In addition to the music, over the past half-century the popularity of this Peanuts’ special has transcended time with its simple outline, which producer Mendelson described in the 2005 book A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition, as "winter scenes, a school play, a scene to be read from the Bible, and a soundtrack combining jazz and traditional music."

That basic premise was put together by Schulz and Mendelson in one day in order to meet a deadline with execs at Coca-Cola, the program's potential sponsor. Interestingly enough, the outline never changed throughout the eventual production and obviously struck a timeless chord with its audience. Although the now-famous Bible recitation by Linus was initially thought by some to be too controversial to include in a primetime special, Schulz was firm about including it and that scene is arguably the most memorable in the entire program.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, producer Lee Mendelson, now 82, summed things up quite well, saying:

It became part of everybody's Christmas holidays. It was just passed on from generation to generation...We got this huge initial audience and never lost them.


ABC, which acquired the broadcast rights of A Charlie Brown Christmas at the beginning of the millennium, will be airing a two-hour special this Christmas Eve starting with It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, a retrospective hosted by Kristen Bell, followed by A Charlie Brown Christmas.

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