Timeless ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ Hits Detroit’s Fox Theatre Saturday
It all started with this tweet, remembering this is the 56th anniversary of the first broadcast of "A Charlie Brown Christmas". But after more than half a century, is the message still relevant today? You can decide for yourself this weekend. The stage musical version is playing three show Saturday at the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit.
But the answer to that basic question depends on your point of view, but are we more "commercialized" than maybe ever before. You could make a good argument for that.
A little background. Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang were becoming very, very popular by the mid-1960's, and A Charlie Brown Christmas was the first of the Charlie Brown specials, debuting on December 9th, 1965.
Here's the synopsis from wikipedia:
"In the special, Charlie Brown finds himself depressed despite the onset of the cheerful holiday season. Lucy suggests he direct a neighborhood Christmas play, but his best efforts are ignored and mocked by his peers when he chooses a real, but puny, Christmas tree as a centerpiece. After Linus speaks of the true meaning of Christmas, the neighborhood decorates the tree as a Christmas gift to Charlie Brown." - wikipedia
While the "true meaning of Christmas" theme wasn't anything new, going all the way to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", in the 1950's, satirist Stan Freberg's Green Christmas being just two notable examples, the jazz soundtrack by the Vince Guaraldi Trio was new and very hip, at its time.
Sure it was going to be a disaster
But it's interesting to read director Bill Melendez saw the finished piece just days before it air (the production was on a tight schedule.) and thought it was a disaster, but one of his animators, "Ed Levitt, was more positive, telling him it was 'the best special [he'll] ever make'.This show is going to run for a hundred years." Fifty six down, forty-four to go.
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