Forty-seven years ago today, the world was first introduced to “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown,” a day of cartoon childhood angst. Realizing the potential for expansion, a second Charles Schultz Valentine’s special was released nearly 30 years later. And although I was pre-Charlie Brown obsession by the time either of them were released (from being unborn and unawesome, respectively), they were an important part of cartoon history. The world had already seen Chuck and friends through the Christmas holidays, they’d watched him cook a snack version of Thanksgiving, and they’d heard about hypothetical Great Pumpkin. February 14th was merely the next step.
I am embarrassed to say that I do not own either copy in my extensive Peanuts collection. A fact, upon realizing, that caused me to run to the DVR and snail search for an upcoming showing; I could not find it. Unfortunately, I will have to spend this holiday in a state only saved for April Fools and St. Patrick’s Day: Charlie Brown-less-ly.* The love triangle between Charlie, Peppermint Patty, and the Little Red Haired Girl will have to wait until next year. I won’t see Sally stiff-arm Linus into a relationship, or Lucy’s startup card business. And I won’t get to see Snoopy fly his house.
Classics > Moderns
My love for the socially awkward cartoon character began long ago. Charlie and his squiggle-haired ways had introduced themselves, and I couldn’t imagine a TV lineup where he didn’t exist. Each time he trusted Lucy, only to have her steal the ball away, a tiny piece of my soul was crushed; I wanted to put my arm around his animated, oversized head.
Despite social norms, there are some shows you can never grow out of: Scooby Doo (the originals, not the new crap they’re making these days), Tom and Jerry, the Jetsons, and select Disney films. As my grandparents would say, they just don’t make them like they used to.
When it comes to cartoons, I’m not interested in animation effects; I don’t want to watch half-animals, half-humans fight over force fields or sea monsters. I want to see Yosemite Sam slinging revolvers; robots that talk with inflections; and Shaggy and Scooby eating sandwiches that defy physics. I want to watch REAL cartoons. And in that list, especially when it’s Valentine’s Day, includes Charlie Brown, bad luck and all.
*Even Arbor Day has its own special.