Peanuts/A Charlie Brown Christmas

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A Charlie Brown Christmas
Airdate December 9, 1965
Writer Charles M. Schulz
Director Bill Melendez
Network CBS
Style 25-minute animated Christmas special
Company Lee Mendelson Film Productions,
Bill Melendez Productions,
United Feature Syndicate
Origin USA

2 →
Charlie Brown's All-Stars

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) is an animated Christmas special. It was the first of a series of animated Peanuts specials.


Plot Overview

Charlie Brown is depressed because all he sees in Christmas is crass commercialism, certified by his little sister Sally's wish list and his dog Snoopy entering a Christmas lights contest. He seeks psychiatric advice from Lucy, who makes him the director of the school's Christmas pageant. Things don't go as planned, so Charlie Brown is sent to get a Christmas tree for the pageant. He picks out a tiny, dishelved tree ("It needs me"), and the kids all laugh at him for it. It breaks Charlie Brown's last straw about Christmas until Linus steps up and recites the story of Jesus' birth from the New Testament. Charlie Brown takes the tree outside and places an ornament from Snoopy's display (which won first prize) on it. The tree bends over forward, and it crushes Chralie Brown, thinking he's killed the tree. As he trods off, the other kids decorate the tree fully and it is full of life. C.B. returns and is surprised by the sight of the tree anew. It ends with the kids singing "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."


Actor Character
Peter Robbins Charlie Brown
Chris Shea Linus Van Pelt
Tracy Stratford Lucy Van Pelt
Kathy Steinberg Sally Brown
Geoffrey Ornstein Pig-Pen
Karen Mendelson Patty
Chris Doran Schroeder
Ann Altieri Frieda
Sally Dryer Violet
Bill Melendez Snoopy


Behind the Scenes

As production started on this special, CBS and Schulz were at odds as to its content. CBS wanted adults to voice the kids, but Schulz rejected it. CBS wanted a laugh track. Schulz said no. The network was also skittish about Linus quoting Scripture, but Schulz had it kept in as well. It was screened to CBS executives, and they absolutely hated it. But they had to show it because sponsor Coca-Cola already had the time spot secured. That initial broadcast set ratings records and made the special a yearly event. CBS has been apologizing ever since.

Allusions and References


DVD Release

Title Release Date #
Individual Episodes
Peanuts: A Charlie Brown Christmas September 12, 2000 1
Episode Collections
Peanuts: Holiday Collection September 12, 2000 3

Awards and Accolades

Winner of the Emmy for Outstanding Children's Program, and the Peabody Award.

External Sites