“Forgotten Hollywood”- A Lee Mendelson Christmas…

Posted on December 27, 2019 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Lee Mendelson was a producer who changed the face of the holidays when he brought A Charlie Brown Christmas to television in 1965 and wrote the lyrics to its signature song, Christmas Time Is Here. Mendelson headed the team that included Peanuts author Charles Schulz, director Bill Melendez, and pianist and composer Vince Guaraldi.

“`Lee graduated from Stanford University in 1954, served in the Air Force, and worked for his father’s fruit-and-vegetable company before being employed at the Bay Area’s KPIX-TV. In 1963, he started his own production company and made a documentary on San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays, A Man Named Mays, that became a hit special on NBC.

“`Mendelson’s team was convinced to create the comic strip’s first television special in 1965. Schulz wrote the now-familiar teleplay of a depressed Charlie Brown seeking the meaning of Christmas. Lee hired Guaraldi to provide the music after hearing the jazz artist’s composition Cast Your Fate to the Wind while driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. It became the biggest holiday classic on television. The program won an Emmy and Peabody Award and has played on the small screen annually ever since.

“`Mendelson also took other comic strips from newspapers to animated television, including Garfield, for which he produced a dozen specials. Lee won twelve Emmys in his long career.

“`Lee Mendelson was eighty six.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Friday, December 27th, 2019 at 11:53 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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