|Directed by:||Bill Melendez|
|Written by:||Charles M. Schulz|
|Release date:||January 1, 1986|
|Running time:||22 minutes|
|Proceded by:||You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown|
|Followed by:||Snoopy!!! The Musical|
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! is the thirtieth animated television special based on the Peanuts comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz. It first aired on CBS on January 1, 1986. The special is currently available on the I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown DVD.
Christmas vacation is only a few minutes away, and Charlie Brown is excited about it. However, his feelings change when his teacher assigns a book report on War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy. Charlie Brown complains to Linus he will never be able to finish the book and write a paper on it over vacation, but Linus tries to convince him to read it. Just then, the phone rings, and it is Peppermint Patty inviting Charlie Brown to her New Year's party, but Charlie Brown says he has to read his book. Peppermint Patty says it is a "boy asks girl" party, but Charlie Brown keeps insisting he has to read his book.
In the hope of learning the plot of War and Peace faster, Charlie Brown goes to a store and asks if they have War and Peace in the form of a comic book, a "tape or cassette," a computer game or a film strip, but the store does not have any of those things.
Charlie Brown goes back home to read his book, when Peppermint Patty calls and invites him to dancing lessons for her party. Charlie Brown says he has to read his book, but can watch them practice dancing. When Charlie Brown gets there, he gets distracted and starts dancing with Peppermint Patty. Charlie Brown then decides he is making too much of a fuss over his book, that he will be able to come to Peppermint Patty's party, and will take the Little Red-Haired Girl.
He then goes over to the Little Red-Haired Girl's house with Linus to put a letter in her mail slot, inviting her to the party. He gets his hand caught in the mail slot but she does not respond to all the noise he makes, so he assumes she does not want to come with him.
Charlie Brown takes his book to the party, so that he can read it during the evening. The children play musical chairs. Peppermint Patty sings a musical chairs song during the game. Eventually, she and Charlie Brown are the only ones left; but at the very last second, she beats him.
Charlie Brown goes outside to read his book. He starts reading then falls asleep as it begins snowing. Everyone else is watching the Times Square Ball drop on TV, when there is a knock on the door. It is Heather, the Little Red-Haired Girl, and she dances with Linus.
Charlie Brown wakes up at midnight, due to everyone's singing "Auld Lang Syne". Peppermint Patty then yells at Charlie Brown saying due to him sleeping, she was the only one standing alone at midnight. Before Charlie Brown can answer, Sally comes over and yells at him, that she did not get to dance with Linus, her Sweet Babboo, like she wanted to; because Linus was too busy dancing with the Little Red-Haired Girl. That shocks Charlie Brown, who discovers that the Little Red Haired Girl was at the party and he missed her. Charlie Brown then goes out the door to see if he can still see her, but he cannot (because she left before, at, or after midnight). Marcie comes over to him, kisses him, and wishes him a happy new year. Snoopy's bird friends come in with signs that read "NEW", "HAPPY", and "YEAR!" Snoopy growls at them to get the phrase right and they put the words into their proper positions.
At the end of the special, Charlie Brown gets back his report on War and Peace. He receives a grade of D-minus, because the teacher says that "it looks like it was written on the very last night of Christmas vacation", which it was. Linus then prepares Charlie Brown for his next assignment, reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, causing him to faint in his desk.
- Chad Allen - Charlie Brown
- Sean Collins - Charlie Brown (singing voice)
- Jeremy Miller - Linus van Pelt
- Melissa Guzzi - Lucy van Pelt
- Tiffany Billings- Lucy van Pelt (singing voice)
- Kristie Baker - Peppermint Patty
- Jason Mendelson - Marcie
- Elizabeth Lyn Fraser - Sally Brown
- Aron Mandelbaum - Schroeder
- Bill Melendez - Snoopy/Woodstock
- This is the second special in which the Little Red-Haired Girl appears, after first appearing in It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown. In both specials she is given the name Heather and looks the same.
- War and Peace was Schulz's favorite book.
- The special is dedicated, "To The Loving Memory of Bernie Gruver", a designer on You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown who was killed in a car crash prior to its release.
- Despite the special airing in 1986, the copyright date is 1985.
- Despite having no speaking parts, Rerun appears in the special, mainly in the scene where he helps Linus and Lucy blow up balloons for the New Year's party. All attempts fail, as he ends up blowing the balloons to where they resemble cubes instead of spheres.