What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?

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What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?
A Tribute
What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown.jpg
VHS cover
Created byCharles M. Schulz
Written byCharles M. Schulz
John McCrae (for the poem In Flanders Fields)
Directed byBill Melendez
Voices ofBrad Kesten
Victoria Vargas
Jeremy Schoenberg
Stacy Heather Tolkin
Michael Dockery
Monica Parker
Bill Melendez
Composer(s)Judy Munsen
Dawn Atkinson (arranged by)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English,
No. of episodes1
Executive producer(s)Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates
Running time28 minutes
Original networkCBS
First shown inMay 30, 1983
Preceded byIt's an Adventure, Charlie Brown
Followed byIt's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown

What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? A Tribute is the 26th prime-time animated television special based upon the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz, who introduced the special. It originally aired on the CBS network on May 30, 1983, Memorial Day in the United States, and one week prior to the 39th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. It aired on CBS only one other time, on May 26, 1984, which was the Saturday before Memorial Day, and ten days prior to the 40th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.


The special directly follows the events of the 1980 theatrical feature film Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!). Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Woodstock are returning from their student exchange in Paris. The film was purposefully open-ended in case there could be other adventures among the characters prior to returning home.

Charles Schulz said about its development,

Schulz struggled with development of the storyline until shortly after his open-heart surgery in 1981. While recuperating, he was able to finalize the concept with a common line that would tie everything together, "What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?"


The special opens with Charlie Brown back home, assembling a photo album of pictures taken from the trip. His younger sister, Sally, approaches and asks him how it went. From there, it is shown in a flashback:

As they begin to head back from the chateau to the train station for the return trip to London (where they would return to America by plane), their problematic rental car (a Citroen 2CV) slows their progress, before breaking down entirely in a small French town. Renting another one from a French lady (who immediately accepts their offer after realizing Snoopy is, in fact, a World War I Flying Ace) they soon become lost and camp at a nearby beach for the night. Linus, however, wakes up shortly before daybreak and walks along the beach, realizing they are at Omaha Beach.

Linus then tells of the battle of D-Day, leading the group to the nearby cemetery for all of the American soldiers. The voice of General Dwight D. Eisenhower is also heard, reminiscing about the experiences of the battle. Archival news footage is also used, in some cases with the characters inserted through rotoscoping.

While proceeding up north, they head towards Ypres, which Linus recognized as the site of a series of battles during World War I. They arrive at a field of red poppies, which grew throughout the wastelands of battles fought during the war, and which serves as a marker for the Ypres battle site. Linus then recites the poem In Flanders Fields, after directing the group to the British field dressing station where McCrae was inspired to write the poem.

They come away realizing what the impact of the wars were, and how important the sacrifice of the soldiers was. Standing among the field of red poppies, Linus then turns and asks, "What have we learned, Charlie Brown?". The scene flashes back to him and Sally. She then tells him that he is pasting the pictures upside down.

Voice cast[edit]


The special won a Peabody Award for "distinguished achievement and meritorious public service" in broadcasting. Schulz would later say of the acclaim,

Home video releases[edit]

The special was released on VHS in 1996. The special is available for purchase on iTunes together with You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown and He's a Bully, Charlie Brown,[2] and is now available on DVD in the Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection.[3]


  1. ^ a b Larkin, David, ed. (1999). Peanuts: A Golden Celebration. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 122.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ "You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown on iTunes".
  3. ^ "TVShowsonDVD Charlie Brown/Peanuts Specials - 'Peanuts: Emmy Honored Collection' DVD Set this Fall". Archived from the original on 2015-05-09.

External links[edit]