The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 1973
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 25 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Todd Barbee, Robin Kohn, Stephen Shea, Hilary Momberger, Christopher DeFaria, Jimmy Aherns, Robin Reed
Directed by: Bill Melendez & Phil Roman
Music by: Vince Guaraldi
Written by: Charles M. Schultz
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: September 7, 2010
"A Peanuts classic about family, friends, and a very special feast"
The story begins when Peppermint Patty and a group of hungry pals show up at Charlie Brown's house. So where's the food, Chuck? It's Thanksgiving! They know Charlie Brown is too wishy-washy to refuse -- and, of course, they're right. With the help of Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock, good ol' Chuck prepares a feast the first Thanksgiving celebrants could never have imagined. There's fun food for everyone and lots of thankfulness, too.
In this Emmy Award winning Peanuts classic Peppermint Patty invites herself to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving dinner. She soon calls him back and adds Franklin and Marcie to the guest list as well. The dilemma for Charlie Brown is that he is going to his grandmother's house for Thanksgiving dinner but is too wishy-washy to tell Patty. Linus comes up the solution and suggests that Charlie Brown have a dinner for his friends earlier in the day before leaving for his grandmother's. With help from Snoopy and Woodstock they put on a spread consisting of popcorn, buttered toast, pretzel sticks and jellybeans. Everyone arrives and sits down at the table. Linus speaks about the pilgrims and the origin of Thanksgiving. Dinner arrives and Patty is less than enthusiastic about the contents on her plate and lays into Chuck for the non-traditional offering. A dejected Charlie Brown leaves the table. Marcie reminds Patty that Thanksgiving is about being thankful and not just a meal. She sees the light and apologizes to Chuck. The day is saved when Charlie Brown's grandmother invites everyone to come to her house for Thanksgiving dinner.
When I was young the only time we were able to see classics like this were around the holidays when they came on TV. If you somehow missed it you were out of luck until next year. It was rarely a problem because there was always plenty of advanced notice. The advent of home video changed all of that. I don't want to say that makes it less special but kids growing up in the age of home video don't understand the excitement/anticipation of waiting each year to see The wizard of Oz, West Side Story, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer or A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
I like all of the Peanuts holiday specials, including this one although my all time favorite is A Charlie Brown Christmas. This one is special as it is the first to come from an original script rather than first appearing in the comic strip. As with all of the Peanuts animated shows the cast was voiced by children, most of whom were not professional actors, and the outcome worked marvelously. Since the original (A Charlie Brown Christmas) it became a challenge for the production staff to find actors whose voices came close to sounding like those in the earlier productions. Producer Lee Mendelson nailed it when he called upon Vince Guaraldi to compose the music for Charlie Brown specials. His jazz themed music plays as integral a role in each of them as the characters themselves. I love the segments in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving that feature only Snoopy and Woodstock as they contain no dialogue and are wonderfully portrayed via the supporting music.
Favorite moments; the opening with Charlie Brown, Lucy and the football, Snoopy and Woodstock preparing dinner, Snoopy/Woodstock and the garage door and Snoopy battling the chair. To those of us who grew up watching holiday classics like A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving they feel like a part of our culture. Seeing it now brings back warm nostalgic memories from my childhood. I am thrilled that it has been released in high definition on Blu-ray Disc.
This program is appropriate for all ages.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
This presentation clearly represents this made for TV special in its finest light and looks great. The print is decent shape however there are visible specks and debris that pop up. It didn't reach a point where I found it overtly distracting. Resolution is excellent as the video is rendered with discernible clarity and stable sharpness. The range of colors retains the Crayola crayon style palette that is distinctly Peanuts. They don't appear strikingly vivid but balance and definition is spot on. Blacks, such as those found in Charlie Browns pants/yellow shirt striping, Lucy's hair, or Snoopy's spots aren't infinitely deep but look appreciably dark next to the lighter elements onscreen. I didn't see any obvious signs of compression related noise or video artifacts. I was very pleased with the overall quality of this video presentation. I was happy to see the inclusion of a lossless audio soundtrack and I believe that this 5.1 channel mix presents this TV special in its finest light. Dialogue is prominently delivered through the center channel speaker with the music score spread to the left right channels. This generates a fairly open front soundstage that compliments the dated elements in the recording. The rear channels contain ambient information that is bled from the front channels which consists primarily of music but some of the dialogue is mixed in at times which enhances perception. Dynamics aren't especially noteworthy but the Jazzy music score sounds silky smooth and wonderfully airy. Like the video I found this 5.1 channel surround mix very pleasing.
- (HD) Feature: Mayflower Voyagers From the This is America, Charlie Brown Series - 24 minutes, 1080p @ 20 Mbps, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio @ 3.3 Mbps
- Popcorn and jellybeans: Making a Thanksgiving classic featurette - 12 minutes
- Bonus DVD of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
It is a treat to see this beloved TV Special brought to high definition Blu-ray. The included making of documentary is both informative/interesting and features interviews with the original production team, Peanuts historians/aficionados, and cast members. The Mayflower Voyagers feature (presented in high definition) and bonus DVD are welcomed additions that enhance this solid Blu-ray offering from Warner Home Video. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has never looked or sounded better than this and comes highly recommended. Enjoy!
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