Charlie Brown Specials


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tabs

About

Peanuts characters have appeared in animated form on television numerous times. This started when the Ford Motor Company licensed the characters in 1961 for a series of black and white television commercials for the Ford Falcon. The ads were animated by Bill Meléndez for Playhouse Pictures, a cartoon studio that had Ford as a client. Schulz and Meléndez became friends, and when producer Lee Mendelson decided to make a two-minute animated sequence for a TV documentary called A Boy Named Charlie Brown in 1963, he brought on Meléndez for the project. Before the documentary was completed, the three of them (with help from their sponsor, the Coca-Cola Company) produced their first half-hour animated special, the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning A Charlie Brown Christmas, which was first aired on the CBS network on December 9, 1965.

The animated version of Peanuts differs in some aspects from the strip. In the strip, adult voices are heard, though conversations are usually only depicted from the children's end. To translate this aspect to the animated medium, Meléndez famously used the sound of a trombone with a plunger mute opening and closing on the bell to simulate adult "voices". A more significant deviation from the strip was the treatment of Snoopy. In the strip, the dog's thoughts are verbalized in thought balloons; in animation, he is typically mute, his thoughts communicated through growls or laughs (voiced by Bill Meléndez), and pantomime, or by having human characters verbalizing his thoughts for him. These treatments have both been abandoned temporarily in the past. For example, they experimented with teacher dialogue in She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. The elimination of Snoopy's "voice" is probably the most controversial aspect of the adaptations, but Schulz apparently approved of the treatment.

The success of A Charlie Brown Christmas was the impetus for CBS to air many more prime-time Peanuts specials over the years, beginning with Charlie Brown's All-Stars and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in 1966. In total, more than thirty animated specials were produced. Until his death in 1976, jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi composed musical scores for the specials; in particular, the piece "Linus and Lucy" which has become popularly known as the signature theme song of the Peanuts franchise.

Schulz, Mendelson, and Meléndez also collaborated on four theatrical feature films starring the characters, the first of which was A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969). Most of these made use of material from Schulz's strips, which were then adapted, although in other cases plots were developed around areas where there were minimal strips to reference. Such was also the case with The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, a Saturday-morning TV series which debuted on CBS in 1983 and aired for three seasons.

By the late-1980s, the specials' popularity had begun to wane, and CBS had sometimes rejected a few specials. An eight-episode TV miniseries called This is America, Charlie Brown, for instance, was released during a writer's strike. Eventually, the last Peanuts specials were released direct-to-video, and no new ones were created until after the year 2000 when ABC obtained the rights to the three fall holiday specials. The Nickelodeon cable network re-aired the bulk of the specials, as well as The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, for a time in 1997 under the umbrella title You're on Nickelodeon, Charlie Brown. Eight Peanuts-based specials have been made posthumously. Of these, three are tributes to Peanuts or other Peanuts specials, and five are completely new specials based on dialogue from the strips and ideas given to ABC by Schulz before his death. The most recent, He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, was telecast on ABC on November 20, 2006, following a repeat broadcast of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Airing 43 years after the first special, the premiere of He's a Bully, Charlie Brown was watched by nearly 10 million viewers, winning its time slot.

...More from Wikipedia

Specials featuring the Peanuts comic characters created by Charles M. Schulz include:

 Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
 The Big Stuffed Dog
 A Boy Named Charlie Brown (TV special)
Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz
 A Charlie Brown Celebration
 A Charlie Brown Christmas
 A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
 A Charlie Brown Valentine
 Charlie Brown's All-Stars
 Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales
Good Grief, Charlie Brown: A Tribute to Charles Schulz
Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown
 Happy Birthday, Charlie Brown
 Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!
 He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown
 He's a Bully, Charlie Brown
 Here's to You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years
I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
 Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?
 It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown
 It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown
 It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown
 It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown
 It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown
 It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown
 It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
 It's Magic, Charlie Brown
 It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown
 It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
 It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
 It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown
 It's Your 20th Television Anniversary, Charlie Brown
 It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
 It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown
 Life Is a Circus, Charlie Brown
 Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown
 Play It Again, Charlie Brown
 She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown
 Snoopy!!! The Musical (TV special)
 Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown
 Snoopy's Reunion
 Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown
 There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown
 What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown!
 What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?
 Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
 You Don't Look 40, Charlie Brown
 You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (TV special)
 You're in Love, Charlie Brown
 You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown
 You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown
 You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown
 You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown

    

Highlights
Lee Mendelson on working with "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz on A Charlie Brown Christmas
02:12
Bill Melendez on the characters of "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
03:40
Lee Mendelson on the initial creation of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on hiring Vince Guaraldi to compose the jazz score
04:16
Who talked about this show

Bill Melendez

View Interview
Bill Melendez on the characters of "Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
03:40
Bill Melendez on animating Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
02:47
Bill Melendez on meeting producer Lee Mendelson, and being hired to animate the "Peanuts" gang for A Charlie Brown Christmas
04:14
Bill Melendez on the challenges of animating the "Peanuts" characters for the Charlie Brown Specials, and on working with Charles M. Schulz
04:41
Bill Melendez on A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on "Snoopy" fighting the Red Baron
03:01
Bill Melendez on Charles M. Schulz casting the voices for A Charlie Brown Christmas
02:45
Bill Melendez on "Linus" reading from the Bible at the end of A Charlie Brown Christmas
01:35
Bill Melendez on the Vince Guaraldi score of the Charlie Brown Specials
02:47
Bill Melendez on the characters of "Linus" and "Lucy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
01:45
Bill Melendez on the role of Lee Mendelson on A Charlie Brown Christmas
04:47
Bill Melendez on his and others' initial reaction to the finished product of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on it later becoming a classic
02:51
Bill Melendez on animating It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
02:30
Bill Melendez on animating You're in Love, Charlie Brown
01:47
Bill Melendez on animating A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
00:33
Bill Melendez on animating It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
00:46
Bill Melendez on animating It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown
01:48
Bill Melendez on animating What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?
02:43
Bill Melendez on animating It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown
01:29
Bill Melendez on animating Why, Charlie Brown, Why?
01:14
Bill Melendez on the stages of producing the Charlie Brown Specials, and on collaborating with Charles M. Schulz
17:14
Bill Melendez on how the "Peanuts" characters have evolved over the years on the Charlie Brown Specials
02:05
Bill Melendez on providing the voices for "Woodstock" and "Snoopy" on the Charlie Brown Specials
05:29
Bill Melendez on the adult voices on the Charlie Brown Specials
01:13
Bill Melendez on the holiday centered Charlie Brown Specials, and on the themes of the shows
04:42
Bill Melendez on his favorite and least favorite Charlie Brown Specials
03:10
Bill Melendez on animating This is America, Charlie Brown
02:12
Bill Melendez on producing "Peanuts" straight-to-video specials
01:26

Lee Mendelson

View Interview
Lee Mendelson on working with "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz on A Charlie Brown Christmas
02:12
Lee Mendelson on the initial creation of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on hiring Vince Guaraldi to compose the jazz score
04:16
Lee Mendelson on the musical style of the Charlie Brown Specials, and on the initial network reaction to A Charlie Brown Christmas
02:30
Lee Mendelson on starting his own production company, and producing a documentary about Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown & Charles Schulz
06:55
Lee Mendelson on coming up with the story for A Charlie Brown Christmas, and on the religious aspect of the show
02:01
Lee Mendelson on sponsor Coca-Cola's involvement with A Charlie Brown Christmas
00:53
Lee Mendelson on the production of the Charlie Brown Specials, and on his responsibilities as producer
01:27
Lee Mendelson on how the storylines of the Charlie Brown Specials have evolved over the years, and on the decision to exclude adults from the "Peanuts" world
02:50
Lee Mendelson on the casting process of the Charlie Brown Specials, and on the decision to use children to voice the characters
03:35
Lee Mendelson on working with animator Bill Melendez on the Charlie Brown Specials
01:53
Lee Mendelson on the business aspect of the Charlie Brown Specials, and on dealing with the network and the merchandising
01:57
Lee Mendelson on producing It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
01:14
Lee Mendelson on the character of "Charlie Brown" on the Charlie Brown Specials
01:06
Lee Mendelson on the special You're in Love, Charlie Brown, and on the various side characters
02:09
Lee Mendelson on A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
00:34
Lee Mendelson on It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, and on Snoopy's doghouse
01:44
Lee Mendelson on various Charlie Brown Specials
01:35
Lee Mendelson on his favorite Charlie Brown Special: A Charlie Brown Christmas, and other favorites
01:37
Lee Mendelson on the "Charlie Brown" feature films
01:23
Lee Mendelson on This is America, Charlie Brown
02:30
Lee Mendelson on then-current projects, including producing new Charlie Brown Specials, and on working with the Charles M. Schulz estate
01:09

Phil Roman

View Interview
Animator Phil Roman on his work on Charlie Brown Specials
12:19

All Shows

A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
J
L
M
P
R
S
T
W