Fifty years ago, A Charlie Brown Christmas made its television debut, starting a holiday tradition that’s right up there with chestnuts roasting on an open fire and leaving cookies out for Santa. And that tradition continues on Nov. 30, when ABC airs the 1965 animated special that first brought Charles Schulz’s classic comic strip to television screens. And because 50 is a significant milestone, the network plans to celebrate with an all-new, hour-long special, It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, hosted by Kristen Bell and featuring live musical performances by Kristin Chenoweth and Boyz II Men.
In addition to becoming an almost-instant holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas also launched an animated television franchise that produced a whopping 45 cartoon specials between 1965 and 2011. Generations of kids have grown up celebrating Halloween, Easter and even Arbor Day alongside good ol’ Charlie Brown and his friends, and have watched his trusty beagle, Snoopy, do everything from practice magic to join the circus. With A Charlie Brown Christmas about to ring in 50 years, we’ve ranked every Peanuts special made to date. Thanks for all the memories and missed footballs, Charlie Brown.
45) Someday You’ll Find Her, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Oct. 30, 1981
Watch and cringe as Charlie Brown goes from lovelorn lonely heart to full-on stalker in this painfully misconceived half-hour. After catching a glimpse of a lovely girl (but not the Little Red Haired Girl) sitting in the stands at a football game, our hero enlists Linus to help him track her down. After striking out with the first two suspects — one of whom is too old, while the other is deemed too ugly (like you’re a regular George Clooney or something, Chuck) — Charlie Brown finally finds the object of his affection only to be c—blocked by his blanket-carrying buddy. Devoid of any humor or charm, Someday You’ll Find Her is the nadir of the Peanuts cartoon series.
44) It’s the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown
A resoundingly unsuccessful attempt to insert the Peanuts characters into the oft-told fairy tale, It’s the Pied Piper is one of three specials — the other two being It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown and It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown — that was deemed not ready for primetime, and only saw the light of day on home video. It also happens to be the worst member of that trio, marred by terrible animation (the Peanuts characters look like they’ve been teleported in from a different cartoon universe when glimpsed alongside the oversized rats and bizarre-looking adults in Pied Piper land) and clumsy storytelling. It’s a lost entry in the Peanuts TV canon that deserves to stay lost.
43) What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Feb. 23, 1978
Hey kids! Wanna see Snoopy get in touch with his feral side when he’s forcibly enlisted in an Arctic dog sled team? Watch your favorite beagle challenge the other mutts for a piece of meat! See Snoopy viciously attack the pack’s alpha dog! Oh yeah, and check out how he desperately struggles to keep his head above water when his entire team falls through the ice into the freezing Arctic waters! But don’t worry, it all turns out to be a nightmare, so he’s totally fine at the end. Sounds great, right? I’m putting the DVD in the player now. Hey, wait…where are you going?
42) It’s Spring Training, Charlie Brown
Originally scheduled to air in 1992, It’s Spring Training wound up getting cut from the primetime line-up and spent four years in the locker room until it managed to sneak onto video in 1996. Maybe the fact that it’s essentially a remake of the far superior Charlie Brown All-Stars — right down to the storyline about Charlie Brown’s team needing new uniforms — had something to do with the special ending up on the shelf. More likely, though, executives saw the above clip of Franklin rapping along to the hokey pokey and realized they couldn’t subject the viewing public to something so horrible.
41) It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Apr. 16, 1984
A blatant example of why Peanuts should never, ever try to be hip and topical, the infamous It’s Flashbeagle special lazily pokes fun at Flashdance and early ‘80s music videos like Olivia Newton John’s “Physical,” in between randomly organized one-scene gags. The whole thing builds to an utterly strange climax where Snoopy dances for his life on the disco floor, and then in Sally’s classroom during show-and-tell. What a (depressing) feeling.
40) Snoopy’s Getting Married, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Mar. 20, 1985
Snoopy bids farewell to being a bachelor beagle when he proposes to galpal, Genevieve. But he immediately freaks out about the whole thing, and the special strangely seems to agree with him, ticking off the reasons why being married is a pain for both dogs and, by extension, humans. (Were the animators working through some issues at home or something?) Perhaps sensing that she’s getting stuck with a reluctant groom, Genevieve ditches Snoopy at the altar for a golden retriever. Moral of the story: don’t look to Peanuts for relationship advice.
39) A Charlie Brown Celebration
Premiered: May 24, 1982
If an hour-long anthology special airs with no memorable shorts, does it really make a sound? Not in this case, where an utterly generic title sets the stage for the ho-hum collection of cartoons that follow. Far worse Peanuts specials have made it to the airwaves (ahem, It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown), but few feel as instantly disposable as this one.
38) I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Nov. 11, 2003
Tired of begging Snoopy to play with him, little Rerun decides he wants a dog of his own. So Snoopy extends an invitation to his brother, Spike, to spend some time with the youngest Van Pelt on a trial basis. Unfortunately, a forever home just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the desert-dwelling beagle. The special gently tries to put a happy face on this downer ending, but you can’t help but feel bad that Spike came such a long way for a whole lot of nothing.
37) You’re In the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Jan. 18, 1994
Linus is generally one of the more progressive Peanuts characters, so it’s disappointing to learn that he’s not so open-minded about certain things in life…like, say, losing to a girl. There’s the basic gist of You’re in the Super Bowl, which finds Linus and Charlie Brown competing in a “punt, pass and kick” with a pair of Super Bowl tickets as first prize. But the duo is easily creamed by Melody-Melody, the cute girl that Linus flirts with before he realizes she’s a pigskin dynamo. Linus may know what Christmas is all about, but based on his whiny reaction to being bested by a superior athlete, he doesn’t have a similar understanding of Title IX.
36) Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales
Premiered: Dec. 8, 2002
Another Christmas tale from the Peanuts crew, this one broken up into five segments so that five of the most popular characters — Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, Sally and Charlie Brown — all get their turn in the spotlight. Made two years after Charles Schulz’s death, this special feels like a leftover doodle rather than a loving tribute to a holiday tradition he created.
35) You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Mar. 19, 1979
Late to sign up for the annual School Olympics, Charlie Brown pencils his name into the only event that’s still open: the decathlon. That means he’ll have to excel in ten sports, none of which he’s good at. Enter Peppermint Patty, who promptly puts the would-be Olympian — as well as back-up competitors Snoopy and Marcie — through a strict training regimen. Meanwhile, the audience is left asking: Why should we care about Charlie Brown playing any other sport than baseball?
34) A Charlie Brown Valentine
Premiered: Feb. 14, 2002
A Charlie Brown Valentine holds the distinction of being the first new Peanuts special to air in the wake of Charles Schulz’s death in 2000. And that’s really the only distinctive thing about it, apart from its radically different depiction of the Little Red Haired Girl, who here has curly red hair instead of the straight flowing locks glimpsed in earlier installments. Otherwise, it’s business as usual, as Charlie Brown pines for his crush, while Peppermint Patty and Marcie compete for his attention.
33) You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Oct. 28, 1975
After years of falling short of victory, Charlie Brown finally finishes first…in a motocross race? That’s right, in this uncharacteristically optimistic — but decidedly middle of the road — special, Chuck and his beat-up old motorcycle (kids, don’t try this at home) emerge from a disastrous pre-race crash to vroom steady and true, while his competitors flame out. But his triumph proves short-lived; the next day, he’s back to being beaned by baseballs. Easy come, easy go.
32) Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
Premiered: Jan. 1, 1986
If you saw the recent big-screen Peanuts Movie, you might notice that the hit film stole…um, borrowed a storyline from Happy New Year. While his pals are ringing in 1986, Charlie Brown is stuck at home reading War and Peace for a book report. (To be honest, the plot works better in the movie, so we’ll give the writers a pass.) By the time he gets to the party, midnight is long gone, as is his favorite crush, the Little Red Haired Girl, though she made sure to share a dance with Linus before she left. Our New Year’s resolution would be to re-read War and Peace before re-watching this sleepy half-hour.
31) Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Mar. 29, 2011
Grandparents just don’t understand. Especially Linus’s grandmother, who decides it’s well past time for her grandson to kick the blanket habit. But Lucy, Charlie Brown and Snoopy decide to get the jump on Granny Van Pelt, implementing their own blanket-swiping schemes. Overseen by an all-new creative team, the most recent Peanuts special faithfully tries to recreate the look and tone of the franchise’s ‘60s-era past. Ultimately, it suffers from too much imitation and not enough invention.
30) Play it Again, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Mar. 28, 1971
Schroeder finally gets some love…and not just from Lucy, for a change. The Beethoven-in-training is pushed out of his classical music comfort zone when he agrees to join a rock ensemble consisting of Charlie Brown on guitar, Snoopy on bass and Pig-Pen on drums. While it’s always nice for a supporting player get his turn in the spotlight, this special suggests that Schroeder is better heard than seen.
29) Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Oct. 24, 1980
Snoopy experiences life as a circus beagle when he’s inadvertently dog-napped and becomes the big top’s resident high-wire unicycle act. He also receives a crash course in the joys and heartbreaks that accompany falling in love — in this case with an adorable poodle named Fifi. Circus is mildly amusing, but mostly disposable. With a few exceptions, Snoopy is most effective when used as the secret sauce in Peanuts, not the main ingredient.
28) It’s Christmas Time Again, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Nov. 27, 1992
Twenty-seven years and 35 specials after the inaugural Charlie Brown Christmas, Peanuts returns to the Yuletide well (what, no Hanukkah specials?), for a sequel consisting of material adapted directly from the comic strip. The best part comes towards the end, when Sally yells “Hockey stick!” during the school pageant instead of “Hark!” and a Harold Angel (as opposed to a herald angel) later rings the doorbell.
27) There’s No Time for Love, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Mar. 11, 1973
While on a school trip to the art museum, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Peppermint Patty and Marcie get separated from the group and accidentally tour a supermarket instead. (Makes you wonder what these kids are actually learning in school if they can’t tell the difference between produce and paintings.) But the real story here is the simmering romantic tension between Patty and Chuck, which only the perpetually-wise Marcie seems to pick up on. Points for addressing that relationship, even if it happens under bizarre circumstances.
26) It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Oct. 24, 1977
The Little Red Haired girl gets a face and a name: Heather. She also gets a peck on the cheek from Charlie Brown, a significant victory for a kid who rarely wins anything. But that historic accomplishment comes at the tail end of an episode that’s otherwise given over to a tedious football game where the “missing the kick” gag is repeated a whopping three times. We agree with Charlie Brown: “Is it baseball season yet?”
25) A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
Premiered: Nov. 20, 1973
At Peppermint Patty’s urging, Charlie Brown and Snoopy team up to make a Turkey Day feast with toast, jelly beans and popcorn as the main courses. You’d think that kids would be delighted with that spread, but Patty’s turns out to be a Thanksgiving Dinner purist. Limited humor and a lack of good cheer make this one of the weaker holiday specials — yes, even weaker than the one about Arbor Day.
24) He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Nov. 20, 2006
Like the Bard said, some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them. Charlie Brown joins the latter group when he stands up to the summer camp bully who has been acting like a regular marble shark, challenging newbies to marble games and then walking off with all the winnings, until Chuck gives him a taste of his own medicine. Meanwhile, Marcie displays a bullying streak as well, mercilessly teasing a stuck-at-home Peppermint Patty about all the up close and personal time she’s getting with Charles. Not cool making one of our favorite character look bad, guys.
23) Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Aug. 29, 2003
Charlie Brown teaches Lucy to respect his managerial authori-tah by booting her from the baseball team she doesn’t care about anyway, and drafting Marcie. But the switcheroo proves remarkably unsuccessful at healing his fragile psyche or, for that matter, helping the team win any games. Among the baseball-themed specials, Lucy Must Be Traded is distinctly middle of the pack — filled with enough great Lucy moments to propel it out of the minors, but not all the way into the big leagues.
22) Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
Premiered: Mar. 16, 1990
Surgeon General’s Warning: Watching this special unprepared will be hazardous to your emotional health. When Linus’s good friend Janice goes home from school with a fever, he has no idea that the next time he sees her will be in the hospital where the little girl casually mentions that she’s got the Big C. (Yes, cancer. In a Peanuts cartoon.) Schulz treats her illness with earnest respect, using Linus as young viewers’ surrogate to understanding what Janice is going through. Kids will learn a lot, but their parents might need a big hug afterwards.
21) It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown
Hope you like watching Linus rollerblade, because those sequences eat up a healthy chunk of this never-aired special’s runtime. (It bypassed television for a direct-to-video release.) The rest of it is given over to the blanket-carrying philosopher stumbling upon a mysterious girl in a hidden garden and inviting her to his birthday party. On the big day, everyone else shows up, but her…until she appears out of thin air in a 1920s-style car and hands him a rose. So is she a ghost? A hallucination? A Time Lord? The answer remains elusive, but we kind of want to re-watch the whole thing over and over again — fast-forwarding through the endless rollerblading sequences, natch — to search for clues to this Shyamalan-like mystery.
20) It’s the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Sept. 27, 1988
Welcome to the strangest and most obscure Peanuts special of all-time. Through a mixture of live action and animation, director Walter C. Miller depicts the friendship that blossoms between Snoopy’s cartoon brother Spike and aspiring flesh-and-blood professional dancer, Jenny, played by Charles Schulz’s daughter, Jill. (A figure skater — rather than an actress — by trade, the younger Schulz does her most convincing work in an extended roller skating routine.) Saddled with a pushy boyfriend and a dead-end life in a desert town, Jenny finds strength and solace in Spike’s companionship, and later returns the favor by rescuing him from a gun-toting pack of coyote hunters. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Long unavailable since its one-time TV airing save for old VHS copies, It’s the Girl in the Red Truck may be a creative misfire, but it’s also a fascinating curio for Peanuts completists. We’d totally fund a Kickstarter to bring it to Blu-ray.
19) It’s a Mystery, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Feb. 1, 1974
Snoopy channels Sherlock Holmes to solve the case of what happened to Woodstock’s mysteriously vanished nest. Contrary to what the title implies, this wisp of an episode doesn’t really offer much of a mystery, but it does permit the interspecies buddies to bicker and bond for our modest amusement. Hey, Steven Moffat! How about a Snoopy/Sherlock crossover? We’d love to see the ‘Batch meet the Beagle.
18) It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Sept. 27, 1969
A trial run for the 1977 animated feature Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, Short Summer packs the Peanuts gang off to summer camp, where the boys and girls are pitted against each other in a variety of challenges. Faced with a clean sweep by the girls’ team, Snoopy suits up as the Masked Marvel and goes elbow-to-elbow with Lucy in the climactic arm wrestling competition. Race for Your Life is a better summer camp story overall, but the Snoopy vs. Lucy face-off here is another amusing entry in that that never-ending rivalry.
17) He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Feb. 14, 1968
Snoopy gets a crash course in obedience training courtesy of Peppermint Patty, who turns her temporary houseguest into a full-time servant. The Patty/Snoopy dynamic has long been one of Peanuts’ best running gags, and this special gives it an entertaining showcase. It’s also nice to see the self-absorbed beagle learn to appreciate how good he has it with Charlie Brown.
16) Snoopy!!! The Musical
Premiered: Jan. 29, 1988
Within the musical theater realm, the common consensus is that 1975’s Snoopy!!! The Musical falls short of its predecessor, 1967’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. But the two animated specials derived from these stage productions are mostly on par, though You’re a Good Man is readily available, while Snoopy!!! is out of print. Jauntily animated sequences scored to cute ditties like “Edgar Allen Poe” and “Just One Person” make it a worthy successor and fun family fare in its own right.
15) You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Nov. 6, 1985
Clark Gesner’s ever-popular Peanuts musical, which made its Off-Broadway debut in 1967 and is regularly revived to this day, is adapted into the animated realm in an abridged version. Fortunately, it retains many of the show’s best tunes, most notably “The Book Report,” a four-part melody in which Linus, Lucy, Schroder and Charlie Brown can be heard trying (and failing) to compose a 100-word dissertation on Peter Rabbit. Gesner’s witty, wonderful music and lyrics are still best appreciated on stage, but this is a perfectly fine primer until the live show turns up at a theater (or high school auditorium) near you.
14) She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Feb. 25, 1980
Premiering two days after the conclusion of the 1980 Winter Olympics, She’s a Good Skate sends Peppermint Patty onto the ice to compete in a figure skating competition under the tutelage of her coach, Snoopy. As for Charlie Brown, he’s merely an observer, cheering Patty on from the stands. Maybe that’s why this special boasts what’s arguably the happiest ending of any Peanuts cartoon. Just because Charlie Brown never wins doesn’t mean he can’t delight in his friends’ victories. (Interesting aside: This is one of the rare instances where adults are heard speaking in the Peanuts world, along with the 1980 feature, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown.)
13) It’s Magic, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Apr. 28, 1981
Think Charlie Brown never kicked that football? Think again. The momentous event occurs midway through Magic, when Charlie Brown’s shoe connects with the football’s pigskin hide not just once, but multiple times. How does he accomplish this remarkable feat? Easy: he’s been rendered invisible, courtesy of amateur magician Snoopy. That allows him to slip by Lucy undetected and give the ball a good swift kick. Of course, when the magic wears off he’s back to his old losing ways. You should have retired then and there, Chuck.
12) You’re in Love, Charlie Brown
Premiered: June 12, 1967
The Little Red Haired Girl makes her first (non) appearance in the Peanuts cartoon universe, and Charlie Brown spends the entire school year agonizing about how to talk to his crush. Meanwhile, Lucy continues to try and tear Schroeder’s attention away from his toy piano, leading to the episode’s funniest sequence where Peppermint Patty gets her couples confused, and plays matchmaker between Lucy and…Charlie Brown? No disrespect to the Little Red Haired Girl, but that’s the love story we’d like to see told.
11) It’s Arbor Day, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Mar. 16, 1976
The Peanuts crew uses one of the more random holidays as an excuse to do another fun baseball-related special. Hijacking Linus’s plans to instruct Sally in the environmentally-conscious ways of Arbor Day, Lucy encourages the duo to turn Charlie Brown’s beloved baseball field into an arboretum in advance of their Opening Day game against Peppermint Patty. At first, all of the freshly-planted greenery creates annoying obstacles, but then Mother Nature works her magic by helping the eternally unlucky team (almost) nab their first victory. Trees: They’re not just good for eating kites and providing oxygen.
10) What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?
Premiered: May 30, 1980
Conceived as a sequel to the fourth Peanuts animated feature, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown, What Have We Learned starts with Charlie Brown, Linus, Marcie, Peppermint Patty and Snoopy returning from the sojourn in France. But the special changes gears midway through when the characters spend a night camping out on Omaha Beach, where the Allies’ D-Day invasion launched. Inspired by that brush with history, Linus walks his friends through some of the pivotal battles of both World Wars, with live-action archival footage incorporated into the animated backgrounds. A WWII veteran himself, Schulz pushes beyond rah-rah jingoism to end on a mournful note, with Linus repeating the titular question to Charlie Brown while they stand on a former battlefield now filled with red poppies. It’s heavy material for a children’s cartoon, but it also may be the most personal Peanuts story Schulz ever told.
9) Snoopy’s Reunion
Premiered: May 1, 1991
Alternate title? Beagle Begins. Opening with Snoopy’s birth at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm — joining a litter of seven other brothers and sisters — the special presents the slow break-up of the family as each puppy is adopted…and, in Snoopy’s case, adopted twice. (Those already familiar with his origin story know that he was owned by sweet little Lila before he became Charlie Brown’s dog.) Typically, the sight of smiling boys and girls cuddling warm puppies inspires similarly warm feelings, but these adoptions tug — a little shamelessly, but very, very effectively — at the heartstrings. Of course, that helps make the climactic reunion amongst the grown-up pup siblings all the more satisfying.
8) Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Jan. 28, 1975
Poor Linus has his own Charlie Brown moment when he tries and fails to express his affection for his teacher, Ms. Othmar. (Few things are funnier than watching an angry Linus hurling chocolates off a bridge while shouting, “This is for Elizabeth Barrett Browning!” Romantic poetry geeks FTW!) Not that Charlie Brown is much luckier in love: after waiting patiently for a Valentine’s Day note that never arrives, he accepts a card from Violet that has her name scratched out. Life lesson, kids: sometimes, love stinks.
7) It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Apr. 9, 1974
The highlight of this Easter-themed special isn’t everyone’s favorite beagle slinging colorful eggs about with cheerful abandon while doing his patented “Snoopy Dance.” It’s Marcie’s repeated hard boiled egg fails, as she prepares those shelled protein bombs in every which way but the correct one. It’s a great runny…um, make that running gag that showcases the appeal of one of Peanuts’ funniest characters.
6) You’re Not Elected, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Oct. 29. 1972
Airing nine days before the 1972 election, which put Richard Nixon back in office (temporarily), You’re Not Elected is a political lesson in microcosm, one that neatly touches on the cronyism and compromise often inherent in the democratic process. Using the results of a highly unscientific schoolyard straw poll, Lucy launches a “Linus For Student Body President” movement that sweeps the blanket-carrying politician into office, even after a “Great Pumpkin” gaffe almost derails his bid. (It’s Linus’s “binders full of women” moment.) And even though he runs as a rabble-rousing outsider, Linus inevitably becomes part of the establishment. Sounds like it should be required viewing for some our current candidates…
5) Charlie Brown’s All-Stars
Premiered: June 8, 1966
Charlie Brown’s perpetual losing streak finally pushes the members of his baseball team to their breaking point, and he only wins them back with the promise of new uniforms. The on-field antics are tragically comic: former Little Leaguers might feel a lump in their throat as Charlie Brown’s failures stir up memories of their own tough losses. Stepping up to the plate as the first of many baseball-themed specials to follow, Charlie Brown’s All-Stars hits a home run.
4) Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?
Premiered: Feb. 21, 1983
The Van Pelt family’s impending move puts everyone in a melancholic mood…except for Schroeder, who seems relieved he won’t have to put up with Lucy’s shameless flirting anymore. (Though even he changes his tune when it sinks in that she really is gone.) One of the elements that distinguished Peanuts from the typical comic strip cavalcade was Schulz’s ability to break down the complex emotions that accompany momentous life events in funny-yet-serious ways that always made sense to children. That gift is on full display in Is This Goodbye, which beautifully distills the process of saying farewell to a friend into a memorable, moving half-hour. Of course, the move is inevitably undone since Linus and Lucy can’t ever really leave the Peanuts universe. But even a fake-out ending doesn’t erase the special’s bittersweet bite.
3) A Charlie Brown Christmas
Premiered: Dec. 9, 1965
For kick-starting a tradition of animated specials that continues to this day, A Charlie Brown Christmas is the A New Hope of the Peanuts franchise. But just like A New Hope, it has since been surpassed by certain sequels, even if its own distinct charms haven’t faded in 50 years. The best thing about the special is that it expertly translates the tone and humor of the comic strip to the television screen, giving every special that came after a high bar to meet.
2) It’s An Adventure Charlie Brown
Premiered: May 16, 1983
Now it’s clear why the other hour-long Peanuts anthology, A Charlie Brown Celebration, was so dull: all the best material was being saved for the sequel! It’s An Adventure, Charlie Brown is filled with great cartoons, including “Kite,” where Charlie Brown takes a bite out of that infernal kite eating tree and then has to go on the lam to avoid being caught by the EPA, and “Butterfly,” in which Marcie convinces Peppermint Patty that the butterfly that temporarily perched on her nose has transformed into an angel. But the best of the bunch has to be “Sack,” which finds Charlie Brown achieving new heights of popularity after he puts a brown grocery sack over his noggin to hide a baseball-esque rash. It’s a classic Charlie Brown tale, and boasts one of the franchise’s funniest punchlines.
1) It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
Premiered: Oct. 27, 1966
Not only the all-time best Peanuts animated special, but also the all-time best Halloween cartoon, Great Pumpkin is as delightful as a trick-or-treat bonbon. From Linus’s desperate wait in the pumpkin patch (accompanied by an increasingly irate Sally), to Charlie Brown’s holey ghost costume to Snoopy’s first televised air duel with the Red Baron, it’s packed with classic moments that make it endlessly rewatchable. And unlike the titular Halloween hero, you can rely on it to appear every single year.
It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown airs Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. on ABC. A Charlie Brown Christmas airs at 9 p.m. on ABC.