams of hockey players to fall on top of each other like dominoes and be swept off the ice by Snoopy.
Later that day after an afternoon practice, Marcie, who is observing, invites Patty over to her house for hot cocoa and cookies. Once there, Patty notices that Marcie has a sewing machine. Despite Marcie explaining that it is her mother's machine, and that she does not know how to sew, Patty commissions her to make a dress for the competition. With that settled, they head to a fabric store and buy the supplies (Peppermint Patty decides on denim, thus a "jean dress"). As expected, the dress does not come out good on Marcie's part, looking more like a sleeveless poncho, to which Marcie defends her mistake by saying she stated her poor sewing skills and the homespun outfit was Patty's idea, not hers. Snoopy arrives, and Peppermint Patty almost tearfully shows him the mangled dress. Taking the dress from her, Snoopy returns to the sewing machine and almost instantly sews the dress into a top-notch skating outfit.
Snoopy is less helpful, however, when Patty complains that her hair is a "mousey blah" style. Snoopy brings in a large red gift box, and inside is a large red curly-haired wig that makes Patty look like Little Orphan Annie. After trying it on, Patty rolls her eyes and dumps the wig on Snoopy's head.
The day of the competition has arrived. All the contestants are first practicing altogether, then they clear while the Zamboni (driven by Snoopy) clears the ice. The first two contestants end up falling and get rather low scores. The third contestant does not fall, and gets such a good score that the pressure is on for Patty. Unfortunately, disaster seems to strike as her music tape goes haywire in the cassette deck. While Snoopy (who is also running the music for each contestant) frantically tries to fix it and ends up in a fight with the machine on the ice, Patty is starting to sweat as she holds her opening pose longer than she expected, and all the rest of the Peanuts characters in the audience worry that she will be disqualified. However, disaster is averted when Woodstock steps up to the microphone and whistles her music, "O mio babbino caro".
Peppermint Patty receives the highest score, and has won the competition. She is shown on the stand with her trophy, while her runners-up stand below her with silver and bronze medals. On the way out, she is talking with Snoopy about her performance, and Snoopy is back as his grumbling, coaching self. She finally asks if he has anything nice to say, and she gets kissed on the cheek by him. At the end, Woodstock is shown bringing up the rear whistling the music again.
Figure skating animation
Although the plot line is implausible, the actual skating portrayed in the film is quite accurate for the time. For example, Peppermint Patty is seen practicing compulsory figures and her free skating routine uses realistic figure skating jumps, spins, and choreography. The skating scenes were animated using the rotoscoping technique, using Schulz's own daughter (credited as Amy Schulz) as one of the models. Some of the skating footage appears in the concluding animation associated with the credits.
This program was written from a relatively long series of Peanuts comic strips originally published in 1974. The strip had other subplots that were left out of the special, and changes that were made to the storyline by the time it went to the small screen. For instance:
- In the strip, after the disaster with Patty's skating dress, Marcie's mother stepped in to make the alterations. It was Snoopy who altered the dress in the TV special.
- After Patty gets her dress she wants to do something with her self-described "mousy-blah" hair, so she ultimately decides to go to Charlie Brown's dad's barber shop, but Charlie Brown forgot to tell his dad she was a girl (added to which Peppermint Patty told Charlie Brown's dad that she could strike him out in three pitches), so he gives her a boy's haircut, much to her despair. To cover up the mistake, Patty wears an afro wig several sizes too big. This scene is altered in the special, with the wig a gift from Snoopy and promptly refused.
- Patty arrives at the competition and only at that point finds out that it is for roller skating, not ice skating, but not before she gets into trouble inadvertently damaging the rink floor with her skate blades. Patty returns from the competition realizing she still owes Snoopy for her lessons. Having no money, she gives him her wig as payment.
- Patricia Patts - Peppermint Patty
- Arrin Skelley - Charlie Brown, Rude hockey player captain
- Casey Carlson - Marcie, Teacher
- Bill Melendez - Snoopy
- Scott Beach - Announcer
- Jason Victor Serinus - Woodstock (whistling) 
- Mary Ellen Kinsey (as Mary Kinsey)
- Karen Hutton
- Amy Schulz
Home video releases
On April 16, 1995, Paramount Home Video released the special on a double feature VHS with Play It Again, Charlie Brown. Warner Home Video released it on October 18, 2011, under a single disc DVD called: Happiness Is...Peanuts: Snow Days. It was also released by Hi-Tops Video once and Kartes Video Communications, Media Home Entertainment with It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown. This special was re-released as part of the DVD box set Snoopy's Holiday Collection on October 1, 2013.
- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0174200/ IMDB entry
- http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=npJVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EkANAAAAIBAJ&dq=she's%20a%20good%20skate%20charlie%20brown&pg=4829%2C1308487 "Skating studied for Peanuts gang", The Leader-Post, Feb 5 1982
- http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=npJVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=EkANAAAAIBAJ&dq=she's%20a%20good%20skate%20charlie%20brown&pg=4829%2C1308487 Good grief! Figure skater traces her lines back to Peanuts gang", The Milwaukee Journal, Jan 16 1981