A Charlie Brown Christmas

I watched this last night…gearing up for Christmas…it’s not Christmas without The Peanuts and watching them all dance to “Linus and Lucy.”

The Peanuts were my favorite cartoon growing up and I would never miss their Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Christmas specials. Everyone can relate to Charlie Brown because we all lose more than we win in life. He doesn’t get to kick that football, his dog has more things than he does, and he is forever trying to get the elusive little redhead girl to notice him.

The Peanuts inhabit a kids world where grownups are felt but not heard. At least not in English. I’ve said this before but… Charlie Brown, one day when you grow up… I hope you end up with the little red head girl that you like so much and win just for once…for all of us.

Little Red-Haired Girl | Charlie brown characters, Charlie brown and  snoopy, Charlie brown cartoon

This 1965 special has everything good about them in one show.

The gang is skating and Charlie Brown is telling Linus that despite Christmas being a happy time he is depressed. Linus tells Charlie that is normal and Lucy pipes in with “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest.” That sums it all up.

Charlie gets to direct the Christmas play and his main job was to get a spectacular Christmas tree under Lucy’s orders. …He picks the only real tree there…more like a branch but he is sure it will do the job. Most of the gang do not agree when he comes back with the tree but Charlie persists. Linus gets up and reads from the Bible and the inflection he lends to the reading is great.

After that, you will need to watch because it will be worth it.

Aluminum Christmas trees were marketed beginning in 1958 and enjoyed fairly strong sales by eliminating pesky needles and tree sap. But the annual airings of A Charlie Brown Christmas swayed public thinking: In the special, Charlie Brown refuses to get a fake tree. Viewers began to do the same, and the product was virtually phased out by 1969. The leftovers are now collector’s items.

Actors and Actresses The early Peanuts specials made use of both untrained kids and professional actors: Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Christopher Shea (Linus) were working child performers, while the rest of the cast consisted of “regular” kids coached by Melendez in the studio. When Schulz told Melendez that Snoopy couldn’t have any lines in the show—he’s a dog, and Schulz’s dogs didn’t talk—the animator decided to bark and chuff into a microphone himself, then speed up the recording to give it a more emotive quality.

Love the Christmas Dance.

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

52 thoughts on “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

  1. There’s so much to love about this show. I haven’t watched it yet this year, but I read that Apple+ was giving free access to stream it this week. I love the dance scene. They got each character’s dance just right, including Snoopy’s guitar moves. I won’t give away the ending either, but I agree, it’s special. I’d almost completely forgotten about the aluminum tree fad. We never had one, and I’m amused that they are a collector’s item now.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The dance scene and the song is worth watching it alone.
      Yea we never had an aluminum tree…the only thing we had different a couple of years was a flocked white tree that mom wanted. She decorated it with blue lights…
      Other than that we cut one every year.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. It was beautiful…but I told her…mom…I want a regular tree with mutli-colored lights! She gave in after I asked her. Now I feel bad lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. What is not to love about this?!

    There was controversy when it aired about the religious theme of the story, despite the fact that it was WAY more acceptable then.

    It really does encompass so much of the kid world. I always loved the trombone “wah wah” for adult speak.

    Linus and Lucy will forever be a Christmas song, but it stands alone as a great piece too. I’ve DJd many kid dances and to watch them always reminded me of the dance scene.

    The BEST Charlie Brown special, hands down.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yea I can’t believe anyone would even question this… if you dont’ want your kid watching it…turn the tv off.
      I love it…not Christmas without it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A classic piece of America. Too bad Apple has the rights for it, now not everyone can experience the show before Christmas. I have a sideloaded app called Cinema, so I can probably find it on that. We had an aluminum tree with the rotating light. My sister and I would sit in our living room watching the tree change colors. Years later, I used the rotating light as part of our light show for our rock band. It worked great. My son has half a dozen aluminum trees he collected over the years. He also has the leg lamp from Christmas Story. Going to his house at Christmas is like stepping back 65 years or so; very retro. I was a teenager when this show came out, but I still loved it. I grew up on the 1940s cartoons from Warner Bros, Bugs, Daffy, Elmer and the gang. That one song when the kids are all dancing is such an ear-worm. I’ll never forget it.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I would love to see one of those trees with the multi color lights. I could see how that would go perfect with a stage show!
      There were lights that came out in the 1940s called “Bubble Lights” that I always thought were the coolest lights. I always look for them when I go to Flea Markets.

      Same here on the 40s cartoons….in the seventies they were still showing them on Saturday mornings.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. My cousins had bubble lights. I loved them! You can get them again in nostalgia catalogs for old folks like me. I resisted. As for the aluminum trees with colored rotating lights or flocked trees with fake snow, we made fun of those in my childhood. Little did we know that they would become collector’s items. The original aluminum trees were made by the same company that made my pressure cooker in Manitowoc, WI. Using those lights for a band was definitely better. Bands back then also had fake strobe lights – if they couldn’t afford real strobes they made their own fake ones with a rotating baffle (like a Leslie speaker).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The flocked trees we had were real…so you at least had the smell and everything….but that white stuff got everywhere!
        The band I was in… we would use any gimmick we could in the 80s and 90s. We even tried dried ice…that didn’t work well. We did have a strobe light…the thing that worked the best was the trusty Disco Ball. People go crazy over it.

        You are right…I should just order some retro bubble lights. I would like to have some of the originals though. I have seen one Leslie in my life…I want one so bad. That is how the Beatles got a lot of their sound from the mid to late sixties.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I found some old bubble lights at an antique market in Fort Worth, and they still work. I’ve begged my son to gift me one of his aluminum trees but he refuses. Now we have a skinny fake tree in the corner. You can still find them, but they are expensive and the color wheels are rare. The band eventually got stage type lighting and strobe lights. It was a bit much to set up and the lights were hot, so we abandoned lighting all together.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. We tried a few things…the one item that worked best was the cheapest…a damn disco ball…teh strobe made us almost sick. The most disastrous
        thing… dry ice…it’s not fun to breathe.

        I’m going to keep looking for the original bubble lights.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. We got our hands on one of the early smoke machines, it was awful and made us and the dancers sick. The new version of the bubble lights don’t work as well as the old ones. You might find them on Ebay. We have both. The strobe lights didn’t last long, it made me dizzy and it freaked out our drummer.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. It effected all of the band, but him, worse. Early days of light shows. We used a school projector that our drummer somehow borrowed for the weekend. One of our buddies poured food coloring and Wesson oil on the glass and it projected a sickodellic light show upon the band. In 1970, Jefferson Airplane used the same trick at a concert at Moody Collisium on the SMU campus. It worked better for them. That was the show when an either drunk or stoned Grace Slick said ” it was good to be back in the country of shit kickers and rednecks” to the audience. She was booed quite enthusiastically and a few items thrown at her. The Iron Butterfly, their opening act, was much better. There was a reason they didn’t play many shows in Texas, except for maybe Austin.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. And, here I thought Linus was voiced by Schultz, himself. Similar speech pattern.

    My paternal grandmother always had a fake tree. Maybe it was one of the aluminum ones. I am not sure.

    My maternal grandmother always had a real tree and a small one. Sometimes they were firs and others were pines.

    The dance scene always make me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love love the dance scene. The fancy tree we had as I told run-sew-read….was a white flocked tree that mom had only blue lights on…and deocrations were blue. After two years…I told her…mom…I want a regular tree!

      Like

      1. Ha!

        For several years, my parents always got a real tree with a root ball. We tried for three years to plant each tree in the front yard. Each year, the poor tree would die within six months. We finally gave up. They like mountains, not the Piedmont.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yea I would like to use a live tree one year…you can get them but they cost $150 and they take the tree back!

        Like

  5. Superb in every sense, and the acme of Schulz’s Peanuts career. Gotta find time to enjoy it sometime this week, it’s a Christmas tradition for me. That music, by Vince Guaraldi was so good and so unusual for a cartoon. I never can decide if I like the dancing boy whose head bops from one shoulder to the other or the dancing twins best in that scene… Should be on anyone’s list of the best Christmas specials.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Guaraldi is just as important as the animation with this one….they are one.
      Yes this is a must at Christmas…this one, Rudolph, It’s a Wonderful Life, and The Grinch.
      This is what shot the Peanuts to the top.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know if it’s a UK thing, or just a ‘me’ thing … but I don’t think I’ve ever watched a CB cartoon…. and I am a huge cartoon fan. I always read the strip in American Newspaper Kids sections my Aunt and Uncle would bring home with them , but I cant think of it being on TV at all?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I remember we had a miniature Norfolk pine in a green plastic pot that we brought inside as Christmas approached. We all decorated it when the kids were young. At the end of Christmas we took off the tinsel, put it outside on the patio where it reverted to just being a shrub in a tub till December rolled along.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nice! I have one of those inside actually, but if I was to decorate it , it would take all of about 10 mini lights or three small ornaments I think. Love those trees – saw them growing outside in Florida, where they got to a good size. Here it’s just a wee bit too cold at times in winter for them to survive outdoors.

      Liked by 2 people

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