A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving may be the only Thanksgiving special (live or animated) that does not include adults. Our first 25 specials honored the convention of the comic strip where no adults ever appeared. (Ironically, our Mayflower special does include adults for the first time.)
At the time of its release, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was the tenth animated Peanuts special to air and the third holiday special. had been a smash eight years before, with airing a year later. With A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, the Peanuts gang cemented their hold on the American public’s hearts in the final three months of the year.
Though now it invokes a feeling of nostalgia in its fans, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving had a mix of both traditional imagery and current ambiance for the 70’s. As Snoopy cooks, a contemporary jazzy song plays. Only a few years after the height of the , the mostly white Peanuts gang eat at the same table as Franklin, their black friend. Modern audiences may not be aware of these elements at play.
As with anything, those times ended. Thanksgiving has shifted from a stressful and unpleasant time to an enjoyable and relaxing one. But that doesn’t mean that Charlie Brown’s importance has been diminished or forgotten. It has remained a fixture of Thanksgiving. For many, it may not be Thanksgiving unless they have turkey and gravy, or pumpkin pie and apple pie. While I love those things, I can’t really call it Thanksgiving unless I see some grumpy round-headed kids staring at plates full of jellybeans, pretzel sticks and popcorn and wondering where the hell the turkey was. I mean, sure, I guess those early Thanksgiving meals with the Indians (okay, Native Americans) and Pilgrims didn’t have A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving to watch, but wouldn’t everything have been a lot better if they had?