I’m not done playing devil’s advocate with what I thought were recollections of a past life. Far from it.
I don’t know how old I was when I first saw “Bon Voyage Charlie Brown,” a slightly obscure Peanuts movie. It was on an old VHS of other stuff my parents or grandparents had taped, probably between 1984 and 1986. In it, several of the Peanuts gang travel to England and France after Charlie Brown gets a mysterious invitation.
The invitation turns out to be from a girl who lives in a chateau with a cranky old man who doesn’t want Charlie and his friends around. Later on it’s revealed that the reason for the invitation was that Charlie’s grandfather, one Silas Brown, had met the little girl’s grandmother.
It’s a movie I have forgotten about twice but maybe it’s been more influential than I gave it credit for.
For example, I already knew what a Citroen 2cv looked like (the cars had made an impression on me as a kid living in Spain in the 80s) but this movie no doubt kept my longing for one alive until I finally got one in 2000.
I already wanted to see the UK and France (any number of things could have fed into that) but I think this film enhanced that a little when I was younger. In fact when I finally got the chance at age 16 (a little while after I got my Citroen) I had a wave of nostalgia for this film after all but forgetting about it.
Also, there’s just something about the reveal at the end; there’s not even a hint about reincarnation and the events prior to the film took place in WW2, not WWI, but there’s something about the mood of the scene that makes me wonder if there wasn’t a degree of cryptomnesia.
Oh, yes, then there’s Snoopy and his roleplaying as an American GI which to my younger mind no doubt ran together with his WWI flying ace schtick. Though I do have to wonder, if it was Snoopy to blame all along, why didn’t I seem to recall the glamorous life of a pilot instead of the gritty life of an infantryman?
Watch the film and judge for yourself if it was all childish nonsense that percolated out of a half-forgotten animated feature.