Sunday, December 5, 2010

From Pee-Wee to Peanuts

A year ago I had a few good friends over to watch some Christmas specials. We ended up watching SEVEN in a row. That's right SEVEN!!! We started with PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL - the 1988 CBS special with the best guest line-up ever: Frankie Avalon, Charo, Cher, The Del Rubio Triplets, Annette Funicello, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Whoopi Goldberg, Magic Johnson, Grace Jones, kd lang, Little Richard, Joan Rivers, Dinah Shore and Oprah!
This hour-long program is possibly one of the best hours of television ever. And gayest.
Next up in our line-up was A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS (see below), followed by (in no specific order) HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, THE NANNY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS , RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER and THE SNOWMAN (see yesterday's blog entry). I'll have more detailed entries about most of these shows in a few days, in the meantime, here's my Peanuts entry from last year: There's been so much written about this award-winning classic already (both online and in the "real" world), that there's not much of anything I can say that hasn't already been said. I could go on about the characters, the sad little tree, the commercialism of Christmas or the wonderful Vince Guaraldi soundtrack. But I won't.
I could also comment on the religious aspect of the show - since it's one of the rare instances of Christian propaganda that seems to be accepted and tolerated by even the most ardent believers in separation of church and entertainment. But I won't go there either, even though I just did. ;)

I could trace it's broadcast history and talk about how it's been edited (or some say "censored") over the years, but you can get all that on Wikipedia. I just wanna share some great old TV Guide ads and thank the late great Charles Schulz, Bill Melendez and the aforementioned Mr. Guaraldi for creating a simple, wonderful half-hour of animation that has defined how people think about Christmas for the past 43 years. In the words of Lucy Van Pelt, "Charlie Brown is a blockhead, but he did get a nice tree".


Davelandweb said...

What a great line-up; and I agree with you on the Pee-Wee Xmas special - what a blast! Poor Dinah Shore...

Ookie said...

About 20 years ago, when many of the old Christmas TV specials were available only on VHS, I was at Christmas party with my co-workers from Home Shopping Network, where we watched the Grinch, Little Drummer Boy, etc. for the first time since we were all little kids. It was such a blast! Chuck Jones' Grinch animation holds up especially well. Sadly, I don't have many friends these days who see the charm in the cheese. And I hate how they superimpose distracting animated promos for other shows when they show these classics on TV these days.

toycoon said...

The Pee Wee Christmas Special is a classic work of art! I especially love the Hanuka portion of the show featuring Mrs. Renee and Dinosaur Family. Naturally the Dinosaur Family is Jewish, they're BC!