Competing ‘Peanuts’ Specials for Thanksgiving

It’s just the kind of dilemma that would befall Charlie Brown, he of the anemic Christmas tree, the rock in the trick or treat bag, the unrequited love for a little red haired girl.

The problem is this: Having two holiday specials on TV – but playing opposite one another.

Tonight a brand new “Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown” (Fox, 8;30 p.m.), a straight to DVD feature making its U.S. TV debut tonight, was put together from old Charles Schulz strips (but done after the death of the artist – and the first to be completed without the animator who put his “Peanuts” strips to life in TV animation, Bill Melendez, who died in 2008.

Still, there’s a gag writer at its core, Stephan Pastis of “Pearls Before Swine.” And Schulz son helped produce it. It’s a special that’s careful enough to match the 60s specials such that it actually uses old footage as flashbacks. But the music this time out isn’t Vince Guaraldi (who died in1976), but Mark Mothersbaugh – of Devo.

The night’s other “Peanuts” special is the actually vintage. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (ABC 8 p.m.) originally aired in 1973 and for the past several years has been filled out to an hour with the addition of the “Mayflower Voyages” segment from the “This is America, Charlie Brown” miniseries.

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