A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

thanksgiving cartoon“You’re holding my hand, Chuck…you sly dog.”

 

With Thanksgiving this week and The Peanuts Movie coming out (which I haven’t seen yet) this holiday cartoon staple seemed like a good fit. But you know what’s not a good fit? Black tights made for little girls that you thought would work for part of a Halloween costume back in 2009. (They chafed.)

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving was the tenth animated Peanuts TV special. It aired on CBS on November 20, 1973 and won an Emmy the next year. Like A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown this special has been on the air every year since it was first released, which is a testament to its timelessness.

charlie brown thanksgivingOH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: Like Snoopy, I too have had heated disagreements with inanimate objects.

In true Linus style, during dinner he recites a formal narrative of the first Thanksgiving. (And by the way, if you want to read how things really went down between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans try a great book called Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick.)

As Linus concludes his remarks, Snoopy serves everyone a Thanksgiving dinner comprised of popcorn and toast, since that’s all Charlie Brown knew how to make. This was unacceptable to Peppermint Patty, who loudly proclaimed this lamentation:

Where’s the turkey, Chuck?! Don’t you know anything about Thanksgiving dinners? Where’s the mashed potatoes? Where’s the cranberry sauce? Where’s the pumpkin pie?… Did we come across town for this?

This ironic moment of ingratitude on a day itself dedicated to gratitude may be more common than we might think. We might ask ourselves if we’ve taken the time lately to thank those around us whose days are often filled with what could be considered mundane or thankless tasks.

And if by chance, like Charlie Brown, your Thanksgiving feast lacks a perfectly cooked turkey, diamond-laced goblets, and hand-crafted porcelain napkin holders shaped like Myles Standish, remember that true success stands upon simplicity. It is better to have a simple setup with warm conversation than to be cumbered about producing a perfect feast while a loved one sits silent and alone.

Marcie summed it up well when she offered this consolation to Charlie Brown:

Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving,’ Charlie Brown.

“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

“And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:38-42

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