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Thursday, July 02, 2015

The Lookback: The Charlie Brown Lookback: This is America, Charlie Brown

The Flashback
     This time , we look back at  a mini-series "This is America, Charlie Brown".    (No we aren't breaking our rule of not doing holiday specials , since  none of the episodes are holiday specials ,even though  "Mayflower voyagers" airs during Thanksgiving , that's because , why wouldn't it air around Thanksgiving?)
            The series is an eight part  mini-series that first aired on CBS in 1988 to 1989, focusing on subjects in American History.

1. May Flower Voyagers
    The First, episode of the mini series takes place in 1620 , where the Peanuts characters (narrated by Charlie Brown)  are on the  Mayflower on their way with the pilgrims and the other people who were on their way to the new world on the famous boat.    Something , noticeable with this Peanuts series  is you will see adults and full adult faces   , speaking like people. (Because Wa Wa Wa pilgrims would just be silly)  As you see  in the special , you see them going through the tough ride on the Mayflower , then when they make it to land  the hardship of the first winter  the Massachusetts bay colony settlers experienced in 1620, and the meeting of Squanto and the natives leading into "The First Thanksgiving".
                                                           See Hardships /Copyright Peanuts
    2. The Birth of the Constitution
            This is the 2nd episode , and like the first episode it has our  favorite people ( Sally Brown and Snoopy?)  in a different time period (the Peanuts characters are  Time Lords, theory, you go write it now!) this time in 1787 when the constitution was being written , the time of the mini-series was around the the commemorations of the 200th anniversary of the writing and ratification.   It shows us the hard process of  how the constitution was being made , or as Linus statement in the special goes "They can't seem to agree to anything".    (Insert your congress joke here)                  

                              "It's not hard guys , it's just a new government...seesh"-not an actual line / Copyright Peanuts 
              But it's a really good depiction of the all  dis-agreements, compromises, and arm twisting that  happened to put the law of the land that we have now to action.  (And Black mail?) Especially in a cartoon format.

Come Join us  in Kitty  Hawk... after the Jump

3. The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
      It's 1903 , and Linus is visiting his cousin in Kitty Hawk , along with Charlie Brown. (Wait, Linus has a cousin in 1903? ,  Time Lord thing isn't ?)   At the beginning of the episode , Sally narrates the history of man trying to fly , which leads us to our Linus on his way to visit his conveniently placed cousin  in Kitty Hawk in 1903.  (Not to be pedantic , but why is Lucy with Linus ?  Is this some how only Linus' cousin and not Lucy's that would mean... sorry back to you)   Cousin Dolly tells us  that that the Wright Brothers are attempting to fly , and they plan to watch them . Dolly also shows Linus and  "Mr.Brown" what the Wright Brothers have been doing so far  and how it got the point to where they are now.    (Also Peppermint and Patty and Marcie , know Dolly and work for the Wright Brothers...whattt?)   Charlie Brown also wrecks the  Wright Brothers' kite (surprised) , but they didn't seem to mind.
           "Oh Charlie Brown"  Copyright Peanuts  /Warner Brothers
    With out going piece by piece of the episode , we get real good luck at the hard work the Wright Brothers  were doing to create what we now possibly couldn't have thought not to have . (Even if Charlie Brown and Linus are Time Lords)

4. The NASA Space Station
     In this episode , it's less historical  and more our characters on  a space station.  This episode is also a dream sequence (the others weren't ...my head hurts)  of Linus. (Then why did he dream that Lucy is the ... never mind)   This episode is also different  than the other 3 as it's more Peanuts in Space with different things happening  even a football scene.

                                             Linus' Dreams big /  Copy right  Peanuts
5.  The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad
   This episode is about  events of America building rail roads to the west  with the lead to Promontory Point in 1869.    Charlie Brown narrates the special  ,  like the first 3 there is involvement with Peanuts characters in the historical event   , but unlike the first 3 this one does it's own thing in where they aren't dressed in period clothing or even speaking parts.    It's a different pace of the past episodes but still a really good one , especially at historical context.  (Also Snoopy makes History great)

6.  The Great Inventors
     Our Sixth episode ,  takes us to some great inventors .    We meet Alexander Graham Bell ,creator the telephones (without him you would be reading this as news paper , I think?) ,  Thomas Edison (with out him  you would be reading this on a newpaper in the daytime , maybe?) , and Henry Ford (Without him you would be reading this ... this joke is old now).  It starts with Sally telling  us  about  other inventions.
                                     I would have done the same things Snoopy.  /Copy Right peanuts
 The episode is broken into 3 stories with each of the inventors. First Linus who is meeting with Alexander Graham Bell   as he is in the middle of creating what will become the telephone.  The 2nd story is by Peppermint Patty   , who really gets into the story, and Alexender Graham Bell. She meets Graham bell and his daughter as he working on what becomes the phonograph.  (Which without ,you wouldn't be able to listen to that George Harrison record you have)  When  Peppermint Patty needs a break , Marcie take over and tells us about the other invention ,the lightbulb.   Charlie Brown comes in at the end and narrates the story of a car race that happened in 1899 where they were tying to prove that cars were a good idea.

                  He's also wondering how Lucy is going to reach the petals. / Copyright peanuts
7. The Smithsonian  and the Presidency
    In this episode the Peanuts are visiting the  Smithsonian museum and this leads us to a look at three US Presidents : Abraham Lincoln  , Theodore Roosevelt , and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.   Like the last episode ,it's broken up by three stories (since Lincoln and Roosevelts never got a chance to go to the bar together).  In the first Linus and  Charlie Brown are newspaper boys and meet with Mr.Lincoln who was on his way to give the Gettysburg Address.
                                    Hey Mr. Lincoln / Copyright Peanuts
         President  Lincoln talks to Linus and Charlie about  his upcoming speech  and why he is doing it.  We also later get to hear Lincoln give his famous speech .    Then we later see Theodore Roosevelt's meeting with John Muir, which later gives us the national park system we have today.  Heading to F.D.R,  the Peanuts' tell us the history of the Great Depression and lead us to the first inauguration  of F.D.R and details of his New Deal.

8.   The  Music and Heroes of America
     The episode begins with  Schroeder and Franklin giving a  report about the music of America, though Lucy wants to  give a report on  the Heroes of America.  So the teacher (wa wha wa wa ) lets them combine the reports. (Wa wa )  It's  a feature mixture of music  by Stephen Foster to Rock N' Roll. (Yeah Baby) With the history of great  American Heroes,  like  Amelia Earhart.

And that's the mini-series , I liked it  , in fact  I have it on DVD from the 2006 release , gladly they were because with the exception of  "May Flower Voygers" are  not aired on TV  as a repeat.  I love the music in the episodes  like the  Dave Grusin composed music  of  "The Great inventors".
  It's also  a fun way to present historical information  , especially with the   Peanuts characters being part of it.

     That's our Lookback.. tune in next time when we find out  the truth that Snoopy's Dog house is a TARDIS.

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