Charlie Brown — that soft-spoken, perpetually trod-upon, and mysteriously bald child at the heart of the beloved Peanuts comic strips and cartoons — does not conjure thoughts of bitter lawsuits. (The mischievous and urbane Snoopy is another matter.) Particularly not during the Christmas season, when children and adults across the U.S. are busy tuning in to reruns of the beloved special, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
But Charlie, and his Christmas cartoon, are now at the center of an unusual legal dispute. The heirs of Vince Guaraldi, the late San Francisco jazz musician who composed the score to A Charlie Brown Christmas, are suing the Bay Area-based recording company that produced the soundtrack to the special, alleging they were underpaid royalties.