21 December 2013

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition

Summary from Goodreads:
No holiday season would be complete without watching Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang give a forgotten tree a little love, recite the Christmas story, and sing "Silent Night."

For nearly fifty years, since first airing in December 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been one of America's most beloved television shows and is a holiday television staple. Every year millions of fans tune in to the Emmy-winning Christmas special featuring Vince Guaraldi's iconic jazz score and Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters as they remind Charlie Brown, and all of us, of the true meaning of Christmas.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition is a lushly illustrated tribute to the beloved television classic that takes readers behind-the-scenes of the Peanuts holiday special. It includes the script of A Charlie Brown Christmas, more than two hundred full-color pieces of original animation art, Vince Guaraldi's original score and publication notes for the songs "Christmas Time is Here" and "Linus and Lucy," and a look at the making of the feature from producer Lee Mendelson and original animator, the late Bill Melendez. The two share their personal memories and charming reminiscences on the Christmas special and reflect on their three decades of working with Peanuts creator, Charles M. Schulz.

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition is a delightful and fitting salute to the holiday special that never fails to deepen your love of Christmas, touch your heart, and give you hope.

There's just something about the Charlie Brown Christmas special.  It's hard not to love Charlie Brown as he despairs over his little sister's letter to Santa, Snoopy as he decorates his doghouse a la that annoying Clark Griswold-like neighbor, Lucy as she bosses everyone around (nothing new there), and Linus as he tells the story of the Nativity all the while holding his security blanket. The Peanuts gang are our old friends.

This lovely memoir/history/mini-biography originally published in 2000, shortly after Charles Schulz's death, brings together Lee Mendelson (producer) and Bill Melendez (animator - who also worked for Disney and Warner Bros) to tell the story of their good friend Sparky and how they managed to bring the Peanuts gang to life on the small screen (despite the misgivings of a few network executives who thought the whole thing would be a bust).  They talked to a few of the now-grown child actors who provided the voices of the characters and include a very nice chapter on Vince Guarini, the Grammy-winning jazz pianist who provided us with the iconic "Linus and Lucy" theme music.  Mendelson also included many pictures and animation stills as well as the sheet music for "Linus and Lucy" and "Christmastime is Here" (if you aren't me and don't already own the score) and the original script for the special.

There's even a little bonus: in the bottom corner of every right-hand page is a little still from the skating scene...flip the pages!!

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition is a great present for the Charlie Brown enthusiast.

Dear FTC: I received a review copy of this book from !t Books, a division of HarperCollins.

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