A Charlie Brown Christmas

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This is my former husband’s favorite Christmas film and holds a soft spot in my heart. I was never that big a fan of this when I was a kid. Charlie was a little too existential for me. I couldn’t acknowledge (as a kid) that Charlie was depressed. It was probably the only character that my FH could identify with, he struggled with anxiety and depression as a small child.

Christmas was the one thing my family did really well. My father loved the head trip of having the house with the most Christmas lights and gaudy displays. Parties, lots of alcohol flowing and goodies baking. Magical for a kid, no cracks to be seen. Charlie Brown was a must see of course because it was a holiday “special” after all, but it didn’t have the glitz I was used to. At any rate, my husband taught me to love this film in the years we were married. I eventually found a set of plastic figures to honor this story. It’s simplicity and genuine message has become a favorite of mine.

It premiered in 1965 and went on to win a prestigious Peabody Award and an Emmy, not bad for what started as  a simple comic strip by Charles Schulz. This half hour special struggled to get made on a shoe string budget.  CBS said it would be a flop and didn’t like the sound track by Vince Guaraldi because they didn’t think children would like it. It debuted as a huge hit and went on to become the most popular special of all time. Shows you what executives know. Kind of symbolic don’t you think?

The soundtrack is probably one of the most identified  musical scores of all time and you can’t hear it without thinking of the Peanuts gang. It made Vince’s career, he was a struggling jazz musician before getting hired for the gig of the century and died prematurely at the age of forty seven. He left an amazing legacy. Thanks FH for sharing this with me.

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