As taught by a cartoon.

Charles Schulz insisted on one core purpose: A Charlie Brown Christmas had to be about something. Namely, the true meaning of Christmas. Otherwise, Schulz said, “Why bother doing it?”

But as it many times is, he was the only one firm in his belief of what his Christmas (not Holiday) special would portray. In fact the two closest to him were dreadfully opposed to Shultz’s vision of his half hour special.

Schulz stood strong, despite efforts to talk him out of quoting from the Bible. On December 5, 2005, USA Today recounted: 

[Executive producer Lee] Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez fretted about the insistence by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz that his first-ever TV spinoff end with a reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke by a lisping little boy named Linus.

We told Schulz, ‘Look, you can’t read from the Bible on network television,’ ” Mendelson says. “When we finished the show and watched it, Melendez and I looked at each other and I said, ‘We’ve ruined Charlie Brown.’ “

So a fledgling cartoonist with a chance at glory forsaken it in order to do the right thing. How great a lesson that is for all of us when facing a decision, knowing what is right but being pressured into compromise. Will we gave the fortitude of Charles Schultz and stand firm for our beliefs?

In the end, as Shultz stood unbundling, the network finally caved in to the show’s sponsor, Coca-Cola, who insisted the show air in its agreed timeslot, and with no recourse, CBS aired it with Luke’s passage. It shows us determination and perseverance wins if we believe. And, oh by the way, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS finished second most watched show in its week and has been a constant, uncut, for 53 years!


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