A Charlie Brown Christmas

1965 television special directed by Bill Melendez

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) is an American television special in which Charlie Brown, repelled by the commercialism he sees around him, tries to find the true meaning of Christmas. The show is based on the comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. It was produced by Lee Mendelson and directed by Bill Melendez. It originally aired on the CBS network on Dec. 9, 1965 and aired annually on CBS from 1965 to 2000. It has aired annually on ABC since 2001 and has been paired with Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales since 2002-09, and returns in 2013-19.

I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.


[First lines]
Charlie Brown: I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I'm not happy. I don't feel the way I'm supposed to feel. I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.
Linus Van Pelt: Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Maybe Lucy's right. Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest.

[Lucy is helping Charlie Brown with his Christmas depression]
Lucy Van Pelt: You need involvement. You need to get involved in some real Christmas project. How would you like to be the director of our Christmas play?
Charlie Brown: [excited at the opportunity] ME? You want ME to be the director of the Christmas play?
Lucy Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown. We need a director, you need involvement. We've got a shepherd, musicians, animals, everyone you need. We've even got a Christmas queen.
[Lucy is in Charlie Brown's face, making it obvious it's her, and Charlie Brown rolls his eyes]
Charlie Brown: I don't know anything about directing a Christmas play.
Lucy Van Pelt: Don't worry, I'll be there to help you. I'll meet you at the auditorium. Incidentally, I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.
Charlie Brown: What is it you want?
Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate.

Charlie Brown: I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn't have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don't know what Christmas is all about. [shouting in desperation] Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. [moves toward the center of the stage] Lights, please. [a spotlight shines on Linus] "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.'" [Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown] That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown: First prize? Oh, well. This commercial dog is not going to ruin my Christmas. [takes an ornament from the dog house, placing it on the tree, which bends it over] I've killed it. Oh! Everything I touch gets ruined. [walks off ashamed]
[Charlie Brown's friends arrive and saw the tree bent over]
Linus Van Pelt: I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe, it just needs a little love.
[they fix the tree and decorate it]
Lucy Van Pelt: Charlie Brown is a blockhead, but, he did get a nice tree.
[the group hums "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"]
Charlie Brown: What's going on here?
All: Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! ♪ Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth, and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled. Joyfull, all ye nations, rise. Join the triumph of the skies. With angelic host proclaim. Christ is born in Bethlehem. Hark, the herald angels sing. Glory to the newborn King ♪