I'm glad I've logged back into the forums to see this thread. Since movies are such a large part of Christmas, it's great to discuss them with a well-informed group. Here are some of my thoughts on A Charlie Brown Christmas:
- The voices of the Peanuts gang from A Charlie Brown Christmas (and The Great Pumpkin, since I believe it's largely the same cast) has colored my reading of the comics. Peter Robbins' voice will always be the voice of Charlie Brown, even if many other have voiced the character in countless specials. It saddened me to see the very adult troubles of the voice of an innocent boy. http://www.10news.com/news/bail-hear...-brown01282013
Bill Melendez was the voice of Snoopy, and I think there's an interview in a special where he talks about creating the Snoopy sound.
As for the reading of the lines, having children play the parts of the characters and their occasional stumbles gives the show its innocence and sets it apart from cartoons that cast professional voice actors speaking in falsetto. See the case of Joan Gardner who was in her 30's when she voiced Tiny Tim in Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.
Incidentally, the sound of the special is so ingrained in my head that I'm always disappointed when companies like Hallmark release collectibles or ornaments that play a "clip" of the movie with someone else trying to duplicate the magic of the original.
- It's important to remember that the production was rather rushed, and the drawings would have been done by animators such as Melendez, and Schulz himself likely had little to do with the actual act of animating the film. Again the somewhat amateur look of the animation adds to its appeal to me.
- As for this aspect of the production, I've always found it interesting to think that Schulz and company were met with resistance from sponsors to Linus' reading from the Book of Luke. I was surprised to learn that such lines would make people feel uneasy 50 years ago. As an atheist myself (something I've never discussed openly) and a lover of Christmas, I have no problem with the reading. In fact, and this is something I will post elsewhere in the forums when I can construct a thorough statement of my beliefs vis-a-vis Christmas, I get upset when groups like the FFRF try to strike down religious symbolism in places where it does no harm especially those related to Christmas. I think the best way to handle the situation by the families who object to things like a field trip to see a play being hosted by a church is to call your child in sick. If you're afraid your child will be ostracized because of your beliefs, it doesn't help the situation when you bring suit against the school and turn the story into national news.
For those who say they can't imagine A Charlie Brown Christmas being produced today, I wonder if Charles Schulz, before he died, would have authorized the reading from Luke in a new production. Mr. Schulz, like many of us, struggled with his views on religion for much of his life and for at least his last decade he identified as a secular humanist.
My Own Experience with Charlie Brown Christmas
- The show has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. With a 3 year old in the house I would guess it plays at least twice a month, year 'round. I have a large collection of Charlie Brown Christmas decorations, including a huge selection of Hallmark ornaments, dolls, a peanuts nativity set, and a painted yard decoration of Snoopy on his doghouse. Much of my love of Christmas probably stems from those 23 minutes of choppy animation.
- I have to ask these questions of fellow posters. Any unease I have at having my kids watch A Charlie Brown Christmas comes from he way the other kids in the gang bully Chuck. I would never tell my kids they can't watch the show, but I'd be pretty upset if I was told by the school that my daughter told a kid he was "hopeless, completely hopeless." Does anyone else share these concerns, or can we at least agree that such statements are more troubling than Linus' monologue? And as I assemble my aforementioned collection of Peanuts memorabilia, and as the estate of Charles Schulz makes millions annually on a $2billion industry of licensed Peanuts items, do you find Charlie Brown's diatribes on commercialism troubling?