Tuesday, December 25, 2012

THE Christmas tradition ... Luke wrote it, Linus shared it, I believe it

Clutter's "Agnes Dei," from the Bowden Collections' "Christ Is Born"

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Luke 2
King James Version (KJV)

However you mark this day, a very Merry Christmas! May this find you and yours happy and healthy, this holiday season and in the new year to come!

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas tradition, of sorts ...

Even in the days of DVDs, when I could watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas" easily and inexpensively, whenever I wanted, I would still wait for the Christmas season to come around, so I could watch the broadcast, just as I did the first time it aired ... and have done every Christmas season since then ... at least until the last couple of years, when broadcasters made additional cuts to the original program. Made me glad I bought the DVD a while back ... I still wait for the Christmas season to come around ... I just watch it via a new medium.

I like the humor of the story, with characters and dialogue that doesn't drive adults out of the room, screaming ... and I like the fact that we are allowed to laugh - or not - spontaneously, without the urging of a laugh track.

And I LOVE the music! The soundtrack was composed by the late, great Vincent Guaraldi, and was performed by Guraraldi and his trio. It's one of my favorite holiday music albums, AND one of my favorite jazz albums.

And I like the idea that a story about Christmas has something to say about Christ ... with a wonderful delivery by Linus of Scripture from the Gospel of Luke (King James version, no less), answering Charlie Brown's question of 'what Christmas is all about.'

There are some wonderful anecdotes out there about the making (and the near UN-making) of "Charlie Brown Christmas," and how viewers and critics had the nerve to rear-up and roar-out their opinions of the show ... opinions that differed dramatically from what network executives had predicted.

Makes me wonder if such a cartoon special could be produced and aired on a major television network today ... I don't know ... maybe not. I remain a big fan of cartoons ... but I just don't see as much respect for viewers young and old as I see demonstrated in something like "Charlie Brown Christmas." And with contemporary cartoon production being what it is, would we ever again see a gathering of talent such as Charles Shultz (words), Bill Melendez (images) and Vince Guaraldi (music), all of whom were not only creators, but determined advocates for their project? Again ... I don't know ... maybe not.

Now, if there was just some way to add those old sponsor plugs for Coca-Cola and Dolly Madison.