A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

November 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Movies


A holiday television classic. Peppermint Patty invites herself and a few friends to Charlie Brown’s house for Thanksgiving. Old Chuck is in a pickle because all he knows how to cook is toast and cold cereal. He employs Snoopy and Woodstock to set a Thanksgiving table in the back yard, and the three get to work in the kitchen buttering toast and popping popcorn. Dinner is served, but all Peppermint Patty can do is complain: “Where’s the turkey, Chuck? Where are the mashed potatoes? Don’t you know what a Thanksgiving feast is?” Charlie Brown sulks away embarrassed. Marcie points out to Peppermint Patty that she invited herself to Charlie Brown’s house and she should be thankful that there is any food at all. Peppermint Patty apologizes to Chuck and he invites everyone to a real Thanksgiving feast at his Grandmother’s house. The Peanuts gang all sing, “Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go.” The only problem? Grandma lives in a condo in the city.

This television classic is paired with a show called “The Mayflower Voyage” which is a serious historical account of the pilgrims’ journey and the first Thanksgiving that stars the Peanuts gang.

I’m a sucker for classic holiday programs. Even before my daughter was born, I owned the Peanuts Holiday Collection and made it a tradition with my wife to watch each special as each holiday rolled around. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas” certainly hold a special place in my heart, but I don’t remember watching “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” as a kid, so it’s easier for me to be a critic.

Watching this with my two year old, and not quite remembering what happened, I had high hopes as the vegetarian meal unfolded. Charlie Brown serves his friends toast with butter, popcorn, and some candy. Assuming the butter is vegan like it is in my home, this looks like a great vegan Thanksgiving feast. So many Thanksgiving books and movies are so focused on eating turkey so I thought this would be a great alternative. However, it takes a nasty turn when it is declared that this feast is not a real Thanksgiving feast because it is missing the turkey and I don’t feel that it properly recovers from that. I think I would like this more if the conclusion had been that Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving regardless of what you eat, because that’s a nice message for vegetarian children who may feel different because they don’t eat turkey.

I was also disappointed in the dated “The Mayflower Voyage” which refers to Native Americans as Indians and shows catching fish (not even to eat, but for planting corn). My two-year-old daughter, who has never witnessed fishing at all, said, “That’s not very nice,” which made me proud but also made me reconsider this show.

Sadly, we will be getting rid “The Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” But soon enough we’ll be watching “The Charlie Brown Christmas,” so my disappointment won’t last long.

Not rated.  Ages 3+.

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