May 2 to October 18, 2015
Downstairs Changing Gallery
The December 9, 1965 debut of A Charlie Brown Christmas brought Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang home to more than 15 million television viewers and enjoyed immediate acclaim. Earning an Emmy for Best Network Animated Special and a Peabody Broadcasting Award, this 30-minute production and the Peanuts films and television specials that followed have become treasured additions to our collective culture.
This exhibition celebrates the art of bringing comics to life and features rarely displayed production cels from award-winning animated comics, including Peanuts, Batman, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Museum collection boasts four rare animation cels from A Charlie Brown Christmas, which will be on view together for the first time. This is the Museum’s largest exhibition about animation to date.
Later Peanuts films, including It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973), also enjoyed critical acclaim and popular appeal. Their success arose from the longstanding partnership between Schulz, producer Lee Mendelson, and animator Bill Melendez. Bill Melendez Productions animated more than forty Peanuts television specials, four feature-length films, Saturday morning cartoons, and numerous commercial spots.
Peanuts joined a long line of cartoons that leapt from the daily comics page to the big screen. Early twentieth-century animation experiments led by Winsor McCay, creator of the Little Nemo in Slumberland comic, laid a foundation for later artists and filmmakers. Marvel and DC Comics have produced animated programming for contemporary audiences, inspired by titles within their vast catalogs, such as Spider-Man, Batman, and X-Men. From blockbuster movies to short animated films, comics remain to see new life through this evolving art.
This holiday season, the Gang is preparing to make their CGI computer animated debut in The Peanuts Movie. As 21st century audiences are introduced to the characters in this new medium, yet another chapter joins the story of Charles M. Schulz and the enduring onscreen legacy of his timeless cartoon.
This exhibition is generously sponsored by Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios,
creators of The Peanuts Movie, which opens this holiday season in theaters everywhere.