This year marks the 40th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas. (Be sure to catch it on Tuesday, December 6th or on Friday, December 16th (8pm EST/PST, 7pm CST) on ABC.) In the meantime, don’t miss this neat article from WFAA in Fort-Worth, TX.
It offers some neat insights from Charles Schulz’s wife and interesting trivia about the show, including the fact that the special almost never made it to air in the first place:
The show wasn’t well received by the suits at CBS, according to the book A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition. After watching a screening, they were so unimpressed that they decided to not let the Time magazine critic see it – even though he was waiting out in the hall.
Quietly panicking, executive producer Lee Mendelson spoke up. “Won’t it be worse if we don’t show it to him?” he asked.
The execs relented, and the critic loved it. His review called it “one children’s special this season that bears repeating.” Which, of course, it has.
And as a backlash seems to be swelling in this country about the extreme secularization of Christmas, it is quite refreshing to see the wisdom and courage of Mr. Schulz when it came to including Linus’s little speech (still my favorite part):
Even back in the 1960s, the idea of including Scripture from the book of Luke was controversial. When, according to Making of a Tradition, Mr. Melendez suggested that it seemed too religious and they shouldn’t do it, Mr. Schulz replied, “If we don’t do it, who else can?” If he was going to do a Christmas special, he said, it was going to include religion.
Candace Hackett Schively, who was part of the choir of kids singing the opening and closing numbers (“Christmastime is Here” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”) once wrote a letter to Mr. Schulz. She said, “I cannot listen to the King James version of the Christmas story without hearing Linus’ voice adding, ‘… and that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.’ “
Read the full article by Darla Atlas here and don’t miss the recent post by Kim about the Charlie Brown Christmas tree offered by Urban Outfitters. (I am happy to say that we are now the proud owners of a tree that just needed a little love.)