From the Archives: The Rabbit-Trailer’s Soundtrack

August 4, 2008 @ 5:20 am | Filed under: , ,

Originally posted March 28, 2005

B000000pg301_scmzzzzzzz_Yesterday my kids pulled out a CD we used to listen to all the time: the soundtrack to Snoopy: The Musical. This was a play I loved as a teenager, when it was performed by some friends at a different high school. I had a crackly tape recording of a dress rehearsal which my sisters and I listened to ad nauseum. We had, after all, outgrown the soundtrack to Annie by then, and I had yet to discover the melodramatic satisfaction that is Les Miz.

So when Jane was five or six and I, for no particular reason, found myself humming one of the dear old Snoopy songs, I hunted around online and found a recording. Ah, the bliss of Google! My tiny girls loved the album, as I knew they would. A singing dog! A boy named Linus! A squeaky-voiced Sally belting out tongue-twisters!

Later, as the girls grew, they connected to Snoopy on different terms. One of our favorite songs on the album, “Clouds,” is like a theme song for homeschoolers. Charlie Brown and the gang are lying around looking at the sky, and someone asks Charlie Brown what he sees in the clouds.

“I see a—” he begins, but Sally cuts him off to sing that she sees: “A mermaid riding on a unicorn.” Peppermint Patty sees “an angel blowing on a big long horn.” Linus, ever my favorite, is a visionary. “I see Goliath, half a mile tall, waving at me….what do you see?”

Poor Charlie Brown. How can he get an answer in edgewise? Lucy sees a team of fifty milk-white horses; Patty sees a dinosaur; Linus sees Prometheus, waving; Snoopy, grandiose as always, sees the Civil War. The entire Civil War.

You could spend a year rabbit-trailing your way through this song. The Peanuts kids know their history, I’ll give ’em that. (Although they seem to hit a bit of a roadblock when it comes to a certain American poet/storyteller, as evinced by their poor classroom performance in the hilarous song “Edgar Allen Poe,” elsewhere on the album.) When these kids gaze at the clouds, they see Caesar crossing the Rubicon, the Fall of Rome, and even all twelve apostles, waving at Linus.

Linus: “The Pyramid of Khufu!”

Sally: “You too?”

All but Charlie Brown: “Seven Wonders of the World…”

For our family, this is a song of reciprocal delights. Some of these cloud-tableaux are historical events the girls already knew about, and the idea of Snoopy beholding an entire war sculpted in cumulus is irresistibly funny. Some events are things my kids first encountered in the song. When, years later, we read about the Rubicon in A Child’s History of the World, there were gasps of delighted recognition from everyone including the then-two-year-old. Click, another connection is made.

So I was happy to hear the Peanuts gang belting away once more yesterday afternoon. It has been a couple of years since last they regaled us with their splendid visions. The girls have encountered more of the world, more of the past, and so they have more to connect with in the lyrics of Charlie Brown’s imaginative friends.

As for Charles, alas. The gang, having at long last exhausted the gamut of grand happenings to see in the heavens, demand of Charlie, “Well, what do you see?”

Says Charlie, glumly (and you probably remember the punchline from the Sunday funnies when you were a kid): “I was going to say a horsie and a ducky, but I changed my mind.”

(Cue hysterical laughter from little girls. Every. Single. Time.)

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9 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Jennye says:

    I loved Snoopy as a teen and have the sheet music around here somewhere. Poor Sweet Baby is a favorite bedtime song. I personally am very partial to Edgar Allen Poe. Poor Charlie Brown (“Wrote Cock Robin and My Darling Clementine”) You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown gets its fair share though with Suppertime as a prominant favorite.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Wow. I just LOVED (still do) Snoopy the Musical. We didn’t have a vcr when I was younger (I’m showing my age) but we set up a tape recorder next to the tv to record the sound at least, and listened to it sooooo many times over the years. The Edgar Allan Poe song earned me an A in 8th grade English when we had to memorize ALL these trivial details about SO many poets — looking at Edgar Allan, I realized I already KNEW his info from the correct lines of the song… so I made up a verse for each poet using the same tune and it was so easy! My all time favorite though is the one about “I Know Now…”. I was always dreaming my way into my memories and thinking what I would do over, knowing what I know now. Awesome musical, and rates right up there with Les Miz, in my opinion. ;o) Musical, kid-style! :o)

  3. Jamie says:

    Is this the musical with a song with the term “plum by gum” in it? I know totally random question. What is that song??

  4. Melissa Wiley says:

    Jamie: YES! It’s from the super-adorable song “Don’t Be Anything Less than Everything You Can Be,” which I can be heard belting in the shower upon occasion.

    “Don’t be the stick if you can be the drum.
    Don’t be the sugar if you can be the plum by gum.
    You can break a stick but the drum will beat;
    Without a sugar coat plums are good to eat!
    It’s better to be the drum and the plum and the coat and the boat and the bird and the sky and the tree, and the deep blue sea!”

    Rebecca: Edgar Allen Poe is my favorite. And it’s the girls’ favorite to sing. 🙂 Somewhere, we have video of a hilarious spontaneous group performance by my girls and Alice Gunther’s.

  5. Molly says:

    Well, now that I have all of those songs running through my head, I’m going to have to buy a copy of the soundtrack. We used to watch the cartoon musical as kids and my brother and I knew all of the words to every song by heart. “It was a dark and stormy morning…it was a dark and stormy night…night? Right. When suddenly a ….” Thanks. Total deja vu going on here.

  6. patience says:

    I’ve never heard of this before. But I can tell you that, come the festive season, Snoopy’s Christmas always makes me cry.

    Goodness me, this is the first time I’ve wished I was American! Only Snoopy could be responsible for inspiring such a thought in me 😉

  7. Jamie says:

    Melissa!! LOL YES that’s it!! I taught that song to a group of 5th graders at a little Catholic school in the middle of no where NY during a Practicum when I was in college….More than ten years ago. I was trying to remember the other day what that song was and all I could remember is something about plum by gum and it had something to do with Snoopy LOL. Thanks!

  8. mamacrow says:

    never heard the album, but have most of the books of collected comic scripts and always loved this one… sums up Charlie Brown for me, poor thing!