Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Charlie Brown Christmas


I have been a Peanuts fan since I was a peanut myself.  I was an avid follower of Schulz.  Peanuts was the first comic strip I read in the Comics each Sunday.  I saved my money and bought the paperback collections of Peanuts and read them over and over again.  I still have the hard bound Peanuts Treasure on my bookcase.  The pages are barely hanging to the binding.  I wore it out three decades ago.

It was A Charlie Brown Christmas that I first heard voices of the Peanut characters...and the voices fit.  After seeing this special, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy had a voice.  Each time I read a comic strip, I heard them speak in the voice they were given on film.  It was A Charlie Brown Christmas that I first grownups given trombone wah-wah voices.  It was also very unusual hearing jazz as the soundtrack for a cartoon - unusual but it fit. Vince Guaraldi gave a wonderful atmosphere that stuck.
A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired on CBS on December 9, 1965.  It was so much more than a kid's cartoon.  As a young child of eight, I empathized with Charlie Brown.  I followed the story and related to his relationship with his peers.  The story was endearing and my young mind took in every frame of it.  Schulz unfolded a bitter-sweet story with a climax of Linus explaining the true meaning of Christmas.  

CBS executives were horrified that a television special would have such a blatant Christian message. Producer Bill Melendez tried to talk Schulz out of using Biblical references.  Schulz reportedly won him over by saying, "If we don't do it, who will?"  As it turned out, Linus' recitation was hailed as one of the most powerful moments in this highly acclaimed special.

These days there's a more anti-Christian/politically correct stance within the media.  A show like A Charlie Brown Christmas would be possible today.  I'm glad Sparky did do it!  To this day I am moved by this artful piece of animation.  A Charlie Brown Christmas is a timeless work for both young and old and generations to come.

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