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Noticed How Well the Car Runs Since You Gave it Some Bread?

April 16, 2010

Sally gives Chuck a pep talk.

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and don’t come back) is a sentimental favorite of mine. I lived overseas when this movie was released – 1986 – and I could relate to so many things, though sadly I don’t think I ever rode a Hovercraft. Nevertheless I’d been to France and England, rode the Double Decker buses, nearly got run over by Citroën 2CV, the student car or “studente” as we called them.

The movie centers around Chuck, Linus, Marcy, Patricia – as she’s called in this film – and Snoopy/Woodstock who for some inexplicable reason travel to Europe as exchange students – at the elementary school level. The rest of the gang act as extras and look not unlike the folks standing around the Love Boat wishing the passengers happy travels.

In fact Lucy’s only line is the parenthetical, “And don’t come back!” She should fire her agent.

Highlights include:

  • Snoopy having a McEnroe fit at Wimbledon after a couple of bad calls.
  • Snoopy cracking Patricia over the head with an umbrella when she points out he is dressed similar to Winston Churchill.
  • Snoopy renting a “studente” to drive the gang the last leg of their journey.
  • Linus and Chuck sleeping in the stables on a property called “The Château du Mal Voisin”. translation: The Château of the Bad Neighbor.
  • Marcy finding a boyfriend named Pierre who mostly talks about the Château’s owner, the Baron and how he “‘ates everyone!”

BVCB is also far darker and more suspenseful than previous Peanuts films and even features non trumpet sounding adults – with cheesy French accents – interacting with the gang.

Chuck and Linus attempt to unravel the mystery of their seemingly inhospitable host – Chuck received a letter with a postmarked from the Bad Neighbor. Nobody greets them upon arrival and they end up sleeping in the stables. Each morning food and fresh linens appear, which despite the smelly barn animals are far better amenities than the hotels I’ve been to recently.

One night Linus, fed up with the stable accommodations, decides to get to the bottom of this damn mystery and storms the Bad Neighbor, where he meets the letter writer herself! She quickly tells a story of a soldier who stayed at the bad neighbor (echoing Schultz’s own experiences in Normandy) who was nice and wonderful and all that.

But oh no! The Baron returns just in time for Violette (the letter writer) to knock over a candle and set the Bad Neighbor ablaze. It’s a very powerful scene with one of my favorite Linus lines ever, “Use my blanket to catch us!”

It’s a scene played straight, but naturally is hilarious. Patricia and Marcy screaming, “JUMP JUMP JUMP, LINUS, JUMP!” as he stands on a window ledge. The baron and Chuck running back and forth with jazz hands to the sky shrieking, “Fire!” In French and English respectively and set to some really overwrought strings.

That said, I never tire of this movie! The departure from previous Peanuts tropes is refreshing and of course really funny. Now I’m off to find Flash-beagle!

9 Comments leave one →
  1. araymondjohnson permalink
    April 16, 2010 1:26 pm

    Whenever someone is danger of either: a) bumping their baguette against something as it pokes out of a grocery bag/cart or b) catching anything breakable (and not just bread) by their trunk or hood or door as they snap it shut, I always, always reflexively say, “careful! don’t charlie brown it!!”

    Love this post.

  2. April 16, 2010 1:26 pm

    The McEnroe fit is damned classic. The angry fist in the air that devolves into a sobbing, whimpering mess. Just perfect.

    Marcy finds a boyfriend… *Snort!*

  3. araymondjohnson permalink
    April 16, 2010 1:29 pm

    Also, I had Flashbeagle on record, along with the soundtrack to Altman’s Popeye, and I wore them both OUT as a kid.

  4. April 16, 2010 1:43 pm

    They call him Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash! Flash! beagle! Something something flies like a wild eagle. I had that soundtrack on record too and I also wore it the fuck out. It inspired hours of dance routines.

  5. April 16, 2010 2:28 pm

    It’s Fergie singing/doing the voice! True story!

  6. evmaroon permalink
    April 16, 2010 2:48 pm

    I used to hum the music from this movie ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME. It was my early 80s mood music.

  7. April 16, 2010 2:52 pm

    I want to remember this, when I am far away, I want to remember all the special feelings of this day…


    I learned all that WWII music from Snoopy’s frequent trips to the town pub. I love that “Rum and Coca Cola” song.

  8. April 16, 2010 3:03 pm

    “The Baron is happy we saved the Chateau. He says he’ll never be unfriendly again.”


  9. badhedgehog permalink
    April 16, 2010 3:24 pm

    I don’t think I ever saw this film, but I do remember reading the Peanuts strips with these storylines in. I loved the Snoopy and the Red Baron stories, and the tennis stories (remember Snoopy playing mixed doubles with Molly Volley?), and I remember Pierre.

    And oh yes, Flashbeagle.

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