Thursday, September 4, 2014

Charlie Brown 50th Year Launches With Charles Schulz's Daughter Jill Interview #CBXmas


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It seems like only yesterday. This holiday season marks the 50th anniversary airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas based on the world renowned Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. I can still remember one of the formative nostalgic moments of my Baby Boomer childhood back in 1964 -- the first time this show special ever aired on television.

Scene from A Charlie Brown Christmas, Photo from Peanuts Worldwide
As I recall in the days before PCs, smartphones and the Internet, we gathered as a family around our black and white TV set in the living room to watch this iconic made-for-TV animated special together.

Me pulling my brother on sled in December 1964,
The great Charles Schulz, who produced Peanuts from 1950-2000, passed away on February 12, 2000. Still, it's heartening to know that today his legendary work lives on and endures year after year, to date touching the lives of four generations and counting.

Perhaps this clip will prompt your own sentimental remembrances...

With such a personal affinity for this comic strip's characters Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus, Violet and friends I couldn't be more thrilled to have been chosen as a 50 Years on TV Peanuts Brand Ambassador so I can share the behind the scenes experience with MBE readers. Through a series of posts over the coming months I'll be shedding new light on an American cultural tradition that is now beloved around the world on every continent.

A Walk Down Memory Lane With Charles Schulz's Daughter, Jill Schulz

For my first assignment as an ambassador to launch this 50 year milestone, I had the rare opportunity to do an indepth interview with Charles Schulz's daughter Jill Schulz, 56, youngest of five children. 

What fun it was to chat with Jill, now a mother of two, to hear all her stories about what it was like growing up in the Schulz household with her uber famous father, her mother, sisters Meredith and Amy and brothers Monte and Craig.

Charles Schulz w/ Jill on right, Vintage Schulz family photo
Without question, being the child of someone as talented and well-known as Charles Schulz did have an impact on Jill and her family. Despite her dad being in the public eye for years, Jill has fond memories of a relatively low-key and normal childhood and upbringing.

Jill reminisces, “He was my dad first, but I can’t deny there were lots of opportunities that have come out of the fact that he was my father. For example, our family had experiences and met many public figures that one might not normally be exposed to in everyday life."
“We had a pretty typical Christmas," Jill recalls. "Typically, we’d have neighborhood friends and kids coming over and my mom cooked a great big dinner. Then we’d wait for Santa Claus -- I’d always sneak back down and open a window because I thought there was no way he could fit down the chimney."

“In the morning, we’d get a special present," she reminisces. "One year I got a puppy, but it was a little disconcerting because I thought I was getting an Old English Sheepdog like the one from the TV show Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, because my puppy wasn’t furry and didn’t have a tail.”
“Once the TV show came out," Jill adds, that became a tradition. Christmas and Halloween, these became something we’d gather around TV to watch together. But to me, it just seemed like a normal family Christmas.”

"The joy is in the process, not the end result."

Charles M. Schulz

Peanuts Giftbasket Giveaway

Stay Tuned
Be on the lookout for MBE's next post soon based on my interview with former child actor Sally Dryer who performed the voice of Violet in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966), Charlie Brown's All Stars (1966), and A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969).

About A Charlie Brown Christmas

Since 1964 A Charlie Brown Christmas has touched the lives of millions of fans around the globe. In 2014, Peanuts Worldwide kicks off a year-long celebration of 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas. December 2014 marks the 50th time the beloved special airs on television on ABC. In December 2015 it will be the 50th year since it was created, produced and debuted.

FTC Disclosure: I disclose that I am a 50 Years on TV Peanuts Brand Ambassador. I received the Peanuts prize package pictured to facilitate this post and the associated giveaway. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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