Every family has their own special Christmas traditions, but chances are that you’re one of the millions of Americans that tunes in to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas each year.
The first of nearly 50 Peanuts television movies, A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted 50 years ago on December 9th, 1965, reaching an audience of nearly 15 million homes. Initially an advertising machine for Coca-Cola, the holiday special was an instant hit and has been played on TV annually every year since. Only 25 minutes in length, the movie features its title character Charlie Brown feeling dismayed by the commercialism of the holiday season, searching instead for the true meaning of Christmas.
If you’re like me, you’ve seen this movie a hundred times, and no holiday season is complete without it. From the cozy feeling of the season, to Vince Guaraldi’s iconic jazz soundtrack, to that dinky little “Charlie Brown Christmas tree,” this traditional TV special perfectly embodies both the dark and light feelings and emotions of this time of year, but as it turns out, A Charlie Brown Christmas almost didn’t even air.
Start the slideshow below to learn 5 crazy facts you probably didn’t know about A Charlie Brown Christmas, and don’t forget to tune in and watch this year! Then SHARE with your friends.
5. Producers at CBS Thought It Would Flop
Riding on the popularity of the 1960’s phenomenon from the funnies, Coca-Cola approached animator Bill Melendez regarding a Peanuts Christmas special. One day later, Melendez and Charles M. Schulz had the story basics all planned out.
But even shortly before airing, executive producer Lee Mendelson and his team had their doubts. Mendelson recently recalled, “Bill and I thought that it just didn’t work. Networks didn’t think it worked. And then half the country tuned in to watch it, so it worked.”
4. It Originally Had a Different Title
Saying A Charlie Brown Christmas may roll right off your tongue today, but as it turns out, the film was originally called Charlie Brown’s Christmas. The difference may seem subtle, but the change of syntax holds a lot of meaning.