Monday, September 24, 2012

A Neat Idea, Awkwardly Represented: The 2012 Onstage Antics Ornament Is a Fair Peanuts Ornament.

The Good: Good sound chip, Decent light effect, Good sculpt  
The Bad: Inconsistent detailing, Movement upsets the balance, Seems overpriced
The Basics: The "Onstage Antics" ornament from the Peanuts line is a problematically inconsistent ornament

Price can be the determining factor that takes an average ornament and makes it only fair. Overpriced ornaments, when they truly are, are the few that make me disappointed over the inconsistencies in an ornament. Sadly, this year’s Onstage Antics ornament is one such ornament. Onstage Antics is from the Peanuts line and it is a good idea that is executed in a poor way, resulting in lowered overall value. And yet, this is one of the most expensive ornaments for the 2012 ornament season.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, "Onstage Antics" takes a moment from A Charlie Brown Christmas and immortalizes it as a Hallmark Keepsake ornament. Honestly, though, I have not seen the Charlie Brown Christmas special in years, so I do not remember this specific moment in it. The ornament captures Schroeder, Snoopy and Charlie Brown on stage rocking out.

Loaded with light, sound and movement, Onstage Antics recreates the stage that the main Peanuts gang gets rambunctious on.


The "Onstage Antics" ornament recreates the moment Schroeder and Snoopy (and presumably the rest of the gang) cut loose while Charlie Brown attempts to direct his peets. The ornament features the three main characters on stage. The ornament also features a half-dome background and on that background are supplemental characters: Linus, Pigpen, Sally and someone else silkscreened on. The ornament, released in 2012, is a neat that is overpriced after its flaws are taken into account. This Peanuts ornament features both a sound and light function, as well as powered movement.

Hallmark made a clear effort on "Onstage Antics" by having this busy ornament attempt to create almost the entire stage. Measuring three and a half inches tall, four and three-eighths inches wide and 2 1/2” deep, the "Onstage Antics" ornament is one of the largest and most animated Peanuts ornaments. Hallmark has another pricy Peanuts ornaments this year – the “Bobbing For Apples” ornament is $24.95 – so the $34.95 initial price tag is higher than most collectors are likely to want!

The Hallmark "Onstage Antics" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the three children looking out at the person looking at the ornament. Charlie Brown stands on stage right, rolling his eyes, a director’s megaphone in his left hand. Snoopy is in the center of the stage with a guitar in his hand and Schroeder sits on the floor at his piano. Charlie Brown seems oddly underdetailed in comparison to the rest of the characters and even the backdrop. The dome gives this ornament a very clear front and back. For the other two, they look like little three-dimensional models of the two characters. Hallmark similarly gets away with not having proper flesh tones because this ornament is based upon a cartoon where the fleshtones are not realistic at all.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "Onstage Antics" has both a light effect and a sound effect. This ornament uses batteries, which come with it. Pressing the button on the front bottom of the stage causes the light, sound, and movement effect to activate! This might be a simple special effect, but it looks absolutely awesome. When the button is pressed, an overhead light comes on over the stage.

The sound effect is music and I am unfamiliar with the special to know how accurate it is, but it sounds wonderful. At the same time, Schroeder and Snoopy jerk back and forth like little animatronic figures and that is a very cool effect. This is one of the most active ornaments Hallmark has ever created . . .


. . . unfortunately, all that movement causes the Onstage Antics ornament to rock and sway and it throws off the ornament’s balance. The Onstage Antics ornament has the standard hook loop on top of the stage dome. From there, is hangs with a slight bias to the left, as Snoopy and Schroeder are more to that side than center. When the effect is activated, it causes the whole ornament to lurch and that is unfortunate. For as neat as the effect is, it is a poorly engineered ornament.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of virtually everything that has ever had collectibles associated with it (and some that Hallmark has pioneered). The "Onstage Antics" ornament had very broad appeal as A Charlie Brown Christmas was almost universally popular from the first time it aired through contemporary times. Despite that, this is far too expensive an ornament to seem to be a reasonable investment piece. I’ve not found a single Hallmark store where this ornament has sold out.


A great idea with initially cool features, the “Onstage Antics" ornament is undone by its hefty price tag and problematic balance/the effect from its feature.

For other Peanuts holiday ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2012 Fisherman Snoopy
2011 Snoopy Claus
2011 Ho! Ho! Ho! Tasty Snow!
2010 "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"
2009 Just The Right Tree


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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