Ken Bridges tells us how the TV special and the Linus monologue came about:
Thinking the aluminum trees were too superficial, Charlie Brown chose the one live tree available, a small, dilapidated sapling. Mocked by his friends about his choice of tree later, he asked what the meaning of Christmas was, prompting Linus to quote Luke 2: 8-14 from the Bible on the birth of Christ. “And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown,” Linus said to Charlie Brown, satisfied and inspired by the answer.
The network, studio executives, and advertisers were reluctant to include the monologue. The biggest question they had was whether it was in good taste to take a scriptural message so special to millions of Americans and turn it into a cartoon … Schulz, however, insisted that the scene be included. In the process, it became the first time the Bible was quoted in a television cartoon.
The Peanuts Online YouTube channel has a crisp showing of the scene:
That and other short (fuzzier) excerpts of A Charlie Brown Christmas are available online,
but to watch the entirety of the 1965 TV special you need to be an Apple TV+ subscriber.
Fortunately, even if you don’t have a subscription to Apple TV+, you can still catch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” when Apple offers non-subscribers a free window to stream the special.
Just in time for Santa’s visit, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be available for free viewing on Apple TV+ from Thursday, Dec. 22 through Christmas Day [emphasis added].
How to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on Apple TV+ without a subscription
- In any modern web browser, go to tv.apple.com
- Either log into your iCloud account, or make a new one
- Find the show and press Play
- Either watch it on your computer, or stream it to a television of your choice
You can also stream from the iPhone, or iPad version of the Apple TV app. Plus you can watch on those apps on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV.
A year after the original airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas Charles Schulz had Linus
repeat the biblical passage in the December 18, 1966 Sunday Peanuts page.