In November 1973, Charles M. Schulz, creator of the beloved “Peanuts” comic strip, sent the world an invitation to join Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang for a Thanksgiving feast in the TV special “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” Four decades later, many fans of the annual special would say the fall holiday would feel incomplete without sharing a meal with everyone’s favorite blockhead.
Despite audiences breaking bread -- or should we say toast? -- year after year with the Peanuts crew, there might be some things about the long-running animated favorite, directed by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman, that may just surprise you. Check them out:
1. First Adult Voice Heard – Vince Guardaldi was the first adult voice to be featured in the Peanuts specials after the artist composed and sang the song “Little Birdie,” which was set to a scene in “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”
2. No Adult Characters Present – No adult characters are present in the holiday special besides Charlie Brown’s grandmother, who can be heard on the phone via Guardaldi’s “Wah-wah-wah” trombone voice.
3. Lucy Goes Missing – After Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown in the first scene of the Thanksgiving episode, she vanishes from the rest of the installment. But her brother Linus plays a prominent part in the holiday classic after getting invited to Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving dinner for friends. (Was Lucy not invited to Charlie Brown’s Friendsgiving?)
4. Sally's Mysterious Trick-or-Treating – There were a couple flubs throughout “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” -- one of them occurring when Sally sulks about the arrival of another holiday before being able to finish all her Halloween candy. But in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” Sally never gets a chance to trick-or-treat because she spends the spooky holiday in a pumpkin patch with Linus while waiting for the Great Pumpkin. This leaves viewers wondering if time had passed between the two installments or if they were meant to be sequential.
5. Musical Chairs – During the dinner, audiences can notice a few errors in the TV film as chairs continue to disappear and reappear, as do the ice cream sundaes.
6. Bird Cannibalism – In the very last scene of the holiday special, which Schulz insisted upon including, Woodstock joins Snoopy in carving and devouring a turkey. Fans weren’t pleased with the bird cannibalism, so TV executive producer Lee Mendelson edited the special down to 22 minutes. But when the Peanut classics began airing on ABC, the special returned to its 25-minute format.
7. That's Charles To You – Fans can catch Marci referring to Charlie Brown by his real name -- as well as calling him Charles for the first time -- during the installment instead of referring to him as Chuck as Peppermint Patty does.
“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will air Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.