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|The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show|
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Peanuts was a syndicated comic strip written and drawn by American cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. The strip originally ran from October 2, 1950 to February 13, 2000. The strip was one of the most popular in the history of the medium, and helped to cement the four-panel gag strip as the standard in the United States; reprints of the strip are still syndicated and run in many newspapers.
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 1949. When his work was picked up by United Feature Syndicate, they decided to go for the new comic strip he had been working on. This strip was somewhat similar to the panel comic, but it had a cast of characters, rather than different nameless little folk for each page. Maybe the name would have been the same, though, had it been less close to the names of two other comics of the time: Al Capp's Li'l Abner and a now-forgotten strip entitled Little Folks. To avoid confusion the syndicate settled on the name "Peanuts", a title Schulz himself was not particularly fond of. In a 1987 interview, Schulz said "It's totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity—and I think my humor has dignity". The strip soon got an obvious main character, which Schulz would rather have named the strip after: "Good Ol' Charlie Brown", a character informed by some of the painful experiences of Schulz's formative years. In fact, the periodic collections of the strips in paperback book form typically had either "Charlie Brown" or "Snoopy" in the title, not "Peanuts".
Peanuts premiered on October 2, 1950 in seven newspapers nationwide: The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Tribune, The Allentown Call-Chronicle, The Bethlehem Globe-Times, the Denver Post and The Seattle Times. Earlier strips only featured for six days, and the Sunday editions did not appear until January 1952.
The strip's early years resembled that which it finally developed into, but with significant differences. The art was cleaner and sleeker, though 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. In fact, most of the kids were initially fairly round-headed. Charlie was unique in having virtually no visible hair.
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 illustrated above, Robert L. Short wrote several books in which he claimed he detected theological messages in the strips. Additionally, he used them as illustrations during his lecturing about the gospel. Schulz supported such interpretation but ultimately attempted not to align himself with it. Although he was a Christian who once taught Bible classes, and whose Linus character routinely quoted scripture, Schulz referred to himself more than once as a secular humanist.
Schulz could throw barbs at any number of topics when he chose, though. 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 the family surname to their ZIP Code to protest the way numbers were taking over people's identities. 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.
The storyline Charles Schulz was most proud of was in the early 1970s, when Charlie Brown came down with a strange ailment that made him see every round and spherical object as a baseball, like the sun and ice cream scoops. This condition soon worsens to the point where he develops a strange rash on his head that precisely resembles the stitching pattern of a baseball. Charlie Brown is sent to summer camp to recuperate, wearing a paper grocery bag on his head at all times. The other kids dub him "Mr. Sack", treat him with unaccustomed respect and even elect him camp president. Eventually, Charlie believes his condition is easing and goes out to see the sunrise hoping not to see it as a baseball. As it turns out, he does not, but what he does see indicates, to his frustration, that his condition has simply become even stranger than before.
Peanuts probably reached its peak in American pop-culture awareness between 1965 and 1980, during the heyday of the strip, and there was numerous specials and book collections. However, sometime in the mid 1980s, other strips surpassed Peanuts in popularity, most notably Doonesbury, Garfield, The Far Side, Bloom County, and Calvin and Hobbes, and the number of Peanuts books on store shelves dwindled. However, Schulz still had one of the highest circulations in daily newspapers, and because of licensing and marketing, Peanuts brought in large amounts of income for Charles Schulz.
The daily Peanuts strips were formatted in a 4-panel "space saving" format since the 1950s, with a few very rare exceptions of 8 panels. In 1975, the panel format was shorted slightly horizontally, and shortly after the lettering became larger to accommodate the shrinking format. In 1998, Schulz abandonded this strict format and started using the entire length of the strip, in part to combat the dwindling size of the comics page, and to experiment.
Schulz continued the strip for 50 years, with no assistants even in the lettering and coloring process. Starting in the 1980s his artistic line started to shake. This became more noticeable in the 1990s, along with his format change--in some ways the art seems to have deteriorated somewhat, especially where character expression was concerned. Nevertheless, he continued the strip until he was unable to due to health reasons, and died the night before the final strip was published in newspapers. The final original Peanuts comic strip was finished on January 3, 2000 and published in newspapers a day after Schulz died on February 12. Following its finish, many newspapers began reprinting older strips under the title Classic Peanuts.
Show Description Credit: wikipedia.org
|> Airing History & Information|
|Last Airing||Oct 12, 1985|
|Premiere||September 17, 1983|
|Format/Time||Color / 30 Minutes|
|Upcoming Airs||Not currently airing|
Charlie Brown (voice) (1985)
Brad Kesten.... Charlie Brown (voice) (1983)
Jeremy Schoenberg.... Linus van Pelt (voice) (1983-1985)
Angela Lee.... Lucy van Pelt (voice) (1983-1985)
Michael Dockery.... Marcie (voice) (1983-1985)
Victoria Vargas.... Peppermint Patty (voice) (1983-1985)
Jason Mendelson.... Rerun Van Pelt (voice) (1983-1985)
Stacy Tolkin.... Sally Brown (voice) (1983-1985)
Kevin Brando.... Shroeder (voice) (1983-1985)
Cam Clarke.... Singer/Additional Voices (voice)
Bill Melendez.... Snoopy/Woodstock/Spike (voice) (1983-1985)
Louis C.K..... Various
Keri Holtzman.... voice (1985)
Gini Holtzman.... voice (1985)
Heather Stoneman.... voice (1985)
Dana Ferguson.... voice (1985)
Mary Tunnell.... voice (1983)
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