A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

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A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
GenreAnimated television special
Created byCharles M. Schulz
Based onPeanuts
Written byCharles M. Schulz
Directed byBill Melendez
Phil Roman
Voices ofBill Melendez
Todd Barbee
Stephen Shea
Hilary Momberger
Robin Kohn
Christopher DeFaria
Jimmy Ahrens
Robin Reed
Theme music composerVince Guaraldi
Opening theme"Thanksgiving Theme"
Ending theme"Thanksgiving Theme"
ComposersVince Guaraldi
John Scott Trotter
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducersLee Mendelson
Bill Melendez
EditorsBob Gillis
Chuck McCann
Rudy Zamora, Jr.
Running time25 minutes
Production companiesLee Mendelson Film Productions
Bill Melendez Productions
Original release
ReleaseNovember 20, 1973 (1973-11-20)

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is the tenth prime-time animated television special based upon the popular comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. It originally aired on the CBS network on November 20, 1973, and won an Emmy Award the following year.[1] It was the third holiday special after A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965 and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in 1966.[2]


Charlie Brown is preparing to go to his grandmother's with his family for Thanksgiving dinner when he gets a phone call from Peppermint Patty, who invites herself — and soon after, Marcie and Franklin — to Thanksgiving dinner at the Browns' house, as she has been given permission from her father, who has been called out of town. Linus suggests to a perplexed Charlie Brown that he could have two Thanksgiving dinners: the first at home for himself, Peppermint Patty and the others, then a second at his grandmother's. Linus recruits Snoopy and Woodstock to help; Snoopy sets up a ping pong table and chairs outside. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Woodstock and Linus then prepare a feast of toast, pan-fried popcorn, pretzel sticks, jelly beans and ice cream sundaes.

After Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Franklin arrive, Linus leads the group in a prayer that details the First Thanksgiving before Snoopy serves the meal. Peppermint Patty, who expected turkey and other traditional Thanksgiving food, yells at Charlie Brown, who dejectedly leaves the table. Marcie suggests Peppermint Patty was too hard on Charlie Brown and asks whether he invited her or she just invited herself. Peppermint Patty, realizing she was in the wrong, asks Marcie to apologize to Charlie Brown on her behalf (unintentionally paralleling The Courtship of Miles Standish). Marcie reluctantly agrees, but Peppermint Patty soon follows and apologizes to him herself. Just then, Charlie Brown realizes he and Sally are late for dinner at their grandmother's. He calls her and explains the situation, and she invites all his friends to come along for dinner. On the drive over, they sing "Over the River and Through the Woods", but as they finish the song, Charlie Brown says there's one problem with that song: His grandmother lives in a condominium, not a house.

Snoopy and Woodstock go to Snoopy's doghouse and cook their own traditional Thanksgiving meal. They break the wishbone, with Woodstock receiving the larger piece. Over the end credits, the two eat pumpkin pie.

Broadcast history[edit]

The special first aired on CBS on Tuesday, November 20, 1973, two days before Thanksgiving. It placed third in the Nielsen ratings for the week, behind All in the Family and Sanford & Son.[3]

The special continued to air every year on CBS (skipping 1982, 1983, and 1988) through Nov. 23, 1989.

The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon returned the special for re-airing in the 1990s (in the latter channel's case, under the "You're on Nickelodeon, Charlie Brown" umbrella of Peanuts productions) and then, in 2001, it moved, along with the rest of the Peanuts specials, to ABC. In contrast to CBS, ABC aired the special every year through 2019, on several days in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and it had regularly won its time slot.[4] As the special runs slightly over a half-hour with commercials, ABC typically filled the remaining portion of the full hour with other Peanuts programming. From 2008 to 2019, the remaining time was filled by a slightly abridged edit of "The Mayflower Voyagers," the premiere episode of the 1988 miniseries This Is America, Charlie Brown.

Starting in 2020, the special (along with the rest of the Peanuts library) will exclusively air on Apple TV+; under the terms of the agreement, Apple TV+ must provide a three-day window in November in which the special is available for free. On November 18, 2020 Apple announced they had reached an agreement to air the special on Sunday, November 22, 2020, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, commercial free on PBS and PBS Kids.[5] In accordance with most PBS affiliates' non-commercial educational licenses, the special was presented on PBS unedited without commercial interruption, with only a brief underwriting spot before and after the special: "This special broadcast of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was made possible by Apple." Apple renewed the agreement with PBS in 2021[6] but did not renew it for 2022.[7]

It is also broadcast in Canada, usually in early October in line with the Canadian observance of Thanksgiving. The special is aired on Family Channel as of 2018, with the special aired on the day before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day, which takes place on the second Monday of October in Canada.

Voice actors[edit]

This is the last TV special that uses the same cast from Snoopy, Come Home, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, and There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown. In the next television special, Kohn, DeFaria, and Momberger would be succeeded in their respective roles by Melanie Kohn (Robin's younger sister), Donna Forman, and Lynn Mortensen, respectively.


The soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was composed by Vince Guaraldi (except where noted) and conducted and arranged by John Scott Trotter.[8] The score was performed by the Vince Guaraldi Quintet on August 20, 22 and September 4, 1973, at Wally Heider Studios, featuring Tom Harrell (trumpet), Chuck Bennett (trombone), Seward McCain (electric bass) and Mike Clark (drums).[9][10]

  1. "Charlie Brown Blues" (aka "Play It Again, Charlie Brown"/"Charlie's Blues") (version 1)
  2. "Thanksgiving Theme" (version 1, opening credits)
  3. "Thanksgiving Theme" (version 2)
  4. "Peppermint Patty"
  5. "Little Birdie" (Vocal: Vince Guaraldi)[11]
  6. "Thanksgiving Interlude" (version 1)
  7. "Is It James or Charlie?" (version 1)
  8. "Linus and Lucy (with the band)"
  9. "Fife and Drums Theme"
  10. "Is It James or Charlie?" (version 2)
  11. "Charlie Brown Blues" (aka "Play It Again, Charlie Brown" and "Charlie's Blues") (version 2)
  12. "Thanksgiving Interlude" (version 2)
  13. "Over the River and Through the Wood" (a cappella, Lydia Maria Child)
  14. "Thanksgiving Theme" (version 3, with brass)
  15. "Thanksgiving Theme" (version 4, end credits)

Beginning in 1998, separate music cues have been released, scattered across several compilation albums:[8][12]

On October 20, 2023, a full album containing the remastered original recordings for the special and several bonus tracks was released for the first time in honor of the special’s 50th anniversary.[18]

Home media[edit]

The special was released on RCA's SelectaVision CED format in 1982 as part of the A Charlie Brown Festival Vol. III compilation. It was released on VHS by Kartes Video Communications (later KVC Home Video) in 1987. It was released by Paramount Home Video on VHS on September 28, 1994 and was re-released in clamshell packaging on October 1, 1996. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was released on DVD by Paramount Home Entertainment on September 12, 2000. It was re-released by Warner Home Video in remastered form on October 7, 2008.[19] It was released on a Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack by Warner Home Video on October 5, 2010. The special was released in a 40th anniversary deluxe edition DVD by Warner Home Video with the same features from previous editions on October 1, 2013. The deluxe edition DVD also features "The Mayflower Voyagers". The special was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on October 24, 2017.[20]


  1. ^ Woolery, George W. (1989). Animated TV Specials: The Complete Directory to the First Twenty-Five Years, 1962-1987. Scarecrow Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 0-8108-2198-2. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  2. ^ Solomon, Charles (2012). The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation: Celebrating Fifty Years of Television Specials. Chronicle Books. pp. 112–115. ISBN 978-1452110912.
  3. ^ "The van Nuys News 06 Dec 1973, page Page 131".
  4. ^ TV Ratings Wednesday: ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’ wins the night, ‘Survivor’ dips. TV by the Numbers (November 28, 2019). Retrieved November 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "You're on PBS, Charlie Brown: Apple Will Share 'Peanuts' Holiday Specials with Public TV". 18 November 2020.
  6. ^ Seiger, Theresa (October 25, 2021). "'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown' returning to TV this year". Cox Media Group. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
  7. ^ Cavanaugh, Patrick (October 11, 2022). "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Will Not Air on Broadcast TV This Year". Comicbook.com. Retrieved 2022-10-15.
  8. ^ a b c Bang, Derrick. "Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts Song Library: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving". fivecentsplease.org. Derrick Bang, Scott McGuire. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  9. ^ Mendelson, Sean; Liner notes from CD version of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: Original Soundtrack Recording (2023)
  10. ^ Bang, Derrick. "Vince Guaraldi Timeline". fivecentsplease.org. Derrick Bang, Scott McGuire. Retrieved 25 June 2020.
  11. ^ "'Little Birdie,' the best Thanksgiving tune". 2 April 2018.
  12. ^ Bang, Derrick. "Vince Guaraldi on LP and CD". fivecentsplease.org. Derrick Bang, Scott McGuire. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  13. ^ Koda, Cub. Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  14. ^ Jurek, Thom. The Charlie Brown Suite & Other Favorites at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  15. ^ Vince Guaraldi and the Lost Cues from the Charlie Brown TV Specials at AllMusic. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  16. ^ Vince Guaraldi and the Lost Cues from the Charlie Brown TV Specials, Volume 2 at AllMusic. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  17. ^ Dryden, Ken. Peanuts Portraits: The Classic Character Themes at AllMusic. Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  18. ^ Major, Michael. "Vince Guaraldi's 'A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving' Soundtrack to Be Released on CD & Vinyl For the First Time". broadwayworld. Michael Major. Retrieved August 28, 2023.
  19. ^ "TOP 10 Best New DVD Releases of 2019 - Latest Info". Best 7 Reviews. March 8, 2019.
  20. ^ "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving 4K Blu-ray". Blueray.com. Retrieved 22 December 2017.

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