A Charlie Brown Christmas
'A Charlie Brown Christmas' is one of the TV specials we most associate with and look forward to at Christmas every year, and this week marks the 45th anniversary of the premiere. It was on Dec. 9, 1965, to be exact, that the Peanuts gang made its cartoon debut, in a special that almost didn't make it to air.
Does that mean they'll continue to air 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'? Yes. 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving'? Yes. 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'? Of course. 'Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!'? That one isn't as popular, but ABC does own the rights. 'You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown'? Possibly around the next presidential election.
He's not sure which network the special is on this year (and he calls it It's A Charlie Brown Christmas), but animated Dave is amusing. They should make a web series featuring him. [Watch clips and episodes of The Late Show and other shows at SlashControl.]
Yesterday marked the 44th anniversary of creator Charles M. Schulz's first animated television special with the Peanuts Gang. It's the longest running cartoon special in history.
Find our more and watch the full 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' special after the jump!
- At 8, ABC has A Charlie Brown Christmas, then a new According to Jim.
- CBS has a new NCIS at 8, followed by new episodes of The Mentalist and Without A Trace.
- NBC has the season finale of The Biggest Loser at 8, then the premiere of Momma's Boys.
- G4 goes over the top video game stories of the year on a new X-Play, then a new Attack of the Show has a holiday gift guide.
- Also at 8: BBC America has a new Christmas episode of My Family.
- At 8:30, Nickelodeon has a Christmas episode of Fairly OddParents, then Christmas episodes of Home Improvement and The George Lopez Show.
- At 9, Discovery has a new Dirty Jobs.
- History Channel has a new episode of The Universe at 9.
- There's a new ECW on Sci-Fi at 9, then a new Cha$e.
- At 10, ABC has a new Eli Stone.
- TNT has a new Leverage at 10.
- Lifetime has a new Blush at 10.
- Biography Channel has a new Shatner's Raw Nerve at 10, with Kelsey Grammer.
Check your local TV listings for more.
After the jump, the late night talk show listings.
Hey, it's December!
That means that the Christmas specials are about to start, if they haven't started already. Tonight we have How The Grinch Stole Christmas (8:30pm on ABC) and on Wednesday we have Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (8pm on CBS). And still to come, of course, are It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and many more. Not to mention all of those Lifetime Christmas movies where someone falls in love around the holidays, plus all of the Christmas episodes of our favorite TV shows. I think Heroes is going to have a special episode where Santa goes up against Sylar.
I would have to say that after all of these years, It's A Wonderful Life is still my favorite. I love The Grinch and Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas as much as the next person (Frosty has never been a favorite, though), but It's A Wonderful Life is the movie I have to stop and watch if I come across it channel surfing.
Melendez was an animator for Walt Disney Studios in the 1930 and 40s, working on such classic movies as Fantasia and Pinocchio and Mickey Mouse shorts, then went on to make tons of movies, cartoons and commercials (he worked on many Bugs Bunny shorts and other famous cartoons) for well-known companies such as United Productions of America (where he was an animator on Gerald McBoing McBoing) and Playhouse Pictures. He then met Charles Schulz in 1959 and went on to animate (and often direct and produce) most of the Peanuts TV specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Boy Named Charlie Brown, It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and many, many others. Many people don't know this but he was also the voice of both Snoopy and Woodstock (they didn't talk, of course, but he did all of the howls and other noises). He worked on TV versions of Cathy and Garfield too.
Here are the weekly TV ratings, by number of viewers.
A big week for ABC, as they grab the first five spots and eight spots overall in the top 20. That will change next week when Dancing with the Stars is no longer around (and will someone please tell all of the entertainment shows to stop talking about and/or to Marie Osmond? The show is over!). It's always great to see Christmas specials in the top 20 year after year.
1. Dancing with the Stars - Tues (ABC)
- At 8, NBC has the season finale (fall finale?) of Chuck, then the season finale (fall finale?) of Heroes, and then a new Life (special night - part 2 airs Weds at 10).
- ABC has A Charlie Brown Christmas at 8, followed by new episodes of Samantha Who?, Notes from the Underbelly, and October Road.
- ABC Family has Christmas specials starting at 8: The Year Without A Santa Claus, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & The Island of Misfit Toys, and Nestor The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey.
- TNT has a new Christmas episode of The Closer at 8, then a new Saving Grace.
- Also at 8: Food Network has a new Good Eats, followed by a new The Secret Life Of...
- At 8:30, ESPN has the Patriots/Ravens game.
- At 9, FOX has a new K-Ville.
- USA has a new Monday Night RAW at 9.
- Lifetime has the movie A Dad For Christmas at 9.
- Sci-Fi has the second part of Tin Man. It's on at 9 as well.
Check your local TV listings for more.
- At 8, ABC has A Charlie Brown Christmas (hopefully they'll show it again closer to Christmas), then the season finale of Dancing with the Stars.
- CBS has a new NCIS at 8, followed by new episodes of The Unit and Cane.
- NBC has a new Biggest Loser at 8, then a new Law and Order: SVU.
- FOX has new episodes of Bones and House.
- There's a new Beauty and the Geek on The CW at 8, followed by a new Reaper.
- At 9, HGTV has a new Decorating Cents, then a new 24 Hour Design.
- Hallmark has John Denver in The Christmas Gift at 9.
- Discovery has a new Dirty Jobs at 9, then a new Everest: Beyond the Limit.
- At 10, FX has a new Nip/Tuck.
- TLC has a new Miami Ink at 10.
- Also at 10: Bravo has a new Real Housewives of Orange County.
- At 10:15, TCM has The Hustler.
Check your local TV listings for more.
I'll say right up front that I am a huge Charles Schulz fan. I think Peanuts is one of the most important things in the history of pop culture (not just comics, but in all of pop culture - film, literature, TV, music and art). It's the type of comic that's entertaining and fun for all of the obvious reasons but something that can also show you a little bit about how to live your life too. I mean, who doesn't like Snoopy or A Charlie Brown Christmas?
So I've been a little antsy about a new biography of Schulz that is coming out next week, Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, by David Michaelis. It's a bio that supposedly gives a fuller picture of Schulz, including the sad, unhappy parts of his life. Now I see that I'm not the only one who is a little antsy about the book and a new American Masters that will profile Schulz too.
And don't think that this is just Zach Braff, John C. McGinley and company doing a literal reading of the Charlie Brown script; it's more like a Scrubs episode, complete with flashbacks, girl names, and penis jokes. Even the characters are the same. Except here, JD looks like Chuck, Dr. Cox looks like Linus, Carla looks like Lucy, etc. (And there's even a Cox Rant (tm) or two in there, in places you wouldn't expect). I'll let you be surprised at where the other voices pop up.
The video was made during season three for a cast Christmas party. It's very funny and definitely worth a look.
Just like last year, ABC is airing A Charlie Brown Christmas twice this year. If you missed it when it aired late last month, you can catch it again on ABC on Sunday, December 17 at 7 pm. I recorded the special when it aired in November but haven't yet gotten around to watching it. When I do finally get time to sit and watch it, I'll do my usual ritual of dousing the lights, unplugging the phone and immersing myself in the special as I've done every year since I was a kid. I could purchase the DVD, but I have no interest in that. I like keeping this special tied to the holiday season, it's like a gift I get to unwrap and enjoy at the end of every year. I only wish ABC had also re-aired It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, since my local station moved it to 3 am so they could air some insipid midterm election debate.
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