Jack O’Lantern (1972)

We all know that on every Halloween we put jack-o’-lanterns on our porches and window sills to ward off evil spirits intent on ruining the year’s harvest of trick or treat candy. Ask any kid who ended up with a bag full of pencils, toothpaste and loose candy corn and they’ll tell you their mom was too damn lazy to help carve a pumpkin that year. But how did that tradition begin? Like any good joke/holiday tale it all starts when a witch, leprechaun, vampire and angry billy goat walk into a barn. Continue reading “Jack O’Lantern (1972)”

Casper’s Halloween Special (1979)

I don’t know how Casper left this mortal coil and became a ghost. The death of a child is always a tragedy and any circumstances that lead to poor Casper the human boy dying are undoubtedly heartbreaking. As a boy, I am sure he was the love of his parent’s life and the passing of such a sweet, gentle soul left them shattered. As a ghost though, Casper is such a simpleton, you wonder if somehow whatever process that allowed to him attain his ethereal form didn’t account for brain damage at the time of his death. Continue reading “Casper’s Halloween Special (1979)”

A Family Circus Easter (1982)

Perhaps owing to its underlying religious solemnity (and its lame secular holiday hero), Easter doesn’t have as deep of bench of animated specials like Christmas or Halloween. There’s the Peanuts special of course (and wouldn’t most of us just as soon as see the Easter Beagle replace the Easter Bunny?) and a couple of Rankin-Bass efforts, but after that, things get thin enough that the dedicated fan of seasonal shenanigans probably will at some point find herself watching the basket of smelly eggs known as A Family Circus Easter. Continue reading “A Family Circus Easter (1982)”

It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown! (1974)

One character will doubt the one she loves most. Another will continue living the personal hell that comes with a lack of belief in anything positive. Unrequited love, shoe shopping, stolen Easter eggs, designer bird houses and species identity confusion will also play a part in what shapes up to be the busiest holiday of not only any Peanuts special specifically, but of all other specials as well! Continue reading “It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown! (1974)”

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975)

Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown was the feel bad holiday hit of 1975. It endures to this day, not as some fondly recalled seasonal special, but precisely because of it uncompromising examination of loneliness and disappointment through the lens of the one day of the year set aside to amplify all the insecurities so many people have. And also because us popular cool kids can never get enough of that blockhead Charlie Brown bringing a frigging briefcase to school for all the valentines he thinks he’s going to get! Continue reading “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975)”

A Special Valentine with the Family Circus (1978)

It’s the question every parent dreads. You can read books, discuss with friends and try to be as comfortable as possible when it finally comes. But the reality is that no matter how much thought you’ve given it and how prepared you think you are , when you are finally hit with the question, invariably even the best parent is a bit flummoxed when she hears “mommy, what’s Valentines Day?” Continue reading “A Special Valentine with the Family Circus (1978)”

A Family Circus Christmas (1979)

It is well known that the holidays can cause or exacerbate feelings of sadness, loneliness or depression in certain people. And it isn’t just confined to the unfortunates watching A Family Circus Christmas either. The holiday blues also has the Family Circus itself awaiting Christmas on a knife’s edge, perched precariously between the illusion of the tranquil domestic bliss depicted in the creaky, unfunny decades old comic strip and the building pressure of the repressed mental illness much of the family exhibits during this, one of its three animated forays into the holiday special genre. Continue reading “A Family Circus Christmas (1979)”