Charlie Brown's Christmas Miracle -- Book Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Christmas is coming and that means Christmas specials!! What is your favorite one? One of the popular ones is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Do you know the history of this one? In many ways it is a miracle we have it to watch (though this year it will only be streaming on Apple+). Today I am going to share a book with you that shares the complete history of this Christmas special as well as all the people involved in making it. The book is Charlie Brown's Christmas Miracle: The Inspiring, Untold Story of the Making of a Holiday Classic by Michael Keane. 

From the Publisher:

Discover the inspiring, unknown, against-all-odds story of how the classic animated holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas almost never made it on to television.

Professor and cultural historian Michael Keane reveals much in this nostalgia-inducing book packed with original research and interviews. Keane compellingly shows that the ultimate broadcast of the Christmas special—given its incredibly tight five-month production schedule and the decidedly unfavorable reception it received by the skeptical network executives who first screened it—was nothing short of a miracle. Keane explains why the show, despite its technical shortcomings, has become an uplifting and enduring triumph embraced by millions of families every Christmas season, even more than fifty years after its premiere.

This gripping and joyful behind-the-scenes story of how the creators of A Charlie Brown Christmas struggled to bring the program to life will also help readers (and loyal fans) understand how America’s favorite Christmas special changed our popular culture forever. Keane masterfully weaves the momentous events of 1965 (the turbulent year of the program’s production) into his story, providing critical context for a profound new understanding of the program’s famous climactic scene, Linus’s spot-lit soliloquy answering the question repeatedly posed by Charlie Brown—"Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

From Me:

This book provides so much more than just about the production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. It is packed full of history. It shares what was happening at the time. It is full of history of many of the major players from Charles Schulz to the president of Coca-Cola, the sponsor. It includes a full history about the director and even information on the jazz musician and the television critic who was first to review it. 

Throughout the history there were times where this production was questioned. Charles Schulz first had to be convinced to allow someone else to animate his beloved characters. He had many rules that needed to be followed in the show. Then there was the fact that the president of CBS didn't believe in playing specials. Or that the decision to go with this production was made with too short of a timeline. Many times Linus monologuing scripture was questioned and thought a bad idea. Or the fact that the CBS executives hated their pre-screening of the special. There were many things against it. 

Yet, somehow this amazingly simple animated show that was not high quality for the time, became a favorite. It won an Emmy. Almost 50% of the country tuned into it the first showing. CBS wanted four more Peanuts specials. It was a miracle. The show came together and became the beloved Christmas special we know. I hope you will find time to watch it and perhaps remember what Christmas is all about. Then pick up this book and learn all the history behind it. You will be amazed even more!