"A Charlie Brown Christmas" will be honored with a 50th anniversary television special, airing in late November to kick-off the holiday season.
Created by famous cartoon artist Charles Shulz and television producer Lee Mendelson, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" first graced household televisions in the year 1965. The short film follows characters Charlie Brown voiced by Peter Robbins, Linus van Pelt voiced by Christopher Shea, Lucy van Pelt voiced by Tracey Stratford, Schroeder voiced by Chris Doran, Violet voiced by Sally Dryer, Snoopy and their friends as they prepare for the Christmas season.
The plot unravels as the main character is overcome by feelings of depression, despite the widespread cheer that comes with the holiday season. In attempt to free Charlie from his inexplicable depression, Lucy advises him to direct the annual Christmas play. Throughout this experience, Brown discovers the true meaning of Christmas, with the help of his best friend Linus. Linus recites the annunciation to the shepherds scene from the Bible’s Gospel of Luke.
"That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown." Linus said. "Christmas to me is spending it with family and making simple traditions like watching the Peanuts," said West Virginia student Megan Popp.
Some of the most memorable scenes of the film include an ice-skating scene, a pageant scene, a scene featuring Christmas carols sung around a not-so-full Christmas Tree, contemporary jazz and the revelation of the miracle of Jesus’ birth.
"The frail and delicate Christmas tree reminds viewers that you can make something so beautiful out of something so small if you believe in it," Popp said.
Shulz felt that it was important for the overall message to be centralized around a religious meaning since it was a monumental aspect of his own Christmas experience.
"I feel that the underlying theme of the film teaches viewers the true meaning of Christmas. It’s not about the materialistic view the holiday oftentimes brings about but the celebration of faith and gathering with the ones you love most," Popp said.
The film has not only become famous for the sentimental scenes, but also for the music performed by The Vince Guaraldi Trio. While the film primarily features Christmas music, the most notable piece is the theme of the film, "Linus and Lucy."
Since the short film aired, it became an instant hit. The film was seen in an estimated count of 15 million homes during its debut. Watching the film during its annual airing has become a tradition amongst families nationwide.
The 50th anniversary special, which will take place from 9 p.m. – 10 p.m., on Nov. 30, will be hosted by comedian Kristen Bell. The night will feature live performances of Guaraldi’s classics from some of the most prominent artists in today’s music industry, as well as notable celebrities reminiscing on their experiences with the Christmas special.