A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is an Emmy award-winning animated television special based on the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, directed by Phil Roman and Bill Melendez. It originally aired on CBS on November 20, 1973. It continued to air annually in the United States on a date near to the Thanksgiving holiday for over four decades until 2000. It aired on ABC from 2001 to 2019. The broadcast rights to it were obtained by Apple TV+ in 2020. A deal with PBS also allowed that company to air the special in 2020.
Charlie and Sally Brown are planning to go to their Grandmother's for Thanksgiving dinner, when Peppermint Patty calls Charlie Brown, and invites herself to have Thanksgiving dinner at his house. Shortly thereafter, she calls two more times, saying that Marcie and Franklin will also be attending. Charlie Brown tries to explain that this is not possible, but Peppermint Patty keeps prattling on with little regard to Charlie's words.
When Linus comes over, Charlie Brown explains his predicament. Linus then proposes a solution: have two dinners. One can be in the afternoon with the other kids, and then Charlie Brown can still go to his Grandmother's as planned. Charlie Brown is not convinced of this idea, as his culinary expertise is limited to preparing cold cereal and maybe toast. Linus, Snoopy, and Woodstock offer to help Charlie Brown prepare for the dinner.
Linus recruits Snoopy and Woodstock to help set up the guest area, as well as prepare the meal. Sometime later, Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Franklin arrive. After everyone has a seat, Linus says grace and gives a speech in regards to what Thanksgiving is about.
Once grace is finished, Snoopy serves the food that has been prepared: buttered toast, jellybeans, pretzel sticks, and popcorn. Upon seeing the food available, Peppermint Patty grumpily shouts at Charlie Brown regarding its poor quality, saying that they should have been served a real Thanksgiving dinner. Embarrassed at the situation, Charlie leaves the table.
Once he has gone, Marcie asks her friend if she was being too rough on Charlie Brown. Peppermint Patty vehemently says that they should have been served a real Thanksgiving Dinner. Knowing her friend's personality well, Marcie asks if Charlie Brown had intended to invite them over, or if Peppermint Patty invited herself, and somewhat forced her and Franklin to come along. Upon realizing what a jerk she has been, Peppermint Patty asks Marcie to talk to Charlie Brown and tell him that she is sorry for the harsh words and what she has done.
Marcie discusses things with Charlie Brown, who still feels that he has ruined the day for everyone. However, Marcie explains that Thanksgiving is about what Linus said in his speech: it's about being together and being thankful like the Pilgrims were. As they finish talking, Peppermint Patty appears and apologizes in person for her attitude.
As he looks at the clock, Charlie Brown realizes that he is late for dinner with his grandmother. He quickly dials her up, and explains what happened. When his Grandmother finds out that his friends have not eaten dinner yet, she insists they all come to eat at her place.
Shortly thereafter, the kids start on their trip to Charlie Brown's grandmother's condominium, leaving Snoopy and Woodstock alone at home. As soon as they leave, the two friends set up a table outside the doghouse, where Snoopy serves up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for the two of them.
- The special was initially sponsored by Dolly Madison Cakes and Coca-Cola.
- Many viewers sent complaints to CBS about Woodstock eating a turkey with Snoopy, seeing it as an act of "bird cannibalism"! Charles Schulz insisted that Woodstock join Snoopy in carving and eating a turkey, despite Lee Mendelson's protests.
- This marks Peppermint Patty's sixth appearence in a Peanuts Tv Special; following "You're in Love, Charlie Brown", "He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown", "It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown", "Play It Again, Charlie Brown", & "There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown".
- This also marks Marcie's second appearence in a Peanuts Tv Special; following her debut in "There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown".
- Marcie calls Peppermint Patty "Priscilla" because Linus made a reference to Myles Standish. Priscilla Mullen and Myles Standish are characters in The Courtship of Miles Standish.
- This special received that year's Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming (which went to Charles M. Schulz). It was also nominated for Outstanding Children's Special, but did not win. There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown, which was broadcast in the same year, did not receive any nominations.
- Sally states that she did not finish all of her Halloween candy. This can be considered a continuity error because in the earlier special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Sally does not go trick-or-treating but remains in the pumpkin patch with Linus instead. The two specials do not, however, necessarily both take place in the same year or even within the same continuity.
- On VHS releases of this special, the clock chime is louder.
- This is the first special where Charlie Brown is voiced by Todd Barbee, who'd previously voiced Linus's opponent Russell Anderson in You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown.
- This is the last special where Sally Brown is voiced by Hilary Momberger, Peppermint Patty is voiced by Christopher DeFaria, and Lucy van Pelt is voiced by Robin Kohn.
- Oddly enough, despite the background music sounding very Beethoven-themed, Schroeder is not seen, heard or mentioned in this special.
- Lucy van Pelt only appears in the special's teaser, in which she, once again, suckers Charlie Brown into the old "I'll-hold-the-ball-and-you-come-running-up-and-kick-it" gag.
- This special's airings in 2006 and 2007 were paired with He's a Bully, Charlie Brown.
- Linus breaks the fourth wall by stating that the episode is unlikely.
- Peppermint Patty and Marcie are voiced by male actors.
- When Peppermint Patty informs the gang that they're invited to Charlie Brown's grandmother's house, this is the only time she calls him "Charlie Brown" instead of "Chuck".
- Snoopy's fight with the folding lounge chair appears to have been inspired by W. C. Fields' similar struggle with a chair in 1934's "It's A Gift."
- Charlie Brown is referred to as "Chuck" 26 times throughout the special.
- In later years (2000s-plus) this special came under criticism over the fact that Franklin, the only Black character, is depicted as sitting alone on the long side of the dinner table. However, this was most likely a coincidence.
- This is the first time on one of the Melendez-Mendelson cartoon specials we see Peppermint Patty.
- The version of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving that aired on CBS in the mid 1980s trimmed the segment with Snoopy and Woodstock getting dressed for the dinner after setting up the table. It cuts from the scene after Snoopy pulls out his costume and a small hat for Woodstock to the scene where they walk up to the house. ABC broadcasts during the 2000s remove the entire scene where they are getting dressed, transitioning from when Snoopy goes into his doghouse to the scene where Charlie Brown greets him and Woodstock at the door.
- "Play It Again, Charlie Brown" (aka "Charlie Brown Blues" and "Charlie's Blues") E
- "Thanksgiving Theme" (slow version)
- "Thanksgiving Theme"*
- "Peppermint Patty" (slow flute version)*, P
- "Little Birdie" (Guaraldi vocal) M
- "Thanksgiving Interlude"*
- "Is It James or Charlie?" N
- "Linus and Lucy" (full brass section version) T
- "Fife & Drums Theme"*
- "Is It James or Charlie?" (two separate cues) N
- "Charlie Brown Blues" (slow variation) (aka "Play It Again, Charlie Brown" and "Charlie's Blues")*, P
- "Thanksgiving Interlude"
- "Over the River and Through the Woods" (a cappella, vocal by Charlie Brown, Sally Brown, Linus van Pelt, Marcie, Peppermint Patty, and Franklin)
- "Thanksgiving Theme" M
- "Thanksgiving Theme"
- It takes Peppermint Patty about six seconds to realize that the food being served is not a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, even though she is looking right at it for the entirety of that time.
- At the table, the chairs keep moving in different shots, Franklin is shown sitting with other chairs and without.
- When Snoopy tosses the plates, he only throws seven, but the next shot shows every spot with a plate. On a side note, when Woodstock hides under a napkin and Snoopy picks it up, it disappears in the next shot with Linus.
- When Snoopy plays ping-pong on the table, the back of the paddle is not a different color, like normal ping-pong paddles are. The front of the paddle is red, while the back does not have any color.
- As Peppermint Patty is complaining about the Thanksgiving dinner prepared by Snoopy, she fails to mention stuffing.
- The sundaes on the table during dinner disappear and reappear between scenes.
- During the Thanksgiving "dinner" scene, Peppermint Patty's plate of food disappears and reappears after Snoopy serves her.
- During the scene in Charlie Brown's living room, the phone from which Charlie Brown calls his grandmother does not appear until he starts dialing.
- While Snoopy, Linus, and Charlie Brown are cooking the fake Thanksgiving meal, two bowls of pretzels are shown. They're the folded type. Later during the meal, they change to pretzel sticks.
- The plates Snoopy set out when he initially set up the ping-pong table disappear in front of all guests except the first person he tosses a plate to when serving everyone.
- Near the end the grandfather clock is shown by the front door. Its pendulum appears stuck to the right in one shot, but in the very next shot, after the clock strikes four, it has jumped to the left.
- During the fake Thanksgiving dinner scene, Snoopy puts two slices of toast on everybody's plate (including Franklin's). When Snoopy tosses Franklin his plate, there's only one slice of toast on it.
- Soon after setting the table for the fake Thanksgiving dinner, Snoopy takes off his chef's hat and puts it back in his trunk. When he and Woodstock return to Charlie Brown's house, they are led back to the kitchen, and we see another chef's hat that Charlie Brown suggests that Snoopy would serve dinner with.
- As Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Linus are cooking the fake Thanksgiving dinner, we see a skillet on the back right burner as Snoopy spreads the butter on the toast constantly as it piles. In the next shot, the skillet has jumped to the front right burner.
- A scene shows Charlie Brown checking to see if he's gotten any mail. However, there is never any mail delivery in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day due to it being a federal holiday.
- When Charlie Brown calls his grandmother, he says that he and his friends have not eaten yet. However, we see Charlie Brown eating some popcorn and other characters eating as well.
- Todd Barbee – Charlie Brown
- Robin Kohn – Lucy van Pelt
- Hilary Momberger – Sally Brown
- Stephen Shea – Linus van Pelt
- Jimmy Ahrens – Marcie
- Christopher DeFaria – Peppermint Patty
- Robin Reed – Franklin
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on the Internet Movie Database.
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on the Big Cartoon Database.
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Rotten Tomatoes.
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on AllMovie.
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on TV Tropes.
- A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Specials Wiki.