The 1965 special A Charlie Brown Christmas is celebrating 50 years of somber music and sad little trees.

Toggle caption Nicole Wilder/ABC. Tonight, ABC will air a special at 8 p.m. ET called It’s Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, to mark the half-century since A Charlie Brown Christmas first aired in 1965.

T’s so much about A Charlie Brown Christmas that you’d never see on network television holiday specials now, I suspect.

When Linus – who is, in many ways, the nice one – tells him, “Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest,” it feels like the kind of improvisational brutality in which kids really do specialize.

Charlie Brown says things like, “I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?” I know nobody likes me.

Her solution to his need for “Involvement” is to make him the director of the Christmas play, a doomed scenario from the start, no?

So as much as A Charlie Brown Christmas is about the significance of the religious tradition as what Christmas is “Really about,” it sees that tradition at least in part as a gateway to, and an inspiration for, other actions.

It’s just not about writing your Christmas list and asking for, as Sally does, “10s and 20s.”.

Charlie Brown Christmas