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May 24, 2013



There's a nice piece in today's SM County Times about the production of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on it's 50th anniversary. The reporter missed the B'game connection but otherwise did a nice job:

Back in 1965, when CBS bigwigs got their first peek at "A Charlie Brown Christmas" during a meeting with its creators, they thought they had a flop on their hands. The animation was deemed too crude, the pace too sluggish, the story too thin. And that offbeat jazz soundtrack? It was all wrong for a children's show.


"We sat there in complete despair," says Lee Mendelson, who directed and served as executive producer for the "Peanuts" special. "I remember them saying, 'We'll put it on one time, and that will be it.' We thought we had ruined Charlie Brown."



The original post above gives you some great local flavor and Lee's obituary in today's Chronicle adds some more:

Lee Mendelson, who produced more than 50 “Peanuts” animated television specials, including “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” died Wednesday, Dec. 25, at his home in Hillsborough. He was 86.

His death was confirmed by his family, who said he had battled lung cancer for several years.

Mendelson, a fourth-generation San Francisco native, won 12 Emmys for his work on the 1965 special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” for which he wrote the lyrics to the song “Christmas Time Is Here.” It was also his idea to tap jazz musician Vince Guaraldi to compose original music for the show, which became an annual television staple around the holiday season.

He got his start as a producer for San Francisco’s KPIX in 1961, creating the Peabody-winning documentary series “San Francisco Pageant,” which mined the city’s rich history.

Two years later, he established Lee Mendelson Film Productions in Burlingame and produced a documentary on San Francisco Giants player Willie Mays.


Rest in Peace!

Peter Garrison

Such a gentleman speaking about his time in Hollywood for the Burlingame Historical Society! Met David Niven when the star almost landed on his head at the (Beverly Hills Hotel?) pool.

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