- Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown
"Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown" is one of many
prime-timeanimated TV specials based upon the popular comic strip" Peanuts," by Charles M. Schulz. It was originally aired on the CBSnetwork in 1980.
Snoopy is lying on top of his doghouse when he hears music. He follows the music to a circus unloading. Among other animals, he sees three poodles, and immediately latches onto the white one (whom we learn later is named "Fifi") following her to the entrance of the
big topwith eyes shaped like hearts and tongue hanging out. He stops at the entrance, when Polly, the dog's trainer, pokes her head out, sees Snoopy, and yanks him inside.
The next day,
Peppermint Pattycalls Charlie Brownto let him know of the circus and how her school gave all students the day off to see it, and learns Charlie's school got the same thing. They all get to the big top and see the dog act come out with Snoopy in tow wearing a big red bow on his head. They all realize it's him, and eventually relish in Snoopy's new "career" (despite Snoopy's shortcomings during the show, being completely untrained), but Charlie isn't having any of it, exclaiming Snoopy's true responsibility of "being his dog".
Later that night, Charlie realizes Snoopy hasn't returned and goes to the circus site in time to see him enter a boxcar still following and drooling over Fifi, and the gate of the car slam down on him, and the train pull away to the next city.
In the meantime, Polly is slowly training Snoopy to become part of the act. First he is given the name "Hugo The Great", then he is taught to ride a
unicyclefirst on the ground, then on the highwire (apparently without a safety net). Snoopy is also able to do a back flip (which he wasn't able to do before), and his performance in the next show is more of a success.
Meanwhile back home, Lucy has decided to condemn Snoopy's house by boarding up the doorway and placing a sign on it saying "Property Condemned". Charlie also recounts the story of how he wound up getting Snoopy to Linus. (The story of the kids at the playground sandbox pouring sand over his head, him crying, his mother taking him home, then taking him out to get a dog the next day.)
Back at the circus, Polly decides to add to the act by getting Snoopy and Fifi to do a
trapezeact. Once again, they appear to practice without a net, but while Snoopy takes to the air a little more fearlessly, Fifi is initially scared to death. Eventually it works out, and at the next show, combined with the back flips and the unicycle ride, they are a major success.
After the show, Polly gives Snoopy and Fifi the good news that they are officially the stars of the circus. However, her boss feels their color doesn't fit and wants them both colored
pink. She first wrestles Snoopy into a large vat of food coloring, and after he is completely pink, she goes to do the same to Fifi, but Snoopy jumps between them growling menacingly at her. Polly shows no fear and basically tells Snoopy to get out of her way, to which Snoopy attacks her and wrestles her into the food coloring until she is all pink, then jumps out, and runs away, taking Fifi with him.
At a bus stop, Snoopy steps aside so Fifi can board the bus first, but after much thought, she decides to return to the circus, and walks slowly back towards it while Snoopy looks on, completely crushed. He then boards the bus crying.
Back home, Charlie is awakened by the shower running, in which Snoopy is washing the pink food coloring off him. Charlie sees him exiting the bathroom, but says nothing. Snoopy then retreats to his doghouse...only to see what Lucy had done to it. In a fit of rage, he rips up the sign, and tears the boards off the house, then calms down and goes to bed...but not before illuminating a big blinking neon sign saying "Hugo The Great".
* The "Teacher's Pet" episode entitled "Fifi" was most likely inspired by this Charlie Brown special, in that a regular dog (with human qualities) falls in love with an attractive circus performing female French poodle named, coincidentally, "Fifi".
Voice actors and their characters
Michael Mandy- Charlie Brown
Brent Hauer- Patricia "Peppermint Patty" Reichardt
Casey Carlson- Polly
Earl "Rocky" Reilly- Linus van Pelt
Kristen Fullerton- Lucy van Pelt
Shannon Cohn- Marcie
Christopher Donohoe- Schroeder
* Bill Melendez - Snoopy
** imdb title|id=0173983|title=Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown
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