By: Jessica Scroppo
A yellow shirt with a black zigzag. A dust cloud swirl. A blond boy hunched over a tiny piano. A white dog with black ears on a red doghouse. If you haven’t figured it out by now, these Charlie Brown characters make an appearance on your TV screen at least once a year.
Charlie Brown first debuted in a 1950s “Peanuts” comic strip. The simple sketch of the boy would spiral into a lasting franchise. In the late 50s and early 60s, Charlie Brown made his first appearances as an animated character. According to www.peanuts.fandom.com, Coca-Cola questioned if creator Charles Schulz could make a Christmas special to sponsor their product. Schulz seemingly came up with one of the most popular specials ever created. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was broadcasted for CBS on December 9, 1965. After it came “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966), “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” (1973) and “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!” (1986) amongst others.
Charlie Brown has become a lasting trend, and even a tradition in some households. For decades, Charlie Brown specials have been syndicated on main TV channels at every holiday; no DVDs, rentals, or streaming services required. The specials have been readily available to adults and children alike- watching it effortlessly year after year.
University of St. Francis junior, Val Reyes, states, “I love how cute Snoopy and the Charlie Brown characters are. Even though they were created years ago, there’s still something special about them!” Charm is definitely part of Charlie Brown’s lasting appeal.
Simple graphics and pure story lines offer nostalgia each year. The holidays can be stressful, happy, sad, or all these emotions at once. As we grow older, maybe Charlie Brown’s pessimistic attitude or Lucy’s whining ring true. The familiarity of a Charlie Brown special may bring us back to a simpler time but can also mimic the grown stresses of the holidays.
In 2020, Apple TV+ gained the license to all “Peanuts” specials. For the first time in decades, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” did not air on network TV. Fans, and those who simply became accustomed to watching, were outraged. A change was made immediately and according to www.usatoday.com, “Apple TV+ allowed for the airing of the “Peanuts” Thanksgiving and Christmas specials on PBS.”
Luckily, no one will have to experience a Charlie Brown-less holiday, as PBS will be airing all the holiday specials for 2021.