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Charlie Brown created lasting Valentine’s Day memory for Baby Boomers

Many of the most pleasant and vivid memories shared among the baby boomer generation involve television. Valentine’s Day is no different. Although early boomer memories will undoubtedly go to making construction paper mailboxes for the school room bulletin board the animated specials of Charlie Brown called a spot in the hearts and memories of all boomers.

Still beloved, Peanut's Snoopy makes his way down Avenue of the Americas during the 87th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, 2013 in New York City.
Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Charles Schultz was a mastermind at creating animated specials that would span generations. It started with the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in 1965 as a promotion for Coca-Cola in 1965. The popularity of the holiday special started a series of animated adventures. The franchise would honor Valentine’s Day beginning January 28, 1975, with “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown”.

As with prior Charlie Brown specials, Schultz used a variety of techniques to span generations. The baby boomers were outgrowing Charlie Brown and he needed to attract the younger generation X to the Peanuts cartoon series. Using the themes of falling in love with one’s teacher and the ever popular Valentine’s Day card distribution at school as the basis for the show he bridged the generations.

It was Linus that would fall in love with his teacher and Charlie Brown whose Valentine’s Day mailbox would be empty. Unlike later generations, boomers were taught to deal with rejection and this special help the young generation understand that not everything goes their way but in the end those disappointments can be used for good.

Even though Charlie Brown’s Valentine mailbox was initially empty eventually Violet would give him a sympathy Valentine. Charlie Brown use this instance to hope that the idea of a pity card would catch on for future Valentine’s Days.

According to Charles Schultz, Brown’s wish had an immediate impact on the audience as CBS started receiving thousands of Valentine’s Day cards destined for Brown within a few days of the broadcast. The reaction of these heartfelt card senders once again show the impact of Charles Schultz’s genius on pop culture.

Watch for the Charlie Brown Valentine’s special airing on WXYZ, the Detroit ABC affiliate on channel 7 on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown is leading off the hour with another Peanuts cartoon,“A Charlie Brown Valentine”, following it.

Some portions of this article were taken from the Generations Culture pages which is part of the Cultural Roadmap of Max Impact. They were used with permission.

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