New on DVD: Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales (1965)

Christmas isn’t complete without a visit from the Peanuts gang. Unless, of course, you hate Christmas. You don’t hate Christmas, do you? I thought so. Just in time for Christmas, Warner Home Video is releasing “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales” on DVD. Okay, so it was released back in October. Close enough.

Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales is a series of Christmas-themed animated stories, in which each of the beloved PEANUTS characters star in his or her own charming animated vignette. Bonus episode: Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown – New-to-DVD! Linus must break the devastating news that his family is moving. Charlie Brown and the gang make their goodbyes and prepare for Linus and Lucy’s departure.

Movie/DVD Review:

“Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales” is an 18-minute Peanuts short movie consisting of smaller stories featuring different Peanuts characters and set during the Holidays. After a brief introduction to the gang, Linus starts things off with a Yuletide letter to Santa, expressing his desire for (and much to sister Lucy’s chagrin) nothing? Plus, there’s a mysterious girl at school who drives poor Linus nuts — and at the same time beguiles him. What’s a boy to do?

Sally, Charlie Brown’s sister, is up next. Sally doesn’t quite “get” the finer details of Christmas. Fortunately, Charlie Brown and friends are around to lend a hand. Christmas tree shopping has never been easier. Rebel rouser Lucy tries to get into the spirit of the Holidays in the third story, though no one seems to be going along with her newfound “peace on Earth” approach to life. A letter writing session to Santa quickly turns violent, and Lucy is forced to break open the Bible to settle a dispute.

Appropriately enough, Charlie Brown caps off “Christmas Tales” with his story. As Charlie struggles with what to write to Santa, little sister Sally plots a surprise trap for the big man’s eventual visit. A wayward gift and a bicycle ride in the snow caps off another fine Christmas visit by the Peanuts gang.

The DVD comes with a bonus feature called “Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?” which is, curiously, 7 minutes longer than the main feature, running just under 25 minutes.

“Goodbye” features Linus delivering grim news to his buddy Charlie Brown, informing him that because his father has been transferred, he and sister Lucy must also move and attend a new school. This terrible news does not sit well with Charlie, who seeks guidance from the local psychiatry practice, now under new management (not to mention a hefty fee raise). Charlie’s sister Sally, meanwhile, seems to be taking the news of her “sweet baboo’s” upcoming move well, if by well you mean simply pretending it’s not happening. Maybe she knows something no one else does?

Lucy and Linus leaving is just the beginning, though. With their friends gone, Charlie Brown is left alone to sulk, Snoopy gets a surprising inheritance, and Schroeder realizes that he kinda misses Lucy now that she’s not there to bother him as he pounds away at his piano. Meanwhile, Tomboy Peppermint Patty makes a date to cheer up Charlie Brown.

The DVD comes with trailers for both movies, but is otherwise sparse. Then again, this is Charlie Brown. Fancy DVD extras were never going to be part of the package.

Buy “Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales” on DVD from Warner Home Video.