It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown is the twenty-seventh animated television special based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. It was first broadcast on CBS on April 16, 1984. The title is a clear reference to the 1983 movie Flashdance, which Schulz was such a fan of that it inspired him to do a dancing-themed Peanuts special.
Contents of the show
It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown takes the form of a musical, presenting a series of different songs. The program does not have a strong unifying plot.
The program begins with Snoopy defeating Peppermint Patty at football, followed by an opening credits sequence in which the dog takes out a boom box and dances to the title song as the opening credits roll.
The next segment shows Peppermint Patty and Marcie at school, followed by a gym class, in which Peppermint Patty leads the other characters in a workout while she sings "Get in Shape!". The part of the song where she sings "Hey Linus...!" is clearly inspired by Toni Basil's 1981 hit song "Mickey".
The scene changes to a party at the home of Sally and Charlie Brown. The children begin playing a game of "Simon Says" before Lucy takes over the game and sings "Lucy Says". Later, the children dance to a song about "Pig-Pen", the "Pigpen Hoedown".
The song "Flashbeagle" is repeated two more times. Snoopy is seen trying on various outfits before ripping up an old T-shirt of his, then meeting up with Franklin at a night club and dancing to the tune there, where the first two verses of the song are played, to the applause of the club-goers.
Then, as a slow instrumental of the chorus plays, an exhausted Snoopy returns home late at night to the consternation of Charlie Brown, who says all his dog ever does is have fun while many people (and dogs) work for a living.
Early next morning, Snoopy is rousted from sleeping on his doghouse and taken to school by Sally for Show and Tell. After one boy tells about his pet chameleon, Sally is up. However, Snoopy is weary from the night before, and just lies there. Then, after 5 produces a boom box, which plays the third and final verse of "Flashbeagle", Snoopy gets up and start dancing like he did in the discotheque, and all the children gradually join in.
The special ends with Charlie Brown saying to his sister that he thinks he should do something about his dog's behavior. Sally disagrees with him because, thanks to Snoopy, she got an "A" for Show and Tell.
A soundtrack was issued on Disneyland Records under the "Charlie Brown Records" banner, featuring songs from this special and some other songs that do not appear in it. All but one of the other songs later appeared in the 1985 TV documentary It's Your 20th Television Anniversary, Charlie Brown (noted with an asterisk* in the list below). Songs were written by Ed Bogas and Desirée Goyette, who also sings on the album. It was produced by Bogas, Goyette, the special's producer Lee Mendelson, and Jymn Magon. It only appeared on vinyl, and never had a CD release. The only possible way to encounter it now is on YouTube. The track list is as follows:
- Pigpen Hoedown
- Don't Give Up, Charlie Brown*
- Peppermint Patty's P.E. Program (I'm in Shape!)
- Someday, Charlie Brown*
- Let's Have a Party (Which later becomes the theme song of the second season of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show)
- Lucy Says
- Woodstock* (Instrumental versions of this song can also be heard on The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show)
- Snoopy's Big Debut*
- Charles M. Schulz' daughter, Jill Schulz (who was 25 years old at the time the special was made) was said to have inspired the "Get in Shape!" song sequence, the images of Peppermint Patty exercising being based on her.
- This special was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program.
- Bill Melendez explained that the dancing Snoopy in the club scene was done by a process called rotoscoping, where the character is drawn over live action pictures. The dancing model, Marine Jahan, was chosen to do the scenes when Snoopy was dancing in the special. The animators rotoscoped live action pictures of Jahan to Snoopy in order to make the scenes. Jahan gained fame as Jennifer Beals' dancing body double in the film Flashdance.
- The theme song, "Flashbeagle" was sung by Desirée Goyette and Joey Scarbury (who had scored a pop hit in 1981 with the theme song for The Greatest American Hero television series).
- This is one of the few Peanuts animated cartoons in which adults appear onscreen.
- One of the women at the discotheque seen before Snoopy does his dance number looks like a full-grown version of Peppermint Patty. Another person at the discotheque looks like an adult version of Schroeder.
- The club dance scene contains a few instances of layering errors, where Snoopy is layered over his disco outfit rather than under it for a split second each time.
- Snoopy has a brief rotoscope error, in which he has normal clothes.
- It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown on the Internet Movie Database.
- It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown on the Big Cartoon Database.
- It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown on AllMovie.