Many of us baby boomers grew up with "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It was - and still is - a beloved Christmas tradition in many households. What would December be without Linus and his speech about the true meaning of Christmas, or without Charlie Brown's gloom over wrecking the little Christmas tree?
Although you may know "A Charlie Brown Christmas" forward and backward, here is some trivia you may not be aware of ...
Charlie Brown Christmas Trivia
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" was made in 1965. It was the first animated Peanuts special.
Upon first viewing, CBS management was extremely hesitant to air a show with such a blatant Christmas message. They also objected to the lack of a laugh track in the show.
Producer Bill Melendez also felt that "A Charlie Brown Christmas" would flop. He tried to talk creator Charles Schultz out of using the Biblical message, but Schultz reportedly said, "If we don't it, who will?" Melendez was pleasantly surprised when ratings for the show were quite high.
"A Charlie Brown Christmas" is the second longest-running Christmas special on United States network TV (first place goes to "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," which was made a year earlier in 1964).
Charlie Brown's little sister Sally was voiced by Kathy Steinberg, who had not yet learned to read. She had to be "fed" her lines, often just a word or two at a time. That's why she sometimes sounds a bit choppy (for instance, "All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share").
Many have heard the original Biblical Christmas story first through Linus's recitation, which is taken straight from the King James version of the Bible: you'll find it in Luke 2:8-14. You might enjoy noting that Linus, who depends on his beloved security blanket so often, lets go of it as he says the words, "Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy."
Just before Lucy launches into her speech about Christmas being a commercial racket, she refers to Charlie Brown simply as "Charlie." This is the only time in any Peanuts special when he is referred to by his first name only.
The children end the program by working a miracle on Charlie Brown's pitiful little Christmas tree and singing "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Aluminum Christmas trees, highly popular at the time, experienced a decline in sales after their negative portrayal in "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
All together, now: Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!
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