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A Charlie Brown Christmas Premiere (1965)
"Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year"
~ Christmas Time is Here, Lee Mendelson / Vince Guaraldi, 1965
Amongst a particular generation, especially in the United States, a fond childhood memory and annual tradition is watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas", the animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz, which made its debut on CBS on December 9, 1965. With a musical score by American jazz musician and pianist Vince Guaraldi, the "Christmas is Coming" carol and several other traditional songs are reworked into a memorable musical accompaniment. The signature "Peanuts" tune "Linus and Lucy" (named for the two fictional siblings Linus and Lucy van Pelt), was originally released the prior year, but became popularized as a result of this broadcast. For a bit of mid-century modern Christmas nostalgia, listen here: 🎹 🎄
Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please do put a penny in the old man's hat
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do
If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!
By designer Carol A.L. Martin, the Christmas is Coming tartan uses the deep reds, maroons, and a special green (British Racing Green) that for many, instantly recall the colors of the Christmas season and combine together for a beautiful holiday effect.
Amongst a particular generation, especially in the United States, a fond childhood memory and annual tradition is watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas", an animated television special based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz, which made its debut on CBS on December 9, 1965.
With a memorable musical score by American jazz musician and pianist Vince Guaraldi, the "Christmas is Coming" carol and several other traditional songs are reworked as part of the jazzy musical background.
A Charlie Brown Christmas received high ratings and acclaim from critics. It has since been honored with both an Emmy and Peabody Award and has been aired during the Christmas season traditionally every year since its premiere. Its jazz soundtrack also achieved commercial success, going triple platinum in the US.
In the special, lead character Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite the onset of the cheerful holiday season. Lucy suggests he direct the school Christmas play. In a memorable last sequence, Charlie Brown arrives at the rehearsals for the play, but he is unable to control the the uncooperative kids who are more interested in modernizing the play with dancing and lively music (Schroeder's rendition of "Linus and Lucy").
Thinking the play requires "the proper mood," Charlie Brown decides they need a Christmas tree. Lucy dispatches Charlie Brown to get a "big, shiny aluminum tree." With Linus in tow, Charlie Brown sets off on his quest, as an "O Tannenbaum" jazz instrumental plays in the background.
When they get to the tree market, filled with numerous trees fitting Lucy's description, Charlie Brown zeroes in on the only real tree on the lot, a tiny bent sapling. Linus is dubious about Charlie Brown's choice, but Charlie Brown is convinced that after decorating it, it will be just right for the play.
They return to the auditorium with the tree, at which point the children (particularly the girls and Snoopy) ridicule the tree, then laugh at Charlie Brown before walking away. In desperation, Charlie Brown loudly asks if anybody really knows what Christmas is all about.
"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men."
"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
For the original soundtrack, including the jazzy "Christmas is Coming", click the album cover.