A Charlie Brown Christmas

CharlieBrownChristmasSuggested by Brad Nelson • Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas. While directing a school Christmas play, he learns a thing or two from his friend, Linus.
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TrailerSuggest a video • (695 views)

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2 Responses to A Charlie Brown Christmas

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Can you believe that this video dates back to 1965? It isn’t in the least dated…other than the fact that Lucy isn’t dropping any f-bombs.

    Perhaps the most enduring aspects of this is the masterful soundtrack. If you don’t have that in your Christmas collection, you get a lump of coal.

    This remains an odd-ball animated cartoon. You can hear the shivers from the atheists today as I’m sure you could back then. Any mention of the actual meaning of Christmas was considered verboten, especially by the CBS executives who commissioned this from Schulz. They were horrified at the idea of an animated Christmas special with a blatant Christian message:

    Lights, please.

    “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them: ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men’.”

    That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

    This is micro-aggression if not downright hate speech. But Schultz would not relent. And to the surprise of nearly everyone involved, this program was a huge hit and continues to be a hit to this day.

    According to info at IMDB, this holiday special was unique in that it did not use a laugh track, used children for the character voices (as opposed to adults, which was the usual), and had actual Biblical references. The director, Bill Melendez, tried to talk Schulz out of the Biblical references to no avail. Shultz told him, “If we don’t do it, who will?”

    Well…absolutely no one, for the most part.

    An interesting note about one of the tracks is that producer Lee Mendelson wrote the lyrics for Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time is Here” and his son Glenn, along with his then sixth-grade class, sang the vocals.

    And according to trivia at IMDB.com, the US Postal Service issued a set of ten postage stamps with various scenes from the TV special, to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Ooops. That certainly breached the separation between church and state.

    I watched this recently with my brothers, including my older brother’s foster child. He liked Snoopy. But who doesn’t?

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I certainly saw this at the time, and can remember the basic point (all the other kids were treating Christmas as a regular holiday — playing modern music on the set (with Schroeder abandoning his beloved Beethoven) while Snoopy, if I recall correctly, won a prize for decorating his doghouse. Linus’s key scene shows up periodically on conservative blog sites.

      You can probably still do that today, but not at a major network. There are so many things like that. The Bob Rivers Comedy Group in its first Christmas novelty CD (Twisted Christmas) has the song “Foreigners” (to the tune of “Angels We Have Heard on High”) that attacks illegal immigration and at one point even refers to them as “illegal aliens”. (It also points out where this leads: they “take jobs from Americans.”) Where could this be done today?

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