“ I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.” Charlie Brown stops on his way to ice skating and shares an introspective moment with his pal Linus. Charles Schulz wrote an honest, perceptive, and wise-before-his-time character that makes Charlie Brown one of the most mature, notable cartoon characters of all time. A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired in 1965 as a TV special on CBS. It aired on this network from its conception until the year 2000 when ABC picked it up and has had it ever since. While on CBS, A Charlie Brown Christmas was one of the most successful specials, airing annually more times on that network than even MGM’s classic motion picture The Wizard of Oz. The half-hour special first aired on Thursday, December 9, 1965, preempting The Munsters and following the Gilligan’s Island episode entitled Don’t Bug the Mosquitos. To the surprise of the executives, it was both a critical and commercial hit. None of the special’s technical problems detracted from the show’s appeal; to the contrary, it is thought that these so-called quirks, along with several other choices, are what lent the show such an innovative, authentic and sincere feeling.
The story touches on the over-commercialization and secularism of Christmas, and serves to remind viewers of the true meaning of Christmas: the birth of Jesus Christ. Imagine what the creators of this would say about Christmas in 2009? The production was done on a shoestring budget, resulting in a somewhat choppy animation style and, from a technical standpoint, poorly mixed sound. With the exception of the actors who voiced Charlie Brown (Peter Robbins) and Lucy (Tracy Stratford), none of the children had any experience doing voice work. This was especially challenging for Kathy Steinberg, who voiced Sally: she was too young to read and needed to be cued line by line during the soundtrack recording. The technical issues are in evidence on the show’s audio track, which to some may seem noticeably choppy and poorly enunciated.
Despite it’s lack of technical excellence, A Charlie Brown Christmas has truly won it’s way into the hearts of millions and it has finally made it’s way into Music City. As the subject of this year’s ICE! display, Gaylord Opryland has done it again with Charlie Brown ICE!. With the Grinch display closing down after last year everyone wondered what the next story would be. Charlie Brown’s appeal crosses generations and is a storyline entire families can enjoy together.
Gaylord commissioned over 40 artisans from Japan to construct this masterpiece. They spent 12 hours a day in below freezing temperatures to build this attraction. Stopping only for lunch and an occasional creative nap, it took the creators 30 days to complete ICE!. Even though the average temperature is 9-15 degrees Fahrenheit (parkas are provided), you will not want to miss 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice featuring a slide room with 4 slides (that’s 2 more than last year)! Be sure to catch the presentation made possible by Coca-Cola (also the original sponsor in 1965). It runs from November 20 – January 2.