For its golden anniversary, Charles Schulz’ seminal holiday classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, is getting a bash so big that even persnickety Peppermint Patty would approve. In celebration of the 50th anniversary, Kristen Bell will host the jubilee, It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, on ABC Nov. 30.
Since the original Peanuts Christmas special premiered in 1965 — where a beleaguered Charlie Brown lamented the commercialization of Christmas, was persuaded to direct the annual holiday pageant, and then helped a scraggly tree find a little love — A Charlie Brown Christmas has become a yuletide tradition watched by families year after year.
A Charlie Brown Christmas features a score by composer Vince Guaraldi, and in the anniversary special, musical guests will perform several of his masterpieces live. Famed jazz pianist David Benoit, who is also the current Peanuts musical director, also reveals, “We’re doing one composition of mine that I wrote with [executive producer] Lee Mendelson, called ‘Just Like Me,’ about Charlie Brown picking out the Christmas tree.” Matthew Morrison is the lucky performer who get to premiere that song.
The heartwarming telecast will feature spectacular live performances from Kristen Chenoweth, Sarah McLachlan, Boyz II Men, Pentatonix, David Benoit and The All-American Boys Chorus. Benoit’s jazz trio will perform melodies from A Charlie Brown Christmas and he reveals that he owes his career as a jazz pianist to watching the special in 1965. “I remember gathering around the very first year, around the black and white television,” he recalls. “I saw the special and heard the music and I said, ‘I want to play like that! I want to be a jazz pianist.’” He started lessons soon after.
This year is a big one for Snoopy, Charlie Brown and company. In addition to A Charlie Brown Christmas’ anniversary, the U.S. Postal Service issued a set of 10 commemorative “forever” stamps. And on Nov. 6, the gang heads to the big screen in 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios’ animated feature The Peanuts Movie.
“I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” — Linus, on Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree
It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown > ABC > Monday, Nov. 30 at 8pm ET/PT
It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown images © 2015 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Charlie Brown Christmas image:© Peanuts Worldwide