Michael Cavna has a great article on the history and enduring legacy of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Here is a taste:
The debut of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” would capture not only the Emmy and Peabody awards, but also roughly half the people watching television across America. And its place in the nation’s holiday hearth has remained fixed ever since. As the special celebrates its 45th anniversary this week — and the strip enjoys its 60th year — ABC airs the “Peanuts” special tonight for the first time of the season.
As viewers tune in to see a sparse and wilting “Charlie Brown Christmas tree” — a conifer embodiment of “Chuck’s” hard-luck seasonal mood that soon entered our national vernacular — a question about this beguilingly humble cartoon perseveres: Why, precisely, does “A Charlie Brown Christmas” endure?
THE SUBTLE POWER OF ‘PEANUTS’
“I think it has to do with the impact that ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ had on the viewer when he or she first saw it,” Jean Schulz, the late cartoonist’s wife and shepherd of the “Peanuts” estate, tells Comic Riffs. “It might have been as a child sitting with parents. Or it might have been adults in their 40s or 50s who were delighted to see a meaningful, adult-themed show that brushed aside the platitudes that surround public dialogue and then passed this on to their children and grandchildren.
Tom Van Dyke says