The Charlie Brownest

Staff writer defends classic Christmas movie

The+Charlie+Brownest

Isaac Hudson, Staff Writer

56 years ago today, on Dec. 9, 1965, the best Charlie Brown movie ever to grace the TV screen was released. At a runtime of 25 minutes and 25 seconds, Charles M. Schulz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas isthe best Charlie Brown movie ever made. 

Being the very first special to be made based on the Peanuts comic strips by Schulz, a lot was riding on the success of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

So what made this movie so great — great enough it was rerun every year from 1966 to 2000? It’s everything about it.

The holiday special follows Charlie Brown as he tries to get over his seasonal depression and figure out what Christmas is really all about. It features classic Peanuts characters to help Charlie Brown out, including Lucy, Linus and Snoopy. The beautiful visuals, hand-drawn and animated by Bill Melendez Productions, totaled to be 13,000 individual frames running at 12 frames per second.

One of the most memorable parts of A Charlie Brown Christmas is its soundtrack. Composed by Vince Guaraldi, the score features popular tracks such as “Linus and Lucy,” a song played during the dancing scene and later reused in other Peanuts special, and of course “Christmas Time is Here,” which was performed by a children’s choir to start and end the movie. The choir also recorded the rendition of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” which is sung by the cast near the end of the special. 

These songs, especially “Christmas Time is Here,” have become iconic songs for the holiday season, regardless of your opinion on A Charlie Brown Christmas. For me, these songs make up a decent amount of my own holiday playlist, and the nostalgia and good memories I associate with them are very strong.

The other important element the production team focused on while making the special was the voice cast. It had been originally proposed that adults or teens voice the children in the movie, but they quickly chose to have kids do it instead. Charlie Brown was voiced by eight-year-old Peter Robbins, Lucy was voiced by Tracy Stratford, and Linus was voiced by Christopher Shea, who was chosen for his slight lisp and innocence despite his sophisticated lines.

The choice to cast children for the voices is a nice touch. It makes the movie seem more real and familiar. Especially as a kid, I think it made it easier for me to engage with the movie if the characters sounded and acted more like me.

I have watched A Charlie Brown Christmas at least once a year during the Christmas season for as long as I can remember. It’s a movie that just doesn’t get old. It’s the kind of movie that you watch until you can recite it from memory.

Don’t get me wrong, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a great movie, and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a classic too. But, before you say they are superior, I suggest you take a half-hour out of your day to rewatch the best Charlie Brown movie ever created: A Charlie Brown Christmas.