You're a classic, Charlie Brown Schulz's holiday delight almost wasn't aired Tuesday, December 6, 2005 By SUSAN SWARTZ
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT And behold, in slunk a little round-faced kid toting a scraggly Christmas tree. And a dog danced and a little girl said all she wanted from Santa was real estate. Then a bunch of kids sang and a star appeared and, forever more, millions tuned in and hummed along.
The late Charles M. Schulz was pleased with what he created in 1965 when "A Charlie Brown Christmas" first aired on TV. His collaborators weren't so sure.
Executive producer Lee Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez were worried.
"We thought we had ruined Charlie Brown. We thought the show was too slow. People were used to 'Tom and Jerry,' fast-action cartoons," Mendelson said. "But Sparky (Schulz) liked it. And one of the crew told us 'You're nuts to worry. This will run for 50 years.' "
So far, so good. Tonight's airing on ABC marks the 40th anniversary of the animated "Peanuts" special. It has become as much a holiday classic as "It's a Wonderful Life" or "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Some say it's even bigger.
"This show has maybe another good century" to go, said Robert Thompson of Syracuse University's Center for the Study of Popular Television, who praises its "jaw-dropping Zen-like simplicity" and "E.B. White linguistic economy."