"The production was done on a shoestring budget, resulting in a somewhat choppy animation style and, from a technical standpoint, poorly mixed sound. With the exception of the actors who voiced Charlie Brown and Lucy, Peter Robbins and Tracy Stratford, respectively, none of the children had any experience doing voice work. This was especially challenging for Kathy Steinberg, who voiced Sally: she was too young to read and needed to be cued line by line during the soundtrack recording. The technical issues are in evidence on the show's audio track, which to some may seem noticeably choppy and poorly enunciated. Melendez has said he remains somewhat embarrassed to see the show repeated every year with all its problems, but Schulz vetoed his idea of "fixing" the program years later."
From a technical perspective, not to impressive---even for it's time. Anecdotally I've heard they animated it at 8 frames a second!
"Another complaint was the absence of a laugh track, a common element of children's cartoons at the time. Schulz maintained that the audience should be able to enjoy the show at their own pace, without being cued when to laugh. (CBS did create a version of the show with the laugh track added, just in case Schulz changed his mind. This version remains unavailable.) A third complaint was the use of children to do the voice acting, instead of employing adult actors. Finally, the executives thought that the jazz soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi would not work well for a children's program. When executives saw the final product, they were horrified and believed the special would be a complete flop.
The show first aired on Thursday, December 9, 1965, preempting The Munsters and following the Gilligan's Island episode entitled Don't Bug the Mosquitos. To the surprise of the executives, it was both a critical and commercial hit. None of the special's technical problems detracted from the show's appeal; to the contrary, it is thought that these so-called quirks, along with several other choices, are what lent the show such an innovative, authentic and sincere feeling."
It goes to show how charm, wit, and originality can go a long way. Everything that worked for the original is absent from the NEW version they show afterwards to fill out the hour for advertisers. From an animation standpoint, I'd like to see us do more of this kind of animation, which I'll call "limited but with a TON of charm" than the robotic stiffness that is so easy to crank out of Flash. But I guess that would be a bigger discussion on philosophies of animation that might be better saved for another posting.