Here we go again. Another major holiday, another heartbreak over the end of the broadcast era for the Peanuts specials.
“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” won’t air this year on ABC, its annual TV network home since 2001. As part of a new corporate deal, the animated special is moving to AppleTV+ along with the rest of the TV adaptations of the classic Charles M. Schultz comic strip.
I wrote in October about “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” making the same leap to the online platform. I shared my pain. You shared yours. Hearing from so many readers that the switch angered and saddened them, too, helped me feel a little less like an old lady yelling “Hey kids, get off my lawn!” into the abyss.
As it did for the Halloween special, AppleTV+ will offer free streaming of “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” for three days, from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27. Or you can pay to become a subscriber and see it anytime there.
Well, that is generous. But let me go ahead and scratch off the scab that’s formed on wounds since Oct. 31.
“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” debuted in 1973 on CBS. That was a long-ago time when gathering around a wood-framed TV set and watching the cartoon, plus the obligatory ads for Dolly Madison snack cakes, was the height of Thanksgiving fun.
The move to ABC in 2001 kept the tradition alive until last year of seeing Charlie Brown cope with Peppermint Patty inviting herself to his Thanksgiving dinner. Poor Chuck, who was scheduled to go to his grandmother’s house that day, was forced to hold a separate gathering for her and the rest of the gang.
I’ll repeat what I’ve written already about how the AppleTV+ move is another example of the web chipping away at traditions, and how people in comfortable financial situations assume everyone has easy access to streaming.
But those of you who emailed me last month said it better. There has been too much loss in 2020 to endure and too many new normals to accept without relocating Charlie Brown and his pals to a whole new medium.