1. December 9, 1965,...CBS TV officials shook in their shoes as "A Charlie Brown Christmas" aired. 2. Charles Schulz had some ideas that challenged the way of thinking of those executives 46 years ago, and one of them had to do with the inclusion in his Christmas cartoon of a reading from the King James Bibles version of the Gospel of Luke. 3. As far back as 1965 just a few years before Time magazine asked Is God Dead? CBS executives thought a Bible reading might turn off a nation populated with Christians. And during a Christmas special, no less! Ah, the perils of living on an island in the northeast called Manhattan. 4. Schulz had some ideas of his own for the Christmas special, ideas that didnt make the network suits very happy. First and foremost, there was no laugh track, something unimaginable in that era of television. Schulz thought that the audience should be able to enjoy the show at its own pace, without being cued when to laugh....The network executives were not happy that the Schulzs team had chosen to use children to do the voice acting, rather than employing adults. 5. Last but not least, the executives did not want to have Linus reciting the story of the birth of Christ from the Gospel of Luke....They were freaking out about something so overtly religious in a Christmas special, explained Melendez. 6. Melendez himself was somewhat hesitant about the reading from Luke. I was leery of the religion that came into it, and I was right away opposed to it. But Sparky just assumed what he had to say was important to somebody.Which is why Charles Schulz was Charles Schulz. He knew that the Luke reading by Linus was the heart and soul of the story. 7. As Charlie Brown sinks into a state of despair trying to find the true meaning of Christmas, Linus quietly saves the day. He walks to the center of the stage where the Peanuts characters have gathered, and under a narrow spotlight, quotes the second chapter of the Gospel According to Luke, verses 8 through 14... . . . And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown, Linus concluded. 8. When CBS executives saw the final product, they were horrified. They believed the special would be a complete flop. CBS programmers were equally pessimistic, informing the production team, We will, of course, air it next week, but Im afraid we wont be ordering any more. 9. To the surprise of the executives, 50 percent of the televisions in the United States tuned in to the first broadcast. The cartoon was a critical and commercial hit; it won an Emmy and a Peabody award. 10. Linuss recitation was hailed by critic Harriet Van Horne of the New York World-Telegram, who wrote, Linus reading of the story of the Nativity was, quite simply, the dramatic highlight of the season. The Gospel According to Peanuts - Lee Habeeb - National Review Online Is any more proof necessary that there is a segment of the media that abhors religion in any form, and is willing to sacrifice success to erase it from the public arena? Merry Christmas to all.