1. In 1963, television sponsor, Coca-Cola approached TV producer Lee Mendelson about doing a documentary about cartoonist Charles Schulz and his comic strip. The documentary led to a two minute film that became the first animated Peanuts characters.
3. The Peanuts documentary films was never sold, but CBS had committed to Coca-Cola. Executives from Coke asked Mendelson if he’d create a Christmas special. Charles Shulz spent the next week creating scenes called, “School Play”, “Sad Christmas Tree”, and “Ice Skating”.
4. The Children who sing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing were from the Bay Area in California.
5. Animators had difficulty animating Charlie Brown’s head because it was round. Side to side movement didn’t look right. Many of the characters heads didn’t look right after they made the jump from comic strip to animation. Snoopy was the easiest character to animate which why he’s in so many scenes.
6. CBS execs were not impressed when they previewed Charlie Brown Christmas. They didn’t like the voices done by real kids, there was no laugh track, it moved too slow and they didn’t like Linus reading from the Gospel of Luke. Execs were quoted as saying, “You can’t read from the Bible on television.” Ultimately, CBS had made a commitment to their sponsor and reluctantly aired the special.
7. The originally airing of Charlie Brown Christmas brought in 15.4 million viewers, placing it second in ratings behind Bonanza. Charles Schulz and Lee Mendelson won an Emmy award for Outstanding Children’s Programming.