Oct. 2 marks the 65th anniversary of the “Peanuts” comic strip and December marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most popular holiday TV classics of all time — “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
To celebrate the holiday season and launch October as National Stamp Collecting Month, the U.S. Postal Service is dedicating the A Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps tomorrow at the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA. The 9 a.m. PT event is free and open to the public. The stamps will be available nationwide that day. Customers may pre-order the stamps now for delivery shortly after Oct. 1. Peanuts fans are encouraged to share their excitement about the stamps on social media using #CharlieBrownStamps.
Scheduled to join Postmaster General Megan Brennan at the ceremony are: Schulz’s wife Jean Schulz; Schulz’s son Craig Schulz; Emmy award-winning “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Executive Producer Lee Mendelson; U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Acting Chairman James Bilbray; Charles M. Schulz Museum Director Karen Johnson and Snoopy.
“We will visit millions of addresses to connect Americans to one another this holiday season, and to enable the sharing that reinforces family and friendship throughout the country,” said Brennan. “In so many ways, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ especially on its 50th anniversary, delivers the spirit of the holidays, by bringing people and generations together to share in a beautiful and simple story.”
“’A Charlie Brown Christmas’ continues to resonate with fans because everyone can relate to Charlie Brown and his quest to find the true meaning of Christmas,” said Jean Schulz. “It will be a great joy to see these iconic images when I open my mailbox this holiday season.”
“No fictional character has so captured the interest of the American public like Charlie Brown,” said Mendelson, a multi-Peabody and eleven-time Emmy award recipient who collected stamps as a child. “Everybody identifies with him, as we all have our ups and downs. What we like about Charlie Brown is that he keeps coming back and keeps trying no matter what. The ‘wah wah’ of Charlie Brown’s school teacher has become part of our daily speech. I am truly honored that the Postal Service is honoring this timeless Christmas classic.”
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 Alcalá of Alexandria, VA, 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.
This is not the first time Peanuts has been celebrated on a stamp. The Postal Service issued a Peanuts Commemorative stamp in 2001.
The Charlie Brown Christmas Forever stamps provide youngsters with the perfect start for getting into stamp collecting. For more information on this educational hobby the entire family can enjoy, visit: learnaboutstamps.org and the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum’s stamp collecting website.
The Christmas Classic
“A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the first animated special featuring “Peanuts” characters aired on CBS Dec. 9, 1965. Over the years, the ode to the holiday season has become a tradition.
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. When Charlie Brown wonders if there’s anyone who knows what Christmas is all about, Linus says that he does, and proceeds to recite a 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.
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is being issued as Forever stamps that will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail one-ounce price.
Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Offices, at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others) and place them in larger envelopes addressed to:
A Charlie Brown Christmas Stamps
PO Box 7838
San Francisco, CA 94120-7838
After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, the price is 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by Nov. 30, 2015.
Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, online at usps.com/shop or by calling 800-782-6724. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-782-6724 or writing to:
U.S. Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014
(Information from US Postal Service)