Unfortunately, the soundtrack album went out of print rather quickly and never was re-issued on CD. To this day, it remains one of the great Holy Grails for Guaraldi fans. In the early 21st century, an ambitious attempt was made to produce a music-only CD of the soundtrack, which would have allowed some of Guaraldi’s best work to shine, notably with extended versions of “Skating” and “Blue Charlie Brown.” But the rights issues had grown labyrinthine with the passage of so many decades. Despite a heroic four-year struggle, the project was abandoned.
That final sentence understates the agonized frustration of those who tried so hard to get that CD released. I speak from experience, having been involved; I was hired to write a lengthy essay and track-by-track liner notes for the large booklet that would have been included. It was a wonderful assignment — at least, at the point we all thought the project would be brought to a successful conclusion — because I got to interview Rod McKuen, Lee Mendelson and several of the musicians who worked at Guaraldi's side. I wrote and submitted the essay and liner notes; then I sat back and waited.
And waited. And waited.
Years passed. I got occasional updates, but the trend began to look grim. Cinema Center Films had ceased to exist as a production entity, and Columbia Records had been swallowed up by Sony. Ultimately, my associates had to surrender; they simply couldn't secure all the rights and permissions needed to make all the disparate musical entities and performers happy (or, to be more accurate, needed to reassure everybody that nobody else might be lurking in the woodpile, waiting to pounce with a lawsuit).
I never got paid for my work, which obviously was a major bummer ... but never unexpected, in the freelance writing business. Besides which, I felt much worse for those who would have written me a check; they had put far more effort into the project than I had.
Happily, a good portion of my research and work didn't go to waste; major chunks of that essay were re-purposed and wound up in my book about Guaraldi. Not quite everything, though, which brings me to the point of this blog entry.
When it became obvious that Vince Guaraldi at the Piano was running long — eventually, a full 50,000 words longer than my original contract with McFarland had specified (and bless my editor for allowing that extra length!) — I went looking for things to trim. Bits and pieces flew by the wayside, although everything got saved; some of the specific LP information wound up in my online Vince Guaraldi discography, while other snippets landed in the Vince Guaraldi timeline. But I didn't really have a home for the deleted stray data from the A Boy Named Charlie Brown CD project.
Not wanting it to be wasted, I've decided to resurrect it here.