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A Charlie Brown Christmas | Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles
A sequel to the last post: In December 1965 came A Charlie Brown Christmas, the most successful special in television history. In a simple story from Peanuts’ creator Charles Schulz where Charlie Brown looks for genuine meaning in Christmas while Snoopy and Lucy revel in its glitter, the show defied convention by using real kids’ voices, no laugh track, sophisticated original music and uncluttered graphics: “No one was more ready than Charles Schulz to write a parable about commercialism when [his agent] Lee Mendelson telephoned one Wednesday in May 1965 to announce that he had just sold a Christmas show to Coca-Cola. … He brought in Bill Melendez, the Disney animator who had earned Schulz’s respect by not Disneyfying the Peanuts gang … [by] changing their essential qualities, either as “flat” characters or as his cartoon characters. … “[Schulz left] Lee and Bill to audition some forty-five kids, ages six to nine, then train the cast of seven principles, some of them too young to read … [to deliver] their lines with startling clarity and feeling. … “Schulz loathed the hyena hilarity of canned merriment and rightly judged that an audience would not have to be told when and where …