It’s common knowledge that A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving first aired on November 20, 1973. You can find that fact on the show’s IMDb page, or its Wikipedia page… at least if you check right now, before I get it fixed. You see, like much common knowledge, it appears to be wrong.
Over on the Twitters, Kurt B pointed me to this interesting description of the special from a TV listing:
He was focusing on the “Canadian Thanksgiving” claim; Canadians have their own Thanksgiving holiday, about a month and a half before the US one. (Are the Peanuts characters Canadian? It’s hard to tell. That’s one of the tricky things about Canadians, they have the ability to pass for normal people, unless you pay close attention. You have to give them the “are you a replicant” interview from Blade Runner, only you just count the number of times they say “sorry” during their responses.)
Kurt noted that this appeared in the October 5, 1973, Alberni (British Columbia) Valley Times. I am surprised enough by that to go ahead and verify it… and I find that listing. It’s actually not a listing for that day’s airings, but for the next day, Saturday the 6th, two days before Canadian Thanksgiving.
So the US premiere of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is only that, the US premiere. Our great special is just Canada’s leftovers, like some stale popcorn and jelly beans.
And that’s today’s painful entry in the search for historic truth.
(NOTE: My mocking Canadians here is all in fun. They are truly a fine and respectable people – and I am absolutely not being forced to say this by my brother and the Canadian government agent he married.)