by MIchael P Coleman
I’ve always known that Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz was far ahead of his time. Just take a look at A Charlie Brown Christmas, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, or It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown, and their searing indictments of the commercialization of the holidays, and you’ll not doubt it, either.
But last night, as I watched A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on ABC, for the umpteenth time, I caught another little nugget that I can’t believe had escaped me for all of these years: the annual holiday special depicts television’s first “Friendsgiving!” Now, it’s all the rage, especially with the young ‘uns.
The special’s hysterical, most notably for a brutal battle between a beagle and an uncooperative lawn chair, the preparation of the Friendsgiving feast, Peppermint Patty’s supper table meltdown, and the aforementioned Snoopy’s final dinner with his buddy, Woodstock. That’s a lot of laughs for a 22 minute special, and well worth the $9.99 to purchase a digital copy. (Yes, I know it’s probably on YouTube, but I’m old school.) And stick around for the closing credits. They make me smile every time.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is also notable for the first televised appearance of Franklin, Charlie Brown’s first African American buddy. When I was a kid, Franklin’s appearance on that special was a big deal in my house. At the time, as hard as it may be to believe, there were very few black or brown characters in animated media.
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