What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!

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What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!
Genre Animated TV Special
Created by Charles M. Schulz
Directed by Phil Roman
Bill Meléndez
Voices of Liam Martin
Bill Meléndez
Music by Ed Bogas
Country of origin USA
Original language(s) English
Executive producer(s) Lee Mendelson
Producer(s) Bill Meléndez
Editor(s) Roger Donley
Chuck McCann
Running time 30 minutes
Original network CBS
Original release February 23, 1978 (1978-02-23)
Preceded by It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
Followed by You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown

What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown! is the 17th primetime animated TV special based upon the popular comic strip Peanuts, created by Charles M. Schulz. It was originally aired on Thursday, February 23, 1978, at 8:00 P.M. ET/PT on CBS. The special is unusual in that Snoopy and Charlie Brown are the only members of the Peanuts cast to appear in it. The plot is similar to that of Jack London's Call of the Wild. This was the first special Bill Melendez directed since 1973's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

In June 2010, the special was released on DVD as part of the Peanuts 1970's Collection, Volume Two set on Warner Home Video.[1]


One winter day, Charlie Brown is trying to pretend to be a musher with Snoopy, but the dog has other ideas and gets Charlie Brown to pull while he has fun riding in the sled. When night comes and they are comfortably indoors, Charlie Brown is indignant that Snoopy is adjusting too well to home life, reminding Snoopy of facts that Arctic dogs are only fed once a day, their meals largely consisting of cold meat and raw fish (to which Snoopy blanches and gives a look of "it's too bad to be them") and coming to the conclusion that Snoopy is "an overly civilized, underly 'dogified' dog". After making a scrumptious dinner of five pizzas and a large milkshake - all of which he eats himself, Snoopy goes to bed on his doghouse and promptly wakes up to find out that he is now a sled dog of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska, presumably during the Klondike Gold Rush or the 1925 serum run to Nome.

Snoopy is cruelly mistreated by his owner (who is only seen in shadow or silhouette and only speaks in a much deeper version of the classic Peanuts adult "waa-waa-waa" language) and his fellow dogs, being run ragged and then denied any food or water. The dogs take turns barking loudly at Snoopy in order to let him know he is indeed an outsider. One scene which breaks the snow scenes is where the sled master stops at a honky tonk, and a hungry Snoopy sneaks inside to snatch a sandwich and a mug of root beer sitting near a piano where he feigns playing The Washington Post March. Snoopy then tries his hand at a game of poker, where he keeps a poker face until he laughs out loud revealing his improbable winning hand of five aces, which causes a brawl and leaving Snoopy to escape into the next room. He then finds himself on stage with a painted backdrop of Paris, France and is cheered for his dancing. However, when the music changes and he impersonates a can-can dancer, the men throw rotten fruit at him. Snoopy is thrown out of the bar and is back with the sled dogs, where he continues to be mistreated, and denied food and water.

Unable to take anymore, one night Snoopy breaks down crying, then once he's done he goes about converting to his "new life" in order to survive, baring his fangs and falls to walking on all fours. Snoopy challenges the lead dog to a fight and wins, becoming the "Alpha Male" of the sled dog pack. He also turns the tables on the rest of the dogs by denying them food and water.

Eventually, he leads his owner over an ice-covered lake when the ice cracks and causes all the sled dogs and the owner to be swallowed into the water. Snoopy finds himself being pulled into the hole. As he sinks screaming for his life, Snoopy wakes up clinging to the side of his doghouse and is relieved that he was just having a nightmare.

Snoopy then wakes Charlie Brown and recounts his nightmare in pantomime, to which Charlie Brown allows Snoopy to spend the night inside with him, but not before Snoopy helps himself to a large ice cream sundae, reminding himself his Arctic experience was indeed just a nightmare.

Voice cast[edit]


  • Written and Created by: Charles M. Schulz
  • A Lee Mendelson-Bill Melendez Production
  • Directed by: Phil Roman and Bill Melendez
  • Produced by: Bill Melendez
  • Executive Producer: Lee Mendelson
  • Music by: Ed Bogas
  • "Linus and Lucy Theme" by: Vince Guaraldi
  • Vocal by: Larry Finlayson
  • Music Supervision by: Judy Munsen
  • Designed by: Evert Brown, Dean Spille, Bernard Gruver, Tom Yakutis
  • Animation by: Don Lusk, Sam Jaimes, Hank Smith, Bob Carlson, Bob Matz, Jeff Hall
  • Assisted by: Al Pabian, Larry Leichliter, Terry Lennon, Joe Roman, Patricia Joy
  • Inbetween by: Charlotte Richardson
  • Checking: Carole Barnes, Eve Fletcher, Peggy Drumm
  • Ink and Paint Supervisor: Joanne Lansing
  • Ink and Paint: Adele Lenart, Roubina Babajanian, Pat Capozzi, Marie White, Sue Rowan, Chandra Poweris, Lee Hoffman, Micky Kreyman, Valerie Pabian, Emalene Seutter
  • Editing: Chuck McCann, Roger Donley
  • Camera: Dickson/Vasu
  • Dubbing: Producers' Sound Service
  • Recording: Coast Recorders
  • Production Manager: Carole Barnes
  • Production Assistant: Sandy Claxton
  • in cooperation with United Feature Syndicate, Inc. and Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates
  • THE END "What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!" © 1978 United Feature Syndicate, Inc.


External links[edit]