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A Charlie Brown Christmas: the unlikely triumph of a holiday classic

OUPBlog: “Charlie Brown Christmas was never supposed to be a success. It hit on all the wrong beats. The pacing was slow, the voice actors were amateurs, and the music was mostly laid back piano jazz (the opening theme, “Christmas Time is Here,” carried a strange, wintery melody built on unconventional modal chord progressions). It was almost like the program was constructed as a sort of anti-pop statement. In many ways, that’s exactly what it was. And that’s exactly why it so worried the media executives who had commissioned it. Incredibly, however, A Charlie Brown Christmas emerged from the holiday season of 1965 an unlikely and instantaneous classic, beloved by both the hip and the square in the United States. It did the incredible work of bridging the vast cleavage between the conservative and increasingly radical elements of the nation. The story of how this off-beat children’s program became a staple of modern American pop culture reveals much about the moment in which it was created and the people who fell in love with it…”

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