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A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition Hardcover – 1 Nov 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers; 1 edition (1 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060198516
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060198510
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 0.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,896,794 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

The most popular Christmas TV special of all time, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is viewed every year by millions, young and old. Especially poignant this year both because of the show's anniversary and the recent death of creator Charles "Sparky" Schulz on the day of his official farewell Sunday strip, the 40th anniversary of this heartwarming, moving, often hilariously funny and sophisticated animated cartoon will be marked by the publication of our four-color gift book, "A Charlie Brown Christmas." This book features more than 150 never-before-reproduced in book form four-color frames from the animated cartoon, the original script, pieces of Vince Guaraldi's musical score with handwritten behind-the-scenes production notes, interviews with some of the original "child" actors (who had lent their voices to the first-ever animated cartoon to feature real children), an introduction by the cartoon's executive producer Lee Mendelson, reminiscences by original Peanuts animator Bill Melendez, and much more. "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is a fitting salute to the artist who forever changed the face of cartooning, and to the annual Christmas event that the Peanuts gang have celebrated for the last 35 years. It is a must-have for all Peanuts fans, young and old. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
In the television show, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas and helps infuse it into all the Peanuts gang. Like many people, he's a little down in the dumps over the upcoming holiday season, but with his good heart he soon finds a way to seek out Christmas in his own way by getting a real tree rather than the artificial one that Lucy sent him for.
If you are like me, you have watched and enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas many times since it premiered in 1965. Now, you can have this experience every day with this remarkable keepsake album. Everything about the book is first-class and a joy. Do be kind to your family and friends who like Peanuts and give them this book.
The book contains the whole illustrated script of the show, which brings the experience of watching the show back very literally. You also get the lyrics and music to "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Linus and Lucy." I could hear the music in my head for days after reading the book. You can, of course, play and sing these songs for yourself, as well.
There are also a lot of background sketches, story boards, and production sheets to help you understand the development and production process better. I found these to be interesting and valuable additions to the book.
I also enjoyed learning more about the decision to integrate jazz and classical music into the show. The remembrances about Vince Guraldi, who wrote the music, added to my understanding of why this is a great story.
To me, though, the best parts were the memories of Charles "Sparky" Schulz by producer Lee Mendelson and animator (and voice of Snoopy) Bill Melendez. This material integrates the story back into Mr. Schulz's basic religious values.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book and one that I recommend wholeheartedly. I read it in a day and I just wanted to know even more about Charles Schulz at the end of it.

It's the story of how the Charlie Brown Christmas special came into being. The author is Lee Mendelson who was the producer of the Charlie Brown programmes. As well as his own shared memories of 'Sparky' Schulz, he also speaks to Bill Melendez who was the animator. Rather than an interview, it reads just like a conversation between two friends. There's also a section about the man responsible for the jazz soundtrack, Vince Guaraldi. There is a heart to this book which is not something I say lightly. Everyone acknowledges the contribution that each other had on the success of the special and the further programmes. This is no 'ME! ME! ME!' retrospective.

Also included in the book are some storyboards, VG's music and the whole script with stills from the the programme. It's like a coffee-table book but unusually one with real depth.

It was only when I started to collect Christmas DVDs a few years ago that I came to understand the importance of this special in America. I would say that The Snowman is probably the nearest the UK has to a Christmas special like this.

This book would appeal to so many people and would make an excellent Christmas present for fans of Charlie Brown and/or Christmas! Even better, buy the DVD at the same time!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8c4dd480) out of 5 stars 27 reviews
48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c6c5c00) out of 5 stars A Great Christmas Gift for Peanuts Fans 4 Nov. 2000
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In the television show, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown searches for the true meaning of Christmas and helps infuse it into all the Peanuts gang. Like many people, he's a little down in the dumps over the upcoming holiday season, but with his good heart he soon finds a way to seek out Christmas in his own way by getting a real tree rather than the artificial one that Lucy sent him for.
If you are like me, you have watched and enjoyed A Charlie Brown Christmas many times since it premiered in 1965. Now, you can have this experience every day with this remarkable keepsake album. Everything about the book is first-class and a joy. Do be kind to your family and friends who like Peanuts and give them this book.
The book contains the whole illustrated script of the show, which brings the experience of watching the show back very literally. You also get the lyrics and music to "Christmas Time Is Here" and "Linus and Lucy." I could hear the music in my head for days after reading the book. You can, of course, play and sing these songs for yourself, as well.
There are also a lot of background sketches, story boards, and production sheets to help you understand the development and production process better. I found these to be interesting and valuable additions to the book.
I also enjoyed learning more about the decision to integrate jazz and classical music into the show. The remembrances about Vince Guraldi, who wrote the music, added to my understanding of why this is a great story.
To me, though, the best parts were the memories of Charles "Sparky" Schulz by producer Lee Mendelson and animator (and voice of Snoopy) Bill Melendez. This material integrates the story back into Mr. Schulz's basic religious values. You also get insights into the characters and their relation to Mr. Schulz. My favorite reference was this quote, "Charlie Brown is the way I am and Snoopy is the way I wish I could be."
After you read and reread this book, I suggest you sit back and plan for how you can have the kind of Christmas that Charles Schulz wanted to encourage with this story. That will be the best benefit of all.
May you always find and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c813d20) out of 5 stars The next-best thing to being there 19 Nov. 2001
By Jason A. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reading "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on a dark Sunday afternoon in November is a bit like owning a DVD crammed with special features. This gorgeously-designed hardcover, with glossy pages and a heavy silver dustjacket, is a terrific companion to the TV special, and an almost essential shelf companion to "Peanuts: A Golden Celebration".
Anything you'd want to know about the "Christmas" TV special is in this book -- lengthy interviews with producer Lee Mendelson (a veteran of Peanuts anniversary books) and animator Bill Melendez. Charles M Schulz passed away before the book was written, but there are plenty of rarely-seen photos of him taken in the 1960s. There's a chapter on Vince Guaraldi, whose jazz soundtrack defines the lives of many "Peanuts" fans; interviews with some of the children who voiced the characters; and, O happy day, sheet music! The second half of the book contains the complete script for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" itself, along with dozens of photos and animated sequences, taken from the original cels.
"Christmas" is not for small children (unless they're reading it with you), and there are a couple of misprints (including, in my first edition, a caption for a photo that's not in the book!). But it's lovely to look at, and when I put it down finally, reluctantly, I was whistling the soundtrack and hearing Linus's nativity speech (and I'm Jewish!). These days you can buy it for about as much as the DVD costs, and it's a wonderful Christmas gift. Unless, of course, the person you're buying it for already owns it.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ca2c4ec) out of 5 stars Great piece of Charlie Brown Christmas memorabilia 3 Nov. 2000
By Red State Gal - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book yesterday, and it's beautifully done. Includes entire script of film with glossy prints of many cells. Includes sheet music and production notes as well as many wonderful photos and reminicenses of how the film came to be. I'm enjoying it!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c4fc774) out of 5 stars Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! 16 Dec. 2001
By W. Langan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is for anybody who's seen A Charlie Brown Christmas virtually every year it's been on TV or via VHS or DVD.

It includes storyboards of the Ford commercials which featured Linus and Lucy back in 1962 (3 years before this classic TV special debuted). Not only that, it features advertisements in TV guide, an interview with Bill Melendez, who animated all the Peanuts specials and films up to Charles Schulz's untimely death in 2000), and a few essays from Lee Mendelson, who worked side by side with Melendez on each of the specials. It also features a few words from Peter Robins (the 1st voice of Charlie Brown) and Chris Shea (who played Linus). You also get a tribute to Vince Guaraldi who composed the music (not to mention that it includes the sheet music for "Linus and Lucy" and "Christmastime Is Here"). This book mentions how they came up with the adult "voices" in the specials and Schulz's conditions on working on Charlie Brown Christmas (one was that real children would do the kids' voices, and another was that the Gospel of Luke was present in the script in order to remind the audience the true meaning of Christmas).

Most importantly, this book includes the entire script of Charlie Brown Christmas with stills from the special. In essence, there is enough information for you to cast your own stage production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. There is one slight error in the script, however- the Peanuts gang is not humming "O Little Town of Bethelehem" at the finale but "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" (unless this was written in the original script and changed at the last minute). Finally, turn the pages and you'll see Snoopy cause Charlie Brown to crash into the tree in the one scene that begins the special!

Recommended to all Peanuts collectors and all who love the classic special that started it all for Peanuts animation.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8c4db1a4) out of 5 stars Here comes Charlie Brown, that round-headed prophet 4 Oct. 2004
By Patrick Hubbell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The world's most recognized cartoon character, ever in our national consciousness, comes alive periodically on TV specials, movies, ads, but never more so during the season of Christmas. He stands before us as the plucky everyman to remind us of the most important message in Christmas, that a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger invites us to visit and worship Him.

The background story of how it all came about is as entertaining and instructive as the show itself. The man who turned Charlie Brown and his friends into moving figures, Bill Melendez, says, "This little story and the way it's told is almost as simple and direct as Sparky's cartoon strip. The message is so gentle, there's nothing pompous about the story."

He recalls, "When I first looked at that part of the story, I told Sparky, 'We can't do this. It's too religious.' And he said to Bill, 'if we don't do it, who else can? We're the only ones who can do it.'"

A grateful nation watches it again and again. May the message sink in.
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