Dec 2, 2008

My Charlie Brown Christmas

by Katy Palmer

Christmas brings out the kid in all of us. And so do cartoons.

Imagine back to being a child, when things seemed so happy-go-lucky. Stress was minimal and there was no real schedule to keep.
Ideally, the Christmas season is the same way. It’s a time to visit with family and decorate the tree around a comforting fire. While decking the halls and trimming the tree, Christmas TV specials give families entertainment options. Of all the cartoon flicks that air during this time, I have a special liking for “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and I think that it helps undercover young hearts.
The film originated from the Charles Schultz comic strip “Peanuts,” about a clumsy boy named Charlie Brown and his sly beagle Snoopy. Charlie Brown experiences his share of disappointments and letdowns, whether it be his losing baseball team or unanswered letters to his crushes.

The comic strip debuted in 1950 and ran new until Mr. Schultz’s death in 2000. At its peak, “Peanuts” had a readership of 355 million and translated into 21 different languages. To this day, it continues to run in syndication in most daily papers.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” first aired on primetime television in 1965. The movie begins with a depressed Charlie Brown who decides to improve his spirit by directing the school Christmas play. When it comes time for Charlie Brown to find a tree for the play, he brings a ratty twig back to his classmates. After the kids poke fun at Charlie Brown, they rally behind him and his tree to put on a heart-warming production.

This sort of “Cinderella” ending makes “A Charlie Brown Christmas” the perfect wintertime treat. I feel it adds to the festive mood people seem to share during November and December. Have you ever noticed that people are just happier this time of year?

My old high school band director used to joke that even the bad guys are nicer around Christmas. I can’t argue with him. I know that many factors can contribute to the general jolliness in the air, but I do think television specials help.

I find it refreshing to see specials like “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love my CSI, but holiday movies definitely add a joyful element to the season. I feel Charlie Brown can reach people of all ages because it has withstood decades of change. Kids love the fact that it’s a cartoon and parents love the healthy entertainment.

The score of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” also spans generations. When the film debuted, an LP was released simultaneously. Recorded by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, the cool jazz numbers has a definite holiday appeal. Two of the more recognizable songs, “O Tanenbaum” and “Linus and Lucy” get regular airplay during the Christmas season.

As the Christmas season approaches, spending time with family and friends becomes more of a priority. More emphasis is placed on visiting and laughing with loved ones in a much-needed time of relaxation. Charlie Brown promotes this type of togetherness, no matter what age.


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