Wednesday, December 19, 2018

EP103: Merry Christmas Charlie Brown… and Everyone

In this holiday-themed episode, Ken explains how one of the most successful TV specials in history almost didn’t get on the air, the fascinating backstory of a Christmas classic, and you’ll hear a one act Christmas play that Ken wrote. Ho ho ho. 

Listen to the Hollywood & Levine podcast!


slgc said...

Happy Holidays, and enjoy your time off!

gottacook said...

At about 2:20 you say "I'm surprised they didn't require a laugh track on The Twilight Zone." But that actually did happen, against the producers' wishes, when CBS aired the episode "Cavender Is Coming" (starring Carol Burnett) in May 1962. This didn't make the episode any funnier; I actually liked it better the one time I saw it without the laugh track, years ago on the SciFi cable channel.

Frank Beans said...

When it comes to network orientation, NBC has always struck me as having the most urbane and sophisticated shows (SEINFELD, FRASIER, CHEERS, HILL STREET BLUES), just to name a few.

CBS seems to go for the American gut, whatever that may be at the time. They may read the zeitgeist a bit better than the others. It may in fact be why the success of "A Charlie Brown Christmas", as a special, led to the likes of series ALL IN THE FAMILY and MASH, then MURPHY BROWN a few years later.

ABC seemed in general to go for the populist low-hanging fruit--but came up with winners such as HAPPY DAYS and BARNEY MILLER during the same time.

If you care to weigh in, is this accurate?

Mike Barer said...

I remember your Charlie Brown story from a previous post. I think that would make a great movie. It checks all the boxes of an idea being rejected but the creator's persistence not only gets it on the air, but it becomes a classic. You could write the script.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Ironically enough, Mike Rowe also discussed the Charlie Brown Christmas Story on his podcast recently.
According to his story, CBS had told Schultz et al that they'd never work with CBS again once this special aired. But the critic for Time Magazine had watched a preview and gave it a glowing rating, and that seemed to get people to watch it.