, 2022-12-18 06:05:41,
Charles M. Schulz created a comic strip that has captured the hearts of millions in the nearly 50 years the Peanuts have been running in thousands of newspapers around the world. A friendly, soft-spoken Minnesota native and World War II veteran, Schulz has been drawing the daily strip since 1950. Fifteen years later, he’s responsible for A Christmas Story that has since become a cultural icon. But it was entirely a coincidence.
In April 1965, Coca-Cola executives contacted their advertising agency, McCann-Erickson in New York, and asked if there were any Christmas specials they could sponsor that winter, still months away. The advertising agency immediately suggested an adaptation of Schulz’s Peanuts strip even though nothing was suggested and Schulz had not considered the idea.
Within days, Scholz, along with producer Lee Mendelsohn and animator Bill Melendez, produced an outline of the story. CBS executives agreed to air the special but only gave it a budget of $76,000 (or $716,000 in 2022 dollars).
Despite the special purpose of advertising Coca-Cola, Schulz chooses a story that criticizes gross exploitation and emphasizes the simple message of the Christmas spirit. By the early 1960s, many cultural commentators had already criticized Christmas marketing and the emphasis on gifts and holiday spending. In 2021, Americans will spend hundreds of billions on Christmas according to one estimate, so much so…
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