Charlie Brown Christmas Special Passes Milestone

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A Charlie Brown Christmas, perhaps the most beloved television Christmas special of all time, was first aired by CBS on this date in 1965. Generations of viewers have been encouraged and uplifted by tuning in to follow the yuletide exploits of Charlie Brown, who, gloomy and depressed by all the commercialization he sees everywhere around him, seeks to uncover the true meaning of Christmas along with his friends (and ever-present canine sidekick, Snoopy).

The soundtrack for the production, which features innovative jazz reinterpretations of traditional Christmas carols and other original, incidental music, all performed by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, is at least as well-known and cherished as the television special itself. Also noteworthily, and exceptional among other holiday-themed television specials, A Charlie Brown Christmas (at the insistence of Peanuts creator, Charles Schultz) highlights the religious foundation of the holiday explicitly: during the episode’s climax, Linus recites an extended portion of Luke Chapter 2, and the children sing all the verses of Hark, The Herald Angels Sing.

The rights to this and other Peanuts television specials are currently owned by Apple. Following a public outcry earlier this year after the announcement that, for the first time since their creation, A Charlie Brown Christmas and its 1973 Thanksgiving followup, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, would not be airing on network television, Apple partially relented and agreed to allow limited free streaming via its own Apple TV+ platform and on PBS.