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Downsizing Charlie Brown’s Christmas

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Posted on Dec 10, 2009
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“A Charlie Brown Christmas” first aired 44 years ago on CBS.

The cartoon “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a classic that offers us an endearing and memorable message against yuletide commercialism. But ABC must not have been paying attention, as it cut several key scenes from the program to add even more space for—you guessed it—advertisements.

The Herald Bulletin

It was 44 years ago when “A Charlie Brown Christmas” debuted on CBS. One of the most beloved Christmas shows has Charlie worrying about not being excited as the holiday approaches, which leads Linus to question his friend’s sanity. But Charlie’s upset about the commercialization of Christmas. Even Snoopy decorates his dog house in a holiday-lights contest.

Lucy suggests that Charlie direct the school Christmas show after which chaos reigns (to the great music by Vince Guaraldi). Charlie Brown tosses down his megaphone and asks if anyone knows the meaning of Christmas. Linus takes center stage to recite the story of the holy night and the birth of Jesus, from Luke 2:8-14, ending with, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.”

Charlie Brown is happier, and so are we, though CBS was scared to death to air it in 1965 because of the overt references to the real reason for the season. If Christmas was overcommercialized in 1965, it is more so today. Look at the airing of the show itself, which was on ABC Tuesday night. Many scenes from the original were cut, including one of Charlie Brown writing a letter to Santa for his sister Sally, Lucy asking Schroeder if he can play any Christmas songs on his piano and the gang tossing snowballs and catching snowflakes on their tongues. Of course, these scenes don’t propel the plot but do capture what it’s like to be a kid at Christmastime.

In one of the great ironies, the show was edited so ABC could fit in four blocks of advertising, which did, in effect, overcommercialize a show whose theme was overcommercialization.

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By quigley, December 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment

It is important for people to tune out the major networks - their day is
over. The reason why I do not complain about paying my cable bill is
because of the freedom I have to reject the controlling and censorial
antics of ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, et al.
And - like most others - who watches network TV when you can get it
on DVD or HULU for pennies?

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By Anarchist, December 12, 2009 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stopped watching ABC a decade ago. So should everyone else.

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By The Old Hooligan, December 12, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

If I want to watch the Charlie Brown Holiday Specials I have them here on Blu-ray, thanks very much.

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By C. Reott, December 12, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

first time reader. Great article - “Our Murderer’s in the Sky”

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, December 11, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

Why on earth are you watching ABC?

Surely there’s an uncensored, commercial-free version available on the internet?  Or available on DVD?

But whatever you do , just turn off the danged corporate channels!

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By frank1569, December 11, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ABC has been doing that since the year they acquired the rights. This is nothing new at all.

However, thanks to Hulu, we can all enjoy the full CBXmas Special with only 1 minute and 30 secs worth of ads.

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By Textynn, December 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These networks have so many commercials that sometimes I’ll be sitting there so long I will actually forget what Im watching. Then later I’ll realized I just walked out in the middle of a movie and didn’t realize it. 

Do your kids a favor and buy these old favorite vids at the second hand store for a buck.  It’s worth it and no mind control or Blue Hippo scam commercials to ruin it.

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