A Charlie Brown Christmas

December 9, 2005 — 5 Comments

There is no time in my life that I don’t remember “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It’s always been there, every year. I first watched it sitting on my dad’s lap, back when my two brothers and I were small enough to all fit in one La-Z-Boy with him–one kid in the nook beside each armrest and one kid in the middle.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” turns 40 this year… It’s been around so long, I’ve never bothered to think about what made it a classic–what differentiates it from a thousand other tales of animated giving and golden rules and striped-y stockings with silver bell soundtracks. But in 1965, execs thought the show was “defiantly different.”

When CBS bigwigs saw a rough cut of A Charlie Brown Christmas in November 1965, they hated it.

“They said it was slow,” executive producer Lee Mendelson remembers with a laugh. There were concerns that the show was almost defiantly different: There was no laugh track, real children provided the voices, and there was a swinging score by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi.

Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez fretted about the insistence by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz that his first-ever TV spinoff end with a reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke by a lisping little boy named Linus.

“We told Schulz, ‘Look, you can’t read from the Bible on network television,’ ” Mendelson says. “When we finished the show and watched it, Melendez and I looked at each other and I said, ‘We’ve ruined Charlie Brown.’ “

Good grief, were they wrong. The first broadcast was watched by almost 50% of the nation’s viewers. “When I started reading the reviews, I was absolutely shocked,” says Melendez, 89. “They actually liked it!”

Read more HERE.

Read the USAToday article HERE.

(HT: HughHewitt.com)

Pat Callahan

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I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I make my music in the sun.

5 responses to A Charlie Brown Christmas

  1. When I first saw "Charlie Brown" I was a very young mother. I watch it with my son and thought how happy I would be if my son turned out to be as nice and have as good of heart like Charlie did. Later my son and I became such fans that we even rescued our own little Christmas tree and loved it almost more than any we have had since. Thank God for Charlie Brown and good memories. Merry Christmas everybody!

  2. I caught the last 10 minutes of the show the other day. I hadn't seen it in quite a few years (though I watched it every year as a kid). It was better than ever!

  3. Hey Vickie and Sara…Thanks for the comments. I love "A Cahrlie Brown Christmas" and even watch it with my kids!You can't beat the moment when Linus walks off stage and says, "And that's what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown." A great television moment and reminder about what it's really all about.-Pat

  4. Scott Sailor, EdD AT December 13, 2005 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for bringing up this issue regarding the mainstream media and media executives. It has only gotten worse since 1965. Today "we" are told what we like. Media executives think they can convince us to like something (aka think a certain way) based on how they promote a particular product (e.g., movie, book, television program) but they are finding out that they have misread us.Some particular evidence into this "misreading" in the movie industry includes The Passion of the Christ and probably Narnia. Here we see that when Hollywood thinks something doesn't fit their "mold" and it won't work, they can be wrong.I have been heard to say before that this is also evidenced in the death penalty issue just resolved in California. The liberal media "tells" us that California is against the death penalty. Actual polls of the residents of California indicate that over half of the citizens are in favor of a death penalty.My point is our "view" of the World cannot come from the media. We have to have trusted sources of information. If we are to believe the time-proven adage that in five years we will reflect the people we associate with and the books we read then we better make sure these are credible grounded sources of information.This is one of the strongest arguments for Christian fellowship. It is vital to our health (i.e., spiritual, physical, mental) that we have brothers and sisters who challenge us with The Word as they challenge themselves with The Word. Associate with Christ and read The Holy Bible and see how it changes you in the next five years. I guarantee you will like the outcome.

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