It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown! (1974)

Starring: Todd Barbee
Grade: D+

The subtle joke of Woodstock climbing a rope ladder to get into his birdhouse to the point where even Snoopy looks at him like he’s stupid was funnier than it had business being.


Marcie (Jimmy Ahrens) walks over to Peppermint Patty’s (Linda Ercoli) place with a sack of eggs. She lets Marcie in, as she’s promised to show Marcie how to color eggs in preparation for Easter. She tells Marcie to get the eggs ready while she mixes up the colors. Unfortunately, Marcie has never done this before and fries the eggs, asking Peppermint Patty how they’re supposed to paint them in the state they’re in. Obviously, Peppermint Patty isn’t too happy once she realizes what Marcie did.

Lucy (Melanie Kohn) hangs with Schroeder (Barbee) and brings up how there is another holiday coming up where boys can give presents to pretty girls. An annoyed Schroeder reminds her that this has nothing to do with the holiday and how it’s more about renewal and the start of spring. Lucy is sure he’s wrong and talks about wanting gifts. When Schroeder points out her selfishness, she passes it off as “survival”. Outside, Woodstock lays in his bird nest and freezes in the rain. Finally, he’s had enough. He climbs out and heads over to Snoopy (Bill Melendez) as the rain stops. He asks for help, so Snoopy wrings out his entire body to dry him off. Still, Woodstock walks Snoopy over to his nest to explain to him the issue by dumping the water from his nest onto Snoopy’s head. At Charlie Brown’s (Barbee) house, Sally (Lynn Mortensen) complains to Charlie Brown how she has no shoes to wear for Easter. Lucy and Linus (Stephen Shea) show up to tell them they’re headed to the store to get some stuff for Easter like baskets, eggs, candy, and the lot. Even so, Linus says this is a waste of time because “The Easter Beagle” does all of that for them. Lucy is agitated at Linus for even mentioning this, but Sally is intrigued. Linus continues on, saying that the Easter Beagle passes out colored eggs to all the good little kids on Easter Sunday. She’s kind of buying it, but Charlie Brown interrupts to take her to get new shoes, so they all follow.

Along with Snoopy, the group goes to the store, and they run into Peppermint Patty and Marcie, with Peppermint Patty revealing to Charlie Brown how they’re there to get more eggs to color for Easter because Marcie fried the last batch. Once again, Linus mentions that the Easter Beagle will do all of that for them, so Peppermint Patty calls him crazy. They all go into the store together and see there are Christmas decorations everywhere, with the main banner hanging from the ceiling stating, “Only 246 Days Until XMas”. Sally, Charlie Brown, and Linus can’t believe it, but Lucy uses this to reiterate her point earlier about how this is the gift-giving season. After Sally and Snoopy try on some hats, Charlie Brown interrupts to remind Sally about her goal of getting shoes. The group goes on a few upwards escalators while Snoopy travels by himself on different escalators parallel to them. Sally seems to be the only one who notices. Finally, Sally finds some shoes that are on sale and out-of-date, but she’s cool with it because she likes being different. Right after she says this, she trips and falls into Charlie Brown after trying them on. Meanwhile, Snoopy tries to buy a bouncy ball, but they all fall out of the container once he puts his quarter in. Following this, he scans through the Easter display. This is where they have these vases where you can look inside and see cartoon rabbits dancing, prompting Snoopy to daydream dancing with them.

Eventually, the group is about to leave. As Peppermint Patty tells Charlie Brown they have their dozen eggs and she plans on teaching Marcie how to color them the right way, Linus again talks about how the Easter Beagle will have them covered. Lucy calls him crazy, especially after Sally seems to buy into it a little more, though it could be because she’s just happy she got her shoes. Snoopy buys a birdhouse and brings it back to Woodstock, but the hole is too small for Woodstock to climb into. Snoopy makes the hole bigger for him, but Woodstock still wants to bitch about it for some reason. Finally, Snoopy just slams the house onto him, which forces him inside. At Charlie Brown’s home, Linus tells Sally more about the Easter Beagle like how he comes every year with his basket full of eggs, which he hands out to all the good little children. A now annoyed Sally talks about how similar this is to Linus’s tales about “The Great Pumpkin” from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Linus insists this is different because it’s not Halloween, it’s Easter. She admits she likes Linus and respects him, but she’s just not entirely sure about Linus’s new fable. When Linus doubles down and says the Easter Beagle will never let her down, she asks about the chances that he will instead.

At Peppermint Patty’s place, her and Marcie attempt to color eggs again. When Peppermint Patty mixes the colors though, Marcie puts four eggs in a waffle iron, attempts to put another in a toaster, and puts the rest in the oven. Of course, this causes Peppermint Patty to flip out and rightfully so. The two head back to the store and run into Linus on the way. He reminds them about how the Easter Beagle will gift them colored eggs and they don’t have to go to the store. Marcie is excited at the possibility, but Peppermint Patty shuts Linus down and takes Marcie to get more eggs anyway. There’s a lot going on with the Peanuts gang going into the holiday, but now the question remains the same, will the Easter Beagle show up?

My Thoughts:

You got to love a good holiday special, especially when the Peanuts franchise decides to take a crack at it. However, It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is rather disappointing compared to previous animated stories revolving around the revered Charles M. Schulz characters.

It’s nowhere near as heartwarming as A Charlie Brown Christmas, and it misses the point entirely of the holiday it’s representing, not even reaching the same stratosphere that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving or the series of Valentine’s Day specials managed to do in different ways. It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown tries to come up with its own folklore regarding the holiday and doesn’t quite click until the ending. The only thing “Easter-like” regarding the special are the gags revolving around colored eggs, which does work for the age group because this is a huge focus for kids during the Easter season for some reason. The bits with Marcie being an absolute fucking moron and continuously finding different ways to cook the eggs and destroying them before they could be painted was pretty funny. Usually, Marcie is the voice of reason for Peppermint Patty’s overbearingness, but I like how she has this incredibly naive side to her in this special to the point where Peppermint Patty is yelling at her like when she managed to make egg soup. Finally, she gets Marcie to boil the eggs as the last part of the joke, and I was wondering, “How is she going to fuck this up too?”. To my amazement, she actually did, cracking each egg in the dozen and dumping the remnants in the pot of water. I was impressed. Peppermint Patty wants to make it her goal to teach Marcie how to color these eggs, but it becomes increasingly apparent that there’s a lot more she should worry about regarding Marcie’s aloofness.

She was teetering on some Ed, Edd n Eddy-type shit in all honesty.

Everything else included in the special just seems to be random storylines intersecting. The prime example being Woodstock’s struggles with his nest and subsequent birdhouse because of the weather. In a springtime special, this story would make sense, but it doesn’t really fit with the theme of this one at all. It just felt like it was thrown in to fill out the running time, which became extremely evident when Woodstock speaks complete gibberish to Snoopy about all the problems with his nest and how he needs a birdhouse. We would’ve gotten the message in ten seconds, but they stretch out like they’re having a full conversation we don’t understand. Why do this unless you’re trying to fill out the running time? The context clues of Woodstock being rained out, talking to Snoopy and pointing, and the act of Snoopy buying the birdhouse is enough to tell us exactly what’s going on. Not only was so much time wasted between them when it wasn’t even funny, but did Bill Melendez and company really think this was worthy of an entire Snoopy-based subplot? Not at all. What the fuck does this have to do with Easter? The payoff to the “B” story is just Woodstock sleeping on top of an egg inside his house when Snoopy gives him one. Does that sound worth it to you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. On a side note, I did like how when we got a glimpse of the inside of Woodstock’s birdhouse, it was the most stereotypical 1970s bachelor pad imaginable. Considering how this came out in 1974, it was perfect for the time period and is pretty cool to see in retrospect.

Another glaring mistake is the lack of Charlie Brown himself. He’s barely in the special and for what? To take a backseat to egg coloring, Linus prophesizing about a mythical “Easter Beagle” that we can tell from a mile away is going to be Snoopy in some roundabout way, and Sally being annoying? Why does the main character of the franchise have nothing to do? You couldn’t have a scene where he at least questions the validity of Linus’s comments or try to talk to Marcie about the meaning of Easter and how eggs really aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things? In the third act, we finally get a typical Charlie Brown moment where he states “I know why they have holidays. They have holidays so people can get together and have fun, so why am I alone?”. Now, this is a good starting point. This is where the special should have begun, as it grounds the story in some much-needed depth and makes him the focal point, which should almost always be the case. However, his introduction instead is watching Sally bitch about her shoes. What does this accomplish other than giving us the most basic cartoon humor possible that may I add, isn’t even funny to begin with? They give us one solid line of dialogue that actually has some of the substance Peanuts has been known for, but they choose instead to place it in the final five minutes of the special as a throwaway line. It’s so out of left field that it doesn’t fit the story they’re trying to tell, despite it being a much better choice to focus the story on. It’s unfortunate because Charlie Brown’s point is well-thought-out and would be a great basis to tell a story about Easter, but with the way the story is structured, it just comes off as random. In addition, it has no follow up. It’s just a passing thought that comes and goes without care.

Even if the gag is funny that Snoopy ran out of eggs by the time he gets to his beloved owner, having Charlie Brown take such a lesser role in what could have been another holiday program worthy of a legacy comparable to its counterparts is the special’s biggest missed opportunity in terms of substance, character development, and story. It was written like the characters were going through the motions and didn’t have to be, but this is what happens when the main character has nothing to do. With the way things play out, this special would’ve been the exact same had Charlie Brown been excluded entirely until the point where Snoopy passes the eggs to everyone in the climax. In fact, it may have worked better if he just had a cameo towards the end. Otherwise, you are just left wondering what he was going to be doing for the entirety of the running time until you realized this was it. At one point, Sally even tries to refer to herself as the laughingstock of the neighborhood because she believed in Linus, but this almost felt sacrilegious. You’re going to take this from Charlie Brown too? In his own franchise no less? Hunny please, your brother has held the title of “Laughingstock of the Neighborhood” for fifty years. He owns that shit. It’s like the one thing he has. Making him a background character in his own story and trying to steal his essence in the same twenty-five minutes is flat-out disrespectful.

Though the ongoing joke of people not realizing Snoopy is not a child is amusing, there’s a decent amount of humor involved in this special that imply all the girls want to fuck this dog and it’s kind of wild. He kisses them, and they swoon like he’s Dean Martin or something. They even close the special on that note, and I’m not sure what to think about it. They really hammer the point home here, which is odd. What’s even weirder is that Lucy does know Snoopy is a dog, so I’m not sure what the ending tells us about her.

Something tells me she might need more psychiatric help than good ol’ Charlie Brown does.

It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is a bit of a letdown. Sans for a few gags and a great ending that makes sense of the title (complete with a nice flute-based tune), most of the special is a series of uneventful moments and arguing. You really have to make things interesting if you’re going to force the main character of the story to stand in the background, but it’s clear that they failed miserably on that front.

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