The Story of the Saddest Christmas Tree

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ At 50.

Tonight (Monday), ABC will air a special at 7 p.m. called It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, to mark the half-century since A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired in 1965. Although CBS actually first aired the show on Dec. 9, 1965, a TV special tonight on ABC, hosted by Kristen Bell, commemorates the holiday standard a little early.This special celebrates 50 years of the Emmy-winning, animated holiday special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” It features musical performances from Kristen Chenoweth, Matthew Morrison, Sarah McLachlan, Boyz II Men, Pentatonix, David Benoit and The All-American Boys Chorus.

Monday, Nov. 30, on ABC. “Supergirl,” 8 p.m. (CBS): Kara goes too far during a training exercise against a military cyborg commissioned by Lucy Lane’s father; Cat’s judgmental mother visits; Alex asks Winn to investigate her father’s death. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” 8 p.m. (The CW): The illusion Rebecca has built up about her life for her visiting mother comes crashing down at a holiday event; Christmas Eve with his mother makes Greg realize he might be the problem relative. “Cake Wars,” 9 p.m. (Food): The four remaining teams are challenged to take Christmas intergalactic and create displays of Santa in space; the teams must bring world-famous Christmas songs to life in a huge edible creation; actor Devin Ratray helps to judge the results. “Minority Report,” 9:01 p.m. (Fox): Vega and the precogs must thwart a chemical attack by Memento Mori; Blomfeld wants the precogs back in the milk bath. “Superstore,” 10 p.m. (NBC): During his first day on the job at a big-box store, Jonah makes a rough impression on floor manager Amy, and draws the romantic interest of assistant manager Dina. That’s a half-century of exploring the true meaning of Christmas; five decades of wonderment at the synchronous dancing twins; generations of chills as the Peanuts come together to turn a sad little tree into the best tannenbaum ever. A special that, if not for children, is certainly intended to accessible by children would never use that “guzzling Irish coffee in a bar on a snow-blanketed night in New York when you just got stood up but you feel weirdly okay about it” Vince Guaraldi music. Or how about the fact that Snoopy has a big following in Japan, while Peanuts stamps are issued in countries as varied as Portugal, Gibraltar and Cayman Islands? Yet, surprisingly, the Charles Schulz creation, which airs again on November 30 at 8 PM ET on ABC (after a one hour special), still holds a few surprises.

So if you love all things to do with lovable loser Charlie Brown and his imaginative dog Snoopy, you have to go to the Singapore Philatelic Museum (SPM), which is holding an exhibition devoted to all things Peanuts. For example, the character Franklin was first introduced after the African-American community wrote to Schulz to have one following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King. The exhibition also showcases Peanuts’ love affair with letter writing, and marks the festive season by featuring Peanuts stamps and comic strips related to Christmas. “We embarked on this exhibition two years ago and started talking to organisations such as the Charles M. When Linus — who is, in many ways, the nice one — tells him, “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie-Browniest,” it feels like the kind of improvisational brutality in which kids really do specialize.

Schulz Museum on how we can work together,” shared SPM’s senior curator Lucille Yap, adding that the most challenging aspect of putting it together was ensuring the exhibition was informative, interactive and fun while creating a unique philatelic experience. Visitors can take part in several programmes the museum is running with the exhibition — from a 3D model making workshop, where participants can create their own 3D Peanuts characters, to making Peanuts Christmas cards. Meanwhile, the SPM gift shop will be retailing a special edition Peanuts MyStamp folder issued by Singapore Post. “There has been quite a lot of interest in the exhibition even before it opened,” said Yap. “We hope this exhibition will bring families together, as parents and grandparents will share their Peanuts memories and love with the younger generation.”

That’s unvarnished, and while the special will end with everyone telling him “Merry Christmas,” you will not really see much evidence in the next 20-plus minutes that they do, in fact, like him. Sadly, most of the original artwork, scripts, notes and behind-scenes materials have been lost to time. (A significant portion of them was discarded in the late 1960s and early 1970s.) However, some bits and pieces, like the draft script page above and a few other tidbits, did survive. But of course, it’s also unlikely that a special would end with a character reading Scripture with the earnestness of Linus. (It might be unlikely for a character to exist with the earnestness of Linus in the first place.) But as common as it is for viewers to remark on the religious content of the special, that content doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s a background layout for “Scene 94A,” better known as the moment when Snoopy’s over-decorated doghouse wins first place in the neighborhood’s contest — much to the dismay of the already disillusioned Charlie Brown. In animation, moving characters are added as another layer on top of the static backgrounds, which is why Snoopy and Charlie Brown are not in the picture.

It doesn’t only suggest Christmas is really about the Bible story; it suggests Christmas is also really about friends, dogs, cooperating, the beauty of humble things, singing out loud, and hope. It’s just not about writing your Christmas list and asking for, as Sally does, “tens and twenties.” The only thing you really can’t recapture from 1965 is scarcity.

In the end, the special did work, entertaining millions of people across the country — some of whom sent their thanks directly to show-sponsor Coca-Cola.

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