Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales

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Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales
Genre Animated TV special
Created by Charles M. Schulz
Written by Charles M. Schulz
Voices of Wesley Singerman (Charlie Brown, Ugly Kid)
Megan Taylor Harvey (Sally Brown)
Serena Berman (Lucy van Pelt)
Tim Deters (Rerun van Pelt)
Lauren Schaffel (Lydia)
Christopher Ryan Johnson (Schroeder)
Bill Melendez (Snoopy and Woodstock)
Country of origin  United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Running time 18 mins
Production company(s) United Feature Syndicate
Release
Original network ABC
Original release December 8, 2002
Chronology
Preceded by A Charlie Brown Valentine
Followed by Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales is one of many prime-time animated TV specials based on characters from the Charles M. Schulz comic strip Peanuts. It originally aired on ABC December 8, 2002. It has since been broadcast each Christmas season after that as a companion segment in an hour-long slot featuring an unedited version of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It is the only TV special to credit Charles M. Schulz posthumously for writing. Other TV credits do not credit Schulz writing it.

Synopsis[edit]

The special consists of a series of vignettes, each one starring a different member of the Peanuts gang in various Christmastime situations, largely inspired by original Peanuts comic strips. The installments are as follows:

Happy Holidays from Snoopy[edit]

Snoopy tries to get Lucy to ask him to join her in the skating show, but she's only interested in Schroeder. Later, he dresses up like Santa Claus to work as a bell-ringer to raise money. He is briefly confronted by an angry Rerun, who chastises him for failing to deliver the toys promised to him the previous Christmas. At one point, while dressed as Santa, he plays "Oh! Susanna" on the accordion, which Lucy comments "isn't very Christmasy" as she and Linus walk by. Upon hearing that, he quickly switches to "Christmas Time is Here" (with Woodstock whistling along). He also attempts to make peace with the ferocious cat who lives next door but it takes a ferocious swipe again.

Yuletide Greetings from Linus[edit]

Linus tries to decide what kind of letter he should write to Santa.

The next day at school, he meets a girl who repeatedly changes her name. When Linus points out that her name of the day, Jezebel, is a hated Old Testament figure who was thrown from a window to her death, the girl changes her name of the day to Susan. Linus tries to ask for her address to send her a Christmas card, and she gives an address that turns out to be fake when the card is returned. When Lucy asks Linus why he's so interested in her, he replies flatly: "She fascinates me."

Season's Greetings from Sally[edit]

Sally decides to give everyone paper airplanes for Christmas and writes her Christmas letter to "Samantha Claus" (her beard being a disguise). After school, a furious Sally blames Charlie Brown for not telling her that she was thinking of Santa Claus.

Not knowing how to cut down a Christmas tree, Sally decides to go out and "fall down" a tree: look at it and hope it falls on its own. Her first target turns out to be in the yard of a hostile "ugly kid," who, in disbelief, flippantly tells her she can have the tree if it falls down. In what Sally describes as "a Christmas miracle," the tree does fall down on its own. The ugly kid comes to the Browns' house and demands the tree back, but Sally refuses. The night before Christmas Eve, Sally is overcome with guilt and decides to return the tree anyway, but the ugly kid has since changed his mind and agrees to keep his word, forcing Snoopy (who had already decorated the tree) to bring it back home and decorate it all over again.

Peace on Earth from Lucy[edit]

Lucy struggles with being nice and tries to get Schroeder and Linus to buy her presents, at one point trying to justify it by claiming that because the Bible has the word "sister" in it, it means Linus must buy her a Christmas present.

Merry Christmas from Charlie Brown[edit]

Charlie Brown writes a Christmas card to the Little Red-Haired Girl. To Linus's dismay, he writes to her calling himself "your sweet babboo," the phrase Sally has always used to refer to Linus. Charlie points out it's a Brown family expression.

Charlie Brown and Sally prepare for Christmas together. Sally thinks she has spotted Santa Claus, but it turns out to be Snoopy in his Santa outfit. She later is haunted by "visions of sugarplums" and is relieved when Charlie Brown tells her they are simply a type of candy.

In the final vignette, Sally is complaining that she never received a bicycle for her dollhouse; Charlie Brown said it was likely delivered to the wrong address. Sally, still angry, replies that she hopes whoever got the bike really needed it. The scene cuts to Woodstock riding off on the bicycle.

Voice cast[edit]

Origin[edit]

When A Charlie Brown Christmas was created in 1965, the program was designed as a 30-minute time program. By the 1990s, changes in the delivery of closing credits and increases in advertising minutes on the networks made it impossible for all of A Charlie Brown Christmas to be aired in a half-hour time slot. In 2010, the special ran, with commercials, for 35 minutes.

CBS made several cuts to the program to keep it in the half-hour time slot, including standardizing the closing credits and cutting out the closing song of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing". Fans of the special were angered by the cuts. In response, ABC increased the special to a one-hour block when it acquired the rights to the special shortly before creator Charles Schulz's death. However, this left about eighteen extra minutes to be filled. During 2001, the first year ABC aired A Charlie Brown Christmas, the show was followed by a retrospective hosted by Whoopi Goldberg featuring the voice cast and producers of the special. Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales was created to replace that retrospective in rounding out the hour for subsequent airings. It first aired December 8, 2002 and has aired annually on ABC each year since.

From 2010-2012, a portion of the special was cut to clear a spot for Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa, a seven-minute short produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Only "Happy Holidays from Snoopy," "Yuletide Greetings from Linus," and "Merry Christmas from Charlie Brown" aired in these years, though the special has again been shown in its entirety since 2013.

Home video releases[edit]

This special was also included as a bonus feature on the original Paramount Home Entertainment US DVD for I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, although not on the UK release or the later Warner Home Video US re-release. Warner Home Video released it on its own DVD, with Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? as a bonus feature, released on November 3, 2009 as a CVS Pharmacy exclusive and then expanded to the wider market in 2010. It was re-released as part of the box set Snoopy's Holiday Collection on October 1, 2013.

External links[edit]