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The Peanuts Movie was a hit with both critics and audiences a few months ago. The film charmed movie-goers with the classic characters and an uplifting story that couldn’t help but make you smile. And, now, we know that the movie used one very special scene to make sure we remembered Peanuts history.
It was a natural opportunity to resurrect some of the classic dance moves and also add new ones. We went back and studied what Bill Melendez [the animator who directed the Christmas special and provided the voices of Snoopy and Woodstock] had done and replicated that. They were so charming and entertaining. And we wanted to build on the tradition, so we added a handful of new dances, but in the same spirit—that simplistic, repetitive style of movement.
The director of The Peanuts Movie, Steve Martino, relayed this information to The Hollywood Reporter. The scene he’s referring to is the big winter dance that all of the Peanuts gang goes to during the film. It’s directly inspired by the dance scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas, when all the characters are taking a break in their preparation for the Christmas play.
What a brilliant idea for the creators behind The Peanuts Movie to study one of the best known, and most loved, scenes from A Charlie Brown Christmas. To harken back to that iconic special would certainly make sure that anyone in the audience who wasn’t already feeling the warm fuzzies from watching the film, would have their heart strings tugged mighty hard. Part of the genius of this plan is that it makes it easier for us to feel like we should add The Peanuts Movie to the list of classic Peanuts properties without directly begging for affection and devotion.
It’s not surprising that Steve Martino and many of the team at the Fox animation company, Blue Sky, which handled crafting the movie, are fans of the special. Almost everyone who’s lived in the past 50 years is a fan of A Charlie Brown Christmas. The very special episode first aired December 9, 1965, and has been shown in the United States every single year since then.
One of the best things about the holiday season every year has to be gathering the family around to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. If someone ever does a list of common Christmas traditions, watching this show, one of the best animated specials of all time, is definitely going somewhere near the top of the list.
Who could forget those crazy, weird little kid dances-of-joy in that moment from A Charlie Brown Christmas? No one, that’s who. And, if you saw The Peanuts Movie like I did, it was really something special to see that dance scene recreated. So much so that I can’t help but hope that the movie becomes an icon just like the comic strip and television specials that inspired it.