You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown is the eighth prime-time animated television special based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts, and the tenth one to air. It originally aired on CBS on October 29, 1972.
Sally Brown walks home from school in a rage, complaining that she can not open her locker because she can't reach it. Charlie Brown tells her that he will help her reach her locker, but Sally says he should also help her with something in school. It turns out, Sally wanted to use her brother for show-and-tell.
After that, Charlie Brown sees a poster that says "Student Body President Election". Linus thinks that would be a good job for Charlie Brown, but Lucy says that she took a poll and confirms that the students would not like Charlie Brown as president. She says they need a new candidate, and Sally suggests Linus as a better one. Lucy then surveys many children in the school, and asks then whether or not they would vote for Linus. She finds one child, who says he would not vote for Linus. Lucy tries to convince him, but he refuses to change his mind. It is then revealed that that the boy is student named Russell Anderson, opposing Linus. So Linus signs up as a candidate.
Lucy asks Charlie Brown to help her get organized. Charlie Brown asks Snoopy (who then asks Woodstock) to help him assist Lucy. As Lucy asks Linus if he is for or against certain things, he says he is for fountains, wants longer recesses, is against homework, and is for sick pay. Snoopy and Woodstock fix up signs (at which point Snoopy accidentally hits Woodstock on the head with a hammer), and paint them. Woodstock paints short vertical lines, much to Snoopy's anger, and the latter paints a paw print on his sign, much to Lucy's fury.
Later, Lucy and Snoopy set up a school talk show so students can call in and ask Linus questions. The first person asks, "What is our president gonna do about the rivers?" to which Lucy replies, "Rivers? Our school doesn't have any rivers!" The second caller keeps talking until Lucy gets bored and hangs up. The next caller is calling for Harold, and Lucy tells him he has the wrong number. The fourth caller keeps going on about how good his question is, but then realizes he has forgotten the question.
Later that day, at the final election, Lucy mentions that Linus is ahead in the polls, and will probably win, unless he does something wrong. Russell goes up to speak first. He says he would like to be president, then walks off. Lucy then whispers to a girl resembling Peppermint Patty, "Now we're really in. That was the worst speech I've ever heard in my entire life."
Then, it is Linus' turn. He comes up and says he has a great speech coming up, but first, he would like to take a minute to speak about "The Great Pumpkin", at which point Lucy and Charlie Brown scream in frustration, and everyone else starts laughing. Linus then walks off saying "I've blown the election".
Lucy (after she calls Linus a blockhead) says Linus might still have a chance (as long as he does not do anything else stupid). He is tied with Russell. Linus wins the election by one vote–84 to 83–the deciding vote cast by Russell, who has decided that Linus is, in fact, better for the job. Following his victory, Linus goes to the principal with the intention of keeping his campaign promises and laying down the law, only to be taken aback with the realization that he is still strictly subordinate to the faculty and in fact, like most student government positions, has no real power. Regardless, Sally has a fit and accuses him of selling-out like all other politicians. She then kicks the bottom of her locker and walks away, not realizing that she has finally opened it.
The plot of You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown was taken from a story that ran in the comic strip in October 1964, in which Linus runs for school president with Charlie Brown as his vice president. In the original storyline, Linus loses the election after bringing up the Great Pumpkin in his final speech and being laughed off stage, again after leading in the polls at the time.
- This special is the first television appearance of Woodstock.
- The special was also the debut of Snoopy's student alter ego, Joe Cool. Peanuts musical score composer Vince Guaraldi gave Joe Cool his own theme song, featured prominently throughout scenes in which he appears.
- This special was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming.
- Originally the title was going to be You're Elected, Charlie Brown, in keeping with the tradition that "Charlie Brown" be included in the titles (with rare exceptions). However, the producers realized that would not have made sense as it was Linus campaigning. Thus the title was changed to reflect the fact that Charlie Brown observed, rather than participated in the race for student body president
- This change took place at the last minute, as a result, since there was not enough time to redo the entire title card cell, the word "NOT" with a caret below it was hastily inserted above the space between the words "YOU'RE" and "ELECTED", also, it was still advertised as You're Elected, Charlie Brown in TV Guide. Also, the children's chorus still sings, "You're Elected, Charlie Brown" during the title sequence.
- On the ABC version:
- The opening scene where Sally comes home from school and announces she will not be going back, then takes her brother for show-and-tell, (except for Snoopy preparing breakfast for himself and lunch for Charlie Brown and Sally) was removed entirely.
- The part when Lucy tells Charlie Brown that he will never be elected the second time was cut.
- Woodstock walking up and down to get paint was shortened.
- Linus and Lucy's talk show was shortened.
- The part where Linus tells the audience during his speech about "across the board wages for custodians, teachers, and all administrative personnel" was removed.
- The theme song for this special, "You're Elected, Charlie Brown", was replaced by Linus and Lucy (music) in the title sequence.
- In the ending segment, Sally kicked the locker and forced it open. In the ABC version, the locker stayed closed and the ABC credits rolled.
- Vince Guaraldi stock music cues were added to scenes (including Charlie Brown being "elected" and a Beethoven speech) without music.
- Chad Webber – Charlie Brown
- Hilary Momberger – Sally Brown
- Stephen Shea – Linus van Pelt
- Robin Kohn – Lucy van Pelt
- Brian Kazanjian – Schroeder
- Todd Barbee – Russell Anderson
- Linda Ercoli – Violet
- Bill Melendez – Snoopy/Woodstock
- Vince Guaraldi – sings "Joe Cool"
- You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown on the Internet Movie Database.
- You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown on the Big Cartoon Database.
- You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown on AllMovie.