Monday, December 5, 2011

The Gospel according to 'Peanuts'

From The Pittsburgh Tribune- (Interesting it almost didn't make it to television even in 1965)

Few headlines about network television make me giddy.

Fewer still make me hopeful that all is good in the world.

But back in August 2010, I read the following headline from the media pages with great excitement: "Charlie Brown Is Here to Stay: ABC Picks Up 'Peanuts' Specials Through 2015."

The first of these to be made, the famous Christmas special, was an instant classic when it was created by Charles Schulz on a shoestring budget in 1965. And thanks to some smart television executives, it will be around for at least another five years for all of us to see and enjoy.

What people don't know is that the Christmas special almost didn't happen because some not-so-smart television executives almost didn't let it air.

You see, Charles Schulz had some ideas that challenged the way of thinking of those executives 46 years ago. And one of them had to do with the inclusion in his Christmas cartoon of a reading from the King James Bible's version of the Gospel of Luke.

The more things change, the more things stay the same.

Even in 1965 -- just a few years before Time magazine asked, "Is God Dead?" -- CBS executives thought a Bible reading might turn off a nation populated with Christians. And during a Christmas special, no less. Ah, the perils of living on an island in the northeast called Manhattan.

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