Charlie Brown is with us all year, but it’s during the holidays when he’s ubiquitous.
This week the “Peanuts” gang stars in “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown” on ABC Thursday, Dec. 27.
Since we were snacking on Halloween candy, Charlie Brown has been on TV with “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” then “Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Lest anyone think the sweet story about the kids putting on a Christmas pageant and Charlie Brown’s woeful but ultimately perfect little tree, is getting tired, consider this – the special (despite being 47 years old) won the ratings for ABC last month, even though it was up against “Survivor: Philippines” and “The X Factor.”
These specials prove that what is beloved on the page can be translated to animation if done right. And the reason the comic strip and books are beloved is because of what is at the essence of Charlie Brown since “Peanuts” debuted 62 years ago.
Naturally, Charlie Brown sees himself as a loser, but he’s a great guy and too modest to talk about himself for this story. Pal Woodstock, says, “!!!!!!,” which loosely translated means that he is loyal, kind, honest and always does the right thing. Sure, he gets fed up. Good grief – who wouldn’t?
Little sister Sally calls him “big brother.” His beagle, Snoopy, calls him “that round-headed kid,” Peppermint Patty calls him “Chuck” and Marcie refers to him as “Charles” but even he refers to himself as Charlie Brown.
He is the sort of friend anyone should be proud to have. Who else would wait with a friend in the middle of a chilly pumpkin patch? Who else does whatever his sister needs? Listens to his mom even though she sounds like a trombone? And is kind to everyone?
Only good old Charlie Brown.
Family: “Dad, who’s a barber, Mom, my sister, Sally, and my dog, Snoopy.”
Age: perpetually around 8
First time in comic strip: 1947, in “Li’l Folks,” a cartoon strip that preceded “Peanuts” by three years
Favorite color: yellow
Favorite sports: baseball and football
Hobby: flying a kite
Biggest misconception about him: He is not bald. He is blond.
Goal: “Kicking that football so far, no one will be able to find it,” he says.
Pals: Linus, Schroeder, Pig Pen, Lucy, Marcie, Peppermint Patty and anyone else whose path he crosses
Favorite music: “Anything by Vince Guaraldi. He was just a genius. People don’t always know his name, but they know his music, especially the theme song to my specials. He died young and 36 years ago, but his music lives on.”
Favorite books: “I am pretty partial to anything by Charles M. Schulz. And the Bible.”
Favorite movies: “I like movies about ice skating, but they have to be movies for kids, me being a kid and all. I like ‘Ice Princess’ and ‘Go Figure.’ “