Charlie Brown's Christmas Miracle: The Inspiring, Untold Story of the Making of a Holiday Classic (Hardcover)

Charlie Brown's Christmas Miracle: The Inspiring, Untold Story of the Making of a Holiday Classic By Michael Keane Cover Image
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Discover the inspiring, unknown, against-all-odds story of how the classic animated holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas almost never made it on to television.

Professor and cultural historian Michael Keane reveals much in this nostalgia-inducing book packed with original research and interviews. Keane compellingly shows that the ultimate broadcast of the Christmas special—given its incredibly tight five-month production schedule and the decidedly unfavorable reception it received by the skeptical network executives who first screened it—was nothing short of a miracle. Keane explains why the show, despite its technical shortcomings, has become an uplifting and enduring triumph embraced by millions of families every Christmas season, even more than fifty years after its premiere.

This gripping and joyful behind-the-scenes story of how the creators of A Charlie Brown Christmas struggled to bring the program to life will also help readers (and loyal fans) understand how America’s favorite Christmas special changed our popular culture forever. Keane masterfully weaves the momentous events of 1965 (the turbulent year of the program’s production) into his story, providing critical context for a profound new understanding of the program’s famous climactic scene, Linus’s spot-lit soliloquy answering the question repeatedly posed by Charlie Brown—"Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

About the Author

Michael Keane is an adjunct professor at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy and a former professor at the University of Southern California. He is the author of the illustrated children’s Christmas book, The Night Santa Got Lost, and is a former executive with Digital Domain, a leading visual effects and digital film studio in Hollywood. Keane has also worked in military affairs and was selected as a fellow for the Department of Defense’s highly-competitive National Security Education Program.

Praise For…

"Fans of the Peanuts comics included many occupants of the White House including my father, President Ronald Reagan, who had a decades-long friendship with “Sparky” Schulz that began during his days as Governor of California. This book weaves together a marvelous tapestry of personal stories, including my family’s, alongside those of the creators of A Charlie Brown Christmas. A captivating tale of the making of an American classic!"—Mike Reagan, President, Reagan Legacy Foundation

"The idea that CBS executives thought the Charlie Brown Christmas Special would never engage family audiences around the globe is laughable today. It was and continues to be a must see attraction at Christmas for millions of families including mine! I grew up with it and then 30 years later I was in charge of CBS Primetime Specials and had the honor and privilege to schedule the special to #1 ratings every airing! It's the real National Treasure and Keane’s book is a fascinating tale on how it almost never came to be."—Charles Segars, Creator and Executive Producer of National Treasure and CEO, Ovation TV

"Set against the background of America in 1965, Michael Keane’s masterful account of the making of A Charlie Brown Christmas provides a vast insight into the circumstance and cast of characters that produced this enduring cultural miracle."—Michael Garland, New York Times best-selling author and illustrator

"You're going to find this book more compelling than the TV special. It's a miracle! A masterful treatise on a holiday tradition!"—Dan Coughlin, Emmy award-winning newscaster

"Few people know that the creator of Charlie Brown and Peanuts, the world’s most popular comic strip, was a U.S. Army combat veteran of World War II. This powerful book tells the important story of how the trauma of war shaped Charles Schulz’s life and his art, including the wondrous A Charlie Brown Christmas. A remarkable read!"—James Stavridis, Admiral, US Navy (Retired); Supreme Allied Commander at NATO (2009-2013)

"Charlie Brown’s Christmas Miracle delivers the heartwarming story behind the beloved cartoon television classic inspired by Charles Schultz’s cartoon strip. The improbable events, divergent forces, and remarkable personalities that led to the show’s debut in 1965 are enriched by Michael Keane’s perceptive historical commentary on the turbulent decade of the Sixties. A wonderful read!"—Joan Waugh, Professor Emerita, UCLA Department of History

"One of my fondest childhood memories was being a member of the choir that sang the vocals for A Charlie Brown Christmas. I thought I was familiar with how the show was created. However, Michael Keane’s new book contains so much detail about the creation of the show and the collaboration of the creative geniuses of Charles Schulz, Lee Mendelson, Bill Melendez, Vince Guaraldi, and choir director Barry Mineah. A poignant story of a show that almost did not make it on the air but became a Christmas classic!"—David F. Willat, Choir member, A Charlie Brown Christmas

"As a Peanuts fan this compelling behind-the-scenes look at how a beloved Christmas classic was born, makes it all the more special.  It’s a tale of real triumph of the human spirit. A must read!"—Robert Vince, Founder/CEO, Air Bud Entertainment

"This book will make a great Christmas gift for friends and neighbors. Michael is a terrific storyteller."—Robert C. O'Brien, 27th Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

"Michael Keane has created a detailed, behind the scenes look at one of America’s most beloved TV programs. Since its premiere in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas has been viewed annually by millions of people for almost sixty years. But it almost did not happen. Keane gives us the story about the key players who together created this Christmas classic."—Tom Sito, animation historian, University of Southern California

"A beautifully told tale that knits together the story of America in 1965—including the struggle for civil rights—with the making of the most popular Christmas special of all time. Uplifting and relevant!"—Ambassador Andrew J. Young

"Charlie Brown’s Christmas Miracle opens up a rich and surprising history that encompasses the first jazz mass in the United States, the consecration of one of America’s great cathedrals, the preaching of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the creative work of one of the 20th century’s leading jazz musicians. You will find this book to be a gift worth opening; highly recommended."—The Right Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus, VIIIth Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California

Product Details
ISBN: 9781546004905
ISBN-10: 1546004904
Publisher: Center Street
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English