This Is America, Charlie Brown

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This Is America, Charlie Brown is an eight-part animated television miniseries, depicting events in American history with characters from the Charles M. Schulz comic strip Peanuts. It aired from 1988 to 1989 on CBS. These eight episodes, originally released singly on videocassette, were released in a two-DVD collector's set on June 13, 2006 by Paramount Pictures. However, the DVD set went out of print once Warner Bros. bought all rights to the Peanuts TV specials. Warner Home Video has since reissued the miniseries on DVD as of June 17, 2014.[1] It was also released on the digital format.

Due to the nature of the events portrayed and the historical figures included—such as The Wright Brothers and George Washington—many adults were shown in full view along with the Peanuts gang, something that happened rarely in the animated films and specials (Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) being another exception) and not at all in the comic strip. These adults were drawn in a style similar to other productions by Bill Melendez.

Traditionally, these episodes have not been rerun on television, but one episode, "The Mayflower Voyagers", was paired with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (with which it was released on DVD) in 2008 by ABC, in order to fill the remaining half-hour filled the previous two years by He's a Bully, Charlie Brown. However, the special was edited to make room for Dancing with the Stars. ABC continues[a] to broadcast an abridged version of "The Mayflower Voyagers" on or shortly before Thanksgiving Day, after A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; the time slot following the Thanksgiving special is less than 30 minutes, due to the network airing the special with longer commercial breaks than those in the original broadcast.

Music[edit]

The series included music by many composers and performers including Peanuts regular Ed Bogas, Dave Brubeck, David Benoit (who would later take over scoring the specials starting with It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown), George Winston, Wynton Marsalis and Dave Grusin. This continued a tradition of using jazz musicians for the musical score; original composer Vince Guaraldi had died in 1976. This miniseries featured The Winans, Desirée Goyette, and Lou Rawls as the singing vocals (Goyette and Rawls had previously worked with Melendez on the Garfield TV specials).

Cast[edit]

Regular voice actors[edit]

Occasional voice actors[edit]

  • Jason Riffle: Charlie Brown (in The Birth of The Constitution)
  • Jeremy Miller: Linus van Pelt (in The Birth of The Constitution)
  • Ami Foster: Lucy van Pelt (in The Birth of The Constitution)
  • Christina Lange: Sally Brown (in The Birth of The Constitution)
  • Keri Houlihan: Marcie (in The Birth of The Constitution)
  • Tani Taylor Powers: Marcie (in The Mayflower Voyagers and The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk)
  • Cameron Clarke: Snoopy (in The Music and Heroes of America)
  • Sean Mendelson: Frankin
  • Grant Gelt: Franklin
  • Pig-Pen, Violet, and other characters appear a few times but are silent.

Additional voice actors[edit]

  • Frank Welker - Captain Smith (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Pilgrim Explorer 2 (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Squanto (in The Mayflower Voyagers), George Mason (in The Birth of The Constitution), James Wilson (in The Birth of The Constitution), Governor Morris (in The Birth of The Constitution), Wilbur Wright (in The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk), Jason Welker (in The NASA Space Station), Alexander Graham Bell (in The Great Inventors), Thomas Edison (in The Great Inventors), Abraham Lincoln (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency), Theodore Roosevelt (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency)
  • Gregg Berger - Pilgrim Leader (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Myles Standish (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Pilgrim Explorers (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Orville Wright (in The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk), NASA Mission Control (in The NASA Space Station), Thomas Watson (in The Great Inventors), Samuel (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency)
  • Chris Collins as Mayflower Watchman (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Samoset (in The Mayflower Voyagers)
  • Hal Smith as John Muir (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency)
  • Julie Payne - Mrs. Holiday (in The Great Inventors)
  • Bud Davis
  • Chuck Olson
  • Shep Menken
  • Brandon Horne
  • Marie Wise
  • Alissa King

Episodes[edit]

# Title Airdate Plot
1 The Mayflower Voyagers October 21, 1988 The Peanuts gang tells the story of the 1620 Mayflower voyage from England to the new world detailing the hardships they faced, how the Natives helped them survive, and ending the following autumn in a feast of Thanksgiving.
2 The Birth of the Constitution October 28, 1988 The story takes place in 1787 in Philadelphia. The Founding Fathers are trying to compose the Constitution. They work hard to decide which ideas to include. Charlie Brown and his friends work hard, too. Snoopy serves as watchdog, Peppermint Patty provides water to drink. Charlie Brown oversees "valet parking," and Linus is the usher
3 The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk November 4, 1988 In 1903, Charlie Brown and Linus visit Linus' cousin Dolly in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and watch as the Wright Brothers send their primitive airplane aloft. Additionally, Woodstock demonstrates the principles of flight, Peppermint Patty and Marcie are mechanics for the Wright Brothers aircraft, and Snoopy becomes top dog and oversees the events leading to the flight that changed the world!
4 The NASA Space Station November 11, 1988 Linus dreams about himself, Charlie Brown, Sally Brown, Lucy van Pelt, "Pig-Pen", Franklin, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, and Woodstock traveling in outer space.
5 The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad February 10, 1989 Charlie Brown tells the story of how two companies, namely the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad, constructed the Transcontinental Railroad through plains and imposing mountains. The episode ends when the gang witnesses the completion of the railroad in Promontory, Utah in 1869.
6 The Great Inventors March 10, 1989 Each member of the Peanuts gang reports on various American inventions. Linus discusses Alexander Graham Bell while Peppermint Patty and Marcie talk about Thomas Edison, and Charlie Brown writes a report on the invention of the automobile.
7 The Smithsonian and the Presidency April 19, 1989 The gang visits the Smithsonian Institution, where they discuss three former United States presidents.
8 The Music and Heroes of America May 23, 1989 Schroeder and Franklin try to present a school pageant about great American musicians, ranging from Stephen Foster to John Phillip Sousa to rock'n'rollers, but is interrupted by both the antics of Snoopy and Lucy, who decides to give her report on famous American heroes-including Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earheart, George Washington Carver, and Martin Luther King-on the same stage at the same time. At the end, Charlie Brown picks his favorite song: "Linus and Lucy".

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As of November 2016.

References[edit]

External links[edit]