A Charlie Brown Christmas is a staple of the holiday viewing of many Americans. The 1965 special will hit television screens this Tuesday, December 2 on ABC, mere days after the Peanuts‘ Thanksgiving program aired.
As MediaPost Weekend reports, the antics of the Peanuts gang and the iconic wilted Christmas tree were not instant hits. CBS executives were not fans of the special, until the ratings came in. Even Lee Mendelson and his fellow executive producers Charles Schulz and Bill Melendez questioned whether the program hit the mark.
“[The CBS executives] just didn’t, for whatever reason, like the show. The first thing they said was: ‘Well, it’s going to go on next week. There’s nothing we can do about it,’ but I remember them saying it will probably be the first and last Charlie Brown show…. They thought it was too slow, they didn’t like the jazz music so much on a Christmas show — in other words, these were all creative things that they didn’t like.”
The show has become such a classic that, despite its age, it gets two prime-time slots this year. In addition to airing December 2, it will also broadcast on December 16.
The Thanksgiving special, which aired last week, shares an interesting connection with A Charlie Brown Christmas. Linus, who was voiced by Chris Shea in the Christmas special, was voiced by his brother, Stephen Shea, in the Thanksgiving program. As viewers will probably remember, it is Linus who gives the “true meaning of Christmas” speech in response to Charlie Brown’s exasperation.
Linus, apparently the storyteller of the Peanuts gang, recounted the first Thanksgiving for that special.
Lee Mendelson also revealed that he was overruled on an important point in the Thanksgiving program. As The Washington Post reports, Mendelson did not agree with Woodstock, the bird of the group and Snoopy’s friend, feasting on turkey.
“I always objected to Woodstock eating the turkey, but I was overruled by my partners.”
The Inquisitr recently published a piece about the upcoming Peanuts movie, due to be released next year, which will mark the 50-year anniversary of the Christmas special and the 65th anniversary of the comic strip.
There is a big family legacy at work in the new movie. The Peanuts comic was originally drawn by Charles Schulz, who would have been 92 last Wednesday when the Thanksgiving special aired. His son and grandson, Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz, are working behind the scenes in writing and producing roles along with Cornelius Uliano and Paul Feig.
[A Charlie Brown Christmas Image: Google]