A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. This first premiered on November 20, 1973, on CBS and won an Emmy Award. Great Thanksgiving special as always with the earlier Peanuts.

The Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Peanuts specials I always looked forward to. The way their world was only for kids where grownups were heard but only as noise in the background.

It starts off with Lucy tempting Charlie Brown with that football. Just one time I wanted to see Charlie kick the football…or Lucy.

It’s Thanksgiving and Peppermint Patty invites herself and Marcie over to Charlie Brown’s house but Charlie and Sally are ready to go to their grandmothers. Charlie talks to Linus and he suggests having two Thanksgiving dinners.

The only thing Charlie can come up with is feeding his friends toast and cold cereal which does not make Peppermint Patty happy whatsoever. She lets Charlie have it really bad until Marcie reminds her that she invited herself over.

Not going to give it away for those who have not seen this wonderful holiday cartoon. The music by Vince Guaraldi is excellent and makes every Peanuts cartoon special.

Vince Guaraldi Trio – Linus and Lucy

It’s hard to resist this song. It automatically makes me happy when I hear it. I see Snoopy dancing on Schroeder’s piano.

Ironically, just about everyone would call this “the Charlie Brown song” even though it’s actually titled after Linus and Lucy Van Pelt, brother and sister in Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic strip universe.

The song is most famous for its use in the yearly favorite A Charlie Brown Christmas, which first aired in 1965, but it was written two years earlier for a documentary about Schulz and the Peanuts gang called A Boy Named Charlie Brown, which never aired.

Songfacts

Guaraldi wrote a series of songs for the project, including “Linus and Lucy,” that he recorded with his group, the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Even though A Boy Named Charlie Brown was shelved, the soundtrack was released in 1964, which is where “Linus and Lucy” first appeared.

In 1965, Mendelson put together the first Peanuts TV special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, using many of the same people who worked on the documentary. “Linus and Lucy” formed the score, and a song he wrote with Guaraldi called “Christmas Time Is Here” was included in a key scene.

A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on CBS and was a huge hit. It bucked convention, with actual children providing the voices, no laugh track, and an anti-materialism message. The jazz stylings of the music – something that had never been done in a high-profile animated children’s special – went over very well with viewers of all generations, and this song quickly became associated with the Peanuts.

With the exception of a limited 2013 release, this song was never released as a single, although thanks to steady airplay every December, it remains a holiday favorite, eliciting fond memories of the TV special.

The Vince Guaraldi Trio worked on more Peanuts projects and did a reworking of this song on a 1968 album called Oh Good Grief!. In 1976, Guaraldi died from a heart attack at age 47.

Amongst the many honors this tune has enjoyed over the years, it was the wake-up alarm music for the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s March 2008 mission “STS-123.” That was played on Day 2 of the mission. Since Day 2 is traditionally the day on which the crew does an inspection for launch damage to the ship – a precaution looking back to the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia’s disaster – the crew could probably appreciate some lighten-up music that day.

No words…just imagine Snoopy Dancing.