Oh dear! Yesterday I had no time to post, and today...well, last night I was distracted by the best Christmas movie ever (Die Hard!), and didn't get my new posts formatted either. So, you'll have to wait for new posts till next week. So sorry.
As a consolation prize, let me direct your attention to this lovely article about the creation of A Charlie Brown Christmas by Michael Canava in The Washington Post:
Before the steady stream of Emmy Awards and Grammy nominations and Oscar consideration came The Idea -- the one that producer-director Lee Mendelson, nearly a half-century later, calls with a certain zest "the best idea I've had in my entire life."
"I'd just made a documentary about the best baseball player in the world," Mendelson tells Comic Riffs, referring to his award-winning NBC work about Willie Mays. "So I decided to make a documentary about the worst baseball player in the world."
That, naturally, would be Charlie Brown. Mendelson read a "Peanuts" strip about the perennially losing hurler and thought: Why not make a documentary about the cartoon's creator?
It turned out to be the best pitch Mendelson ever made.
Mendelson called fellow Northern California resident Charles Schulz -- "his phone number was listed right in the book," the producer recalls -- and proposed the documentary. Fortunately, Mendelson says, Schulz had seen "A Man Named Mays" and liked it. "Sure, come on up," Schulz replied, so Mendelson motored up from San Francisco to Sebastopol and right there in the heart of wine country, the inspired ideas began to ferment and a 38-year friendship and creative partnership took root.
By 1965, the two men -- working with veteran Disney and Warner Bros. animator Bill Melendez -- collaborated on their first work, the holiday special "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a TV show that took chances and defied certain conventions (eschewing even a laugh track) and, ultimately, remained utterly authentic to the trio's collective vision.
He goes on to discuss their collaboration with Vince Guaraldi, the frenzied brainstorming session that created some of the iconic scenes, how the iconic "Christmas Time is Here" came into being. Do read it: it's fascinating.
Charlie Brown Christmas
Charlie Brown Christmas with Vince Guaraldi: CD, MP3
BONUS: "Christmas Time is Here" is free on iTunes.