Respecting the Classics
With indoor malls, outdoor malls, outlet malls, Black Friday, Amazon Prime, and Retail Me Not, it’s easy to get caught up in the sales of the holiday season. The deals are right there… set out perfectly in front of shoppers on the radio, in the newspapers, on Facebook, and in email inboxes.
No longer is it only the thought that counts. Nowadays, it seems like the only things that matter are the bells, the whistles, and the latest electronics. The commercialization of the holidays has become so effective and profitable for businesses that last year (2016) the total of holiday sales were expected to exceed one trillion — yes, trillion — dollars before Dec. 25 had even passed.
Where the last two months of the year were once a time reserved to enjoy home and family in their simplest forms, the obsession with finding the perfect gift has overtaken that reservation.
Letting the presents distract from the presence of the holiday time isn’t a new thing. The meaning of the “most wonderful time of the year” has been fading for decades, which is what probably led producer Lee Mendelson and director Bill Melendez to create A Charlie Brown Christmas. The mid-1960s animated film spells out the meaning of Christmas and shames the over commercialization of the day in such a way that it earned a Peabody Award and an Emmy.
The tale is so time-honored that it became an annual broadcast in the United States, airing every year since its 1965 release. ABC is the current owner of the 25-minute film’s rights, making it responsible for airing the animation yearly. And according to fans, ABC is doing a terrible job.
Avid watchers of A Charlie Brown Christmas have noticed that parts of the movie have been clipped, making room for more commercials.
Tidings of Great Joy
Charlie Brown was depressed and saddened by his lack of understanding of what Christmas is all about, blaming commercialization for clouding the holiday’s true meaning. The entire film focuses on Charlie learning that Christmas is about “tidings of great joy” and “goodwill towards men.”
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord,” Linus says to Charlie, recounting the annunciation to the shepherds from the Gospel of Luke.
So how then, of all the Christmas movies in December, is this the one to be edited down to make space for commercials?
Peanuts Worldwide, the owner of all Peanut-related merchandise, confirmed that the beloved special was cut down, making it 22 minutes instead of 25 and a half. Leaving fans craving beloved scenes with Sally, Shermie, Lucy and Shroeder, the 22-minute version of the production left much to be desired. While cutting a couple of minutes doesn’t sound like it would be too noticeable, three minutes in a 25.5 minute production is a lot. Seeing as ABC pulled a similar stunt in 2009, fans really weren’t having it, demanding ABC “put down the chainsaw.”
Goodwill Towards Men
The cries of loyal viewers did not fall on deaf ears. According to reports, A Charlie Brown Christmas, in all its wintery magic, will air on ABC on Dec. 15. The special will not be edited down but will be broadcast in full. All 25.5 minutes of Charlie Brown learning the true meaning of Christmas will air as half of an hour-long block alongside Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales.
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