"Snoopy the Musical," an animated special airing tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS (Channels 2 and 8), casually trashes the qualities that made "Peanuts" so popular. (It's adapted from the play "Snoopy!!!," which was based on the comic strip.)
The world Charles Schulz created in his strip was innocent, insouciant, whimsical and warm; "Snoopy" is calculated, self-conscious, labored and inept. Although trimmed to fit an hour time slot, the show still seems to last as long as a summer cold.
Larry Grossman (music) and Hal Hackaday (lyrics) have written songs that the author of "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" would be embarrassed to put on paper. "Don't be the moo/If you can be the cow/Don't be the furrow/If you can be the plow" is supposed to offer a message about living up to your full potential.
Nor do the songs seem appropriate for the characters. Snoopy's ingenuous fantasies of glory have been turned into a paean to greed. Looking up at the clouds, Peppermint Patty--who regularly receives "D-minuses" on her schoolwork--sees "The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel." As there isn't anything for the cartoon figures to do while the voice actors sing, director Sam Jiames uses clips from earlier shows and old silent movies in an unsuccessful attempt to provide some visual diversion.