Last night’s 50th anniversary special for A Charlie Brown Christmas turned out to really be a celebration of 50 years of Peanuts RV animation, which is not a complaint. And it wasn’t an academic exercise… which I would’ve enjoyed, but wouldn’t be what the mass audience was searching for.
The music done of the special was quite various and mostly quite nice (although it made the recycled music from the 40th anniversary special seem out of place.) Kristen Bell did a fine job of the hosting duties. There were some cringe-inducing moments (the happiness at seeing President and Michelle Obama there to support Peanuts turned to cringing as they described what Linus said Christmas was about and missed the central mark by not mentioning Jesus), a false or misleading fact (Schulz did not draw “over 18,000 strips” during those 50 years… at least not Peanuts strips for the newspaper; between the 50th year being incomplete. no strips on Sunday for the opening years, and a brief period of reruns, the number comes in, per Derrick Bang’s FAQ, at 17, 897.)
And while I knew that Stacy “Fergie” Fergueson had been a voice for Sally in her early years, I had never reflected on the fact that that means her career was going from Peanuts to (Black Eyed) Peas. It doesn’t seem like that big a move, seen that way.
Ultimately, it was a special with Peanuts, good music, and a hug between Kristen Bell and Kristin Chenowith. What more could a Peanuts-lovin’, music-likin’ fan of cute petite blondes named Kristen ask for?
Afterwards, ABC aired A Charlie Brown Christmas, and for all it’s little oddities and unsmoothnesses, it was perfection. (And to top perfection, instead of fleshing out the hour with Prep & Landing, as had been announced, they ran the happy-making Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tales.)