Early news: A Charlie Brown Christmas turns 40
I've been a great admirer of Charles Schulz and Peanuts for most of my life. The simplistic drawings, complex characters, not to mention the profound sadness and unrequited love that propelled the strip drew me in as a youngster and remain affecting even today. The existential humor of the strip, the core of which was Charlie Brown's Sisyphusian existence, also expanded to the early television specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, which turns 40 this year. I make a point of watching the show every year, and can become quite agitated if I miss it. While I still admire other classics like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Burl Ives' soothing, grandfatherly voice is one of those harbingers of Christmas I always look forward to) I will run several red lights and cause massive traffic accidents just to make it home in time to see A Charlie Brown Christmas. It's easy to forget after forty years just how groundbreaking the show was. When it was conceived, many thought an animated Christmas special with religious overtones centering on a chronically depressed child would fail, but the naysayers were proven wrong, and what might have been a gaudy, diluted version of the strip became an animated study in spirituality and human compassion that, years later, can still warm the heart of a secular person such as myself.