|This Is America, Charlie Brown|
Animated television special
|Created by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Written by||Charles M. Schulz|
|Directed by||Bill Melendez|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Editors||Gordon D. Brenner|
|Running time||25 minutes|
|Production companies||Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates|
United Feature Syndicate
|Original release||October 21, 1988 –|
May 23, 1989
|Preceded by||It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown (1988)|
|Followed by||You Don't Look 40, Charlie Brown (1990)|
This Is America, Charlie Brown is an eight-part animated television miniseries that depicts a series of events in American history featuring characters from the Charles M. Schulz comic strip Peanuts. It aired from 1988 to 1989 on CBS. The first four episodes aired as a weekly series in October and November 1988; the final four episodes aired monthly from February to May 1989.
Due to the nature of the events portrayed and the historical figures included — such as the Wright Brothers and George Washington — many adults were shown in full view along with the Peanuts gang, something that happened rarely in the animated films and specials and in only one early sequence in the comic strip. These adults were drawn in a style similar to It's Only a Game, another comic strip by Schulz that featured adults, as well other productions that were overseen by Peanuts regular Bill Melendez.
While all eight episodes were subsequently rerun by CBS in the summer of 1990, the series as a whole has not been aired since. However, "The Mayflower Voyagers" episode returned to television in 2008 (and aired each year through 2019, after which the Peanuts television migrated over to the Apple TV+ streaming platform) as companion material to pad the 1973 special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to a full one-hour time slot. To accommodate the slot, portions of the episode were abridged.
The series included music by many composers and performers including Peanuts regular Ed Bogas, Dave Brubeck, David Benoit (who would later take over scoring the specials starting with It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown), George Winston, Wynton Marsalis and Dave Grusin. This continued a tradition of using jazz musicians for the musical score; original composer Vince Guaraldi had died in 1976, though several of his music scores were reused, notably his signature tune, "Linus and Lucy". This miniseries featured The Winans, Desirée Goyette, and Lou Rawls as the singing vocals (Goyette and Rawls had previously worked with Melendez on the Garfield TV specials).
Regular voice actors
- Erin Chase: Charlie Brown (first female actress to voice Charlie Brown)
- Erica Gayle: Lucy van Pelt
- Brittany M. Thornton: Sally Brown
- Brandon Stewart: Linus van Pelt
- Jason Mendelson: Peppermint Patty
- Marie Cole: Marcie
- Curtis Andersen: Schroeder
- Hakeem Abdul-Samad: Franklin
- Bill Melendez: Snoopy and Woodstock
Occasional voice actors
- Jason Riffle: Charlie Brown (in The Birth of The Constitution)
- Jeremy Miller: Linus van Pelt (in The Birth of The Constitution)
- Ami Foster: Lucy van Pelt (in The Birth of The Constitution)
- Christina Lange: Sally Brown (in The Birth of The Constitution)
- Keri Houlihan: Marcie (in The Birth of The Constitution)
- Tani Taylor Powers: Marcie (in The Mayflower Voyagers and The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk)
- Cameron Clarke: Snoopy (in The Music and Heroes of America)
- Sean Mendelson: Frankin
- Grant Gelt: Franklin
- Pig-Pen, Violet, and other characters appear a few times but are silent.
Additional voice actors
- Frank Welker - Captain Smith (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Pilgrim Explorer 2 (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Squanto (in The Mayflower Voyagers), George Mason (in The Birth of The Constitution), James Wilson (in The Birth of The Constitution), Governor Morris (in The Birth of The Constitution), Wilbur Wright (in The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk), Jason Welker (in The NASA Space Station), Alexander Graham Bell (in The Great Inventors), Thomas Edison (in The Great Inventors), Abraham Lincoln (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency), Theodore Roosevelt (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency)
- Gregg Berger - Pilgrim Leader (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Myles Standish (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Pilgrim Explorers (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Orville Wright (in The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk), NASA Mission Control (in The NASA Space Station), Thomas Watson (in The Great Inventors), Samuel (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency)
- Chris Collins as Mayflower Watchman (in The Mayflower Voyagers), Samoset (in The Mayflower Voyagers)
- Hal Smith as John Muir (in The Smithsonian and the Presidency)
- Julie Payne - Mrs. Holiday (in The Great Inventors)
- Bud Davis
- Chuck Olson
- Shep Menken
- Brandon Horne
- Marie Wise
- Alissa King
|1||The Mayflower Voyagers||October 21, 1988||In 1620, the Peanuts gang are among the 30 children aboard the Mayflower set to establish Plymouth Colony. While hardships plague the new colony and claim the lives of many of its members, all of the children survive, and the Pilgrims' faith in God allows them to persevere. In the spring of 1621, with the colony's future uncertain, the Pilgrims meet Native Americans Samoset and Squanto, who miraculously speak English. The natives teach the Pilgrims how to live off the land, leading to the first Thanksgiving and a 50-year peace treaty.|
|2||The Birth of the Constitution||October 28, 1988||The story takes place in 1787 in Philadelphia. The Founding Fathers are trying to compose the Constitution. They work hard to decide which ideas to include. Charlie Brown and his friends work hard, too. Snoopy serves as watchdog, Peppermint Patty provides water to drink. Charlie Brown oversees "valet parking," and Linus is the usher.|
|3||The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk||November 4, 1988||In 1903, Charlie Brown and Linus visit Linus' cousin Dolly in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and watch as the Wright Brothers send their prototype airplane aloft. Additionally, Woodstock demonstrates the principles of flight, Peppermint Patty and Marcie are mechanics for the Wright Brothers aircraft, and Snoopy becomes top dog and oversees the events leading to the flight that changed the world.|
|4||The NASA Space Station||November 11, 1988||Linus dreams about himself, Charlie Brown, Sally Brown, Lucy van Pelt, "Pig-Pen", Franklin, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, and Woodstock traveling in outer space.|
|5||The Building of the Transcontinental Railroad||February 10, 1989||Charlie Brown tells the story of how two companies, namely the Union Pacific Railroad and the Central Pacific Railroad, constructed the First Transcontinental Railroad through plains and imposing mountains. The episode ends when the gang witnesses the completion of the railroad in Promontory, Utah in 1869.|
|6||The Great Inventors||March 10, 1989||Each member of the Peanuts gang reports on various American inventions. Linus discusses Alexander Graham Bell while Peppermint Patty and Marcie talk about Thomas Edison, and Charlie Brown writes a report on the invention of the automobile.|
|7||The Smithsonian and the Presidency||April 19, 1989||The gang visits the Smithsonian Institution, where they discuss three former United States presidents.|
|8||The Music and Heroes of America||May 23, 1989||Schroeder and Franklin try to present a school pageant about great American musicians, ranging from Stephen Foster to John Philip Sousa to rock'n'rollers, but is interrupted by both the antics of Snoopy and Lucy, who decides to give her report on famous American heroes—including Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, George Washington Carver, and Martin Luther King Jr.—on the same stage at the same time. At the end, Charlie Brown names his favorite song: Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy".|
The eight episodes, originally released individually on videocassette, were released in a two-DVD collector's set on March 28, 2006, by Paramount Home Entertainment. However, the DVD set went out of print once Warner Bros. purchased the rights to all Peanuts television specials. Warner Home Video has since reissued the miniseries on DVD as of June 17, 2014. It was also released on the digital format.
- Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 638. ISBN 978-1538103739.
- Terrace, Vincent (2013). Television Specials: 5,336 Entertainment Programs, 1936-2012 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 92. ISBN 9780786474448.
- Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 843–844. ISBN 978-1476665993.
- David Lambert (February 19, 2014). "This Is America, Charlie Brown - The 8-Episode Show is Getting a DVD Re-Release from Warner Soon!". tvshowsondvd.com. Archived from the original on December 29, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017.