Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang returned to the big screen for a third feature in 1977. Having already tackled the National Spelling Bee (in 1969ís A Boy Named Charlie Brown) and a lost dog (1972ís Snoopy, Come Home), the lovable loser with the round head took on his greatest challenge yet: summer camp.
In 1977's Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Woodstock and the others join Charlie for a week of comic misadventures in the wilderness. Like any good summer camp movie, the shenanigans start almost immediately. While Snoopy (always the superstar) dominates the campís athletic events, Chuck gets stuck with an unfriendly camper as a bunkmate.
As the week goes on, a group of bullies set themselves up as the Peanuts gang's arch-rivals, daring Charlie Brown and company to take them on in the campís climactic rafting race. The Peanuts kids pit their own handmade raft against the bulliesí professionally-crafted ship, with only persistence and good fortune to carry them through dangerous rapids, wild animals and the bulliesí underhanded tactics. Good grief!
As with all the Charlie Brown movies and television specials, Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz wrote the script for Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown himself. Frequent Charlie Brown director Bill Melendez co-directed with Phil Roman, while Ed Bogas scored the film with a backwoods country feeling (but no dueling banjos).
Camp competition and a rousing finale made Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown one of the most popular Peanuts films, showing up regularly in summer movie matinees in theaters across the country. After the thrill of victory wore off, Chuck, Snoopy and the gang returned for one more feature encore in 1980, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!)