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Postal News: USPS to release Charlie Brown stamps for the holidays

September 16, 2015
By PHIL WIEBOLD , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The U.S. Postal Service begins celebrating the holiday season by dedicating the Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps Oct. 1.

The booklet of 20 stamps features 10 still frames from the 1965 TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" celebrating the classic's 50th anniversary.

The stamp images include: Charlie Brown holding the sapling that eventually becomes his Christmas tree; Charlie Brown and Pigpen with a snowman; Snoopy and children ice skating; the cast of the program gathered around the Christmas tree; Linus kneeling by the sparsely decorated Christmas tree; Charlie Brown checking his mailbox for a Christmas card; Charlie Brown and Linus leaning on a snowy brick wall; Charlie Brown and Linus standing by the Christmas tree; a frustrated Charlie Brown standing in front of Snoopy's doghouse; and, Charlie Brown decorating the tree in front of the prize-winning lights display on Snoopy's doghouse.

Art director Antonio Alcal, or Alexandria Virginia, designed the stamps.

The early October release of the stamp coincides with the Peanuts comic strip debut in seven newspapers on Oct. 2, 1950: "The Washington Post," "The Chicago Tribune," "The Minneapolis Star-Tribune," "The Allentown Call-Chronicle," "The Bethlehem Globe-Times," "The Denver Post" and "The Seattle Times."

When Schulz announced his retirement in December 1999, the Peanuts comic strip was syndicated in more than 2,600 newspapers worldwide, with book collections translated in more than 21 languages.

Christmas classic

"A Charlie Brown Christmas," the first animated special featuring characters from Charles Schulz's beloved comic strip Peanuts, aired on CBS the evening of Dec. 9, 1965. Over the years, the ode to the holiday season has become a tradition. The program now airs annually on "ABC."

Work began on "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in the spring of 1965, when Schulz met with producer Lee Mendelson and animator Bill Melendez. Instead of hiring adult actors, the group decided to take the then-unusual step of having children provide voices for most of the characters.

Schulz insisted that the program should not have a laugh track, which he considered cynical and unnecessary.

"Let the people at home enjoy the show at their own speed," he said, "in their own way."

Composer Vince Guaraldi contributed a memorable jazz score. "Linus and Lucy," a lively piano tune that plays in the film, is still synonymous with Peanuts.

Schulz's script focuses on Charlie Brown's search for the true meaning of Christmas. All around him, his friends are enjoying themselves, but he is bothered by the season's commercialism.

"I just don't understand Christmas, I guess," he tells Linus. "I like getting presents, and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy."

At Lucy's request, Charlie Brown agrees to direct their school's Christmas play. The production is temporarily derailed when the other children laugh at him for choosing a small sapling - not a shiny aluminum replica - as a Christmas tree.

After an exasperated Charlie Brown wonders if there's anyone who knows what Christmas is all about, Linus says that he does, and proceeds to recite a stirring rendition of the biblical Nativity story.

When he's finished, he picks up his blanket and says, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Encouraged, Charlie Brown rushes home to decorate his small tree, only to be disappointed again when it collapses under the weight of one ornament. His pals, however, come to the rescue, turning the sapling into a glimmering masterpiece.

Watched in more than 15 million American homes, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was a smash hit. It won the George Foster Peabody Award and an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.

Forever stamps will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.

Phil Wiebold is a spokesman for U.S. Postal Service.

 
 

 

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