A Charlie Brown Christmas
Apple pie. Baseball. A Charlie Brown Christmas. All iconic, all American. Since its CBS debut in 1965 and through each annual re-airing, this first animated Peanuts special has become – along with Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas – the most revered and classic of holiday TV specials. Its simple story, familiar and lovable characters, and most importantly, its heart have endeared it to multiple generations. From Charlie Brown’s failed attempts to direct the Christmas pageant and tap into the mystery of the season to Lucy’s quest to become Christmas queen to that poor, sweet little Christmas tree that Charlie Brown champions, the show has an appealing underdog spirit and a sentimentality that remains refreshingly uncloying. And Linus’s recitation of Luke 2 is still poignant and moving in its sheer unadorned simplicity.
Just as famous and revered and woven into the tapestry of the holiday season is the special’s score – composed by jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi and performed by the Vince Guaraldi trio – introduced us to “Linus and Lucy” (the classic Peanuts theme song) and the now standard “Christmas Time is Here,” among a scattering of original compositions and jazzy takes on carols that have been an integral part of the season’s musical fabric for decades. If there is such as a thing as Christmas comfort music, it is A Charlie Brown Christmas.
And wouldn’t you know? You’re in luck. ABC airs the first of two screenings of the television special tonight at 8/7c. Get yourself prepped and in the mood with the soundtrack. You can listen at the Spotify link here.