When Charlie Brown's baseball team loses the first Little League game of the season, he becomes convinced that he will never win anything. Linus encourages him to maintain a positive attitude and suggests that people learn more from losing. When Charlie Brown remains morose ("That makes me the smartest person in the world," he says), Linus assures him that he will eventually win at something...but then promptly makes a liar of himself by beating Charlie at a game of tic-tac-toe. That night, Snoopy has a nightmare where he is a World War I flying ace, and is shot down while fighting an aerial battle with an unshown enemy (presumably the Red Baron), and he takes over Charlie Brown's bed. When Charlie Brown stops at Lucy's psychiatric help booth, she prepares slides to show him all of his faults; the experience only leaves him more depressed. On the way to school the next day, Lucy jokingly suggests that Charlie Brown enter the school spelling bee. Linus, however, considers it a good idea and encourages him despite the jeers of Lucy, Violet, and Patty ("Failure Face").
Charlie Brown nervously enters the spelling bee and defeats the other children in his class when he spells insecure, a word he considers his trademark. As Charlie Brown studies for the school championship, he and Linus sing a spelling mnemonic ("I Before E") as Snoopy accompanies them on a Jew's harp. In class the next day, Charlie Brown freezes when challenged with perceive, but he recovers when Snoopy plays the song's accompaniment outside the school. Crowned champion, the other kids cheerfully follow him home and sing ("Champion Charlie Brown"). Lucy proclaims herself his agent, and when his friends suggest that he continue studying, he is confused. They tell him that he must now take part in the National Spelling Bee in New York City, and he is again filled with self-doubt. As Charlie Brown leaves, Linus reluctantly offers him his blanket for good luck, and the other kids cheer him.
Back at home, Linus suffers terrible withdrawal after being separated from his blanket. Unable to withstand it, he pleads with Snoopy to go to New York City and help him recover it. The two meet with an exhausted Charlie Brown at his hotel room, and he apologizes for not knowing where he left Linus' blanket. As Linus checks the New York Public Library in vain, Snoopy engages in a fantasy ice-skating routine at Rockefeller Center. The two reunite and return to Charlie Brown, only to find him absentmindedly using the blanket as a shoe-shine cloth. Ecstatic to have his blanket back, Linus joins Snoopy in the audience as Charlie Brown competes; the other children watch the contest at home on television. One-by-one, the other contestants are eliminated until only Charlie Brown and one other boy remain who looks like "Schroeder". After correctly spelling several words, Charlie Brown is eliminated when he misspells beagle as in B–E–A–G–E–L.
Depressed, Charlie Brown returns home, along with Linus and Snoopy, but unlike the crowd of people that saw them off, no one is there to greet them when their bus pulls in. They trudge home, and the next day, Linus visits Charlie Brown. Sally tells him her brother has been in his room all day with the shades down and refuses to see or talk to anybody. Linus tells Charlie Brown that the other kids missed him at school and that his baseball team finally got their first win of the season, but Charlie Brown says he will never return to school again. As Linus leaves, he points out that the world did not end despite Charlie Brown's failure. Charlie Brown thinks for a moment, gets dressed, and goes outside. He sees the other children playing, and when he spots Lucy as she plays with a football which is the same one he failed to kick earlier, he sneaks up behind her to kick it. She pulls it away before he can, and welcomes him home and the two look at the audience before the screen fades out.
- Snoopy, Come Home (1972)
- Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977)
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) (1980)
- The Peanuts Movie (2015)
Sound Effects Used
- CHARLIE BROWN SCREAM (debut)
- CHARLIE BROWN'S TEACHER SOUND
- H-B SPIN, CARTOON - WACKY SPIN WITH DRUM
- Hollywoodedge, Growl Grumble Comedi PE940801 (Very High Pitched)
- Hollywoodedge, Medium Stretch Pop CRT049304 (Pop sound only)
- Hollywoodedge, Quick Whistle Zip By CRT057504
- Looney Tunes Cartoon Fall Sound (heard whenever a baseball is falling)
- SNOOPY LAUGH
- Sound Ideas, BODYFALL - BODYFALL ON DIRT, HUMAN 01
- Sound Ideas, CARTOON, BONK - SINGLE BONK, LOW
- Sound Ideas, CARTOON, SCI FI - ECHOEY SPACE WHINE 02
- Sound Ideas, CARTOON, SKID - SHORT, LOW SKID
- Sound Ideas, CARTOON, SQUEAK - CONTINUOUS LITTLE SQUEAKS
- Sound Ideas, CARTOON, SQUEAK - SEVERAL RUBBER SQUEAKS, STRETCH
- Sound Ideas, CARTOON, TELEPHONE - PICK UP RECEIVER
- Sound Ideas, CARTOON, TELEPHONE - HANG UP RECEIVER
- Sound Ideas, FALL, BODY - BODY FALL ON FLOOR, HUMAN 01
- Sound Ideas, POOF, CARTOON - FOOF
- Sound Ideas, RICOCHET - CARTOON RICCO 06
- Sound Ideas, RICOCHET - RICCO AND WHINE 04
- Sound Ideas, RICOCHET - THIN RICCO 03
- Sound Ideas, ZIP, CARTOON - QUICK WHISTLE ZIP OUT, HIGH
- WB CARTOON, HEAD SHAKE - TROMBONE GOBBLE
- WB FALL, BODY - BODYFALL WITH GRUNT 01