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Peanuts is a syndicated daily and Sunday comic strip written 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, making it "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being", according to Professor Robert Thompson of Syracuse Universitymarker. 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. It helped to cement the four-panel gag strip as the standard in the United States, 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 and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown won or were nominated for Emmy Awards. The holiday specials remain quite popular and are currently broadcast on ABC in the United Statesmarker during the corresponding season. The property is also a landmark in theatre with 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 and kick a football (with the exception of "It's Magic, Charlie Brown" when he kicked the football while invisible).

History

The first strip from October 2, 1950.

1940s

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. 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. Li'l Folks was dropped in 1949. The next year, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with his best work from Li'l FolksWhen his work was picked up by United Feature Syndicate, they decided to run the new comic strip he had been working on. 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, after the peanut gallery featured in the Howdy Doody TV show. Peanuts was 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." 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.

1950s

Peanuts premiered on October 2, 1950, in eight newspapers: The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Tribune, The Allentownmarker Call-Chronicle, The Bethlehemmarker Globe-Times, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times and The Boston Globe. It began as a daily strip; its first Sunday strip appeared January 6, 1952, in the half page format, 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 utilized 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."

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 an American football or rugby ball. Most of the kids were initially fairly round-headed. Another example, all the characters (except Charlie Brown) had their mouths longer and had smaller eyes when they looked sideways.

1960s-1970s

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. The fact that Charlie Brown's baseball team had three girls was also at least ten years ahead of its time (and in fact, one cartoon episode dealt with Charlie refusing sponsorship of the team because the sponsor did not want girls or dogs on his team).

Schulz would throw satirical barbs at any number of topics when he chose. Over the years he tackled everything from the Vietnam War to 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 name to 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, and often executed, 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, "There is nothing funny about a little boy being mean to a little girl. That is simply not funny! But there is something funny about a little girl being able to be mean to a little boy."

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 Pelt quoting the King James Version of the Bible (Luke 2:8-14) to explain to Charlie Brown what Christmas is 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 1982; this period was the heyday of the daily strip, and there were numerous animated specials and book collections.

1980s-1990s

Though other strips rivaled Peanuts in popularity during the 1980s and 1990s, the strip still had one of the highest circulations in daily newspapers.

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. 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.

Peanuts in the new millennium

Despite the end of the strip, Peanuts continues to be prevalent in multiple media, through widespread syndication, the publication of "The Complete Peanuts," the release of several new television specials, and Peanuts Motion Comics.

Cast of characters

The initial cast of Peanuts was small, featuring only Charlie Brown, Shermy, Patty (not to be confused with Peppermint Patty), and a beagle, Snoopy. The first addition, Violet, was made in February, 1951.

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 complex was 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 Brown and Snoopy reached new heights on May 18, 1969 as they accompanied astronauts on Apollo 10.

As the years went by, Shermy, Patty, and Violet appeared less often and were demoted to supporting roles (eventually disappearing from the strip in 1969, 1976, and 1984 respectively), 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 baseball team. 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.

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 Jean in 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." At one point, in A Charlie Brown Christmas, Lucy calls Charlie Brown "Charlie.")

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, Californiamarker, who was apparently named for Schulz's own childhood dog. 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.") Frieda eventually disappeared from the strip.

Peanuts had several recurring characters that were actually absent from view. Some, such as the Great Pumpkin or Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron), were merely 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. Adult figures only appeared in the strip during a brief sequence in 1954 in which Charlie Brown and Lucy are playing professional golf. At no time, however, were any adult faces seen. There are, however, adult voices in a few of the early strips.

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. 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 was consistently referred to as eight when any age was given).

Exceptions to this phenomenon include the characters who were newly introduced as infants, or who begin at birth, then catch up to the rest of the cast and stop. Schroeder was introduced as a non-speaking baby, who quickly learned to play the piano with concert ability, eventually becoming Charlie Brown's age over his first decade. Lucy first appeared as what may be described as a toddler; she slept in a crib and would ask Charlie Brown to make her a sandwich or get her a glass of water, tasks she was unable to perform herself. She, too, would become the same age as Charlie Brown within a few years of the strip. Linus first appeared as a baby on September 19, 1952, then aged to about a year or so younger than Charlie Brown over the course of the first ten years, during which he learned to walk and talk with the help of Lucy and Charlie Brown, and have a friend for Charlie Brown as well. Sally became two years younger than her older brother Charlie Brown, although Charlie Brown was already of school age in the strips in which she was born and seen as a baby. Rerun is unique in that he stopped aging when he started kindergarten.

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 War ran for 10 days in the 1960s. The passage of time, however, is negligible and incidental in Peanuts.

Critical acclaim

Peanuts is often regarded as one of the most influential and well-written comic strips of all time. Schulz received the National Cartoonist Society Humor Comic Strip Award for Peanuts in 1962, the Elzie Segar Award in 1980, the Reuben Award in 1955 and 1964, and the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. A Charlie Brown Christmas won a Peabody Award and an Emmy; Peanuts cartoon specials have received a total of 2 Peabody Awards and 4 Emmys. For his work on the strip, Charles Schulz is credited with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker and a place in the William Randolph Hearst Cartoon Hall of Fame. Peanuts was featured on the cover of Time Magazine on 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."

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. 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. In 2002 TV Guide declared Snoopy and Charlie Brown equal 8th in their list of "Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time", 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 Museummarker. 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."

In 2001, the Sonoma Countymarker Board of Supervisors renamed the Sonoma County Airportmarker, located a few miles northwest of Santa Rosa, Californiamarker, the Charles M.marker Schulz Airportmarker 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.

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."

Despite the widespread acclaim generated by Peanuts as a whole, some critics have alleged a decline in the strip's quality in the later years of its run, as Schulz frequently digressed from the more cerebral socio-psychological themes that characterized his earlier work in favor of lighter, more whimsical fare. For example, in an essay published in the New York Pressmarker at the time of the final daily strip in January 2000, "Against Snoopy", Christopher Caldwell argued that the character of Snoopy, and the strip's increased focus on him in the 1970s, "went from being the strip's besetting artistic weakness to ruining it altogether".

Television and film productions

Video rights to all the films and TV specials were licensed by Media Home Entertainment and Kartes Video Communications in the 1980s, and by Paramount Home Entertainment from 1994 to 2007. The video rights to the TV specials are now with Warner Home Video, while the theatrical films (except A Boy Named Charlie Brown) are still at Paramount, who produced the last two and acquired the first two through the merger of CBS, who produced them via Cinema Center Films, and Viacom; the first two films were originally released to video by CBS/Fox Video.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 Company licensed the characters in 1961 for a series of black and white television commercials for the Ford Falcon. The ads were animated by Bill Meléndez for Playhouse Pictures, a cartoon studio that had Ford as a client. Schulz and Meléndez became friends, and when producer Lee Mendelson decided 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-Cola Company) produced their first half-hour animated special, the Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning A Charlie Brown Christmas, which was first aired on the CBS network on December 9, 1965.

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 trombone with 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 voice over for 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.)

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 Guaraldi composed 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.

In addition to Coca-Cola, other companies that sponsored Peanuts specials over the years included Dolly Madison cakes, Kellogg's, McDonald's, Peter Paul-Cadbury candy bars, General Mills, and Nabisco.

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.

By the late-1980s, the specials' popularity had begun to wane, and CBS had sometimes rejected a few specials. An eight-episode TV miniseries called 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.[6822]

Many of the specials and feature films have also been released on various home video formats 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 Video acquired the Peanuts catalog from Paramount for 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.

Theatrical productions

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.

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown was originally a successful off-Broadway musical that ran for four years (1967–1971) in New York City and on tour, with Gary Burghoff as the original Charlie Brown. An updated revival opened on Broadwaymarker 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 Endmarker, 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.

The off-Broadway drama Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead centers on the Peanuts characters becoming teenagers, though it is unauthorized and considered a parody.

Record albums

In 1962, Columbia Records issued an album titled Peanuts, with Kaye Ballard and Arthur Siegel performing (as Lucy and Charlie Brown, respectively) to music composed by Fred Karlin.

Fantasy Records issued 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).

The 1960s American rock band The Royal Guardsmen recorded several songs about Snoopy's fantasies of flying against the Red Baron in World War I, including the hit singles "Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" and "Snoopy's Christmas". The first song was released without Schulz's consent, and he and UFS sued successfully for royalties, but allowed the group to make future songs and even contributed album artwork for such releases as Snoopy And His Friends.

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-Along in the 1970s and '80s.

RCA Victor has 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

Snoopy on the side of the MetLife blimp
Over the years, the Peanuts characters have appeared in ads for Dolly Madison snack cakes, Chex Mix, Bounty, Cheerios, A&W Root Beer, Kraft Foods, and Ford automobiles. Pig-Pen appeared in a memorable spot for Regina vacuum cleaners.

They are currently spokespeople in print and television advertisements for the MetLife insurance company. 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.

The characters have been featured on Hallmark Cards since 1960, and can be found adorning clothing, figurines, plush dolls, flags, balloons, posters, Christmas ornaments, and countless other bits of licensed merchandise.

The Apollo 10 lunar module was nicknamed "Snoopy" and the command module "Charlie Brown". While not included in the official mission logo, Charlie Brown and Snoopy became semi-official mascots for the mission. Charles Schulz drew an original picture of Charlie Brown in a spacesuit that was hidden aboard the craft to be found by the astronauts once they were in orbit. This drawing is now on display at the Kennedy Space Centermarker. Snoopy is the personal safety mascot for NASA astronauts, and NASA issues a Silver Snoopy award to employees that promote flight safety.

The 1960s pop band, The Royal Guardsmen drew inspiration from Peanuts, and their single Snoopy vs. The Red Baron reached number two on the charts.

In the Sixties, Robert L. Short interpreted 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 Everhart during a collaborative art project. 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.

Giant helium balloons of Charlie Brown and Snoopy have long been a feature in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. This was noted in a Super Bowl XLII commercial, in which the Charlie Brown balloon (in a move uncharacteristic of his bad luck) comes out from behind a balloon to snag a Coca-Cola bottle from two battling balloons (Underdog and Stewie Griffin, the latter of which has never had a parade balloon). The ad was sponsored by Coca-Cola.

In 1983, Knott's Berry Farmmarker, in Southern California, was the first theme park to license the Peanuts characters, creating the first Camp Snoopymarker area and making Snoopy the park's mascot. Knott's expanded its operation in 1992 by building an indoor amusement park in the Mall of Americamarker, called Knott's Camp Snoopy. The Knott's theme parks were acquired by the national amusement park chain Cedar Fair in 1997, which continued to operate the Mall of America Camp Snoopy park until the mall took over its operation as of March 2005, renaming it The Park at MOAmarker (now Nickelodeon Universemarker), and discontinued using the Peanuts characters as its theme. The Knott's Berry Farm Camp Snoopy area was unaffected by this change and is still in operation.

Snoopy is the official mascot of Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdommarker, and pictures of him and other peanuts characters can be seen throughout the parks.

Cedar Fair had already licensed the Peanuts characters for use in 1992 as atmosphere, so its acquisition of Knott's Berry Farm did not alter the use of those characters. The images of the Peanuts characters are currently used frequently by Cedar Fair, most visibly in several versions of the logo for flagship park, Cedar Pointmarker. Worlds of Funmarker in Kansas City, Missourimarker also operates a Camp Snoopymarker area, featuring various Peanuts-themed attractions.

Peanuts on Parade has been St. Paul, Minnesotamarker's tribute to Peanuts. 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 Americamarker in Bloomington, Minnesotamarker. In 2001, there was "Charlie Brown Around Town", 2002 brought "Looking for Lucy", and finally, in 2003, "Linus Blankets Saint Paul." 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 Paulmarker.

The Peanuts characters have been licensed to Universal Studios Japanmarker (while Peanuts merchandise in Japan has been licensed by Sanrio, best known for Hello Kitty).

In New Town Plaza, Sha Tinmarker, Hong Kongmarker, there is a mini theme park dedicated to Snoopy.

The Peanuts gang have also appeared in video games, such as Snoopy in a 1984 by Radarsoft, Snoopy Tennis (Game Boy Color), Snoopy Concert which was released in 1995 and sold to the Japanese market for the Super Nintendo, and in October 2006, Snoopy vs. the Red Baron by 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 Gordon drove his #24 Chevrolet with a Snoopy-themed motif at Indianapolis Motor Speedwaymarker. Two years later, Tony Stewart drove a #20 Great Pumpkin motif scheme for two races. The first, at Bristol Motor Speedwaymarker, featured a black car with Linus sitting in a pumpkin field. Later, at Atlanta Motor Speedwaymarker, Tony drove an orange car featuring the Peanuts characters trick-or-treating. Most recently, Bill Elliott drove a #6 Dodge with an A Charlie Brown Christmas scheme. That car ran at the 2005 NASCAR BUSCH Series race at Memphis Motorsports Parkmarker.

Books

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, or collections of inspirational adages such as Happiness Is a Warm Puppy. 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.

Charles Schulz always resisted publication of early Peanuts strips, as they did not reflect the characters as he eventually developed them. However, in 1997 he began talks with Fantagraphics Books to have the entire run of the strip, almost 18,000 cartoons, published chronologically in book form. The first volume in the collection, The Complete Peanuts: 1950 to 1952, was published in April 2004. Archive quality masters of most strips are still owned by the syndicate. 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, Californiamarker: 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. 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. Every Peanuts strip is now also legally available online at Comics.com.

Celebrating Peanuts: 60 Years

Celebrating Peanuts: 60 Years, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, is a special tribute to mark Peanut's 60th anniversary. The book is arranged by decade, to spotlight the highlights and development of this world favorite classic. The book features quotes from Charles Schulz that shed light on how his mind worked, how his life shaped the strip, and in turn, how Peanuts shaped his life; the introduction of specific characters and how they, and the strip, often reflected the social milieu of the times; over 500 pages of Peanuts comic strips including many color Sunday strips.

References

  1. "The man who recalled everything", Macleans, October 22, 2007.
  2. "Saying Goodbye: Friends and family eulogize cartoonist Charles Schulz" February 22, 2000 Pamela J. Podger San Francisco Chronicle
  3. The comics: since 1945 Brian Walker 2002 Harry N. Abrams, Inc (New York)
  4. " Past Winners Database: 1965–1966 18th Emmy Awards" The Envelope LA Times
  5. " Past Winners Database: 1966–1967 19th Emmy Awards" The Envelope LA Times
  6. The World Encyclopedia of Comics, edited by Maurice Horn, published in 1977 by Avon Books
  7. 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
  8. Masters of American Comics John Carlin Yale University Press 2005
  9. Charles M. Schulz: Conversations (Conversations with Comic Artists) pg. 45
  10. See Charles M. Schulz
  11. " Good Grief" Time Magazine April 9, 1965
  12. Tom Spurgeon, Art Spiegelman, Bart Beatty et al., "The Top 100 English-Language Comics of the Century", The Comics Journal 210 (February 1999)
  13. TV Guide's 50 greatest cartoon characters of all time CNN html accessed 30-11-2006
  14. "'Dear Sparky...' Comic Artists From Across the Medium on the Legendary Cartoonist and Creator of Peanuts", The Comics Journal, December 1997
  15. "Plymkids' ruff guide to Snoopy" Western Daily Press 3 February 2006
  16. Review of "Dog Sees God" at variety.com
  17. TravelLady magazine, April 2003
  18. http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20040215&slug=peanuts15
  19. Comics.com - Peanuts free online comic strip http://comics.com/peanuts/


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