How One of TV’s Most Beloved Holiday Specials Got on TV, Despite Creator’s Doubts — and CBS Execs’ Apprehension

Dec 8, 2010  •  Post A Comment

 It debuted 45 years ago and has become one of television’s most enduring holiday shows, but at its debut the show created some apprehension with CBS executives, writes Beverly Gherman on AOL’s Popeater.com.
The program, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," is no longer repeated on CBS, but it’s still shown on TV.  "A Charlie Brown Christmas," aired laat night, Dec. 7, 2010 on ABC and will be shown again on ABC on Dec. 16.
 
Here’s the back story, arccording to the article: Charles Schulz, who created the "Peanuts" comic stip, which featured Charlie Brown, was asked by kids for 10 years to create a TV program with his "Peanuts" characters. Schulz resisted until he noticed his own five children enjoying kids’ television programs, Gherman writes. He finally agreed, but only if he could portray the meaning of Christmas as he saw it: "He didn’t want a raucous laugh track like other shows used. He insisted they would employ real child actors, not merely adults who sounded like kids. And the last thing he wanted was to use traditional Christmas music," she writes.
 
Schulz wrote a script that includes Linus talking for a whole minute about the Nativity scene, which worried CBS executives about its religious context. "Instead, they discovered, ‘all heaven broke loose.’ People said they were touched by the simple story and loved the original music," the story says. That led to the creation of more Charlie Brown TV specials and an Emmy award, which prompted Schulz to say when receiving it, "Charlie Brown is not used to winning, so we thank you."
 
The original music for the show, written by Vince Guaraldi, has sold millions of copies and has forever after been associated with the Christmas holidays.

One Comment

  1. If it were pitched today, it would be “too tame, not edgy”.

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