‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ Almost Never Made It To Television
Huffington Post - 2 months
In 1965, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted on CBS, with over 15 million people tuning in for the first showing. Over the next five decades, millions more watched the story of a few, still mostly hairless, kids who go on a quest to find the true meaning of celebrating Christmas.
Although the multigenerational resonance of this television special now seems fated, the fact that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” even made it on TV was actually so serendipitous that it’s almost easy to believe some divine, jolly red-suited figure intervened to guide its path.
The Huffington Post spoke on the phone with producer Lee Mendelson about how CBS execs, animator Bill Melendez, and Mendelson himself thought the final product was a disaster before it aired.
“When it was all finished, we thought we’d ruined Charlie Brown,” said Mendelson, who now ― comfortably sitting atop half a century of “Charlie Brown” success, acclaim and syndication money ― can talk openly about the time he thought he’d i
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