It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
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|It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown|
|Genre||Animated TV Special|
|Created by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Written by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Directed by||Phil Roman|
|Voices of||Arrin Skelley
Bill Melendez Tom Kenny Kevin Clash
|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 popular 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 Charlie Brown 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 Charlie Brown is shocked when he sees the Queen 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. Hearing this, Charlie Brown hyperventilates and falls off the float.
The Homecoming Game begins with Snoopy as the referee and Charlie Brown on the team as kicker. But unfortunately, even in a real football game with many spectators (and Woodstock as a TV cameraman), Lucy, also on the team as 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 Lucy 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, Charlie Brown 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 whom think it would have been better if he didn't show up at all. But remaining faithful to his duty, Charlie Brown 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 Charlie Brown having euphoric visions now that he has kissed the Little Red-Haired Girl—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 Charlie Brown that though he might have lost the game, he definitely took the honors at the dance. According to Linus, Charlie Brown 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, Charlie Brown was the life of the party according to Linus.
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 Charlie Brown 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
- Frieda: Roseline Rubens
- Snoopy & 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 the Little Red-Haired Girl 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; to wit, her omnipresent need to humiliate Charlie Brown, hence pulling the ball away four times during the game, which prevented him from converting any extra points or field goals, including a crucial attempt at the end. Interestingly, the special clearly shows Charlie Brown's team scoring two touchdowns totaling fourteen points in the second half. This indicates one of three things: he must have had at least two successful extra point kicks (which would be uncharacteristic of him or especially Lucy), someone else kicked the extra points (someone Lucy wouldn't pull the ball away from), or Charlie Brown's team scored a safety, which is two points. However, in the end, because of the final failed conversion, Charlie Brown was blamed. Many viewers protested; while most could accept Lucy pulling the ball away, and also could blame Charlie for a bad punt during the game, as no one was involved with that but him, 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.)
It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown was the first Peanuts television special produced after the untimely death of longtime Peanuts composer Vince Guaraldi. Music scores were now co-written by Ed Bogas and Judy Munsen. Bogas had just scored and Munsen had just supervised the movie Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown for Schulz prior to this special. He also shares a bond with his predecessor in three ways: Both Guaraldi and Bogas were signed with Fantasy Records (albeit Bogas as an in-staff producer, musician, songwriter), both musicians had also played with Cal Tjader during their careers, and they are both San Francisco natives.
Home video releases
It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown was released on VHS in the 1980s by Media Home Entertainment and its Hi-Tops Video subsidiary through the "Snoopy's Home Video Library" collection, then in 1994 by Paramount Home Entertainment as part of the "Snoopy Double Feature" with You're in Love, Charlie Brown. Paramount released the special in 2003 on the DVD of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, along with You're in Love, Charlie Brown. The DVD was rereleased on January 15, 2008 by Warner Bros. Home Video. It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown has also been released on laserdisc. In 2011, First Kiss was released on DVD again for "Peanuts 1970s Collection Volume 2" and would be released on DVD for Touchdown Charlie Brown on January 31, 2014.
- 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