Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sigh! Bill Melendez Checks Out

Bill Melendez, the animator who brought 'Peanuts" to life through animation and who created an animated work of art with "A Charlie Brown Christmas" died this week at age 91.

Because his much-loved 1965 animated tone-poem to childhood and the Christmas season has become a classic, it's hard to appreciate how revolutionary it was. CBS thought Melendez and Charles Schultz were the blockheads for wanting to produce a cartoon without a laugh track, a jazz soundtrack, real child actors voicing the characters and quotes from the New Testament. Melendez and Schultz got their way, and the result was a holiday classic and six Emmy Awards.

Melendez is should be remembered not just for his animation, but also for his voicing work -- when Snoopy speaks, that's Melendez's voice. Perfect.

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