Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Special: A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas.

My Thoughts
My first attempt at watching a Christmas movie on TV. I'm already fairly disappointed, because the commercials are very distracting, and I feel like I'm missing a very important part of the experience.

Charlie Brown is quite the classic, though, even if he is pretty depressing for the first half. I wonder if January snow flakes really taste better than December snow flakes. I've never done an in-depth study of snow flake flavor. I'll get on it, if we ever actually get some snow.

I'm always very impressed by Lucy's psychiatric knowledge. I wonder if she ever got her doctorate. She's wise beyond her years...

I totally understand where Charlie Brown is coming from, though. The poor kid. The world is totally taken over by commercialism. I don't want to go on a rant, but I hate when the only thing people can talk about around Christmastime is what they want and what they're buying other people and what deals they're getting on their stuff. Let's see what Charlie Brown thinks is the true meaning of Christmas! :-)

Schroeder's piano outbursts always make me happy. So talented and, even though he seems to refuse to play Christmas music, I'm still always impressed. It always gets that song stuck in my head for days, though. Oh well...

Why is Lucy always so angry and violent? She's always scared me a little. And she always makes me want to get a Charlie Brown tree, because I feel bad for them after she talks about how you need a "pretty" tree. All those Charlie Brown trees are just left to sad.

And these kids are always so mean to Charlie Brown. That's one of the few things I really dislike about these specials. I understand having realistic kid drama, but they're just outright mean sometimes...The poor kid probably has no self-esteem whatsoever. Why does he put up with so much nonsense? I wanna see the Charlie Brown movie where he stands up for himself and punches Lucy, since she threatens to punish him so much.

Then Linus explains what Christmas is all about, and Charlie Brown is satisfied. I hope the rest of those kids feel horrible for being so mean and for laughing at his poor tree. But I guess they make up for it at the end.

Don't worry about what other people are doing for Christmas. Show your own good will and celebrate however you want! Exchange gifts, serve at a shelter, donate clothes/gifts, travel to be with your families and friends, sing carols at a nursing, do whatever you want. Just make sure you enjoy it. If you can't enjoy yourselves for Christmas, when can you?!?

Random Facts
This was the first animated Peanuts special.

When viewing the rough cut of the snow, both Bill Melendez and Lee Mendelson were convinced that they had a flop on their hands. After it premiered, they were happily surprised and shocked at the high ratings and excellent reviews that the show received. Today, the show remains the second longest-running Christmas special on US network television (the 1964 Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer premiered one year earlier and is still broadcast every year on US network television.

Kathy Steinberg, who did the voice of Sally Brown, had not yet learned to read at the time of production, so she had to be fed her lines, often a word or syllable at a time, which explains the rather choppy delivery of the line "All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share."

Linus' speech about the true meaning of Christmas is actually 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 Paramount and Warner video releases are complete and unedited.

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," which is from Luke 2:10.

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.

Bill Melendez tried to talk Charles M. Schulz out of using Biblical references (especially Linus' speech) in the special. Schulz reportedly won him over by saying, "If we don't do it, who will?" As it turned out, Linus' recitation was hailed as one of the most powerful moments in the highly acclaimed special.

While at her psychiatry stand and naming Charlie Brown's possible phobias, Lucy says, "How about cats? If you're afraid of cats, you have ailuroPHASIA." If Charlie Brown were indeed afraid of cats he would have ailuroPHOBIA. Ailurophasia is, literally, "Speaking cat".

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