This year, A Charlie Brown Christmas celebrates its 45th anniversary. The holiday special is airing Thursday on ABC.
Last Thursday, The Washington Post ran a feature article on the making of the animated classic.
He also talks about Schulz's insistence
...on one core purpose: "A Charlie Brown Christmas" had to be about something. Namely, the true meaning of Christmas. Otherwise, Schulz said, "Why bother doing it?"
Mendelson and Melendez asked Schulz whether he was sure he wanted to include biblical text in the special. The cartoonist's response, Mendelson recalls: "If we don't do it, who will?"
To Coca-Cola's credit, Mendelson says, the corporate sponsor never balked at the idea of including New Testament passages. The result — Linus's reading from the Book of Luke about the meaning of the season — became "the most magical two minutes in all of TV animation," the producer says.
In Why It Will Always Be Impossible to Top A Charlie Brown Christmas, Louis Virtel recounts how the story follows Charlie Brown's search for meaning through all the holiday contradictions, but refuses to leave him — and by extension, us — alone in cynicism and depression:
What other Christmas special has dared to be this smart and unflinching while leveling still with every viewer, young and old? For kids and blockheads from 1 to 92, A Charlie Brown Christmas is a skittishly drawn, poorly dubbed slice of very real life, and an eternal cure for pantophobia. Let’s watch it again.