Infobox comic strip
caption= The "Peanuts" gang
Top row: Woodstock,
Snoopy, and Charlie Brown
Bottom row: Franklin,
Lucy van Pelt,
Linus van Pelt, Peppermint Patty, and Sally Brown
Charles M. Schulz
website= [http://www.snoopy.com Snoopy.com]
status= Concluded, in
syndicate= United Feature Syndicate
first= October 2, 1950
last= February 13, 2000
"Peanuts" is a syndicated daily and Sunday
comic stripwritten and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000 (the day after Schulz's death), continuing in reruns afterward. The strip is considered to be one of the most popular and influential in the history of the medium, with 17,897 strips published in all,"The man who recalled everything", "Macleans", October 22, 2007.] making it "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being", according to Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse University. At its peak, "Peanuts" ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages. ["Saying Goodbye: Friends and family eulogize cartoonist Charles Schulz" February 22, 2000 Pamela J. Podger " San Francisco Chronicle"] It helped to cement the four-panel gag strip as the standard in the United States,"The comics: since 1945" Brian Walker 2002 Harry N. Abrams, Inc (New York)] and together with its merchandise earned Schulz more than $1 billion. Reprints of the strip are still syndicated and run in many newspapers.
"Peanuts" achieved considerable success for its
television specials, several of which, including " A Charlie Brown Christmas" [" [http://theenvelope.latimes.com/extras/lostmind/year/1965/1965_1966emmy.htm Past Winners Database: 1965–1966 18th Emmy Awards] " The Envelope " LA Times"] and " It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" [" [http://theenvelope.latimes.com/extras/lostmind/year/1966/1966_1967emmy.htm Past Winners Database: 1966–1967 19th Emmy Awards] " The Envelope " LA Times"] won or were nominated for Emmy Awards. The holiday specials remain quite popular and are currently broadcast on ABC in the United Statesduring the corresponding season. The property is also a landmark in theatrewith the stage musical, " You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", being an extremely successful and often performed production.
It has been described as "the most shining example of the American success story in the comic strip field", ironically based on the theme of "the great American unsuccess story", since the main character,
Charlie Brown, is meek, nervous and lacks self-confidence, being unable to fly a kite, win a baseball game or even kick a football. ["The World Encyclopedia of Comics", edited by Maurice Horn, published in 1977 by Avon Books]
"Peanuts" had its origin in "
Li'l Folks", a weekly panel comic that appeared in Schulz's hometown paper, the " St. Paul Pioneer Press", from 1947 to 1950. He first used the name "Charlie Brown" for a character there, although he applied the name in four gags to three different boys and one buried in sand. The series also had a dog that looked much like the early 1950s version of Snoopy. ["Li'l Folks - Charles M. Schulz: Li'l Beginnings" Derrick Bang - With Foreword by Jean Schulz 2003 Charles M. Schulz Museum ISBN 0-9745709-1-5] In 1948, Schulz sold a cartoon to the " Saturday Evening Post"; seventeen single-panel cartoons by Schulz would be published there. The first of these was of a boy who resembled Charlie Brown sitting with his feet on an ottoman.
In 1948, Schulz tried to have "Li'l Folks" syndicated through the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Schulz would have been an independent contractor for the syndicate, unheard of in the 1940s, but the deal fell through.Fact|date=June 2007 "Li'l Folks" was dropped in 1949. The next year, Schulz approached the
United Features Syndicatewith his best work from "Li'l Folks".
When his work was picked up by United Features Syndicate, they decided to run the new comic strip he had been working on.Fact|date=June 2007 This strip was similar in spirit to the panel comic, but it had a set cast of characters, rather than different nameless little folk for each page. The name "Li'l Folks" was too close to the names of two other comics of the time:
Al Capp's " Li'l Abner" and a strip titled "Little Folks". To avoid confusion, the syndicate settled on the name "Peanuts", a title Schulz always disliked. In a 1987 interview, Schulz said of the title "Peanuts": "It's totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity — and I think my humor has dignity." [cite news | first=Heather | last=McKinnon | pages= | title=Seattle's Fantagraphics Books will release 'The Complete Peanuts' | date= February 15, 2004 | publisher= The Seattle Times| url=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/books/2001857267_peanuts15.html ] The periodic collections of the strips in paperback book form typically had either "Charlie Brown" or "Snoopy" in the title, not "Peanuts", because of Schulz's distaste for his strip's title. The Sunday panels eventually typically read, "Peanuts, featuring Good Ol' Charlie Brown".
"Peanuts" premiered on October 2, 1950, in seven newspapers: "
The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Tribune", "The Allentown Call-Chronicle", "The Bethlehem Globe-Times", " The Denver Post" and " The Seattle Times". It began as a daily strip; its first Sunday stripappeared January 6, 1952, in the half pageformat, which was the only complete format for the entire life of the Sunday strip.
Schulz made the decision to produce all aspects of the strip, from the script to the finished art and lettering, himself. Thus the strip was able to be presented with a unified tone, and Schulz was able to employ a minimalistic style. Backgrounds were generally eschewed, and when utilised Schulz's frazzled lines imbued them with a fraught, psychological appearance. This style has been described by art critic John Carlin as forcing "its readers to focus on subtle nuances rather than broad actions or sharp transitions.""Masters of American Comics" John Carlin Yale University Press 2005]
While the strip in its early years resembles its later form, there are significant differences. The art was cleaner, sleeker, and simpler, with thicker lines and short, squat characters. For example, in these early strips, Charlie Brown's famous round head is closer to the shape of a football. Most of the kids were initially fairly round-headed.
"Peanuts" is remarkable for its deft
social commentary, especially compared with other strips appearing in the 1950s and early 1960s. Schulz did not explicitly address racial and gender equality issues so much as he assumed them to be self-evident in the first place. Peppermint Patty's athletic skill and self-confidence is simply taken for granted, for example, as is Franklin's presence in a racially-integrated school and neighborhood.
Schulz would throw satirical barbs at any number of topics when he chose. Over the years he tackled everything from the
Vietnam Warto school dress codes to the " new math". One of his most prescient sequences came in 1963 when he added a little boy named "5" to the cast, whose sisters were named "3" and "4", and whose father had changed their family nameto their ZIP Code, giving in to the way numbers were taking over people's identities. In 1958, a strip in which Snoopy tossed Linus into the air and boasted that he was the first dog ever to launch a human, parodied the hype associated with Sputnik 2's launch of " Laika" the dog into space earlier that year. Another sequence lampooned Little Leagues and "organized" play, when all the neighborhood kids join snowman-building leagues and criticize Charlie Brown when he insists on building his own snowmen without leagues or coaches.
"Peanuts" did not shy away from cartoon violence. The most obvious example might be Charlie Brown's annual, futile effort to kick the football while Lucy holds it. At the last moment, she would pull the ball away just as he was kicking. The off-balance Charlie would sail into the air and land on his back with a loud thud. There was also the ever-present threat of Lucy to "slug" someone, especially her brother Linus. Though violence would happen from time to time, only once was a boy ever depicted hitting a girl (Charlie Brown, who accidentally hit Lucy; when Lucy complained about it, Charlie Brown went down to her psychiatric booth where she returned the slug much harder). Schulz once said, "A girl hitting a boy is funny. A boy hitting a girl is not funny."
"Peanuts" touched on religious themes on many occasions, most notably the classic television special "
A Charlie Brown Christmas" in 1965, which features the character Linus van Peltquoting the King James Version of the Bible(Luke 2:8-14) to explain to Charlie Brown what Christmasis all about. (In personal interviews, Schulz mentioned that Linus represented his spiritual side.)
"Peanuts" probably reached its peak in American pop-culture awareness between 1965 and 1980; this period was the heyday of the daily strip, and there were numerous animated specials and book collections.
Though other strips rivaled "Peanuts" in popularity during the 1980s and 1990s, the strip still had one of the highest circulations in daily newspapers. [cite web | url=http://www.4to40.com/recordbook/index.asp?id=322&category=human | title=Most Syndicated Comic Strip, Peanuts, Charles Schulz, USA |accessdate=2007-06-09]
The daily "Peanuts" strips were formatted in a four-panel "space saving" format beginning in the 1950s, with a few very rare eight-panel strips, that still fit into the four-panel mold. In 1975, the panel format was shortened slightly horizontally, and shortly after the lettering became larger to accommodate the shrinking format. In 1988, Schulz abandoned this strict format and started using the entire length of the strip, in part to combat the dwindling size of the comics page, and also to experiment.Fact|date=June 2007 Most daily "Peanuts" strips in the 1990s were three-panel strips.
Schulz continued the strip until he was forced to retire because of health reasons.
The end of "Peanuts"
The final daily original "Peanuts" comic strip was published on January 3, 2000. Original Sunday strips continued for a few weeks, with the last one published, coincidentally, the day after Schulz's death on February 12. The final Sunday strip included all of the text from the final Daily strip, and the only drawing: that of Snoopy typing in the lower right corner. It also added several classic scenes of the Peanuts characters surrounding the text. Following its finish, many newspapers began reprinting older strips under the title "Classic Peanuts"; uniquely, the syndicate offered papers strips from either the 1960s or the 1990s (few carried both), with the Sunday edition being from the 1960s in all papers carrying the Sunday strip. Though it no longer maintains the "first billing" in as many newspapers as it enjoyed for much of its original run, "Peanuts" remains one of the most popular and widely syndicated strips today.
Cast of characters
Though the strip did not have a lead character at the onset, it soon began to focus on Charlie Brown, a character developed from some of the painful experiences of Schulz's formative years. Charlie Brown's main characteristic is either self-defeating stubbornness or admirable determined persistence to try his best against all odds: he can never win a ballgame but continues playing
baseball; he can never fly a kite successfully but continues trying to do so. Though his inferiority complexwas evident from the start, in the earliest strips he also got in his own jabs when verbally sparring with Patty and Shermy. Some early strips also involved romantic attractions between Charlie Brown and Patty or Violet (the next major character added to the strip). On March 11, 1960 Charlie Brown's father was revealed to be a barber. Also in 1960, the now popular line of Charlie brown greeting cards was introduced by Hallmark. Charlie Brownand Snoopyreached new heights on May 18th, 1969 as they accompanied astronauts on Apollo X. As the years went by, Shermy, Violet, and Patty appeared less often and were demoted to supporting roles (eventually disappearing from the strip by the end of the 1960s/beginning of the 1980s), while new major characters were introduced. Schroeder, Lucy van Pelt, and her brother Linus debuted as very young children — with Schroeder and Linus both in diapers and pre-verbal. Snoopy, who began as a typical puppy, soon started to verbalize his thoughts via thought bubbles. Eventually he adopted other human characteristics, such as walking on his hind legs, reading books, using a typewriter, and participating in sports. He also grew from a puppy to a full-grown dog.
One recurring theme in the strip is Charlie Brown's Little League
baseballteam. Charlie Brown is the manager of the team and, usually, its pitcher, with the other characters of the strip comprising the rest of the team. Charlie Brown is a terrible pitcher, often giving up tremendous hits which either knock him off the mound or leave him with only his shorts on. The team itself is also poor, with only Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy being particularly competent. Because of this, the team consistently loses. However, while the team is often referred to as "win-less", it does win at least 10 games over the course of the strip's run, most of these when Charlie Brown is "not" playing, a fact that Charlie Brown finds highly dispiriting. [cite web | url=http://www.apeanutscollectorclub.com/peantfaq.txt | title=Peanuts FAQ | accessdate=2006-10-01]
In the 1960s, the strip began to focus more on Snoopy. Many of the strips from this point revolve around Snoopy's active,
Walter Mitty-like fantasy life, in which he imagined himself to be a World War I flying ace or a bestselling suspense novelist, to the bemusement and consternation of the other characters who sometimes wonder what he is doing but also at times participate. Snoopy eventually took on many more distinct personas over the course of the strip, notably college student "Joe Cool".
Schulz continued to introduce new characters into the strip, particularly including a tomboyish, freckle-faced, shorts-and-sandals-wearing girl named Patricia Reichardt, better known as "
Peppermint Patty." "Peppermint" Patty is an assertive, athletic but rather obtuse girl who shakes up Charlie Brown's world by calling him "Chuck", flirting with him, and giving him compliments he is not so sure he deserves. She also brings in a new group of friends (and heads a rival baseball team), including the strip's first black character, Franklin, a Mexican-Swedish kid named José Peterson, and Peppermint Patty's bookish sidekick Marcie, who calls Peppermint Patty "Sir" and Charlie Brown "Charles". (Most other characters call him "Charlie Brown" at all times, except for Eudora, who also calls him "Charles"; Charlie Brown's sister Sally Brown, who usually calls him "big brother"; and a minor character named Peggy Jeanin the early 1990s who called him "Brownie Charles" after he could not remember his own name. Also, Snoopy calls his owner, Charlie Brown, "that round-headed kid.")
Several additional family members of the characters were also introduced: Charlie Brown's younger sister Sally, who is fixated on Linus; Linus and Lucy van Pelt's younger brother Rerun; and Spike, Snoopy's desert-dwelling brother from
Needles, California, who was apparently named for Schulz's own childhood dog. [See Charles M. Schulz] Snoopy also had three other brothers and a sister who made some appearances in the strip.
Other notable characters include: Snoopy's friend Woodstock, a bird whose chirping is represented in print as hash marks but is nevertheless clearly understood by Snoopy; Pigpen, the perpetually dirty boy who could raise a cloud of dust on a clean sidewalk or in a snowstorm; and Frieda, a girl proud of her "naturally curly hair", and who owned a cat named Faron, much to Snoopy's chagrin. (The way Faron hung over Freida's shoulder prompted Linus to comment that he was "the world's first boneless cat.")
"Peanuts" had several recurring characters who were actually absent from view. Some, such as the Great Pumpkin or
Manfred von Richthofen(the Red Baron), may or may not have been figments of the cast's imaginations. Others were not imaginary, such as the Little Red-Haired Girl(Charlie Brown's perennial dream girl who finally appeared in 1998, but only in silhouette), Joe Shlabotnik(Charlie Brown's baseball hero), World War II (the vicious cat who lives next door to Snoopy - not to be confused with Frieda's cat, Faron), and Charlie Brown's unnamed pen pal. After some early anomalies, adult figures never appeared in the strip.
Schulz also added some fantastic elements, sometimes imbuing inanimate objects with sparks of life. Charlie Brown's nemesis, the
Kite-Eating Tree, is one example. Sally Brown's school building, that expressed thoughts and feelings about the students (and the general business of being a brick building), is another. Linus' famous " security blanket" also displayed occasional signs of anthropomorphism. Another example is Charlie Brown's pitching mound, which at times would express thoughts and opinions.
Ages of the "Peanuts" characters
Over the course of their nearly fifty-year run, most of the characters' literal ages do not change more than two years. An exception are the characters who were newly introduced as infants, who begin at birth, catch up to the rest of the cast, then stop. Rerun is unique in that he stopped aging when he started kindergarten. Linus first appears as a baby on September 19, 1952. He then ages to right around Charlie Brown's age over the course of the first ten years, during which we see him learn to walk and talk with the help of Lucy and Charlie Brown. When Linus stops aging he is about a year or so younger than Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown was four when the strip began and aged over the next two decades until he settled in as an eight-year-old (after which he is consistently referred to as eight when any age is given). Sally remains two years younger than her older brother Charlie Brown, although Charlie Brown was already of school age in the strips when she was born and seen as a baby.
In one strip, when Lucy declares that by the time a child is five years old, his personality is already pretty well established, Charlie Brown protests, "But I'm already five! I'm more than five!"
The characters, however, were not strictly defined by their literal ages. "Were they children or adults? Or some kind of hybrid?" wrote David Michaelis of Time magazine. Schulz distinguished his creations by "fusing adult ideas with a world of small children." Michaelis continues:
In other words, the cast of "Peanuts" transcended age and were more broadly human.
Current events were sometimes a subject of the strip over the years. In a 1995 series, Sally mentions the Classic Comic Strip Characters series of stamps, which were released four years earlier, and a story about the
Vietnam Warran for 10 days in the 1960s. The passage of time, however, is negligible and incidental in "Peanuts".
"Peanuts" is often regarded as one of the most influential and well-written comic strips of all time. Schulz received the
National Cartoonist SocietyHumor Comic Strip Award for "Peanuts" in 1962, the Elzie SegarAward in 1980, the Reuben Awardin 1955 and 1964, and the Milton CaniffLifetime Achievement Award in 1999. " A Charlie Brown Christmas" won a Peabody Awardand an Emmy; "Peanuts" cartoon specials have received a total of 2 Peabody Awardsand 4 Emmys. For his work on the strip, Charles Schulz is credited with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fameand a place in the William Randolph HearstCartoon Hall of Fame. "Peanuts" was featured on the cover of Time Magazineon April 9, 1965, with the accompanying article praising the strip as being "the leader of a refreshing new breed that takes an unprecedented interest in the basics of life." [" [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,898627,00.html Good Grief] " " Time Magazine" April 9, 1965]
Considered amongst the greatest comic strips of all time, Peanuts was declared second in a list of the greatest comics of the 20th century commissioned by "
The Comics Journal" in 1999. [Tom Spurgeon, Art Spiegelman, Bart Beatty et al, "The Top 100 English-Language Comics of the Century", " The Comics Journal" 210 (February 1999)] Peanuts lost out to George Herriman's " Krazy Kat", a strip Schulz admired, and he accepted the positioning in good grace, to the point of agreeing with the result. [cite press release | title =FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS TO PUBLISH THE COMPLETE PEANUTS BY CHARLES M. SCHULZ | publisher =Fantagraphics | date =October 13, 2003 | url =http://www.snoopy.com/comics/peanuts/news/news_101303.html | accessdate =2006-11-30 ] In 2002 " TV Guide" declared Snoopy and Charlie Brown equal 8th [cite press release | title =D'oh! Bugs Bunny Edges Out Homer Simpson | publisher =TV Guide | date =July 26, 2002 ] in their list of "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time", [ [http://archives.cnn.com/2002/SHOWBIZ/TV/07/30/cartoon.characters.list/ TV Guide's 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time] CNNhtml accessed 30-11-2006] published to commemorate their 50th anniversary.
Cartoon tributes have appeared in other comic strips since Schulz's death in 2000, and are now displayed at the
Charles Schulz Museum. [Citation |last=Hilton |first=Spud |title=Peanuts fan blankets Sparky's Santa Rosa |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/09/29/TR159136.DTL |accessdate=2007-10-12] In May 2000, many cartoonists included a reference to "Peanuts" in their own strips. Originally planned as a tribute to Schulz's retirement, after his death that February it became a tribute to his life and career. Similarly, on October 30, 2005, several comic strips again included references to "Peanuts", and specifically the "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" television special.
The December 1997 issue of The Comics Journal featured an extensive collection of testimonials to "Peanuts." Over forty cartoonists, from mainstream newspaper cartoonists to underground, independent comic artists, shared reflections on the power and influence of Schulz's art. Gilbert Hernandez wrote "Peanuts" was and still is for me a revelation. It's mostly from Peanuts where I was inspired to create the village of Palomar in "Love and Rockets". Schulz's characters, the humor, the insight... gush, gush, gush, bow, bow, bow, grovel, grovel, grovel..." Tom Batiuk wrote "The influence of Charles Schulz on the craft of cartooning is so pervasive it is almost taken for granted." Batiuk also described the depth of emotion in "Peanuts": "Just beneath the cheerful surface were vulnerabilities and anxieties that we all experienced, but were reluctant to acknowledge. By sharing those feelings with us, Schulz showed us a vital aspect of our common humanity, which is, it seems to me, the ultimate goal of great art." ["'Dear Sparky...' Comic Artists From Across the Medium on the Legendary Cartoonist and Creator of Peanuts", The Comics Journal, December 1997]
In 2001, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors renamed the
Sonoma County Airport, located a few miles northwest of Santa Rosa, California, the Charles M. Schulz Airport in his honor. The airport's logo features Snoopy in goggles and scarf, taking to the skies on top of his red doghouse. A bronze statue of Charlie Brown and Snoopy stands in Depot Park in downtown Santa Rosa. [Citation |last=Russell |first=Sabin |title=No laughing matter: statue of 'Charlie Brown' missing |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/06/06/BAGKUD46RI1.DTL |accessdate=2007-10-12]
Schulz was included in the touring exhibition "Masters of American Comics" based on his achievements in the art form while producing the strip. His gag work is hailed as being "psychologically complex", and his style on the strip is noted as being "perfectly in keeping with the style of its times."
Television and film productions
In addition to the strip and numerous books, the "Peanuts" characters have appeared in animated form on television numerous times. This started when the
Ford Motor Companylicensed the characters in 1961 for a series of black and white television commercials for the Ford Falcon. The ads were animated by Bill Meléndezfor Playhouse Pictures, a cartoon studio that had Ford as a client. Schulz and Meléndez became friends, and when producer Lee Mendelsondecided to make a two-minute animated sequence for a TV documentary called "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" in 1963, he brought on Meléndez for the project. Before the documentary was completed, the three of them (with help from their sponsor, the Coca-ColaCompany) produced their first half-hour animated special, the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning " A Charlie Brown Christmas", which was first aired on the CBSnetwork on December 9, 1965. Fact|date=June 2007
The animated version of "Peanuts" differs in some aspects from the strip. In the strip, adult voices are heard, though conversations are usually only depicted from the children's end. To translate this aspect to the animated medium, Meléndez famously used the sound of a
trombonewith a plunger mute opening and closing on the bell to simulate adult "voices". A more significant deviation from the strip was the treatment of Snoopy. In the strip, the dog's thoughts are verbalized in thought balloons; in animation, he is typically mute, his thoughts communicated through growls or laughs (voiced by Bill Meléndez), and pantomime, or by having human characters verbalizing his thoughts for him. These treatments have both been abandoned temporarily in the past. For example, they experimented with teacher dialogue in "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown". The elimination of Snoopy's "voice" is probably the most controversial aspect of the adaptations, but Schulz apparently approved of the treatment. (Snoopy's thoughts were conveyed in voiceoverfor the first time in animation in the animated version of the Broadway musical " You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", and later on occasion in the animated series " The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show".) Fact|date=June 2007
The success of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" was the impetus for CBS to air many more prime-time "Peanuts" specials over the years, beginning with "
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and " Charlie Brown's All-Stars" in 1966. In total, more than thirty animated specials were produced. Until his death in 1976, jazz pianist Vince Guaraldicomposed highly acclaimed musical scores for the specials; in particular, the piece " Linus and Lucy" which has become popularly known as the signature theme song of the "Peanuts" franchise. Fact|date=June 2007
In addition to Coca-Cola, other companies that sponsored "Peanuts" specials over the years included
Dolly Madisoncakes, Kellogg's, McDonald's, Peter Paul-Cadbury candy bars, General Mills, and Nabisco. Fact|date=June 2007
Schulz, Mendelson, and Meléndez also collaborated on four theatrical feature films starring the characters, the first of which was "
A Boy Named Charlie Brown" (1969). Most of these made use of material from Schulz's strips, which were then adapted, although in other cases plots were developed around areas where there were minimal strips to reference. Such was also the case with " The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show", a Saturday-morning TV series which debuted on CBS in 1983 and lasted for three seasons. Fact|date=June 2007
By the late-1980s, the specials' popularity had begun to wane, and CBS had sometimes rejected a few specials. An eight-episode TV
miniseriescalled " This is America, Charlie Brown", for instance, was released during a writer's strike. Eventually, the last "Peanuts" specials were released direct-to-video, and no new ones were created until after the year 2000 when ABC obtained the rights to the three fall holiday specials. The Nickelodeon cable network re-aired the bulk of the specials, as well as "The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show", for a time in 1997 under the umbrella title "You're on Nickelodeon, Charlie Brown". Eight Peanuts-based specials have been made posthumously. Of these, three are tributes to Peanuts or other Peanuts specials, and five are completely new specials based on dialogue from the strips and ideas given to ABC by Schulz before his death. The most recent, " He's a Bully, Charlie Brown", was telecast on ABC on November 20, 2006, following a repeat broadcast of " A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving". Airing 43 years after the first special, the premiere of "He's a Bully, Charlie Brown" was watched by nearly 10 million viewers, winning its time slot and beating a Madonna concert special. [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/28/AR2006112801854_pf.html]
Many of the specials and feature films have also been released on various
home videoformats over the years. To date, 20 of the specials, the two films "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy, Come Home", and the miniseries "This Is America, Charlie Brown" have all been released to DVD.
In October 2007,
Warner Home Videoacquired the Peanuts catalog from Paramountfor an undisclosed amount of money. They now hold the worldwide distribution rights for all Peanuts properties including over 50 television specials. Warner has made plans to develop new specials for television as well as the direct to video market, as well as short subjects for digital distribution. [Citation |last=Arnold |first=Thomas K. |title=Warner Home Video Acquires Peanuts Library From Paramount: 10/04/07 |url=http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3i298d60247271e2fe163b283274dde1be |accessdate=2008-02-29] .
"Peanuts" characters even found their way to the live stage, appearing in the musicals "
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and " Snoopy!!! — The Musical", and in "Snoopy on Ice", a live Ice Capades-style show aimed primarily at young children, all of which have had several touring productions over the years. ["Plymkids' ruff guide to Snoopy" "Western Daily Press" 3 February 2006]
"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" was originally a successful
off-Broadwaymusical that ran for four years (1967–1971) in New York City and on tour, with Gary Burghoffas the original Charlie Brown. An updated revival opened on Broadway in 1999, and by 2002 it had become the most frequently produced musical in American theatre history. It was also adapted for television twice, as a live-action NBC special and an animated CBS special.
"Snoopy!!! The Musical" was a musical comedy based on the "Peanuts" comic strip, originally performed at Lamb's Theatre off-Broadway in 1982. In its 1983 run in London's West End, it won an
Olivier Award. In 1988, it was adapted into an animated TV special. The New Players Theatre in London staged a revival in 2004 to honor its 21st anniversary, but some reviewers noted that its "feel good" sentiments had not aged well.Fact|date=June 2007
"" centers around the teenaged Peanuts characters.
Columbia Recordsissued an album titled "Peanuts", with Kaye Ballardand Arthur Siegelperforming (as Lucy and Charlie Brown, respectively) to music composed by Fred Karlin. Fantasy Recordsissued several albums featuring Vince Guaraldi's jazz scores from the animated specials, including "Jazz Impressions of a Boy Named Charlie Brown" (1964), "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965), "Oh, Good Grief!" (1968), and "Charlie Brown's Holiday Hits" (1998). All were later reissued on CD.
Other jazz artists have recorded "Peanuts"-themed albums, often featuring cover versions of Guaraldi's compositions. These include
Ellis Marsalis, Jr.and Wynton Marsalis("Joe Cool's Blues", 1995); George Winston("Linus & Lucy", 1996); David Benoit("Here's to You, Charlie Brown!", 2000); and Cyrus Chestnut("A Charlie Brown Christmas", 2000).
Cast recordings (in both original and revival productions) of the stage musicals "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and "Snoopy!!! The Musical" have been released over the years.
Numerous animated "Peanuts" specials were adapted into
book-and-record sets, issued on the "Charlie Brown Records" label by Disney Read-Alongin the 1970s and '80s. RCA Victorhas released an album of classical piano music ostensibly performed by Schroeder himself. Titled "Schroeder's Greatest Hits", the album contains solo piano works by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and others, performed by John Miller, Ronnie Zito, Ken Bichel, and Nelly Kokinos.
Other licensed appearances and merchandise
Over the years, the "Peanuts" characters have appeared in ads for
Dolly Madisonsnack cakes, Chex Mix, Bounty, Cheerios, A&W Root Beer, Kraft Foods, and Ford automobiles. [Citation |last=Elliott |first=Stuart |title= THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Will 'Peanuts' characters remain effective images, or will they go the way of the Schmoo? |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9804E7DE1031F934A25751C0A9669C8B63 |accessdate=2007-10-12] [Citation |last=Bankston |first=John |title=Goodbye, 'Peanuts' |url=http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/021300/fea_peanuts.shtml |accessdate=2007-10-12] Pig-Pen appeared in a memorable spot for Regina vacuum cleaners. [Citation |last=Crenshaw |first=Liz |title=Car Seats in Cabs, Chain E-Mail's, Pig Pen, Job Interivews, Telemarketers and Cell Phones, Blue's Alley Charge: 03/15/02 |url=http://www.nbc4.com/answerstoaskliz2002/1306615/detail.html |accessdate=2007-10-12]
They are currently spokespeople in print and television advertisements for the MetLife insurance company. [Citation |last=Elliott |first=Stuart |title= THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; Snoopy and the 'Peanuts' gang will no longer be Metropolitan Life's main representatives. |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9405EED8173EF931A25750C0A96F958260 |accessdate=2007-10-12] MetLife usually uses Snoopy in its advertisements as opposed to other characters: for instance, the MetLife blimps are named "Snoopy One" and "Snoopy Two" and feature him in his World War I flying ace persona. [Citation |last= |first= |title=Picture of the Day: MetLife |url=http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v2/comments/picture_of_the_day_metlife/ |accessdate=2007-10-12]
The characters have been featured on
Hallmark Cardssince 1960, [Citation |last=Boxer |first=Sarah |title= Charles M. Schulz, 'Peanuts' Creator, Dies at 77 |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9505E4D81731F937A25751C0A9669C8B63 |accessdate=2007-10-12] and can be found adorning clothing, figurines, plush dolls, flags, balloons, posters, Christmas ornaments, and countless other bits of licensed merchandise. [Citation |last=Alexander |first=Charles P. |title=Greetings, One and All! |url=http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,968221,00.html |accessdate=2007-10-12] [Citation |last=Berger |first=Warren |title= WHAT'S NEW IN GREETING CARDS; There's a Gimmick in the Greeting |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE2DB1739F933A1575AC0A961948260 |accessdate=2007-10-12] [Citation |last=Miller |first=Jane |title=Collectors gather to share their interest in cookie cutters |url=http://www.post-gazette.com/food/20010422cutters3.asp |accessdate=2007-10-12] [Citation |last= |first= |title=Business: The Company File Hallmark buys UK rival |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/129411.stm |accessdate=2007-10-12] [Citation |last=O'Toole |first=Christine H. |title=Greetings From Kansas City |url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A32052-2004Dec3?language=printer |accessdate=2007-10-12]
Apollo 10" lunar module was nicknamed "Snoopy" and the to employees that promote flight safety.
The 1960s pop band,
The Royal Guardsmendrew inspiration from Peanuts, and their single "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron" reached number two on the charts. [Citation |last= |first= |title='Peanuts' fans mourn death of creator Charles Schulz |url=http://edition.cnn.com/2000/US/02/13/schulz.obit.02/?related |accessdate=2007-10-12]
In the Sixties,
Robert L. Shortinterpreted certain themes and conversations in "Peanuts" as being consistent with parts of Christian theology, and used them as illustrations during his lectures about the gospel, and as source material for several books, as he explained in his bestselling paperback book, " The Gospel According to Peanuts".
In 1980, Charles Schulz was introduced to artist
Tom Everhartduring a collaborative art project. [Citation |last= |first= |title=Frequently Asked Questions |url=http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/peanuts/contact_us/index.html |accessdate=2007-10-12] Everhart became fascinated with Schulz's art style and worked "Peanuts" themed art into his own work. Schulz encouraged Everhart to continue with his work. Everhart continues to be the only artist authorized to paint "Peanuts" characters. [Citation |last= |first= |title=Snoopy by Everhart |url=http://www.snoopy.com/comics/peanuts/places_to_visit/snoopy_by_everhart.html |accessdate=2007-10-12]
balloons of Charlie Brown and Snoopy have long been a feature in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Paradein New York City. This was noted in a Super Bowl XLIIcommercial, in which the Charlie Brown balloon (in a move uncharacteristic of his bad luck) comes out from behind a balloon to snag a Coca-Colabottle from two battling balloons ( Underdogand Stewie Griffin, the latter of which has never had a parade balloon). The ad was sponsored by Coca-Cola.
The characters were licensed for use in 1992 as atmosphere for the national
amusement parkchain Cedar Fair. [Citation |last=Munarriz |first=Rick Aristotle |title=Is Pixar Worth $7 Billion to Disney? |url=http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2006/01/24/is-pixar-worth-7-billion-to-disney.aspx |accessdate=2007-10-12] The images of the "Peanuts" characters are used frequently, most visibly in several versions of the logo for flagship park, Cedar Point. Knott's Berry Farm, which was later acquired by Cedar Fair, was the first theme park to make Snoopy its mascot.Fact|date=March 2008 Cedar Fair also operated Camp Snoopy, an indoor amusement park in the Mall of Americauntil the mall took over its operation as of March 2005, renaming it The Park at MOA(now Nickelodeon Universe), and no longer using the Peanuts characters as its theme. [Citation |last= |first= |title=Mall of America strikes deal with Nickelodeon for theme park |url=http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2007-03-06-mall-of-america-nickelodeon_N.htm |accessdate=2007-10-12]
"Peanuts on Parade" has been
St. Paul, Minnesota's tribute to Peanuts. [Citation |last=Karlson |first=Karl J. |title='Peanuts' coming to the riverfront |url=http://edition.cnn.com/2000/LOCAL/westcentral/06/29/pio.peanuts/index.html |accessdate=2007-10-12] It began in 2000, with the placing of 101 five-foot tall statues of Snoopy throughout the city of Saint Paul. The statues were later auctioned at the Mall of Americain Bloomington, Minnesota. In 2001, there was "Charlie Brown Around Town", 2002 brought "Looking for Lucy", and finally, in 2003, "Linus Blankets Saint Paul." [ [http://www.travellady.com/Issues/April03/LinusBlanketsStPaul.htm TravelLady magazine] , April 2003] The statues were auctioned off at the end of each summer, so some remain around the city but others have been relocated. Permanent, bronze statues of the Peanuts characters are also found in Landmark Plaza in downtown Saint Paul. [Citation |last= |first= |title=Ten Great Places to Visit in Downtown Saint Paul |url=http://www.stpaul.gov/leisure/tengreatplaces.html |accessdate=2007-10-12]
The "Peanuts" characters have been licensed to
Universal Studios Japan(while Peanuts merchandise in Japan has been licensed by Sanrio, best known for Hello Kitty). [Citation |last=Gomez |first=Edward |title=ASIAN POP How Hello Kitty Came to Rule the World |url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/g/a/2004/07/14/helkit.DTL&type=printable |accessdate=2007-10-12]
New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, Hong Kong, there is a mini theme parkdedicated to Snoopy.
The Peanuts gang have also appeared in video games, such as "Snoopy" in a 1984 by Radarsoft, Snoopy Tennis (
Game Boy Color), and in October 2006, Snoopy vs. the Red Baronby Namco Bandai. Many Peanuts characters have cameos in the latter game, including Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Marcie and Sally. In July 2007, the Peanuts gang also made it onto cell phones in the Snoopy the Flying Ace mobile game by Namco Networks.
"Peanuts" has also been involved with
NASCAR. In 2000, Jeff Gordondrove his #24 Chevroletwith a Snoopy-themed motif at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two years later, Tony Stewartdrove a #20 Great Pumpkinmotif scheme for two races. The first, at Bristol Motor Speedway, featured a black car with Linussitting in a pumpkin field. Later, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Tony drove an orange car featuring the "Peanuts" characters trick-or-treating. Most recently, Bill Elliottdrove a #6 Dodge with an " A Charlie Brown Christmas" scheme. That car ran at the 2005 NASCAR BUSCH Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park.
The "Peanuts" characters have been featured in many books over the years. Some represented chronological reprints of the newspaper strip, while others were thematic collections, such as "Snoopy's Tennis Book". Some single-story books were produced, such as "Snoopy and the Red Baron." In addition, many of the animated television specials and feature films were adapted into book form. [http://www.aaugh.com/guide/lanim.htm]
Charles Schulz always resisted publication of early "Peanuts" strips, as they did not reflect the characters as he eventually developed them.Fact|date=June 2007 However, in 1997 he began talks with
Fantagraphics Booksto have the entire run of the strip, almost 18,000 cartoons, published chronologically in book form.Fact|date=June 2007 The first volume in the collection, "", was published in April 2004. "Peanuts" is in a unique situation compared to other comics in that archive quality masters of most strips are still owned by the syndicate.Fact|date=June 2007 All strips, including Sundays, are in black and white. The following books publish much of this previously-unreproduced material.
Chip Kidd, ed. (2001) "Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz". New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-375-42097-5 (hardcover), ISBN 0-375-71463-4 (paperback).
* Derrick Bang with Victor Lee. (2002 reprinting) "50 Years of Happiness: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz".
Santa Rosa, California: Charles M. Schulz Museum. ISBN 0-9685574-0-6
* Derrick Bang, ed. (2003) "Lil' Beginnings". Santa Rosa, California: Charles M. Schulz Museum. The complete run of "
Li'l Folks" (1947 – 1950) ISBN 0-9745709-1-5
* Charles M. Schulz (1975) "Peanuts Jubilee: My Life and Art with Charlie Brown and Others". New York:
Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-25132-6 (paperback).
* Charles M. Schulz (2004) "Who's on First, Charlie Brown?". New York:
Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-46412-5.
* Robert L. Short (1965) "The Gospel According to Peanuts". [http://www.wjkbooks.com Westminster John Knox Press] : ISBN 0-664-22222-6.
The Complete Peanuts
The entire run of "Peanuts," covering nearly 50 years of comic strips, is being reprinted in Fantagraphics' "The Complete Peanuts", a 25-volume set to be released over a 12-year period, two volumes per year, published every May and October. The final volume is expected to be published in May 2016. [Citation |last= |first= |title=THE COMPLETE PEANUTS 1955–1956 |url=http://www.snoopy.com/comics/peanuts/news/news_042005.html |accessdate=2007-10-12]
* [http://www.snoopy.com/ Snoopy.com: Official "Peanuts" Website]
* [http://www.flyingace.net/ Snoopy's Home: Charles M. Schulz's home page]
* [http://www.peanutscollectorclub.com/ "Peanuts" Collector Club]
* [http://www.peanutscollectible.com/ "Peanuts" Collectible Ornaments Guide]
* [http://www.aaugh.com/ AAUGH.com: "Peanuts" Book Collecting Guide]
* [http://web.mit.edu/smcguire/www/peanuts.html "Peanuts" Animation and Reprints Page]
* [http://www.schulzmuseum.org/ Charles M. Schulz Museum website]
* [http://www.reuben.org/ncs/archive/divisions/advertising.asp NCS Awards]
* [http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=115&Itemid=62 Fantagraphics Books - "The Complete Peanuts" series]
* [http://peanuts.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page "Peanuts Gang" Wikia]
* [http://www.namcogames.com/snoopy/ Snoopy the Flying Ace on mobile]
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