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AP TV MASTERS CHARLES SCHULZ A ENT USA CA

A Charlie Brown Christmas is the second longest-running holiday special in TV history, second only to 1964’s Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But before it hit the small screen 50 years ago, all anyone could say was, “Good grief.”

Midway through production in 1965, executive producer Lee Mendelson remembers a visit from an ad executive at McCann-Erickson, whose client Coca-Cola commissioned the special. Looking at rough pencil drawings and animation tests with no music, “he said: ‘This isn’t very good. I don’t know what I’m going to tell the agency. If I tell them what I think, they’re going to cancel the show,’ ” Mendelson says. “I said, ‘Well, wait, whoa, this is all very rudimentary. If you believe in Charles Schulz and his characters, you’re just going to have to trust us that this is going to be great.’ ”

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source: Wkyc.com

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