A Charlie Brown Christmas: Christmas (and life) in 25 minutes

As the festive season draws to a close for another year we take a look at the enduring Charles Schultz Christmas classic.

Today I have decided to write a post on one of the greatest Christmas classics: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

I am talking about the first musical animated television special based on The Peanuts. (My personal favorite comic strip of which by the way I am sure I will write about again). It aired on December 9th 1965 and even though the world has changed the infinite wisdom contained in the strip will be relevant for many decades to come (more on at later). Written by the genius that was Charles M. Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000). He was a cartoonist who influenced almost every modern comic strip around and who was a wonderful human being. If you want to know more about him I REALLY recommend the documentary AMERICAN MASTERS Good Ol’ Charles Schulz.

AMERICAN MASTERS | GOOD OL’ CHARLES SCHULZ

A Charlie Brown Christmas was created by Schulz, Produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez.

These are the opening lines of the special

Charlie: (to Linus) I think there must be something wrong with
me. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I might be
getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees
and all that, but I’m still not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m
supposed to feel.

Linus: Charlie Brown, you are the only person I know who can take
a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem.
Maybe Lucy is right. Of all of the Charlie Browns in the world,
you are the Charlie Brownest.

Charlie walks through the snow, thoughtfully. Goes to his
mailbox, pokes head inside. Looks disappointed because it is
empty.

Charlie: Rats! (sad). Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I
know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to
emphasize it?

Violet enters. Reading a Christmas card.

Charlie: Thanks for the Christmas card you sent me Violet
(sarcastic).

Violet: I didn’t send you a Christmas card!

Charlie grumpily shoves his hands into pockets, makes face.

Charlie: Don’t you know sarcasm when you hear it?”

 

If you don´t agree with me that this is just genius and the best comic strip ever then I don´t know what you put in your eggnog!

The special won an Emmy and a Peabody Award. It has been aired traditionally every Christmas season since it´s premiere.

Charlie Brown Christmas Dance

 

Is there a happier dance than the Peanuts Happy Dance?

Here is an educational video on how to dance like that!

The Charlie Brown School of Dance (Peanuts)

The special is one of those few things (like some books) that every time you watch it you get something more out of it. Besides being an out in the open critique on consumerism, you can find a lot of types of personalities and ways to cope with the sometimes overwhelming energy around the Holidays. We have Charlie Brown´s always depressed and pessimistic mood, Linus collaborating attitude and of course we have Lucy. I particularly like her when she is in her 5 cents psychologist booth:

Lucy: (proudly) Well, as they say on TV, “the mere fact that you
realize you need help indicates that you are not too far gone.”
I think we better pinpoint your fears. If we can find out what
you’re afraid of, we can label it.
Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have
hypengyophobia.
How ‘bout cats? If you’re afraid of cats, you have ailurophobia.
Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have
climacophobia.
Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is a fear of the ocean.
Or gephyrophobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges.
Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?

Charlie: What’s pantophobia?

Lucy: The fear of everything.

I have hypengyophobia. And if anyone out there knows the name for fear of taking exams or being evaluated in general, I have that too.

Anyway, the special (and Lucy) take Charlie Brown to direct the Christmas play and find a Christmas tree, and on the way he discovers the true meaning of Christmas, family, loved ones, celebrating the birth of Jesus (for Christians and Catholics) and a time to come together.

The special not only has all of the above, but it has the most spectacular soundtrack for a cartoon EVER!

O Tannenbaum – Charlie Brown Christmas – Vince Guaraldi

A Charlie Brown Christmas is the 5th studio album by the Vince Guaraldi Trio (an American Jazz Club). Now this is the main reason why my favorite cartoon was (and always will be) Charlie Brown and the Peanut gang. Jazz. Although Warner Cartoons had a great classical music soundtrack, Charlie Brown´s (and The Pink Panther) are on a league of their own. The album has original songs and also covers, and it is fantastic. It has been certified as Triple Platinum, with at least 3 million copies. It has been included in the Grammy Hall of Fame and added to the Library of Congress.

We hope you can spare 25 minutes to revisit (or watch for the first time) this wonderful Christmas flick and also from both of us here at MVD we wish you a Merry Christmas!

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