Charlie Brown Christmas Session: Mimic This Actor

I just read an interesting firsthand account about the creation of the popular “Charlie Brown Christmas,” an animated feature that aired for the first time in 1965. Based on the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schulz, the film uses trombone in place of all adult voices. According to the animator, Bill Melendez, “Sparky [Schulz] didn’t want any adult voices in the films, either, so we came up with the idea of using a trombone. In the recording studio, an actor would read the line to the trombone player using a lot of inflections in his voice. The trombone player would then play and shape the musical line to mimic the inflections of the actor’s voice” (Mendelson, A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition, 58). Talk about an interesting session. Imagine showing up and being told, “Um, no click track—in fact, no music—just mimic this actor!”

Comments

  1. Watching ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and I just realized how depressing Charlie is. If only one of his friends gave him a hug…

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