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Thread: Peanuts

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    Peanuts

    The last original weekday Peanuts comic strip is published. - January 3, 2000



    Peanuts is a syndicated daily and Sunday American comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz, which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, continuing in reruns afterward. The strip is the most popular and influential in the history of the comic strip, with 17,897 strips published in all, making it "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being". 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 almost every U.S. newspaper.

    Peanuts achieved considerable success with 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 popular and are currently broadcast on ABC in the United States during the corresponding seasons. The Peanuts franchise met acclaim in theatre, with the stage musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown being a successful and often-performed production.

    Peanuts has been described as "the most shining example of the American success story in the comic strip field"; this is ironic, given its theme is "the great American unsuccess story." The main character, Charlie Brown, is meek, nervous, and lacks self-confidence. He is unable to fly a kite, win a baseball game, or kick a football.

    In 2013, TV Guide ranked Peanuts the fourth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time.



    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 on February 7, 1951. Other character introductions that soon followed were Schroeder, on May 30, 1951, as a baby; Lucy, on March 3, 1952; Lucy's baby brother Linus, on September 19, 1952 (after his existence was first mentioned back on July 14); and Pig-Pen, on July 13, 1954.

    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. In early strips Charlie Brown was depicted as distinctly younger than his cohorts Patty and Shermy. 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. On September 1, 1958 Charlie Brown's father was formally revealed to be a barber (after earlier instances in the strip that linked Charlie Brown to barbers by implication). In 1960, the now popular line of Charlie Brown greeting cards was introduced by Hallmark Cards. Charlie Brown and Snoopy reached new heights on May 18, 1969 as they became the names of the command module and lunar module, respectively, for Apollo 10.

    As the years went by, Shermy in particular, but Patty and Violet as well, appeared less often and were demoted to supporting roles (eventually disappearing from the strip in 1969, 1976, and 1984 respectively, although Patty and Violet were still seen as late as April 9, 1995), 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 neighborhood baseball team. Charlie Brown is the player-manager of the team and, usually, its pitcher, and Schroeder is the catcher. The other characters of the strip comprise 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 Snoopy, at shortstop, 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 ten 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. He imagined himself to be Roy Brown (RAF officer) (a World War I flying ace), chasing the Red Baron, 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 also became the "world famous attorney" and was involved in multiple unsuccessful court style "cases" for Peppermint Patty and her unending battles with her school. Snoopy eventually took on many more distinct personas over the course of the strip, notably college student "Joe Cool." Snoopy has "an astonishing interior world," and according to Russell T Davies, is "the happiest character, barely aware that anyone else exists, except his little bird friend Woodstock."

    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" and sometimes "Chuck" (most characters only referred to him as "Charlie Brown", though he was known as "Charles" to Eudora, "big brother" to his sister Sally Brown, "that round-headed kid" to Snoopy, and as "Brownie Charles" to Peggy Jean after misspeaking his name out of nervousness).

    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; three of Woodstock's buddies who usually appeared when on a scouting trip with Snoopy as their scout leader; Pig-Pen, the perpetually dirty boy who could raise a cloud of dust on a clean sidewalk, in a snowstorm, or inside a building; 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 Frieda's arms prompted Snoopy to comment that they had "finally developed a 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, referred to as his "pencil-pal" after Charlie Brown's failed mastery of the fountain pen. Adult figures only appeared in the strip during a four-week Sunday-comic sequence in 1954 in which Lucy plays in an amateur golf tournament, with Charlie Brown "coaching" her. At no time, however, were any adult faces seen (it was also in this story that Lucy's family name, "van Pelt", was first revealed.) There are adult voices in a few of the strips in its early years.

    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 ("Why don't you learn how to pitch, you stupid kid?").



    Schulz was born in Minneapolis, and his family moved to St. Paul when he was four years old, first living at 1680 James Avenue and then moving to 473 Macalester Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota. There are hints in the early strips that the setting for Peanuts is Schulz's boyhood home, near North James Avenue, Minneapolis; in one early strip, Schroeder mentions his address as "1770 James St.", and in another Lucy shows Charlie Brown a trophy she has just won, with the words "Outstanding Fussbudget of Hennepin County" on it (Hennepin County consists primarily of Minneapolis and its suburbs). In You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, Lucy receives a phone call from someone "looking for Harold in St. Paul".


    In the strip for March 23, 1984, Peppermint Patty loses her homework to a gust of wind and mentions that her English theme was last seen on Selby Avenue and her history paper is flying over Highland Park; both are locations in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

    Some later strips tend to point to California, where Schulz lived the later part of his life, although regular snowfall can still be seen during the winter months. It's sometimes pointed out that "5" was a character introduced in 1963, whose full name was "555 95472." 95472 was his family name, and his ZIP code, which in reality, is the ZIP code for Sebastopol, California, where Schulz was living at the time that the character was introduced. However, within the context of the strip, it's clear that Sebastopol is where 5's family moved from, not where they are living now.

    In the Schulz-authored collection Security Is a Thumb and a Blanket, Linus is shown hugging a sign that says "Pinetree Corners Population 3,260", with a caption that says "Security is having a home town." However, the name Pinetree Corners was never referenced in the actual comic strip.



    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 distribution rights to the TV specials are now with Warner Bros. Television and Warner Home Video, and managed by its classic animation division, while the theatrical films are still at Paramount, who produced the last two and acquired the first two through the merger of CBS, who in turn produced them via Cinema Center Films; the first two films were originally released to video by CBS/Fox Video and are now available through Paramount, with TV rights managed for the first two via CBS Television Distribution, and the latter two via Trifecta Entertainment and Media under Paramount's license.

    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 early 1959 for a series of color television commercials for its automobiles and intros for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show which they sponsored. While the show ended in 1961, the deal lasted another three years. 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. This episode is undoubtedly the most widely recognized of all Peanuts TV specials. This came after Coca-Cola asked Mendelson if he had a Christmas special. He said "yes." The next day he called Schulz up and said they were making A Charlie Brown Christmas.

    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, the sound of a trombone with a plunger mute (created by Vince Guaraldi) was used 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 the animated adaptations of the Broadway musicals You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Snoopy!!! The Musical, and later on occasion in the animated series The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.)[citation needed]

    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 Charlie Brown's All-Stars and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown in 1966. In total, more than thirty animated specials were produced. Until his death in 1976, jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi composed 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 aired for two seasons.

    By the mid-1990s, the specials' popularity had begun to wane, and CBS showed disinterest in new specials, even rejecting It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown completely. An eight-episode TV miniseries called This is America, Charlie Brown, for instance, was released during a writer's strike. Also, NBC aired You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown in 1994 (the first special not to air on CBS) ten days before Super Bowl XXVIII. Eventually, the last Peanuts specials made during Schulz's lifetime 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 a package of most of the specials produced before 1992, as well as The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show and This Is America, Charlie Brown, under the umbrella title You're on Nickelodeon, Charlie Brown between 1997 and 2001. 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. 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. In the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it was announced that a new Peanuts animated special, Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, would debut in 2011. The special was released on DVD first, on March 29, 2011, and later premiered on Fox, on November 24, 2011.

    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 Bros. acquired the Peanuts catalog from Paramount for an undisclosed amount of money. As aforementioned, they now hold the worldwide distribution rights for all Peanuts properties including over 50 television specials—these are managed by Warner Bros. Television and Warner Bros. Television Animation. 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, and some of these have in fact already been released via Warner Premiere. Paramount retains the rights to the theatrical releases, as the first two movies (A Boy Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Come Home) are owned by CBS and distributed for home video through Paramount while CTD distributes for television, and the other two (Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!)) were handled in-house by Paramount, with Trifecta holding TV distribution rights.

    In October 2012, it was announced that a 3D computer-animated feature film based on Peanuts will be released on November 6, 2015, coinciding with the 65th anniversary of the debut of the comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Written by Charles Shulz's son, Craig, his grandson, Bryan, and Cornelius Uliano—who are also producing the film alongside Paul Feig—it will be animated by 20th Century Fox's Blue Sky Studios, and directed by Steve Martino, the director of Horton Hears a Who! and Ice Age: Continental Drift.

    Peanuts Worldwide has partnered with Normaal Animation and France Télévisions to produce 500 90-second animated short films, adapted from the strip Peanuts, which will air in fall 2014, including on French television station France 3.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Peanuts

    i own all the peanuts books, tv shows, and even a bunch of collectables. even when he was called sparky.my all time favorite cartoon and hobby

  3. #3
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    Re: Peanuts

    Quote Originally Posted by circeseye View Post
    i own all the peanuts books, tv shows, and even a bunch of collectables. even when he was called sparky.my all time favorite cartoon and hobby
    Nice
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  4. #4
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    Re: Peanuts

    Charles Schulz announced his retirement and also retired the Peanuts and the world's last Peanuts comic strip was published on February 13, 2000 and sadly Charles Schulz passed away the night before.

    The Last Peanuts Comic Strip
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  5. #5
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    Re: Peanuts

    Not knocking Peanuts, it's an interesting phenomenon. But, it does show the irony of the world. Someone with a pencil and paper, and about a drop of artistic talent (we're not talking masterpieces for the Louvre here!) can make over $1 Billion dollars, while a true genius such as Tesla for example, dies with nary a cent. Strange, strange, world this place is.
    All that musing aside, I've enjoyed a few of those comics over the years too.

  6. #6
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    Re: Peanuts

    You are right about the world being a strange place and Peanuts is a really small thing in it. Take the amount we spend on sports every year. My son suggested that we should pick up some tickets to the 7th game at only a grand each, that is crazy. We could get rid of professional sports and feed most of the hungry in the world with the money we spend on it, but that would never happen. Watching some game is more important to some of us than feeding others that need the help. Really a crazy world.
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    Re: Peanuts


    Dear friends:
    Is always sad, when we discover that we are only lost peanuts in a big bad world.
    Friends are like diamonds and diamonds are forever



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