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A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

By Patrick Samuel • December 24th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (TV SPECIAL)

Original airdate: December 9th, 1965
Running time: 30 minutes

Director: Bill Melendez
Writer: Charles M. Schulz

Featuring: Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock, Lucy, Linus, Patty

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Every year it’s been the same with me for as long as I can remember. Once November’s crept in I start with that jolly feeling that Christmas is just around the corner. I can almost smell the tinsel in the air! I start checking those dusty boxes upstairs to make sure the decorations are still in good shape, test the lights are still in working order, browse through greeting cards at the stationary shops and I can’t stop looking at that corner in the living room where the Christmas tree will soon stand.

That’s right, I’m a big fan of Christmas, complete with Christmas Carroll CD’s, glühwein and stollen, and it always breaks my heart when I see others who just don’t have the Christmas cheer in them. Like poor little Charlie Brown, he’s just doesn’t feel Christmassy at all. No matter how hard he tries to get into the swing of things, he always ends up feeling depressed over the holidays. As one of his friends, Linus, says to him:

“Charlie Brown, you’re the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy’s right, of all the Charlie Brown’s in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest!”

Charlie Brown is so depressed; he goes to seek psychiatric help from none other than Lucy. After paying 5cents, Lucy suggests that what he needs to get into the spirit of the season is to get involved with some Christmas projects like directing the Christmas play. When he gets to the auditorium he’s stressed out by how disorganised everyone is and how focused they are on the commercialism of Christmas; Lucy wants real estate, Snoopy is decorating his house so that he can win a lights and display contest, Sally needs help writing her letter to Santa asking for money instead if her presents are going to be too much for him to carry.

Feeling that what they need is a good old fashioned Christmas tree to set the mood and get away from the distractions, Charlie Brown goes in search for the perfect tree for the Christmas play. He finds the one real tree they have for sale and Linus says “Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?” When he comes back with the tiny, scrawny twig, the kids are furious with him.

Finally the frustration of always getting everything wrong gets to poor little Charlie Brown:

“Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

Linus offers to explain the meaning of Christmas with a passage from the Luke’s Gospel, verses 8 through 14 from the King James Bible. He takes to the stage and under a spotlight, recites from memory:

“‘And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.'”

“……That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

Linus goes back to clutching his blanket and sucking his thumb, leaving Charlie Brown to ponder what was just said.

A Charlie Brown Christmas has a very clear message and its way of reminding everyone of the true meaning of Christmas is heart-warming and enjoyable. Although it was made on a shoestring budget and the network executives initially criticised it over its editing, sound mix, use of child actors for the voices and its message about Jesus Christ, the show became a critical and, ironically, a commercial success. It won an Emmy Award and a Peabody award.

What I love very much is the way the lines are delivered. I never realised it before and always thought it was deliberate but some of the child actors at the time could not read yet, so they were given their lines to recite one at a time. Longer lines had to be edited together in the studio after they were recorded and this most noticeable with Sally Brown’s lines, especially when she says to Charlie Brown “All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share”. It’s all of these little things which add to its charm and make it one of my all-time favourite holiday specials which always reminds me not to get too carried with what I want but remember what I can give.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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