It was very exciting to hear there was another Peanuts special in the works. Getting a fresh animated special of the timeless Gang is very welcome, but it is also a very interesting new experience.
Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown is the first Peanuts special produced without the involvement of executive producers Lee Mendelson and the late Bill Melendez, instead being executive produced by Craig Schulz, the son of Sparky himself, creator Charles Schulz.
The special is also the first for Peanuts Worldwide, LLC, the new company that took over all Peanuts assets from United Media last year. The change behind the scenes is somewhat reflected in the special. However, the signature Peanuts charm remains.
Happiness is a Warm Blanket focuses on Linus’ attachment to his blanket. Lucy tells him their grandmother will be visiting in a couple of days and if he doesn’t get rid of his habit before then, grandma will do it herself.
Based on strips from the entire 50 year history of Peanuts, Happiness is a Warm Blanket gathers together those moments of Linus defending his attachment to his blanket to the others into a feature length, 44 minute special.
Peanuts specials produced even after the passing of Charles Schulz have kept the integrity of the strip in tact by taking the timeless words from the strip itself and bringing them to screen.
It’ll be expected, especially for Peanuts fans, to hear familiar lines and jokes in the new special. But this new special might have a couple more repeated lines and jokes from previous specials than feels comfortable. Especially in the first two acts, there are a couple of retreads that feel so iconically attached to one special or another that you almost don’t want to hear it in a new one.
But that doesn’t take away from the overall experience. Happiness is a Warm Blanket features a fresh new visual feel. There are a couple of new, slightly more elaborate shots and angles that you might not normally see on a Peanuts special. The characters appear a little more fluid in their movements, but overall, the feature keeps Peanuts’ signature simplicity.
The visuals are accentuated by new music by Mark Mothersbaugh. And while you can’t beat a Vince Guaraldi score, the music in the special maintains the familiar Peanuts mood and atmosphere.
The screenplay is well-written by Pearls Before Swine cartoonist Stephan Pastis and Craig Schulz, collecting strips from a collection of 50 years worth and putting them together in a feature-length special. The Peanuts charm is there, the maturity of these children well intact. And the special as a whole features a wonderfully crafted sentimentality that resonates, especially at the end.
There are strong scenes throughout the special and the fresh visuals (in HD!) provide for a wonderfully touching and meaningful experience.
Here’s the trailer…
The special is available on DVD. Order your own copy at
Happiness Is a Warm Blanket Charlie Brown