Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I may have identified a little too strongly with Pig Pen as well

Last night at the Bloggers'...

"Honeeeeeeeyyyyyy hurry!"

"I'm coming!"

"But you're gonna miss the beginning!"


"It's starting!"

"I can't hear you!"

"Where are you???"


"Oh, ok, sorry!"

"Plus we own it on DVD anyway!"

"But it's not the same!"

"All right all right, I'm coming!"

I get a little obsessed when A Charlie Brown Christmas comes on. It just doesn't feel like Christmas without it. When we lived in London and I found out THEY DON'T SHOW IT EVERY YEAR, I just about had to go into a detox program. Thank god for DVDs.

So to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its original airing, here are some fun facts for you (gathered from many sources):

First animated Peanuts special.

The actors (all children) learned their lines phonetically, often not knowing what they meant, which led to the now familiar Peanuts delivery-style.

Linus' "the true meaning of Christmas" quote is Luke 2:8-14 from the King James translation of the Bible.

The version of the show broadcast on CBS-TV until 1997 and older video releases are edited; they leave out a scene where the gang throws snowballs at a can on a fence.

The original broadcast included some brief animated sections which included the logo of Coca-Cola, the show's original sponsor. These have been edited out of subsequent broadcasts and the video release. Right after the opening title, Linus (or Charlie Brown, sources disagree) crashed into a sign advertising Coca-Cola after being tossed by Snoopy. (Look at current versions and you'll notice that we never see where Linus lands!) The closing carol originally included the complete verse (instead of fading out) with a final on-screen "Merry Christmas from your local bottler of Coca-Cola" right after the United Feature Syndicate credit at the end.

Won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Children's Program", and a Peabody Award for excellence in programming.

During his famed speech, Linus, who is well known to be dependent on his "Security Blanket", actually lets go of it when he recites these words: "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy".

Broke many of the rules prevalent for animated holiday specials during the 1960s: it didn't make use of a laugh track; real children were used for the character voices instead of adult actors imitating children's voices; and Biblical references were used to illustrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Just before her remarks about Christmas being a big commercial racket, Lucy refers to Charlie Brown simply as "Charlie". This is the only time she does this in any of the TV specials; every other time it's "Charlie Brown".

Everyone loves it, but the execs at CBS thought it would be a flop!

I think it's genius. And I always will.

I love everything about it. Think about it...a children's special with a kid who has a "Psychiatric Help" booth? A little girl who wants real estate for Christmas? A dog who gets first place in a "Lights and Display Contest"?

Plus have you noticed how Schroeder was one hot piano playin' fool? (I'm glad he could never be swayed by Lucy...she's not good enough for him!)

And every time they have the Christmas play rehearsal scene, which frankly consists of nothing but them all dancing to "Linus and Lucy" (go listen to it right now...I defy you not to smile!), I have to imitate each character's unique dance. My favorite is Sally's ska-like throwdown.

Tell me you don't get choked up when Linus says that the Charlie Brown tree just needs a little love. (And whoever thought of this...although they appear to be sold my kinda people!)

It just makes me HAPPY. Simple as that.

My kids will one day watch this show with me and want to know why Mommy MAKES them watch it every year. Then they'll get it. And they'll love it too.

If they don't, they're going to have to watch it anyway. Mom's rules.


Blogger emily said...

You're such a DORK!

ok, well maybe i like the special too, just a little bit! i love the linus and lucy song though and have you ever noticed that when people find out you play piano they ALWAYS ask if you can play that song?

3:24 PM  
Anonymous mom said...

My rule too. I'm thrilled you love it as much as I do. You're my own Snoopy. You must tell about playing the part in one of your blogs.

As far as I know, it's the only jazz music you've ever liked.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous M-I-L said...

I think I might have to buy a copy of the DVD for your step-kids for Christmas! Whatdya think of the idea? ;-D

1:23 AM  
Blogger sit-slake-stir said...

Never seen it. Didn't know of it. Wouldn't have a clue what you're talking about.

But I'm sure it's every bit as amazing as you say it is.

Getting your kinds into a tradition is great. I hope they like it.


5:07 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

What amazes me about the Charlie Brown Christmas special is how classic it is, how modern, how relevant. It's not sticky sweet. It amazes me that in that time they produced a Christmas special touched by cynicism and the blues and backed by a jazz soundtrack.

I love it too. We have it too. But we haven't watched it yet...Maybe this weekend.

10:39 AM  

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