It"s tough to imagine a children’s television show an ext directly responsible because that the fatality of a customer product line than “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” is perhaps the many beloved animated children’s special ever before produced. It’s the story of an awkward and also humble boy’s do the efforts to discover the true definition of Christmas.

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“A Charlie Brown Christmas” resonated with 1965 television audiences in a way no various other children’s programming had actually before.


It catapulted the job of cartoonist Charles Schulz, launched a merchandising empire that would at some point realize $1 exchange rate in sales annually and poured the structure for top storylines such as Charlie Brown’s fail attempts to kick a football, the kite-eating tree and his unrequited love for “the little red-headed girl.”

It also almost single-handedly broke the aluminum Christmas tree industry.

But let’s back up a little.

Every great story has actually a beginning, and also this one starts a few decades earlier. Man-made Christmas tree have remained in existence in one kind or one more for almost 150 years.


In the so late 1880s, German manufacturers started selling Christmas tree made native dyed goose feather attached to cable branches.

In the 1930s, a brothers company, Addis Housewares, appreciated temporary success exporting Christmas tree made utilizing tinted pig hair. This trees were built using the very same machinery Addis Housewares supplied to make its restroom brushes.

Early attempts in ~ metallic trees began in the late 1930s. A 1937 short article in popular Science urged readers to use pest spray gun come coat live trees through aluminum paint to obtain a look that resembled “molten metal.”

The end result of using an oil-based spray paint onto drying pine boughs had to have actually been identical to building a time bomb in her living room, complete v the radiant gas heat and also indoor smoking that was common at the time.


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In 1955, the modern Coatings Company, that Chicago, obtained a patent because that an aluminum Christmas tree. The trees to be a space-age standout, yet they were bulky, challenging to assemble and — most of every — expensive.


Modern Coating’s 6-foot, handmade trees retailed for $80, equivalent to paying $730 because that a Christmas tree today.

In December 1958, the toy sales manager that the Aluminum Specialty Company, Tom Gannon, spotted one of the modern Coatings trees at a Ben Franklin keep in Chicago. Gannon, purchase the tree and also brought it ago to Aluminum Specialty’s headquarters in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

At the time, Aluminum Specialty was finest known because that making pots and pans, but the firm also had a toy division that, amongst other things, created aluminum Christmas tree ornaments.


Aluminum Specialty designers deconstructed the modern-day Coatings tree and also re-designed it to include foil “needles.” The tree can be mass created for less than $12.

The Aluminum Specialty tree to be unveiled in ~ the American Toy fair in march 1959. It was an prompt success. Assignment poured in.

That Christmas, Aluminum Specialty sold all 10,000 trees it had rushed to produce, each marketing for roughly $25. The next year, the company dedicated several of its production lines to the to produce of aluminum tree under the brand name Evergleam.


While many other manufacturers followed suit, Evergleam constantly dominated the market. At its peak in 1964, Aluminum Specialty to be producing approximately 150,000 Christmas trees a year, with them comes in a range of colors and also sizes.

They were sleek, elegant and also didn’t lose their needles. They likewise included the very real opportunity of death by electrocution.

In the 1970s, the customer Product safety and security Commission issued the following warning: “Never use electric lights ~ above a metallic tree. The tree can end up being charged with electrical energy from faulty lights, and also a human being touching a branch might be electrocuted.”

Most aluminum trees contained a color wheel, a rotating plastic disc that projected colored lights onto the tree’s reflective surface. It was disco cool more than a decade before "Saturday Night Fever."

The future looked bright because that the aluminum tree industry. Aluminum Specialty was running three shifts a day, 10 months out of the year simply to keep up v the orders.

Then the Peanuts Gang involved town.


It’s vital to think about the historic context within which “A Charlie Brown Christmas” arrived.

President Kennedy had been assassinated in Dallas just two year earlier. Tranquil civil legal rights protesters had been brutally clubbed by state troopers on a leg in Selma, Alabama, and tens of thousands of young American guys were being shipped off to fight and also die in a strange corner of south east Asia called Vietnam.


The nation was hungry because that reassurance — a return to a nostalgic past that was simple, sincere, honest and also understandable.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” helped to fill that void, and also the foil that was provided to represent all that was wrong v Christmas to be the aluminum Christmas tree.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” was written and animated ~ above a shoestring budget of simply $96,000. Created over a six-month period, the distinct was completed just 10 job shy the its nationwide debut ~ above Dec. 9, 1965.

CBS producer predicted a disaster due to the fact that of the show’s unorthodox jazz-influenced music, tone, pacing and due to the fact that of the production’s overt referrals to Christian spiritual beliefs.

Instead, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” became a national sensation.

More 보다 15 million viewers watched the broadcast, bested just slightly through those who tuned in to clock “Bonanza." It winner the 1966 Emmy for many Outstanding children’s Programming and a Peabody Award for the most “powerful, enlightening, and also invigorating story in television and also radio.”

The musical score because that “A Charlie Brown Christmas” sold an ext than 4 million copies, and the 25-minute video clip has been rebroadcast through CBS and then ABC yearly for more than a fifty percent century.


Right or wrong, much of its emotional power come at the expense of the aluminum tree industry.

Midway v the story, as Charlie Brown confesses his angst over ever before finding the true definition of Christmas, Lucy provides this analysis:

“Let’s confront it. We all understand that Christmas is a large commercial racket. It"s operation by a huge eastern syndicate girlfriend know.”


It was expected as a joke, yet somewhere within the statement resided a kernel that truth. The confession the an animated cartoon character brought about millions of american to rotate inward and ask us what had come to be of their traditional values the Christmas.

Later in the broadcast, together Charlie Brown and also Linus seek out the perfect tree for their Christmas play, castle come throughout a cold display of aluminum trees. Walking into the lot, Linus raps ~ above the shell of one aluminum tree, which echoes back with all the emotionally appeal of the hull of a B-52 bomber.

“This one yes, really brings Christmas close to a person,” Linus tells Charlie Brown with an ext than a hint of sarcasm.

The emotional catalyst of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” drills under to one little and lonely sapling; a needle-dropping outcast, type of like a shed puppy.

“This little green one here seems to need a home,” Charlie Brown speak Linus.

In picking this hope sapling, Charlie Brown expressed the emotion of a nation. That is at very first ridiculed because that his decision, but, in the end, the children of the Peanuts gang rally about Charlie Brown and also his sad, little tree.

“Charlie Brown is a blockhead,” Lucy confesses, “but he did gain a quite Christmas tree.”

Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree represented something lacking from American culture: authenticity and also vulnerability, a lonely wayfarer in require of encouragement and also support. If we can only every pull together, then the true definition of Christmas would appear before our eyes.

 It was constantly there, standing right before us.


While public and an essential acclaim for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was near universal, it came at the price of aluminum Christmas tree manufacturers.

Suddenly, your foil needles didn’t seem to sparkle therefore brightly. No one of this was assisted by the fact that roughly the exact same time, brand-new plastic trees through lifelike, polyethylene needles started entering the market.


The aluminum tree industry collapsed. Sales plummeted, and, in 1970, the Aluminum Specialty agency discontinued its manufacturing of aluminum Christmas trees.

Close come a million to be produced, but, in the end, many of them ended up in garbage cans and also flea markets. In the 1980s, it to be not uncommon to find aluminum tree that as soon as sold for $30 or much more to it is in in a discount bin for 25 cents.


But climate an emotional change took place. Kids of the 1960s, now grown and with families of your own, began to look for out the old aluminum trees. Just as sentimentality had actually undercut the aluminum tree market in 1966, that resurrected the in 1996.

Suddenly, vintage aluminum Christmas trees acquired a resurgent value on the second market. Old Evergleams, rescued from attics and garage shelves, started selling for thousands of dollars.

In 2005, a rare, 7-foot, pink, aluminum Christmas tree — the exact tree Lucy implored Charlie Brown to gain for your nativity play — sold on e-Bay because that $3,600.

New manufacturers have actually sprung up, offering reproduction aluminum trees online in a range of sizes and also colors the the now-defunct Aluminum Specialty company could have actually only dreamed of.


This previous November, mine daughter discovered a vintage Evergleam aluminum tree virtual at a bargain, however not inexpensive, price. Us collaborated come buy it for my wife, who had wanted one “ever because she to be a small girl.”

It now stands proudly in our life room, a multi-colored wheel of lamp shining across its metallic boughs and reflecting out onto the street.

Christmas, in some measure, is around returning come our past. Family members gather come share in the warm of their cumulative memories. What to be old once again becomes new.

There is no replacement for a live Christmas tree. The the 5 trees we have actually displayed in our home, a special location is reserved for a living example of the yuletide spirit. And come Christmas morning, the an are beneath that living tree"s branches will sanctuary our gifts to one another.

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Yet I admit a unique fondness because that the aluminum tree. It reminds me that my very own childhood innocence when anything appeared possible, including a Christmas tree do entirely of metal.