Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Traditions: Charlie Brown

Christy likes "A Charlie Brown Christmas." She watches it every year!
Viewers first saw "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on CBS in 1965. It was considered quite a risky show at the time, and the low budget meant shortcuts in animation and in voice actors.  Reportedly, some of the children who recorded the voices had never done that sort of work before and at least one child couldn't read, so she was repeating lines from a coach.  Of course, it turned out to be warmly received and widely loved. Perhaps one of the most unusual outcomes is that one can now buy an artificial version of Charlie Brown's sad little tree that no one wanted. The network wasn't sure about some of the elements in the show, but Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and animator Bill Melendez stood firm. Time has proven them right.

 One aspect I hadn't thought about until a friend brought it up is the music. Jazz musician Vince Guaraldi did the score, and the results are so distinctive and such an integral part of the show that just hearing a few notes will make one think of the Peanuts characters.  Guaraldi did the music for 17 of the Peanuts shows before he passed away at age 47. The library has two CDs of Guaraldi's music.  Just listen and you'll know what I mean!

For some, it wouldn't be Christmas without Charlie Brown and the gang. If you missed the special on television this year, there are copies of the DVD available at both Main and Avoca.

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