It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
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|It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown|
Charlie Brown kisses the Little Red-Haired Girl.
|Genre||Animated TV Special|
|Created by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Written by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Directed by||Phil Roman|
|Voices of||Arrin Skelley
|Theme music composer||Vince Guaraldi
("Linus & Lucy")
|Country of origin||United States|
|Executive producer(s)||Lee Mendelson|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|First shown in||October 24, 1977|
|Preceded by||It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown|
|Followed by||What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!|
It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown is the 16th prime-time animated TV specials based upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. It was originally aired 8:00 PM, Monday, October 24, 1977 on the CBS-TV network.
It's homecoming at Charlie Brown's school, and he and Linus are among the escorts for the Homecoming Queen and her court. During the Homecoming Parade, Linus tells Charlie Brown that he (Charlie Brown) will be the escort for the Queen, but he is shocked when he sees she is none other than the Little Red-Haired Girl herself (whose name is said to be Heather, though neither her name nor appearance were chosen by Schulz). He is even more shocked when Linus tells him about the Homecoming tradition—that he has to escort Heather and give her a kiss before the first dance. Upon hearing this, he hyperventilates and falls off the float.
The Homecoming Game begins with Snoopy as the referee and Charlie Brown as kicker. But unfortunately, even in a real football game with many spectators (and Woodstock as a TV cameraman), Lucy, the placekick setter, can't resist humiliating Charlie Brown, again pulling the ball away just as he tries to kick it. To make matters worse, even though she is clearly the one at fault, the team (particularly Peppermint Patty) blames Charlie Brown for the failed kicks. With just thirty seconds left in the fourth quarter, he has a chance to become a hero and kick a field goal for the win, but Lucy again pulls the ball away, and the team loses by only one point.
Despite the humiliation, Charlie Brown still arrives at the dance to the surprise of his teammates (including, oddly enough, Lucy, the real culprit behind the team's loss), some of whom think it would have been better if he didn't show up at all. But remaining faithful to his duty, he escorts Heather to the middle of the dance floor and somehow summons the courage to kiss her on the cheek. From that moment forward everything is a composite blur, with him having euphoric visions now that he has kissed her—an accomplishment previously thought to be unattainable.
Charlie Brown wakes up the next morning, having no memory of anything that happened after the kiss. He walks to the wall, his usual hangout, and meets up with Linus, who proceeds to tell him that though he might have lost the game, he definitely took the honors at the dance. According to Linus, he surprised everyone when he kissed Heather, but even more so when he took to the dance floor with her—and even the other girls in the court—doing all of the latest dances. In essence, he was the life of the party.
In disbelief, Charlie Brown replied saying "What good is it to do anything, Linus, if you can't remember what you did?" Regardless, Linus reminds him that at least it was his first kiss and the story ends with him smiling with quiet satisfaction.
- Charlie Brown: Arrin Skelley
- Linus van Pelt: Daniel Anderson
- Lucy van Pelt: Michelle Muller
- Peppermint Patty: Laura Planting
- Franklin: Ronald Hendrix
- Snoopy and Woodstock: Bill Melendez
Audience reaction was primarily positive, but there were two elements about this special that initially caused negative reaction from viewers:
- The Little Red-Haired Girl was never seen in the daily comics (except in silhouette in a May 1998 strip), nor was she ever referred to by her real name. Schulz himself admitted that he could not draw her to readers' satisfaction, much less his own, but the storyline of the TV special forced the issue.
- In the special's initial broadcast, Charlie Brown was blamed (especially by Peppermint Patty) for bungling key plays and losing the game, though it was obvious that Lucy was responsible for the loss. Many viewers protested; while most could accept Lucy pulling the ball away, none could accept Charlie Brown's being blamed for losing the game. Schulz and the producers agreed, and two of the lines where Peppermint Patty berates him have since been spliced backwards (at about 7½ minutes in, "Okay, Chuck, you really goofed up on that play!"; and at around 15½ minutes in, "Chuck, you can't do anything right!!") (Though on VHS releases from the 1990s, the closed captioning still shows the words as they were originally said.).
- Charles M. Schulz (2001), "It's A Dog's Life, Snoopy", page 66, Ballantine Publishing, New York, NY, ISBN 0-345-44269-5
- Charles M. Schulz (2001), "Peanuts: The Art Of Charles M. Schulz", page 198, Random House, New York, NY, ISBN 0-375-42097-5
- Lee Mendelson (1979), "Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown", page 29, Random House, New York, NY, ISBN 0-394-50746-0