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A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition [Paperback]

By Lee Lendelson, Bill Melendez (Contributor), Antonia Felix (Editor) & Timothy Shaner (Creator)
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Item description for A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition by Lee Lendelson, Bill Melendez, Antonia Felix & Timothy Shaner...

A behind-the-scenes account of one of the most popular holiday animated films includes Executive Producer Lee Mendelson's personal reminiscences about its making, segments from Vince Guaraldi's original score, and production notes. Reprint.

Publishers Description

Since its first airing, it's always a memorable night when "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is on TV. After forty years, the animated special is still a favorite. This lushly illustrated tribute to the beloved television classic has many unique features, including:

  • Original animation art
  • A look at the behind -- the -- scenes making of the cartoon
  • Vince Guaraldi's original score and publication notes
  • Interviews with the original child actors who were the voices of the Peanuts gang
  • An introduction by the show's executive producer, Lee Mendelson
  • And much more!

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition is a delightful and fitting salute to the holiday special that never fails to deepen your love of Christmas, touch your heart, and give you hope.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Harper Paperbacks
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 8.75" Height: 9"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2005
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  006076659X  
ISBN13  9780060766597  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Animation
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Graphic Design > Cartooning
3Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > Comic Strips > General
4Books > Subjects > Comics & Graphic Novels > General
5Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > General
6Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Satire, General
7Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Television > Direction & Production
8Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Television > General
9Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Television > History & Criticism
10Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Holidays > Christmas > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > General Interest > Seasonal > Christmas

Reviews - What do customers think about A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition?

Christmas time is here... happiness and cheer...  Dec 11, 2006
"Charlie Brown Christmas" is the crown jewel of Christmas specials. Heavy on holiday introspection, but with the dry wit and humor you'd come to expect from Charles Schulz's creations.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition" just expands that experience, by outlining how the famed special came to be -- the music, the animation, the voice acting, even the advertisement to get people to watch it. It's a charming, nostalgic little book, and a good accompaniment.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" was spun up quickly, when Coca Cola wanted a Christmas special in less than a week -- and Charles Schulz's lovable loser Charlie Brown seemed to be the ticket. But the special was made very differently from other cartoons -- 2-D animation, no laugh track, uncutesy kids, and (horrors!) a jazz soundtrack. It was doomed to fail, they said.

Well, instead it became a booming hit, and has been running every December ever since. Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez reminisce in here about the much-loved Charles Schulz, and about Vince Guaraldi, who made the distinctive piano soundtrack, and why it's so beloved -- it dares to approach holiday ennui and commercialization, then dashes it away with Linus' description of Christmas' meaning.

As for the "making of" portion, there are storyboards, musical scores, test photos, clips of television reviews, and rare photos like Melendez and Schulz doing the football gag. Finally, there is the entire script of the special, framed by colourful stills from the cartoon.

You couldn't wring this much information from most half-hour animated specials, no matter how much fun they were. But it's a bit different with "Charlie Brown Christmas." It was so completely unusual -- and has proved to be so timeless -- that a book on the making of it, and its effect, seems completely right.

It's a very conversational, reminiscent book. It feels like sitting in a room with Melendez and Mendelson, listening to them reminisce about "Sparky." And we also get input from other people involved in the project, such as Christopher Shea (Linus), who talks about his famous "Second Chapter of Luke" speech, as well as odd bits of trivia (the little girl playing Sally had to be fed her lines).

The Christmas special is more than able to stand on its own, but "Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition" is a wonderful accompaniment. Full of interesting tidbits and history.
What's not to love ?  Dec 4, 2006
This is the ultimate companion to the tv show. The art work is from the original show and the dialogue is a great bonus! The book is also packed with great trivia and information about the decisions "behind stage" that led to the creation of the ultimate Christmas Special.
Here comes Charlie Brown, that round-headed prophet  Oct 4, 2004
The world's most recognized cartoon character, ever in 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 Chrismas, 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.
One of TV?s worthwhile traditions-Revisited  Jun 9, 2004
Lee Mendelson , one of the men behind all of the Peanuts cartoons, has created a tribute book for one of the most watched and appreciated Christmas specials. Inside you'll find the history of the cartoon, from its humble beginnings as an idea put forth by Coca-Cola looking for a Christmas special, to the inspired use of Vince Guaraldi's wonderful jazz, and the casting of "real" children as the voices, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS proved to be a series of fortuitous events. This is an enjoyable keepsake for fans of the show, but there is some obvious padding, I mean, 90 pages of illustrated script? The book is only 192 pages long. There are other extras, like the production sheets and Melendez's original backgrounds. They are welcome sights and it would have been nice to see more effort put into details like these. That being said I enjoyed the book, but would only recommend it if you get a break on the retail price.
Invaluable to the Peanuts fan  Oct 22, 2002
I have wondered, sometimes, what it would be like to go through a Christmas without knowing the wonderful, brilliant cartoon "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was going to be on the air. I've never lived in such a world, nor do I think I would want to.

This book is a look into the process of making what is inarguably one of the most-loved Holiday specials ever. Everything about the cartoon is in here -- from the journey to get it on the air to the dangerously abbreviated production time to the perils of casting real children to play the Peanuts gang -- the first time children played children in American animation, by the way, and some of them were too young to even read their lines.

And of course, the piece de resistance, the book includes the complete screenplay, written by the brilliant Charles M. Schulz himself. A sweet, humble man, I doubt he really knew at the time how wonderful his creation was or how important it would become to so many.

This is a fabulous book and seems to be designed as a companion to "Peanuts: A Golden Celebration," which was released a few years ago. Both of them are simply invaluable for anyone who loves Peanuts.


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