I’ve always known that Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz was far ahead of his time. Just take a look at A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, and their searing indictments of the commercialization of the holidays, and you’ll not doubt it, either.
But last night, as I watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC, for the umpteenth time, I caught another little nugget that I can’t believe had escaped me for all of these years: the annual holiday special depicts television’s first “Friendsgiving!” Now, it’s all the rage, especially with the young ‘uns.
SPOILER ALERT! Charlie Brown’s plans to go to his grandmother’s house are interrupted by Peppermint Patty inviting herself and a couple of friends to dinner at his house!
The special’s hysterical, most notably for a brutal battle between a beagle and an uncooperative lawn chair, the preparation of the Friendsgiving feast, Peppermint Patty’s supper table meltdown, and the aforementioned Snoopy’s final dinner with his buddy, Woodstock. That’s a lot of laughs for a 22 minute special, and well worth the $9.99 to purchase a digital copy. (Yes, I know it’s probably on YouTube, but I’m old school.) And stick around for the closing credits. They make me smile every time.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is also notable for the first televised appearance of Franklin, Charlie Brown’s first African American buddy. When I was a kid, Franklin’s appearance on that special was a big deal in my house. At the time, as hard as it may be to believe, there were very few black or brown characters in animated media.
Franklin’s “mom,” Harriet Glickman, was gracious with me a few years ago, lovingly telling me the story of how Franklin came to be. Glickman is a retired schoolteacher living in Southern California. I’ll tell you her story sometime soon.
Hat’s off to Schultz for putting together a series of holiday specials that can stand toe-to-toe with my all-time favorite, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer. (Yeah, I had to sneak that in…I can’t WAIT for it to come on this year!)
Happy Thanksgiving! Don’t take this moment for granted — let your loved ones know you care.
And if I’m on your prayer list today, say one for me as I tackle this turkey and dressing. I need some sustenance for my weekend shopping treks!