Among other things, he was singularly responsible for the creation of what has become a beloved holiday season television classic. Bill Melendez, the animator who gave life to Snoopy, Charlie Brown and other “Peanuts” characters in scores of movies and TV specials, has died.
You can read the complete report by the Associated Press HERE. It notes that Melendez’s nearly seven decades as a professional animator began in 1938 when he was hired by Walt Disney Studios and worked on Mickey Mouse cartoons and classic animated features such as “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia.” He later moved to Warner Brothers, where he worked on Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts.
One of his most enduring and popular projects - in our house, at least - was the Emmy Award-winning "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which Melendez directed. According to the AP report, The show reportedly worried executives at the CBS television network because it broke so much new ground for a cartoon ... it lacked a laugh track, used real children as voice actors, had a jazz score and included a scene in which Linus recited lines from the New Testament.
Me? I'm glad Melendez and his creative staff held firm.