When Charlie Brown complains about the overwhelming materialism that he sees amongst everyone during the Christmas season, Lucy suggests that he become director of the school Christmas paegent. Charlie Brown accepts, but it proves to be a frustrating struggle. When an attempt to restore the proper spirit with a forlorn little fir Christmas tree fails, he needs Linus' help to learn what the real meaning of Christmas is. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
A version with a laugh track was produced but later discarded after the success of the broadcast version. See more »
When Charlie Brown consults Lucy for psychiatric help, her sign (as read from the front) says, "The Doctor Is Real In". However, when seen from the side angle, the sign simply says, "The Doctor Is In". See more »
[Charlie Brown and Linus stop at a wall on their trip to the pond for ice skating]
I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel.
[begins to walk with Linus again]
I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.
Linus Van Pelt:
Charlie Brown, you're the only person I ...
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It's almost Christmas, and the Peanuts gang is eagerly anticipating it well, except good ol' Charlie Brown, who just doesn't feel quite right about the festivities this year. Oh, he likes presents and sending cards (even though he never receives them, as indicated by the echo in his mailbox) and all, but Charlie Brown can't quite get into the spirit. It's most likely the crass commercialism that's tainted the holiday, from little sister Sally's epic letter to Santa to the pink aluminum Christmas trees for sale. In a rare show of generosity, crabby Lucy tries to lift Charlie Brown's spirits by letting him direct the school's annual Christmas play, but the rest of the kids are too self-absorbed to cooperate. It will take a pitiful little Christmas tree and some help from the ever introspective Linus to restore Charlie Brown's love of the holidays.
A staple of Christmas since 1965, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was the first animated "Peanuts" special, and easily the best. The animation is crude yet has a sweet charm to it. In a rarity in animated films, real children with no acting experience voiced the entire cast of characters (excluding Snoopy). The result is jarringly realistic, since some of the kids are mush mouthed and stumble over words like "syndicate". It introduced the legendary "Linus & Lucy" tune (which would become the "Peanuts" theme song), provided by Vince Guaraldi. Handpicked by Charles M. Schulz himself, Guraldi was responsible for the "Peanuts" specials' uniquely sophisticated sound. The music manages to bring to mind both images of childhood innocence and smoky jazz clubs.
But amidst all the familiar antics (Snoopy's shameless mugging, Linus's blanket, Charlie Brown's melancholy), there is something truly powerful at the heart of "A Charlie Brown Christmas". In our confusing, politically correct climate, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" teaches us the true meaning of Christmas; none of that bland, "family and friends" garbage, but the honest to God meaning of Christmas. Without being preachy, histrionic, or self-indulgent, we learn that Christmas isn't about presents, shopping, or trees, but about a baby born in a humble stable who would grow up to die for our sins. In 1965 that was simply common knowledge, but it is so easily forgotten in the harried, materialistic New Millennium. It is keeping this message in mind that Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang learn that Christmas should unite us, and spread the feeling of love and acceptance into a harsh world.
So for those of you who feel the way Charlie Brown felt in the beginning about Christmas, watch this special with a loved one. It is almost magic, the way it will restore your faith
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