"Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz retired from the cartoonist's life early in 2000, and indeed left a few loose strings hanging among his chronically dissatisfied characters. He never did, for instance, cut Charlie Brown much slack in the romance department (or let him kick Lucy's football, for that matter). Sympathetic readers might have taken note of a story in the press just before Schulz said farewell, in which the inspiration for Charlie Brown's unrequited love interest--the never-seen, too-distant, "little red-haired girl"--was identified as a woman who turned down a marriage proposal from Schultz a half-century ago. That bit of biographical detail now adds poignancy to Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
, a 1975 television special built upon years of Valentine's Day "Peanuts" strips. This half-hour show finds Charlie Brown suffering, typically, the ignominy of receiving no hearts-and-flowers greetings while the rest of the gang, including Snoopy, spend their day sorting through piles of love notes. Worse, Schulz's famous sad sack can't get up the nerve to approach his unapproachable angel, though there may be--just may be
--a glimmer of hope this time around. It may be Valentine's Day, but not much else is different in the "Peanuts" neighborhood. --Tom Keogh
On the DVD
The 2008 remastered DVD has the two additional specials that were on the previous DVD, You're in Love, Charlie Brown (1967), in which our hero tries to meet the little red-haired girl, and It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (1977), a vastly more complex production that has two focuses for CB: win the big football even though Lucy keeps pulling the ball away, and escort--and kiss--the little red-haired girl to the homecoming ball. New for 2008 is a 15-minute featurette on the theme of unrequited love in the "Peanuts" world, with interviews of the Schulz family, Lee Mendelson, and others. --David Horiuchi
Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown - Fall in love with Peanuts! It's almost Valentine's Day, and the Peanuts crowd knows what that means: candy, flowers and, as one round-headed kid hopes, maybe even a card from that little red-haired girl! The world is a heart-shaped box of happiness in this classic featuring Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and more Peanuts favorites. The good times begin with a certain big-nosed beagle playing Cupid and don't stop until Charlie Brown opens his mailbox one last, eager time. Homemade Valentines, class parties, the tug of romance and the allure of chocolate, chocolate, chocolate: Pass that heart-shaped box of Peanuts fun for you and yours to share. Happy Valentine's Day, Charlie Brown!