Before the steady stream of Emmy Awards and Grammy nominations and Oscar consideration came The Idea – the one that producer-director Lee Mendelson, nearly a half-century later, calls with a certain zest “the best idea I’ve had in my entire life.”

“I’d just made a documentary about the best baseball player in the world,” says Mendelson, referring to his award-winning NBC work about Willie Mays. “So I decided to make a documentary about the worst baseball player in the world.”

That, naturally, would be Charlie Brown. Mendelson read a “Peanuts” strip about the perennially losing hurler and thought: Why not make a documentary about the cartoon’s creator?

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