On November 26, 1922…Charles Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He would have been 100 years old today. He would read the Sunday cartoon feature with his dad every week. Schulz had asthma and his mom would give him a pencil and paper in bed to draw and that started it all.
He created the Peanuts strip (originally entitled Li’l Folks) in 1950, introducing a group of characters based on semiautobiographical experiences. That first year, the comic strip came in last place in the New York World Telegram’s reader survey of cartoons… however, a book of Peanuts reprints helped the strip gain a larger audience. Shulz encapsulated the kid’s point of view as good or better than anyone. The grownups didn’t talk; it was all about the kid’s world. When I was growing up I would not miss a Sunday Cartoon feature or holiday special…not to mention the movies that came out.
Schulz channeled the loneliness that he had experienced in his army days and the frustrations of everyday life into Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown was familiar because he was us. . Linus was named after a friend and fellow cartoonist Linus Maurer. Peppermint Patty was inspired by his cousin Patricia and Snoopy is based on Schulz’s intelligent childhood pet dog. Woodstock is just a miniature of Snoopy…he is drawn the same way.
Philip Van Pelt’s wife, Louanne, inspired Lucy Van Pelt, Linus’ sister. Schulz introduced the feisty…some say mean brunette, known for pulling away footballs just as Charlie Brown is about to kick them, to the cartoon strip in 1952.
The comic strip would explode and be a pop culture icon in the 50s until now. So Happy Birthday Charles Schulz!
When I was a kid I would occasionally get a Peanuts item…watch or something with them on it. My favorite characters were Schroeder and Pigpen since I stayed dirty much to my mom’s horror. No matter how much she tried…and she tried and tried to get me somewhere clean…it hardly ever happened. She got me ready for Church one morning and she had a brainstorm. She got me ready 15 minutes before we left. It was a cool spring day so she put a scrubbed-clean Max into the back seat of our car. When she came out she was horrified…I had dug around in the ashtray and was filthy…therefore Pigpen suited me fine.
In the late 1990s while my wife and I were dating…we would go to flea markets and antique shops and buy Peanuts memorabilia. We both had rediscovered The Peanuts in our 20s. Over 2-4 years we bought thousands of dollars of older collectibles. If being late on rent meant getting a rare Peanuts item…so be it! No, we were not the most responsible around at the time. It was a cool bonding activity between us and we still have all the things that we bought. At Christmas, we get a lot of it out and decorate the house. We slowed down when our son Bailey came along and we realized…hmmm better start saving money!
So the Peanuts were with me as a child and an adult and if we ever see a Peaunts item out and about…we usually get it.
If you get in the mood to watch The Peanuts… try A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy Come Home…their first two movies.
My role model Pigpen