It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown is the thirty-second television special based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. It originally aired on CBS on September 27, 1988. It is an unusual Peanuts special because it features a mixture of animation and live action and the main character is Snoopy's brother, Spike. There are brief appearances by Charlie Brown and Snoopy at the beginning of the special but no other characters from the Peanuts comic strip appear. The other main characters in the program are human adults.
The show is very much a Schulz family production. The script was co-written by Charles M. Schulz and his son, Monte. The title role of the young woman who drives a red truck was played by Schulz's daughter, Jill. Universal Pictures sound studio was used for dubbing.
Spike describes his daily life in the desert, going for walks and learning French from his cassette. One day he sees a young woman driving an red truck. He waves at her. He thinks that she waves back but he is not sure. He waits in the same spot all day for her to return. When she does in the evening he waves again and this time he is certain that she waves back. This makes him very happy.
The next day. Spike waits in the same place to wave at the young woman. Her truck breaks down, She asks him if he can help and notices his on his cassette player. When she gets her truck started again she takes him with her.
It is revealed that the woman's name is Jenny. She works as an aerobics instructor but dreams of being a professional jazz dancer. She takes Spike to a diner, where the owner, Molly, already knows him because he often comes in for root beer, before taking him home.
Jenny's boyfriend Jeff, who works in the recording industry in Los Angeles, arrives at her house. Both he and Spike appear to be somewhat jealous of each other. He announces to her that he has arranged for an audition for her. She is not happy about it because it clashes with the aerobics class she is teaching and he has organized it without consulting her first.
Spike, Jenny, Jeff, and Molly go to a roller rink together. Jenny skates with Spike but accidentally throws him out the back door. Finding himself locked out, he heads back into the desert and finds himself dodging gunshots by some men hunting coyotes.
Jenny and Jeff drive into the desert looking for Spike. They hear gunfire and manage to rescue him from the coyote hunters. They ask him to come home with them but he prefers to stay in the desert instead.
Jeff agrees that he was wrong to arrange an audition for Jenny without telling her about it beforehand and decides he will let her pursue her career in her own way.
The show was not well received, largely because it was unfavorably compared to the recently released Who Framed Roger Rabbit, which also mixed animation with live action. Schulz was worried that people would think he had copied the idea from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He asked his daughter, Jill, to stress during publicity for the show that he had come up with the idea long before Who Framed Roger Rabbit was released.
A review by John J. O'Connor from the New York Times on September 27 1988, the day the special was first shown, says that the comparison to Who Framed Roger Rabbit is superficial because; "the interaction between the actors and the characters is not terribly convincing, and the superimposing of the cartoon figures on real settings is generally clumsy." Of the show's plot, O'Connor says, "The problem with 'Red Truck' is that the story goes nowhere."
- Jason Riffle – Charlie Brown (voice)
- Bill Melendez – Spike (voice)
- Steve Stoliar – French teacher on cassette (voice)
- Jill Schulz – Jenny
- Molly Brice – Molly
- Greg Deacon – Jeff
Snoopy appears in the animated introduction but is silent.
It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown and What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown are the only Peanuts TV specials in which Linus does not appear. The only regular cast members who appear in both It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown and What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown are Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
- It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown on the Internet Movie Database.
- It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown on the Big Cartoon Database.
- It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown on AllMovie.