(Update: This video has since been removed from Youtube. Sorry.)
I see that A Charlie Brown Christmas is playing on the teevee this week, so I had to show it here on the blog. It's much easier this way. You won't have to feel frustrated with network-imposed cuts and too many commercials. And watching online has a certain anti-establishment feel, which Charles Shultz' holiday classic shares.
I always say this is my favorite American animation of all, and I mean that sincerely. I love the art style. I love the way the Peanuts characters are brought to life on the screen. I love those jazzy off-color backgrounds for the closeups. Most of all, I love the story, so simple and sincere. It's a story about childhood and the need to preserve their innocence from the cynicism of the adult world. It's joyous for the sake of being joyous. Moments come and go for no greater purpose than to depict daily life. I'm thinking especially of the terrific opening on the lake.
In this regard, A Charlie Brown Christmas is the American Totoro. For all the praise given to Hayao Miyazaki, I can't name a single animation produced in this country that strives to capture Totoro's lifelike pastoral feel. Sparky Shultz and Bill Melendez were the only ones to ever pull it off.
And I am still amazed that this cartoon was even allowed on the air. A prime-time cartoon show that decries and openly mocks commercialism? Don't they know last week was Black Friday, the most important day of the year? I got a lot invested in this ride! Shut up! Look at my furrowed brows of worry...this has to be real.
Ahem. Don't know how I thought up Bill Hicks just there. Maybe A Charlie Brown Christmas, as the saying goes, comes from a more innocent time. Maybe the television medium was still new enough for more experimental content. Maybe mass media has too much money attached to it in the 21st Century. I wonder, as I munch on my Dolly Madisons, could Charlie Brown be made today, the same as it was in 1964? What challenges would today's animators face? Could the internet make a difference as an alternative outlet, away from the conglomerates who own the networks? I'm really curious to know that, and I'd like to hear what the animation community as to say.
In any case, enjoy Charlie Brown. This is one of the hallowed holiday traditions, like egg nog and Nat King Cole records and snow days. Enjoy.