A scene from IT WAS A SHORT SUMMER, CHARLIE BROWN, directed by Bill Melendez for CBS.

It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown (1969, Bill Melendez)

“It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown” is a rather ambitious cartoon, both from Melendez’s directorial standpoint and Charles M. Schulz’s narrative. It starts with the beginning of the school year, then moves back–through the writing of a theme–to the summer. Schulz uses Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy to establish the flashback, which gives “Summer” a very nice feel.

He is not, unfortunately, ambitious enough to use the format to explore unreliable narrators.

And Melendez comes up with some excellent composition. But his animators fail him one after another. There will be some beautiful layout and the animation detail is just terrible. Characters are static in one shot and animate in another. It’s disconcerting.

The cartoon succeeds overall, overcoming the animation problems. Peter Robbins is good as Charlie Brown and Christopher DeFaria amuses as Peppermint Patty.

“Summer” also shows, very briefly, a teenager, which is a Peanuts rarity.

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Bill Melendez; written by Charles M. Schulz; edited by Robert T. Gillis, Chuck McCann and Steven Cuitlahuac Melendez; music by Vince Guaraldi; produced by Melendez and Lee Mendelson; released by the Columbia Broadcasting System.

Starring Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown), Pamelyn Ferdin (Lucy van Pelt), Glenn Gilger (Linus van Pelt), Hilary Momberger (Sally Brown), Christopher DeFaria (Patricia ‘Peppermint Patty’ Reichardt), John Daschback (Schroeder), Ann Altieri (Frieda), David Carey (Shermy) and Gail DeFaria (Pigpen).

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