Some things just never get old, especially the Peanuts holiday specials. But it's not always easy to figure out how to watch Happy New Year, Charlie Brown and some of the other television specials, especially given all of the outlets for entertainment. Just after Christmas, ABC aired the New Year special on Tuesday, Dec. 26, along with She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. And while that day has obviously come and gone, you can find it on demand or on the ABC Go website and app for a limited time. However, you need a cable authentication to watch ABC.
For those cord-cutting families out there, this can be a major pain. Unfortunately, the adorable classic isn't on Hulu or Netflix but, drumroll please, it is included with Amazon Prime membership. So if you have the Amazon video app on your Roku, Apple TV, or just gather the family around your laptop, you're good to go. There are some bootleg versions on YouTube, but for the best quality it's probably best to go with ABC or Amazon.
The movie is only 24 minutes long, and in case you don't remember, is all about how poor Charlie Brown is stuck reading Tolstoy's War and Peace during Marcie and Peppermint Patty's epic, musical chairs-filled New Year's Eve Party. Charlie Brown eventually makes it to the party, even though he finds out that the whole time the "Little Red Haired Girl" was there dancing the night away without him. Good grief!
Of course, we never see the Little Red-Haired Girl in the New Year's movie, or in any of the other specials or comic strips, sort of like Charlie Brown himself. That didn't happen until the full length Peanuts movie that was released in 2015. Director Steve Martino told Vanity Fair:
What is fascinating in the way [Peanuts creator Charles] Schulz uses the Little Red-Haired Girl is that she’s a window into a different kind of emotion with Charlie Brown. You can feel his heart race at a little bit of a faster pace, the feeling that, this time, I’m going to do it. Those strips offered a little different flavor.
Creating her for the C.G.I. movie was no easy task, Martino added, since, except for one strip in 1998, there's never any image of Charlie Brown's crush. So they went a different way. “I have to say that my casting approach for the film was purely about the quality of voice. It was just happenstance and quite amazing that it worked out that way," Marino told Vanity Fair of casting then 11-year-old actress Francesca Capaldi.
Martino told the Verge that it was honor to make the feature film:
My focus was to do the very best I could on the making of this film. So I just put my pencil down now. I haven't really thought about what comes after it. But I will say, the entire time I worked on this film, me and my team at Blue Sky Studios, we really felt it was our obligation to deliver this film to a new generation, to our kids, because we've loved these characters so much.
Although she seemed like the most elusive character, especially on New Year's Eve, the Little Red-Haired Girl is actually based on an IRL red-head who was one of the loves of Schultz' life, Donna Johnson Wold, whom he dated for two years. She died in August 2016 after what she called a "happy life," in an interview with the Washington Post.
Before then, she told Vanity Fair in the same profile that Schultz explained the character to her once. "He said it was so every man could consider the little red-haired girl in their life. Someone that he knew, and loved, and didn’t have," Wold said. Which is really the most perfect theme for a New Year's Eve movie, since it's the night that everyone's hoping for a midnight kiss. The best replacement for that? Settling in on the couch with some snacks and Charlie Brown.
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