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A Charlie Brown Christmas [1965]

Director:Bill Melendez
Writer:Charles M. Schulz
Composer:Vince Guaraldi
Length:25 minutes
MPAA Rating:TV-G
Suggested Event Use:Christmas
Sorting Category:Holiday
IMDB Rating:8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:92%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Synopsis: Repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas.

Reaction: A definite Christmas classic.

Personal Rating: 9/10

Bill Melendez => Director / Snoopy (voice) (uncredited)
Charles M. Schulz => Writer
Vince Guaraldi => Composer
Ann Altieri => Freida (voice) (uncredited)
Chris Doran => Schroeder / Shermy (voice) (uncredited)
Christopher Shea [II] => Linus Van Pelt (voice) (uncredited)
Geoffrey Ornstein => Pig-Pen (voice) (uncredited)
Karen Mendelson => Patty (voice) (uncredited)
Kathy Steinberg => Sally Brown (voice) (uncredited)
Peter Robbins => Charlie Brown (voice) (uncredited)
Sally Dryer => Violet (voice) (uncredited)
Tracy Stratford => Lucy Van Pelt (voice) (uncredited)

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Patty in this special is not Patricia "Peppermint Patty" Reichardt. The latter first appeared several years later in the strip. The former was phased out gradually, disappearing completely by the end of the 1970s, despite being one of the four original Peanuts characters.
  • Bill Melendez tried to talk Charles M. Schulz out of using Biblical references (especially Linus's speech) in this 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Linus's speech about the true meaning of Christmas is actually Luke 2:8-14 from the King James translation of the Bible.
  • 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".
  • When viewing the rough cut of the show, 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).
  • First animated [Peanuts] special.
  • When they first saw the show, CBS executives were horrified at the idea of an animated Christmas special with such a blatant message. They also strongly objected to the fact that the show had no canned laughter.