This Halloween—as on the day itself, October 31, 2013, ABC will present the Halloween classic, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown—and paired with it, a Peanuts bonus cartoon, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, in which Linus runs for class president. This special presents one of the strangest stories in the annals of Peanuts televsion, for when it was first brodacst by CBS on October 29, 1972, it was entitled You're Elected, Charlie Brown. Since Charlie Brown is not, in fact, elected (he doesn't even run), viewers complained that the title was frustratingly misleading and made no sense. When the show was repeated, the title was changed (even though the lyrics of the special's theme song explicitly states, "You're Elected, Charlie Brown"). Today, some Peanuts fans cannot believe that the special ever had a different title; in fact, most Peanuts animation histories never mention this oddity. For those who are unaware of the original title below is the proof—the TV Guide ad from the special's debut. Does this strange piece of Charlie Brown history have anything to do with Countdown to Halloween 2013? Yes, for in the special, Linus almost loses the election by replacing his campaign speech with an impassioned preachment about the Great Pumpkin.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Saturday, December 3, 2011
The witty, tuneful songs composed for Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! are one of the many reasons the TV holiday special has been a Christmas classic since its premiere on CBS on December 18, 1966. The Seussian lyrics are authentic Seuss, written as they were by the good doctor himself; the wonderfully melodic music, a perfect match for Seuss' satisfyingly strange lyrics, were composed by Albert Hague, who later gained onscreen fame as the music teacher in both the movie and TV-series versions of Fame. The songs were recorded with a thirty-four-piece orchestra and twelve-voice-chorus—and surely lyrics such as "Fahoo fores yahoo dores" from "Welcome, Christmas" were the most unusual words those studio singers were ever asked to sing...except for the rest of that song's lyrics...and the lyrics to the other Grinch songs. (Dr. Seuss later explained that the "Welcome, Christmas" lyrics were penned to resemble a Latin chant.) As with the ultra-popular A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special, the first half-hour prime time animated special ever (and the success of which CBS obviously hoped to duplicate by bringing the classic Dr. Seuss book to the small screen in half-hour animated form) an original soundtrack recording was released by the time the special aired, as evidenced by this ad (above; click on the image for an enlarged version) for the LP that ran in TV Guide the week in which Grinch made its debut. The soundtrack album was released on King Leo Records (a subsidiary of MGM Records, MGM having produced the special) in 1966, the same label incidentally on which the You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown concept album (which inspired the 1967 off-Broadway stage hit) was released that same year. The Grinch LP was issued in mono (LE-901) and stereo (LES-901), and featured the complete soundtrack of the special (approximately 15 minutes per album side). No surprise that Seuss's own favorite of the Grinch songs was "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." One can only speculate at the delight Dr. Seuss would have taken in how that tune, with lyrics expressing how appalling the anti-Christmas creature is, has been adopted as a Christmastime standard.