Schulz's main goal for a Peanuts -based Christmas special was to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Paul , Minnesota. Schulz's faith in the Bible stemmed from his Midwest background and religious and historical studies;  as such, aspects of religion would be a topic of study throughout his life. The program's script has been described as "barebones", and was completed in only a few weeks.
His storyboard contained six panels for each shot, spanning a combined eighty or-so pages. In casting the silent comic strip characters of Peanuts , the trio pulled from their personalities. Later specials would introduce an offscreen teacher; her lines are eschewed for the sound of a trombone as the team behind the specials found it humorous. With this in mind, the trio set out to cast the characters, which proved to be a daunting process.
Casting for Charlie Brown proved most difficult, as it required both good acting skills but also the ability to appear nonchalant. Too young to read, the producers had to give her one line at a time to recite. Much of the background cast came from Mendelson's home neighborhood in northern California. Nevertheless, the recording of A Charlie Brown Christmas was completed in one day.
Mendelson had no idea whether or not completing a half-hour's worth of animation would be possible given the production's six-month schedule, but Melendez confirmed its feasibility. There are 13, drawings in the special, with 12 frames per second to create the illusion of movement.
Melendez had previously worked for Warner Bros. The character of Snoopy, however, proved the exception to the rule. The soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas is an unorthodox mix of traditional Christmas music and jazz. The jazz portions were created by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. The special opens and closes with a choir of children, culled from St. The Herald Angels Sing". They often ran late into the night, resulting in angry parents, some who forbade their children from returning; consequently, numerous new children were present at each session.
Mendelson and Guaraldi disagreed, desiring the "kids to sound like kids"; they used a slightly off-key version of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in the final cut. In addition, the children recorded dialogue for the special's final scene, in which the crowd of kids shout "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!
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The soundtrack for the special was recorded during these sessions, with decisions regarding timing and phrasing determined quickly. Guaraldi brought in bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli to record the music, and spent time later re-recording earlier tracks, including covers of "The Christmas Song" and "Greensleeves. Firth and Distil are noted as performers on a studio-session report Guaraldi filed for the American Federation of Musicians. A Charlie Brown Christmas was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in ,  and added to the Library of Congress 's National Recording Registry list of "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" American sound recordings in A Charlie Brown Christmas was completed just ten days shy of its national broadcast premiere.
Melendez first saw the completed animation at a showing in a theater in the days before its premiere, turning to his crew of animators and remarking, "My golly, we've killed it.
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Their complaints included the show's slow pace, the music not fitting, and the animation too simple. The show's glowing reviews were highlighted with an ad in trade magazines;  one thanked Coca-Cola , CBS, United Features Syndicate, and the show's viewers. Although originally broadcast on the CBS network from until December 25, , in January , the broadcast rights were acquired by ABC , which is where the special currently airs, usually twice, in December.
The original broadcasts included references to the sponsor, Coca-Cola. Later subsequent broadcasts of the special also had some scenes, animation, including sound effects being redone for correction. Snoopy's dog bowl was given a new color, Lucy now makes a whirling noise when scared out of her psychiatric booth, new animation was placed in scenes where the children dance on stage after the first time to avoid repetition, music was added in the background of the rehearsal scenes, and Snoopy no longer sings like a human in the final carol, amongst others.
This documentary has been released as a special feature on the DVD and Blu-ray editions of the special. In subsequent years, to allow the special in an hour timeslot to be broadcast uncut for time, the animated vignette collection, Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales , is broadcast in the remaining time for that hour. The show's 40th anniversary broadcast on December 6, , had the highest ratings in its time slot [ citation needed ]. In , the special was released for a limited time on VHS through Shell Oil for sale at their gas stations. A laserdisc was released by Paramount distributed by Pioneer in ; Side 2 contained the special You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown.
In September it was released on DVD. On October 6, , it was released in high definition Blu-ray Disc from Warner in remastered Dolby 5. Since off-network rights to this special have been transferred to Warner Bros. In December , a 50th anniversary 2-DVD set was released.
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Within the scope of future Peanuts specials, it established their style, combining thoughtful themes, jazzy scores, and simple animation. USA Today summarized the program's appeal upon its 40th anniversary in "Scholars of pop culture say that shining through the program's skeletal plot is the quirky and sophisticated genius that fueled the phenomenal popularity of Schulz's work. The special influenced dozens of young aspiring artists and animators, many of whom went on to work within both the comics and animation industries, among them Eric Goldberg Pocahontas ,  Pete Docter Monsters, Inc.
It includes all of Vince Guaraldi's music from the television special and the television script is adapted for the stage by Eric Schaeffer.
It has been performed at hundreds of schools, churches and community theatres. The popularity of the special practically eliminated the popularity of the aluminum Christmas tree , which was a fad from to , when the special portrayed it negatively. By , just two years after the special first aired, they were no longer being regularly manufactured.
The "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" has been used to comedic effect with people familiar with the special and has become synonymous with poorly executed or minimalist Christmas decorating. A model of the tree is offered by various retailers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the soundtrack album, see A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Lee Mendelson Films. This section does not cite any sources.
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Main article: A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack. Paramount Home Entertainment. Stanford Alumni Magazine.
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