Friday, December 23, 2016

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't

Hard to believe, but a Christmas favorite for young and old almost never happened.

Charlie Brown and all the characters of the comic strip Peanuts have been loved by children and adults for years. The complex personalities, dialogue and carefully crafted stories brought to life in a few frames on a printed page are sheer genius.

Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, offered this synopsis of the comic strip. “All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away.” - Smithsonian Magazine

But through all the disappointments there are triumphs and lessons in life. Peanuts offers intriguing insight into the human psyche through the eyes of children.

Until 1965 Christmas themed television shows consisted mostly of old movies with a smattering of cartoon shows aimed at children. The animated "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" had been a hit for years. But was the TV viewing audience ready for a Christmas show with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and the gang?

When the show aired for executives at CBS they were underwhelmed. The voices weren't right. The story didn't fit their idea of what a children's Christmas cartoon should look like.

And then there was the closing scene.

As Lucy and the gang walk off the stage leaving Charlie Brown to exclaim "Doesn't anyone know what Christmas is about?", enter Linus, stage left. Out of the mouths of babes come wise sayings. Linus' 60 second soliloquy sums up the meaning of Christ's mass, or what we refer to as Christmas.

From our house to yours, we wish you a Merry Christmas. Blessings.

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