A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is a household classic for the holidays

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Photo Credit: Photo via United Feature Syndicate under Creative Commons Licence

An original cover of Charlie Brown getting help by his pet dog, Snoopy who is a better cook than him.

By: Massimo del Pozo, Reporter

The animated television special stars Charlie Brown in 1973, where a valuable lesson is taught that the people we spend Thanksgiving with are much more significant than the food we eat.

Background

Charles M. Schulz got inspiration from his popular comic strip Peanuts, where the main goal was to remind American viewers about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. CBS network aired the special on November 20, 1973, where it became so popular that it won an Emmy Award the following year. This was the third holiday special for the Charlie Brown series and has still impacted families throughout the country. The influence of the special has even become a tradition for families to watch on Thanksgiving. 

Plot

The Browns are getting ready to go to their grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. When the main character Charlie Brown, (Todd Barbee) gets a phone call from Peppermint Patty (Chris DeFaria) who wants to come over for dinner. Charlie Brown has a plan to invite some of his friends and have thanksgiving dinner with them until he goes away with his family to have another feast at his grandmother’s house. There is one problem, he cannot cook at all, so his best friend Linus gets pets Snoopy and Woodstock to help. 

This doesn’t resolve the issue as the food isn’t related to thanksgiving and doesn’t taste the best, to say the least. When everyone arrives they complain about the food and Peppermint Patty hurts Charlie Brown’s feelings when judging the cooking. It was looking like a disaster until Charlie Brown has to confess to his grandmother why he and his sister Sally are late to dinner.

He mentions that his friends are still here and they haven’t eaten yet until his grandmother invites them over. Charlie is shocked to hear that and tells his friends the exciting news, and they hurry to his grandmother’s house. All squeeze into the car and sing some music about enjoying the lovely cooking. 

The film ends when Charlie Brown forgot about the pets not letting them know what was going on. Snoopy and Woodstock head back to the doghouse and cook a delicious thanksgiving meal. Where they feast together and everybody’s happy to enjoy Thanksgiving.

Review

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has become an all-time classic during the American holiday, Thanksgiving for many reasons. The comedic scenes mixed with an important message make it the best Thanksgiving movie of all time. Charles Schulz was able to make this series remain relevant for almost fifty years now and it is mostly due to the characters in the film. They all have different qualities and can relate to whoever is watching while still maintaining the comedic aspect of Snoopy and Woodstock.

Charlie Brown, the main character attracts the attention of others. He shows his redeeming qualities of being loyal and determined to solve the situations he puts himself in. Though, him being very indecisive in this film is able to keep the audience entertained from the factor of not knowing what will happen next. He does also show very valuable lessons to the younger audience of knowing that Thanksgiving is more than just eating.

The universal appeal of this film stands out more than other Charlie Brown films. Even though many people across the world don’t celebrate Thanksgiving the messages of companionship and gratitude speaks volume. No matter how you feel about this holiday, most enjoy the idea of sharing a table and food with loved ones which makes the film special.

It was also noted as a socially accepting film at the time, featuring an African-American boy named Franklin, who was able to enjoy the Thanksgiving food like the others. Also, characters like Peppermint Patty and Lucy Pelt are extremely confident women and were capable of doing anything including playing football at the start of the film.