Exclusive Interview With Jill Schulz in Celebration of 50 Years of A Charlie Brown Christmas
Celeb Baby Laundry is proud to announce our new ambassadorship with Peanuts! As a Peanuts 50 years on TV Brand Ambassador, we will be celebrating the classic holiday special A Charlie Brown Christmas all year long with exclusive interviews, offers, giveaway and more!
Can you believe this year marks the 50th time A Charlie Brown Christmas will air on ABC? In 2015, it will also be the 50th year since it was created, produced and debuted by the legendary cartoonist Charles M. Schulz.
To kick off the celebration, Celeb Baby Laundry got the exclusive chance to interview, Jill Schulz, the youngest of Charles M. Schulz’s five children. She shared her personal memories of her Dad; the family Christmas traditions that she shared with her family and the way that A Charlie Brown Christmas has touched her life and the lives of millions of fans across the globe.
What was it like to celebrate Christmas in the Schulz family?
I always had great memories of it, but to us, that’s just how our Christmas was. We had a pretty typical Christmas, except that we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. 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.
Once the TV show came out, that became a tradition: both Christmas and Halloween, they became something we’d gather around TV to watch. But to me, it just seemed like a normal family Christmas.
Was there anything in the special that was similar to your childhood?
There are elements that are supposed to come from my family. Like Lucy’s crabbiness came from Meredith. I’m told that Linus has a blanket because I always had a blanket.” But I can’t say there’s anything specific in the special.
Who’s your favorite Peanuts character and why?
My absolute favorite is Snoopy because I like his imagination and his free spirit, how he imagines whatever he wants to be. I had a pretend friend as a kid that everyone teased me about. And because he’s a dog and I love rescue animals. Then it would be Linus, because I like how calm he remains, how philosophical he is.
On Linus’ Speech
Dad was active in Sunday school when we were much younger, he taught there on Sundays for many years. So the Linus speech was something very important to him.
Lee Mendelson tells the story of meeting with the top guys at CBS—they said they loved the special, ‘But you need to take the Linus’ speech out.’ When Lee told Dad that he said, ‘Tell them to just forget it then.’ Now it’s become the most iconic part of the entire TV special. It’s one of my favorite parts because I know how important it was to my father.
Did your Dad think the special would be around 50 years later?
He wasn’t one to predict. The most important thing to him was drawing the comic strip. He’d always say, ‘I’m just a cartoonist.’ He was not setting out to make his cartoon famous, or sell merchandise. Those were everyone else’s ideas.
One thing he never understood was when people would say to him, ‘Mr. Schulz, you’re so successful now, why don’t you retire?’ He’d say, ‘Why would I spend my whole life to become successful at doing the thing I love to do, and then not do it?’ He passed away immediately after he decided he could no longer draw the strip. To him, it was all about drawing the comic strip.
Why do you suppose after 50 years, it’s still resonating with people?
Because the characters, the experiences they have, in the strip and the TV show are things that every generation has, does, and will continue to experience in life. Football with Charlie Brown. Everyone experiences losing. Everyone comments on commercialism. It’s been happening for years, will continue to happen. Siblings teasing each other, fighting, even if they love each other.
All of these things are extensions of his own personality or things he would observe in others. He was always observing everybody, whether in the coffee shop at the ice rink, or on trips. He was a great observer of human nature. Like many of us, he hung onto and had a clear vision of his feelings as a child. That comes across in the strip and the special.
Holiday Joy Giveaway
Launch the holiday joy early, as you anticipate the 50th airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas!
Celeb Baby Laundry is giving (1) lucky reader a soft and huggable Snoopy plush that will brings cheer any time of day or night and (1) Be Joyful book to keep you in a Peanuts spirit year-round.
The contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada. To enter this giveaway please use the giveaway box below (takes time to load).
The winner must provide their shipping information in order for the item to be sent.
Disclosure: I am part of the Peanuts 50 years on TV Brand Ambassador program. I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.