Michael Chabon is mulling the favorite holiday TV specials of his childhood -- as a man in his mid-40s, he was weaned on some of pop culture's "classics" -- but there is no hesitation when the Pulitzer-winning author has to pick one.
Chabon rubs his hands along the chair's armrests -- we're sitting in the lobby of a hotel in downtown Washington -- and affirms that "A Charlie Brown Christmas," that '60s perennial, is still tops.
As Chabon ("Wonder Boys," "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay") describes in his newest book, "Manhood for Amateurs," it didn't, and doesn't, matter that he's Jewish -- Linus Van Pelt's pure, humble soliloquy on the meaning of Christmas still strikes a deep chord, Chabon says. The poetry of that "Peanuts" moment is that affecting.
LINUS EXPLAINS THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS:
Another enormous fan of "Peanuts" is the director Wes Anderson, who notably used the Vince Guaraldi Trio's "Charlie Brown Christmas" instrumental music in his Oscar-nominated film, "The Royal Tenenbaums."
Anderson tells Comic Riffs, however, that when it came to making his new hit animated film "Fantastic Mr. Fox" (based on the Roald Dahl children's story), it was the 40-year-old's appreciation of the ol' Rankin-Bass stop-motion Christmas specials that inspired him -- from "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" to "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town."
Here is one of Comic Riffs' favorite Rankin-Bass numbers:
MR. SNOW MISER vs. MR. HEAT MISER:
So the Official 'Riffs Question of the Day is: What are your favorite animated holiday scenes ever? The hearth floor is now yours.