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    Charlie Brown Christmas, A [24] -1965-

    Movie Reviews
    This was the first of many broadcasted Charles Schulz "Charlie Brown" Specials directed by Bill Melendez. The animation is rough, and very similar to the typical newspaper comic drawings of the Peanuts characters by Schulz. I would not think that Schulz drew all the cels, but certainly he must have drawn the storyboard. (In 1964, Schulz and Melendez first teamed up to create "A Boy named Charlie Brown", which never saw the light of day, but provided a portfolio example for which they were able to sell the Christmas Special to Coca Cola for broadcast on CBS.)

    The dialog is really what ties this all together. Forty years later, Bill Melendez and Charles Schulz still remain the only Christmas show creators to have a character speak the bible verses starting at Luke 2:8 and continuing through Luke 2:14.
    Charlie Brown : (shouting in desperation) Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?
    Linus Van Pelt : Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please. (A spotlight shines on Linus.) "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men'". That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

    Vince Guaraldi and his trio provide outstanding music. Even today, the piano riff "Linus and Lucy" is known as the "Charlie Brown Theme Song". The best part of the music is that all the players were tightly in sync and allowed the piano to be the strongest voice. Credited on the soundtrack album are:
     Vince Guaraldi - Piano
     Fred Marshall, Bass
     Jerry Granelli, Drums
     Monty Budwig - Bass, Colin Bailey - Drums on "Greensleeves"

    I give Jerry Granelli (and Colin) MUCH credit 40 years after the fact for laying off on the drums and just using brushes, rim tapping and the ride cymbal. Jerry played an integral part of the rhythm, but he never stepped on the piano or bass. The bass drum keeps time. The toms, and snare are barely used. But clearly he was no slouch and could have pounded away if he had so chosen. Subtle is the key word for all three musicians in the trio. Any drummer who has ever tried to cover the Linus and Lucy tune usually botches it up by doing too much pounding. This is even evident in later Charlie Brown specials. Here is an excellent A bio of Vince Guaraldi

    I do not think that this TV show could be commissioned for Network TV anymore. Yet it gets played every Christmas Season on TV with relatively high ratings. There is a higher nostalga level for this than for A Christmas Carol. Despite the dirt and eraser marks, the message comes through. {BB}

    The Peanuts Collectors Club

    Added: October 18th 2004
    Reviewer: BB
    29 Point Scale Score: 24    [24]

    Related Link (IMDB): IMDB
    Hits: 9994
    Language: english


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