Picks and Pans Review: A Charlie Brown Christmas

updated 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

Pssst, moms and dads: This isn't really just a children's tape but if you're subtle enough about it you can finesse it right by the little ones. Originally produced for television in 1965 and perennially repeated ever since, it is witty, touching and full of Peanuts profundity. The plot has to do with Charlie Brown's seasonal depression. Lucy, in her five-cent shrink mode, diagnoses his problem as pantaphobia, "the fear of everything," but she also sympathizes with him: "I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that." "What is it you want?" Charlie Brown asks. "Real estate," Lucy says. To cure their mutual blahs, they put on a Christmas play, with C.B. as the director and Snoopy playing all the animal parts. There are problems when Lucy sends Charlie out to buy a huge pink aluminum Christmas tree and he comes back with a scraggly real one ("I didn't know they made wooden ones any more," says Linus). But it ends in lovely fashion, with Linus reciting the beginning of the Nativity narrative from the Book of Luke. The voices are perfect—they were done not by adult actors but by real children: Peter Robbins for Charlie Brown; Tracy Stafford for Lucy; Christopher Shea for Linus—and Charles Schulz wrote the script. Even if there were no other reason to look forward to the holidays, the chance to see this delightful half hour again would make it all worthwhile. (Hi-Tops, $14.95) —Ralph Novak (Thaddeus Novak, 7, concurs: "This has something I like in all my tapes—humor. Very funny.")

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