Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown is a Peanuts television special that was released in 2011. The special is the 45th Peanuts special and the first produced without Bill Melendez on the production team. It is also the first special without the direct involvement of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, Lee Mendelson Productions or Bill Melendez Productions (it is unknown, though, if Lee Mendelson also worked on this special). In addition, it is the first Peanuts special produced in part under Warner Bros. Television, which holds the home media distribution rights to the Peanuts specials.
The special was released on DVD on March 29, 2011, and first aired on television on October 1, 2011, on Teletoon in Canada. The special premiered in the United States on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, at 8:30PM ET/PT on Fox, the first Peanuts special to air on the network; with this airing, Peanuts specials have aired on all four major networks. Coincidentally, the first half of the film's original Fox broadcast in 2011 competed directly with a Peanuts special that aired at the same time on ABC ("The Mayflower Voyagers" from This Is America, Charlie Brown). The special aired again on November 23, 2012 (the day after Thanksgiving, so as not to directly compete with the other Peanuts specials) and December 17, 2013.
The program special is particularly notable in that the characters/animation are drawn in a 1950s/early-1960s style, and uses only characters from that time period (including Violet, Shermy, and Patty), except for the inclusion of one later character, Woodstock, and intermediate-era characters Frieda, Faron, 5, 4, and 3 appearing briefly as extras; and even pays homage to the very first Peanuts strip, from October 2, 1950 (when Charlie Brown has a flashback sequence).
The title recalls the 1960s Peanuts phrase "Happiness Is a Warm Puppy," which became a cultural reference.
This special is, by so far, the only Peanuts special to be made in the 2010s, and the only special to be in high definition.
The film was announced by one of the hosts at the 2010 84th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade when a Snoopy balloon (in his flying ace outfit) passed by, saying "Snoopy fans will be happy to know that next year, a new Peanuts animation will be flying your way."
The last Peanuts special had been in 2006. Craig Schulz, son of the strip's creator, said the intention was to use 1960s style animation. Wildbrain Entertainment found a Korean company to do the work. Schulz also said the majority of the script used the actual strips, supplemented by work by Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis. Pastis had the idea to focus on Linus' blanket.
After the death of Bill Melendez, the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock were provided by director Andrew Beall, however, in later Peanuts animated productions, some recordings of Melendez were used.
Some scenes come from It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown, The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, and A Charlie Brown Celebration.
The special starts with Woodstock following holes dug by Linus, who is looking for his security blanket. Charlie Brown is playing baseball with his two friends; Schroeder is playing piano. Lucy keeps trying to hide Linus' blanket, with Linus finding it each time. Linus and Charlie Brown decide to stop Lucy, who then loses the blanket when it flies away with her kite. Linus eventually gets it back. In the meantime, Violet and Patty try to embarrass Pig-Pen with his dirt cloud. The story ends with Linus trying to get his blanket back after Snoopy steals it, shouting "AUGH!!"
- Austin Lux - Linus van Pelt
- Amanda Pace - Sally Brown
- Trenton Rogers - Charlie Brown/Schroeder
- Grace Rolek - Lucy van Pelt
- Shane Baumel- "Pig-Pen"
- Blesst Bowden- Violet Gray
- Ciara Bravo- Patty
- Andy Pessoa- Shermy
- Andy Beall- Snoopy/Woodstock
Frieda, Faron, 5, 3 and 4 have cameo appearances, but are silent.
- Jamie Simone - Casting and Voice Director
- Craig Schulz - Executive Producer
Blu-ray and DVD release
Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown was released on Blu-ray and DVD March 29, 2011 by Warner Home Video and includes the following special features:
- Deconstructing Schulz: From Comic Strip to Screenplay
- Happiness Is...Finding the Right Voice
- 24 Frames a Second: Drawing and Animating a Peanuts Movie
- Deleted Scene featuring an introduction by Director Andy Beall
- Charlie Brown and Snoopy on TV: Peanuts Animation and Video List
- Kick Off the Holiday Season with Two All-New Animated Specials This Thanksgiving on Fox
- Scheduling conflict between Fox and ABC verified by zap2it.com.
- 2010 84th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
- "The Peanuts Gang Finds 'Happiness'".. homemediamagazine.com (2011-02-25).
- Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown at the Internet Movie Database
- Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown at The Big Cartoon DataBase