I think it’s great that Boom! is publishing a graphic novel adapting the never-produced Scotland Bound, Charlie Brown. This serves the world even better than the adaptations of things like Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown, because that’s available to be viewed in its purest intended form, the film, which can be bought on DVD or streamed (if you have Amazon Prime in the US, you can stream it for free right now!) The Scottish special – whose original name, Will Ye No Come Back Again, Charlie Brown? you can never say in the theater – had previously publicly just been a short write-up on page 176 of The Art and Making of Animation of Peanuts, as friend-of-the-AAUGH-blog Debbie points out. (And if you have that book, you’ll also find two other storyboarded-but-unproduced specials on pages 166 and 167.)
But that brings to mind one other thing that it might be good to adapt, because although this is a produced Peanuts special, it’s sort of a lost one. To the best of my recollection, it hasn’t been on TV in a quarter century. It’s not available for streaming. It’s never been on DVD. The only legitimate home video release was a VHS tape that was only sold at gas stations.
I presume that the reason that 1994’s You’re in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown is missing is for licensing reasons. The special as it exists not only names the NFL event in the title, it has team logos throughout (this was presumably done as part of a blanket deal that NBC made for airing the big game that year.) Replaying or rereleasing it would probably involve costly relicensing, or costly re-animating. This isn’t just some expensive sound cue that you can simply replace with needle-drop music and ruin the one truly great episode of 21 Jump Street, dadgummit.
But a graphic novel, with a slight change of title? It’s easy not to draw the logos in. Heck, it’s easier than drawing the logos in would be! And I know what you’re thinking: “sure, football’s big in the US, but it’s not so big overseas, so there will be less secondary market income to justify this.” Maybe. But let’s also realize that this is one special that probably never showed in foreign language markets. It is the lost Peanuts special to them as well.
(And lest anybody worry: no, my posting this does not mean that it can’t happen because the Peanuts people will be afraid that I’ll sue them. “Adapt this thing you already own” is not something that I can claim intellectual property rights for. But in case anyone has that concern: I hereby grant to Peanuts Worldwide a full, sublicensable, transferable, and irrevocable right to exploit this idea.)