Peanuts

Films, TV shows, and books of the 'modern' era

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MikeBSG
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Peanuts

Post by MikeBSG »

I am currently reading the recent biography "Schulz and Peanuts" by David Michaelis. It came out last fall and it apparently upset some people by revealing the "dark side" of Charles M. Schulz, the famous cartoonist. (The "dark side" was that apparently he was blue most of the time and devoted himself so utterly to the comic strip in order to deal with his fears of losing control. As "dark sides" go, this is pretty unremarkable.)

Anyway, reading the book has been fascinating, and it made me wonder if there are any Peanuts fans here. If so, what were your favorite stories/characters?

As luck had it, I was in a bookstore yesterday and I looked at a Peanuts collection. Rerun is watching "citizen Kane" on TV. Linus and Lucy walk in. Lucy is about to tell Rerun that Rosebud is a...., when Linus shouts "No, you don't!" and hustles her out of the room. Linus returns and asks Rerun "I thought you were watching Citizen Kane?" Rerun answers: "It's pledge break."
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

Yup - just goes to show. Mike, I don't understand at all what you've related, just like I never really understood most of Peanuts. Specifically, why people ever find it amusing and/or interesting.

Yes, there were individual strips that may have elicited a polite chuckle from me; but in the main, it's an American Institution that sailed right by me. And, egad - those animated horrors. They make my skin crawl. i start to seize up every time I hear that unmelodious, cutesy-poo piano music.

Guess I'm marching to a different drummer.
Mr. O'Brady
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Post by Mr. O'Brady »

I've been a Peanuts fan since the age of four. Named my beagle Snoopy when I was five. My favorite running story was the little red-haired girl, based on Schultz's former girlfriend. In my mind, I have always been Charlie Brown, same personality, doubts, and hair.
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cinemalover
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Post by cinemalover »

As a kid I loved Peanuts. Sears used to sell felt banners that had different Peanuts characters on them. I had half a dozen of these on my bedroom wall for awhile. Of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas is required viewing growing up. But by the time I was 11 or 12 I found Peanuts too repeitive and boring. You can only pull the foootball away from Charlie Brown so many times, or have Lucy watch a fly ball drop next to her without moving a muscle.
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.
Ollie
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Post by Ollie »

I paid attention to it for the first 5 or 7 years, but lost interest at some point. I'm unsure how long it was drawn, but I have no idea who "Rerun" is - was. I think when the TV Cartoon Specials arrived, I lost interest.

I have a lot of respect for him doing so much with only 3 or 4 panels.

Mike, I'll be interested in hearing more of your 'review' of this book. I'll be interested if your views of Shultz has changed, in particular, and if you'll consider reading another book about him to corroborate one writer's version of events or personalities. (Some biographied subjects tempt me to do this, others don't.)
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Dewey1960
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Post by Dewey1960 »

As a kid and then a teenager I was fairly indifferent to "Peanuts." I couldn't quite understand why someone would go to the trouble each day to create a comic strip that wasn't all that funny. (Kind of like Ernie Bushmiller's "Nancy" in a way.) At some point, maybe in my late 20s, the whole concept of what Schultz was doing swept over me like an epiphany. (That happened with "Nancy" too as a mater of fact!) I've been a major fan ever since, with stacks of "Peanuts" paperbacks in almost every room of the house. Oddly enough, that which I found at one time unfunny now strikes me as hilarious and thought provoking. Two years ago, for my birthday (and knowing what a fan I was), my wife surprised me by taking me up to Santa Rosa for a visit to the Charles Schultz museum, which was incredibly fascinating!
As for the television adaptations, I most especially enjoy the Christmas specials. Being a huge fan of Vince Guaraldi's music certainly doesn't hurt, either. I can even pop in the CD soundtrack in the middle of summer.
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

I've always loved "Peanuts." I identify very much with Charlie Brown except for his terminal optimism about his baseball team. I have quite a few collections and read them often.

My two favorite "Peanuts" moments (among many) are a strip where Charlie Brown is laying in bed and asks himself, "I often wonder 'Why me.'" And a voice comes back - "Your name just happened to come up."

Linus delivering the Christmas story in the first Christmas special. It's beautiful in its simplicity and kudos to the kid who did it.

Mike:
You mentioned about Schulz in the book. I saw a biography somewhere that included clips of interviews with Schulz and he even left that impression. I certainly thought him "blue" just reading him for years.

***************

One of my favorite all time strips is from "Pearls Before Swine." If you don't know it's a strip inhabited by animals. "Pig" is the Charlie Brown character there. A character is describing the benefits of recycling to Pig. Pig then asks the basic question that "You put things in this yellow bucket, they take it away and they make it into something new?" The last panel in the strip shows Pig sitting in the bucket in front of the house. Sometimes I know how he feels.
Last edited by movieman1957 on April 4th, 2008, 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

One also has to remember the earlier strip was much edgier and groundbreaking than what we saw later where the gang was more of a pearl of wisdom type humor (which I also enjoyed).

One of my favorite strips had Violet chasing Charlie Brown to "Knock his block off". CB stops running and starts talking to Violet, trying to reason with her about violence never solving problems, when Violet abruptly punches him in the face! She walks by the dazed Charlie Brown and says to Lucy " I had to hit him fast--he was starting to make sense!" 8)

Fans of the Linus and Lucy theme might enjoy this solo bass version.

[youtube][/youtube]
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

They may have been edgier when he was younger as maybe he was that way himself.

One of the things that made it work is that the strip was hardly ever "of its time." Very few made references to things that went on when he wrote it. So stuff from the 1967 was almost as relevant read then or now.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
Mr. O'Brady
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Post by Mr. O'Brady »

movieman1957 wrote:One of my favorite all time strips is from "Pearls Before Swine."
Chris, I've never quite understood "Pearls". I just can't get past that Pidgin English.

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Post by SSO Admins »

Mr. Arkadin wrote:One also has to remember the earlier strip was much edgier and groundbreaking than what we saw later where the gang was more of a pearl of wisdom type humor (which I also enjoyed).
That's very true. I've bought several of the strip collections from the 1950s, and they're quite brilliant -- on a par with the best work that been done in the form. I'd rank them up there with Segar's Thimble Theater (Popyeye), Herriman's Krazy Kat, Larsen's Far Side and other greats.

In the mid to late 60s, with TV specials and Snoopy dolls making tons of money, the strip started to tread safer ground.
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

"Rerun" is the little brother of Lucy and Linus.

I've always liked "Peanuts." It hasn't always been my favorite strip. In the Eighties, "Calvin and Hobbes" and "Bloom County" vied for that honor, but I've always read "Peanuts" and can't really imagine what my childhood would have been like without them.

I haven't finished the book yet, but I think I have passed the climax. Michaelis sees Schulz as drawing on his own unhappiness, (which he does not see as "depression" in a clinical sense) for the raw material of the strip. This was unhappiness from Schulz's childhood and from his first marriage, which was in crisis from the late Sixties to the early Seventies, the time Michaelis identifies as the zenith of the strip.

Once Schulz divorced and remarried, Michaelis argues, Schulz loosened up, and some of the strip's energy was lost.

One thing that struck me in reading about Schulz's early life (pre-"Peanuts") was that things reminded me of Ray Bradbury and Garrison Keillor.
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movieman1957
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Post by movieman1957 »

Mike:

I really liked "Bloom County" but it was so a part of the 80s that I don't think many who hadn't lived through those years would get most of it. As one who did I think it quite funny. Still pull out the books and my Opus doll (Penguin Lust) still holds a place on my bookshelf near the Peanuts books.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
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Bogie
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Post by Bogie »

I loved Bloom County :) I believe the author of that strip has ressurected it and it's found on a select few newspapers in the US. I read a few strips of the current incarnation and well..."you can't go home again" is my stock impression for things like that.

As for Peanuts I remember as a kid i'd always read my Weekend papers and read that strip along with Garfield (which sadly has become diddly poo) Ziggy and Hagar the Horrible.

Peanuts did have a pearl of wisdom type of humor to it in my day but I always liked the philosophical side to it and it always left me thinking long after i've read the strip. I think that's the mark of a great piece of work no matter the medium.


P.S. Calvin and Hobbes was one helluva strip. I have to give kudos to Waterston for not selling out his characters and leaving while at the top of his game so to speak.
Mr. Arkadin
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Post by Mr. Arkadin »

Another fan of Bloom County here. 8)
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