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IPFS News Link • Media: Television

The 'Charlie Brown Christmas' Special Was the Flop That Wasn't

• arclein

The public would have specific expectations, then, when CBS aired for the first time an animated adaptation of the comic strip on December 9, 1965. The greater gamble for the network, though, was how airing an animated children's special at night would change its primetime philosophy. As has been widely reported, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" incorporated unexpected elements in its animation ?" the voices of children instead of trained adults, jazz music, a Bible passage, no laugh track. But the team behind the special had toyed with the screen presentation of the characters years before, first in a 1959 Ford Motor commercial. Schulz, fiercely protective of his creation, only allowed the "Peanuts" crew to participate after seeing the work of former Disney animator Bill Melendez, who preserved Schulz's seemingly inimitable style.

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