A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

This half-hour Christmas show is one of the truly lovable animated specials in TV history, a status proved by its annual network telecast since 1965. A Charlie Brown Christmas was the first, and best, of a series of programs based on the Charles M. Schulz cartoon strip “Peanuts.” Hapless hero Charlie Brown finds himself depressed at Christmastime, searching for the true meaning of the holiday amidst the glitz and commercialism of the modern age. Appointed director of the school holiday pageant, Charlie Brown ventures out with Linus to buy “a great, big, shiny aluminum Christmas tree.” Instead they bring back a miserable tree–a real one. A Charlie Brown Christmas shows off the “Peanuts” gang doing what they do best: Lucy is bossy, Snoopy is crazy, Linus is sweet, and Pig Pen is, well, filthy. Instead of using adult actors trying to sound like kids, the production features real children providing the voices, an endearing effect. The jazz music score, composed by Vince Guaraldi, has become a classic in its own right; like so much about this program, it’s an unexpected but perfectly right choice.

Perhaps the most endearing of all the Charlie Brown specials is “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, the first in a long series of made for t.v. half hour films portraying the famous Peanuts Gang.

For almost forty years, watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been an eagerly anticipated event for millions of households. I recall watching it as far back as twenty-two years ago, and have watched it every Christmas since.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” was made in a time when commercialism was running rampant all over the country. Stores advertising to shoppers what they ought to buy, long before Thanksgiving had come and gone. Unfortunately, we still see this blatant commercialism today, which makes this short film so very poignant and all the more special.

Charlie Brown is assigned to direct the school Christmas pageant, much to his glee; for he feels accepted and worthy. When Lucy tells him to go out and get an alumminum tree, he takes Linus along with him. What Charlie Brown ultimately gets is a small, sickly looking tree, which is rapidly loosing its needles. But, Charlie can see how much the tree “needs him”, somebody; something which he can identity with.

When he returns, he finds the gang dancing to un-Christmas like music, instead of rehearsing their lines. They stop to take a look at the tree he brought, immediately burtsing out in mocking laughter. Apparently Charlie Brown has failed again. In disgust and humiliation he flees, taking the tree with him. And when he comes upon Snoopy’s dog house, all decked out in Christmas lights, not to celebrate the joyous holiday, but to win money in a contest, Charlie Brown has had enough, and almost loses all faith in Christmas.

Linus saves the day, somehow able to bring the tree back to life, and make it look much healthier and stronger. But it is when he explains the meaning of Christmas that the “gang” gets the point of Christmas, and what Charlie Brown was trying to do.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” ends with newfound meaning for Christmas, hopefully not soon forgotten by either the Peanuts Gang, or, more importantly … us.

Click here to purchase this from Amazon.com – A Charlie Brown Christmas

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1 Comment »

  1. […] littleredbus wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptThis half-hour bChristmas/b show is one of the truly lovable animated specials in TV history, a status proved by its annual network telecast since 1965. A Charlie Brown bChristmas/b was the first, and best, of a series of programs based on b…/b […]


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