Jimmy: Alright. Hey everybody, we're back. It's 1965. This is a year of big swings from Mr. Charles M. Schulz, and I am here for it.
How are you guys doing? You're doing well? Everything good in your universe? I really hope so. Everything's good in our universe because we're talking about 1965 and the work of Charles M. Schulz, our favorite cartoonist.
I'm Jimmy Gownley. I'm one of your hosts for this evening. I'm the cartoonist behind Amelia Rules, The Dumbest Idea Ever and Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up. Joining me, as always, are my pals, co hosts and fellow cartoonists.
First, he's a playwright, he's a composer, both for the band Complicated People as well as for this very podcast. He's the original editor for Amelia Rules, the co creator of the original Comic Book Price Guide, and the cartoonist behind such great comics as Strange Attractors, A Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River, Michael Cohen.
Michael: Hey there
Jimmy: And he's the former vice president of Archie Comics. He is an executive producer and writer for Mystery Science Theater 3000, and he's currently drawing the Instagram comic strip, Sweetest Beasts. Harold Buchholz.
Jimmy: Guys. We have so many comics yet to discuss. How about we get right back to it?
Jimmy: And if you guys are out there and you want to follow along, here's how you do it. You go to GoComics.com, you type in Peanuts, and, then you go to the dates as I announce them. If you want a heads up on what dates we're going to discuss before the podcast drops, go to Unpacking Peanuts.com right now. Before you play this, sign up for The Great Peanuts Reread. And then every month you'll get a newsletter from us that tells you what we're doing and what strips we're going to be discussing so you can get a head start on everybody. Other than that, let's just get to it.
April 18, Charlie Brown is on the mound. Lucy comes running in from the outfield. “Wait,” she says. Then she climbs up on top of the pitcher's mound, stares down towards the batter and says,”Hmmm.” This vexes Charlie Brown. Lucy says to Charlie Brown on the mound, “brush this guy back, Charlie Brown. Give him the old bean ball.” Charlie Brown says, “no, I can't do that. It wouldn't be right.” Lucy's outraged. “It wouldn't be right?”. She calls to Frieda, who is coming in from the outfield as well, and says, “listen to who's gone moral on us all of a sudden, old Wishywashy here is too moral to throw a beanball.” Frieda crawls up on the mound now and says to Charlie Brown, “what about the way the early settlers treated the Indians? Was that moral? How about the Children's Crusade? Was that moral?” Patty gets in on it. “Yeah, and how about those awful movie ads you see nowadays?” Frieda's ranting? “Do you call those moral Charlie Brown?” Suddenly, everybody is crowded around the pitcher’s mound. Schroeder says to Patty, “do you think that incident at Harper's Ferry was consistent with morality?” Patty says “define morality.” Frieda is now talking to Five and Lucy, and she says, “our whole system of freeways is a perfect example of what I'm trying to say.” Violet says to Sally and Pigpen, “have you listened to radio lately?” Pigpen says, “how about this whole conservation situation?” Charlie Brown takes it all in, looks out to us, and says, “we never win any ball games, but we have some interesting discussions.”
Jimmy: Hall of Fame comic strip.
Michael: He could have used a little more room, though, I think. So what about Harper's Ferry? Do you think it was consistent with morality?
Jimmy: Well, define morality. What I want to know is the leap in logic from the Children's Crusade in Frieda's brain to our whole system of freeways.
Michael: What is it with Frieda and freeways. Maybe because it sounds like her name or something.
Jimmy: It's such great free association from Schulz that he's just going from one thing to the other, putting it in the mouths of all these little kid characters.
Harold: So Lucy is saying to Frieda that she's kind of chiding Charlie Brown for being moral.
Jimmy: Right, right. And then Frieda. Yeah.
Harold: And then Frieda-- is Frieda trying to say, because these other things wrong going on in life, you should be able to throw a beanball? Is that her--
Jimmy: threw a beanball etiquette. Right. Look, they slaughtered the Indians. What's one kid with a bean ball?
Harold: This is an amazing strip. And only Schulz would have done this and pulled it off as brilliantly as he does. This is classic Peanuts. This is why we talk about Schulz all these years later.
Michael: But where’s Snoopy?
Jimmy: Well, where's Linus?
Harold: Wow, that's a good point.
Michael: There's ten people.
Jimmy: There's ten people. But, I thought deeply about it.
Jimmy: Sally is not playing because Sally does not have a hat on, which all the others do, except for Pigpen and but that can be explained by Pigpen.
Michael: And Violet
Jimmy: oh, yeah, but that's the ponytail. But Sally does not have a glove.
Michael: All right
Jimmy: So she is there because Charlie Brown is babysitting her, and that's the rest of his team, and for whatever reason, Snoopy and Linus aren't there.
Harold: I love that Pigpen is concerned about the conservation situation.
Jimmy: What I wonder, though, is why isn't Linus here? Obviously, Snoopy has no place in this because he can't talk. But Linus this is right up Linus’--
Harold: I think Linus would have undermined the gag.
Michael: Oh, perhaps you had to have Shermy in there so there was no room.
Jimmy: Yeah, there is Shermy, doing what Harold pointed out he does so well. last year, standing by.
Harold: Yeah, but Five shows up. That could have been Linus, right?
Michael: It could have been four or three.
Harold: Yeah, that's true. I do have a question for you guys in the kind of hidden pictures. What's, wrong with this picture thing? This is a very busy strip for text. But is there anything that you notice is missing visually in this strip other than Snoopy and Linus? Something Schulz forgot to draw.
Jimmy: Visually, that Schulz forgot… I'm fascinated. Let me see.
Michael: See stripes are there.
Jimmy: Liz, can you queue up some Jeopardy music?
Michael: boy, you got me. Dandelions on the mound?
Jimmy: Oh, that's a good guess. But now, I don't know.
Harold: Take a look at panel two.
Jimmy: Oh, Lucy's hat. Yeah, he forgot the seams on Lucy's hat.
Harold: He was so busy with this incredibly complex strip.
Jimmy: I wonder if that's also what I find, in a few instances where something that has happened to me, it's usually because I penciled it too dark and I thought it was inked. huh. And then just erased everything and never went, but never noticed it after the pencils were erased.
Harold: He seemed to work really light in the ones that I've seen him draw. Yes. But yeah, who knows?
Jimmy: Yeah. Anytime you could get to see a whole crowd of his characters in one panel, the joy. I just love it. I just love it. Hall of Fame for me. I can't wait to see which one you guys pick for a strip of the year. That'll be really interesting.
May 4. Snoopy is sitting out staring into space in a field. Charlie Brown and Linus are kind of walking by in the background. Linus says, “I wonder what a dog thinks about when he sits and stares like that.” Charlie Brown says, “I can't imagine. That's just one of those things. We'll never know.” Then there's a wordless panel, Snoopy just sitting there. And in the final panel he says, “sometimes, I miss the old puppy farm.”
Michael: This is kind of a breakout, even though it's pretty quiet little strip. But we haven't gone into the past of any of these characters before and this is eventually going to lead to a big mess, I think, of Snoopy and all his brothers and sisters and family. It's a nice standalone, but it actually opens up the door to a whole lot of change. Which, you know me, I don't like change.
Jimmy: Well, generally when people criticize the Snoopy family stuff, it's because it undermines the uniqueness of Snoopy. Is that what you guys feel about that or not?
Harold: I would say so.
Jimmy: Are you too Michael?
Michael: I am not really familiar with that era of Peanuts. I've seen a few and I go, what is going on here.
Jimmy: But now let's ask this. If it stays in the level of the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm, which is what this eventually becomes, and Snoopy is going off and seeing and there's letters back and forth, but you never actually see any of that. How does that sit with you guys.
Harold: I'm better for that.
Michael: No, it's fine. But he does go on. I didn't pick any of the strips because I don't particularly like these. But he does go off on a journey.
Jimmy: Yeah, but you don't see him
Michael: well, you see him walking along.
Harold: Right. But you don't see the character.
Jimmy: You don't see the family.
Harold: I like the off screen character idea for this. It just keeps it alive in the imagination. And just to actually see other characters, I don't even think I wanted to see the female beagle that he was romancing earlier this year. I'd be let down.
Michael: Oh I do, in a bikini, I look forward to that.
Harold: That’s disturbing
Jimmy: Michael, it's been fantastic having you as a guest sorry.
Michael: Annette Funicellio as a beagle
Jimmy: I love it. Funicellio with some cream sauce.
Harold: That's right. They changed it, for the Disney work.
Jimmy: I got to spend, some time out at the Disney Studios and stuff, years ago. And one of the old timer guys there who's like an art director, was talking about how they used to have to hide her and get her out through underground tunnels because there were so many fans around, because she was such a pop phenomenon. Just looking to get an autograph or whatever.
Harold: You know, if Disney ever bought Peanuts, you know, there'd be like an Olof miniseries and the Spike show, they'd just be spinning it off like crazy.
Jimmy: Right. Peanuts-verse. The Schulz verse, which I guess would be interesting. Well, I would just say something-- if that happens. I am 100% appalled, morally opposed, and Judy Hansen is my agent. You can call her. And, I would happily work on any of this, but I would be outraged the entire time.
Harold: I am the one person who could give it some moral authority, integrity.
Jimmy: If someone’s going to screw it up
Harold: Let it be me.
May 26. It's a fight. Snoopy and Lucy are having a fight. She takes a big swing with a right, but Snoopy ducks a goofy grin on his face. Then he jumps up and counter punches or counter licks. “Slurp, slurp, slurp, slurp.” He gets Lucy right in the face. Now she swings with a big left hook. Swish. She misses. Snoopy attacks back with the tongue. “Slurp, slurp, slurp.” Lucy screams. “What in the world kind of stupid fight is this?”
Michael: This is the era of Cassius Clay.
Jimmy: That's right.
Michael: She's the big, Sonny Liston character. And he's dancing around like a butterfly.
Jimmy: Yep. Cannot be hit.
Harold: Yeah. This seems also to be a year where Lucy is getting as good as she's giving. I don't think that if Schulz is at some point where he's like, I got to give Lucy some come-uppance, and so she's got to have some stuff happen to her. But yeah, this year there's some real amazing conflicts, with Lucy in that blanket and, Snoopy finding a way to kind of one up.
Michael: Hey, Harold, how about the Anger Index? Where are we at?
Jimmy: Yeah. Oh, that's a really good thing.
Harold: Very good time to bring that up. Yeah. So as I always do. So for those of you who are new listening, we have this Anger index and Happiness index where we look at the strips for the year and we compare them to the previous year to see if, the amount of strips that can have a character showing some form of anger or some form of happiness has gone up or down in the year. So, Michael and Jimmy, do you feel that the amount of anger that we have seen shown in the strip has gone up this year, gone down, or stayed the same?
Michael: I think this year fits in very nicely with 1964. Like, they were one year, so I'm going to have to go with it stayed the same.
Jimmy: I'm loath to disagree with Michael, because I am never right about this. I think I was right once.
Harold: Look at this way, Jimmy. If it's off by one, you have a 50% chance of outdoing Michael.
Jimmy: That's right. Okay. Then I'm going to say it is angrier.
Harold: Okay, well, last year, there were 106 strips. 29% of the strips. Schulz had a character showing anger. This year, there were 106 strips exactly the same. Michael, you are amazing.
Jimmy: Wait a minute. Is it exactly right?
Jimmy: Right. I can't stand it.
Harold: I'm sorry. I set you up. I’m sorry. Oh, my goodness. Wow. Okay, well, let's see. We can read you can redeem yourself here. Well, in the Happiness index, we had 96 strips in 1964 or 26% show the character showing happiness. Do you think that's gone up or down?
Jimmy: I'm going to say it. It went up.
Harold: Jimmy, you got it this time. 116 strips, 32%, 20 more strips that show happiness. So there you go.
Michael: All right.
Harold: I will say the subtlety in the strip just continues in terms of how the characters express. He was already a master at this. But it's crazy when I'm looking at strip and I'm trying to parse out, can I count that as happy?
Michael: Well, the one we just count that as angry is clearly happy, and she's clearly angry.
Harold: That, was an easy one for me. But there were other ones where it's like, oh, man, can I count that as one? Sometimes they're two strips, and I'll like, okay, they're each a half, so I'll give them one. If somebody else went through these, they would come up with a different number than I do, because he is so subtle. He is so subtle. And I think that's part of why the characters are so real to us, is in cartooning, people traditionally would often go over the top with their expressions. Not always. I mean, think of, like, was it, Otto Soglow-- I don’t know if I said that correctly-- who did The Little King-- super, everything stoic, but Schulz is all over the map, and the subtlety of some of the expressions on these characters when I'm looking at them for this particular project absolutely blow me away. Because they're so perfect. They're so perfect for the mood of the strip. he can get like, if you talk about degrees of subtlety, he's able to get in these shades that I don't see other people hitting.
Jimmy: No. The thing that was occurring to me as I was reading this year, actually, and there was a big gap for you guys out there in podcast land. There's a big gap in our recording sessions because I was really paranoid that we'd get behind and never, be missing episodes. So I forced everyone to record a ton really early. So we're, like, way ahead in terms of episodes that were recorded. So we took a little break, and I read 1965. Then we took the break, and then I read it again.
And while I was sort of thinking about it, is that the subtlety is amazing. The breadth of it is amazing. The big swings, the things that the invention is amazing. Is there even a legitimate contender for second place, best strip? There are geniuses that work in comics and people who have done amazing life works. And I'm talking specifically comic strips here, not comic books. But there's nothing that approaches this. Even the greats, even Krazy Kat, even Pogo.
Harold: Calvin and Hobbes.
Jimmy: Calvin and Hobbes, which is a great strip.
Harold: For what it is, and it's not entirely my cup of tea, but for one that was just consistently, remarkably its own thing, excellent. The other thing I can think of that's along these lines is Gary Larson's, The Far Side. Right? But even that, it's all over the map in terms of subject. But the style of humor stays in a vein. You kind of know what you're going to get. That's the one thing that Schulz does that Gary Larson does not do, is he goes all over the map with emotion.
Jimmy: If Gary Larson started the same time Schulz did, we would now be saying Far Side was five years in the past. I mean, Schulz is on year 15 here.
Harold: He's just yeah, Bill Waterson has that advantage. And he said, I know when to get out. Ten years of Calvin and Hobbes. And he was like, I do not want to be here all these years later, and people say, why are you still here? And, frankly, I would love to have seen years more of Calvin and Hobbes. and who knows, he might have surprised himself, what he would have come up with.
Jimmy: Well, and I said that in one of our previous podcasts. I said something like, I wanted to see another 20 years of Calvin Hobbs, even if it's not as good as the peak years or whatever. And the one thing I was thinking about that he really didn't take into consideration generation is Waterson was going to be working those 10-20 years in a really declining field.
Jimmy: The newspaper industry itself was just going away. In the instance of people that were getting out in the 90s, like him and Larson, you can definitely understand why.
Harold: Yeah. Another strip I'm in awe of, and I have mixed feelings about as an adult reading it as a kid, I was just totally immersed in it. Is is, Little Orphan Annie again, this strip that a lot of people have not seen, or, they've seen, like, the early the newer versions of it. And to them, Annie is a musical. that strip is so rich and so its own world, and so utterly surprising with these weird philosophical detours. He's got a character who's like God named Am. I mean, there's stuff in there that for its time, there was nobody doing anything, what he was doing, and nobody's been able to kind of replicate what he was doing. So he's the other artist that I think of as he lasted until his death, I think it was like 44 years doing that strip. And it's one of those deals where later on, in the later years, it goes in certain directions, where you're like, that's not peak Little Orphan Annie. But I'm so grateful that we've got the 44 years.
And it tells you something about the artist, because you don't stay in the same place. I think we often think of an artist, and they're creating something that the characters are timeless and the comics are timeless, but the people aren't. And so Schulz is growing and changing and experiencing new things every year, and the strip changes for that. And it's interesting how you can grow so easily out of the sweet spot of the culture when you do that. And it's not like maybe you don't want to try to keep yourself there artificially. You just have to be grateful that you hit it at a certain moment. And if you're out of it, that's just life. There's nothing you can do about it.
The idea that I think did Schulz say at one point that he never went for counseling because he was concerned that he might lose a piece of-- and I feel a little bad for Schulz in that regard, because he might have had a better life if he had allowed himself to happier.
Harold: I mean, this is just theoretically, if based on what he's saying is actually true. But the idea that he could have gotten, let's say, aid or help to make himself a better person or a stronger person, and if he actually did choose not to do that for the sake of the strip, that's when I get a little sad for Schulz. Or concern for Schulz. Because if that were true, I'd feel badly that I'm reading a strip by a guy who could have grown, but he chose not to because he thought that would harm my experience of his strip.
Jimmy: One of the things I know I only have three interests. so we'll talk about baseball later, but this is the Beatles again. One of the famous Beatles arguments is, between Paul and George. And Paul brings in Hey Jude. And George is like, you know what? It'd be great, is after every line, you sing--Hey, Jude-- I do an answering guitar line. [sfx] don't make it bad.[sfx] It's not a good idea, right? It's terrible. But now you have a choice. If you're Paul, you go-- to be the Beatles-- Not to be a good band, not to be an okay band, not to have this to be a top 40 hit, to be the greatest band of all time and to maintain our absolute pinnacle position, I'm going to have to tell you that you should not do that on this song. And by doing that, I'm, also breaking the Beatles.
Harold: Yeah. Oh, boy, that's tough, right? I think of It's a Wonderful Life and Frank Capra, I'm going to be presenting-- this thing is probably going to come out after I've done it, but I'll be presenting at the It's a Wonderful Life conference in Seneca Falls, New York, in December. And I'm doing this piece on basically kind of Frank Capra in in his own words. And in any case, as I'm studying this, I'm learning that he did tick off, like, the original screenwriters. And he ticked off the Dimitri Tiomkin who did the music for the movie because, you know, at the last minute, I can just imagine, having produced some TV, he's at the last minute, and he's got Dmitry Tiompkin score. And then he's like, no, I got to edit this. I got to cut this out. And so he starts moving around pieces of the score that's already been recorded. And Tiomkin was like, you butchered my music. I'll never work with you again. And Capra was like, even I think if Capra knew that that was going to happen, he still would have gone in and tried to make the movie as good as he possibly could in the time he had, because that's what he was trying to serve. And if you can't control someone's response, you can't control how George would take that. But yeah, the idea that, you know you've got something that's absolutely amazing and you know, that you've got a sense of what's good and you couldn't live with yourself if you didn't absolutely do the best thing you could possibly do, and you could possibly take somebody off or lose a friendship over it. for the sake of the art. Wow.
Jimmy: Those are tough choices. People that get to Schulz's level make those choices. And it's, very interesting. I find that we celebrated David Foster Wallace, for talking about being a disturbed person. And he brought this out. And then we find out he did some disturbing things and we're shocked. And want to say no to it. It's like all of that. It's all of the piece. It all comes together, from that. These people couldn't be who they were without doing this kind of art. And this kind of art couldn't exist if they didn’t...
Harold: Right. Could you tell the listeners…
Jimmy: David Foster Wallace, a writer that pretentious people like me like. He wrote the book Infinite Jest, which is possibly my favorite book of all time. And, he wrote a lot about depression and a lot about, lots of very philosophical, issues. And he unfortunately died, by suicide in 2008, I believe, when he's, like, 48. It's very sad.
Michael: We had spaghetti at our house three times this month.
Jimmy: Can't stand it.
May 28. Charlie Brown has come between Lucy and Snoopy. He has clearly broken up this fight. He says, “I'm surprised at you two.” He continues yelling at Lucy now “brawling in the streets like a couple of hoods. What's the matter with you?” Lucy turns to Charlie Brown and says, “he was standing where I wanted to walk.” Charlie Brown rolls his eyes to the heavens and says, “the ultimate crime.”
Michael: Classic punchline.
Jimmy: I have stolen that punchline much throughout my life. The ultimate crime.
Harold: Charlie Brown, the voice of reason character is really getting established here.
Michael: Next one, too. Classic punchline.
June 1. Charlie Brown and Lucy are walking along outside. Charlie Brown says, “as soon as school is over, I have to go to camp for two weeks.” He continues in panel two. He looks upset about it. He says, “I don't really care much about going to camp. I'm afraid I'll get lonesome.” Then they end up at the Thinking Wall with Charlie Brown continuing head in hand, saying, “I'm afraid that when I'm miles away from home, I'll start to miss my friends.” Lucy looks at him and says, “what friends?”
Michael: And Charlie Brown says, Linus.
Jimmy: Ouch. Yeah, Charlie Brown. Come on, man.
Michael: Well, they're clearly friends.
Harold: but he doesn't think Linus is a friend, right? Didn't he, like, he's claiming to Linus he has no friends in front of Linus. But, yeah, hopefully he knows by now.
Jimmy: That's the thing, though. If you're a creative person or whatever, and you are dumb enough to Google yourself on Goodreads or whatever, and you have 95% good reviews, people just love your work. And one person that says no, that's the only one that matters. So Lucy is, saying that he has no friends is the only thing Charlie Brown is going to take from that. He just can't possibly conceive coming back and saying, actually, no, I do have friends.
June 7. Charlie Brown is at camp. A camp where everyone wears little sailor hats apparently. He's he's standing in line and says, “well, here I am at camp, standing in my first chow line. Lunch is going to taste good”. Suddenly, the kid standing behind him in line says, “what's your name, kid?” “Charlie Brown.” says Charlie Brown. Then this kid yells to the entire camp, “hey, get a load of the kid with a funny name.” Leading the other kid in line to smile condescendingly at Charlie Brown. And then Charlie Brown, who is very upset by this, says, “lunch is going to taste awful.”
Michael: No, this is probably the least Peanuts-y strip we've seen since the beginning
Jimmy: because of the two other characters?
Michael: Well, it violates a lot of his unwritten rules. Like, you don't see other kids, generic kids. You never see them. Right?
Jimmy: The last time I think I can think of one would have been when Charlie Brown ended up playing in another baseball game. In like, a different neighborhood baseball game.
Harold: I was thinking of that weird sequence when Lucy's playing golf.
Michael: Yeah, yeah. Of course. That was an abomination. This is a door opening into, like, another phase of Peanuts.
Michael: And they're drawn sketchy. I mean, they don't look like they're drawn in the same style as he is.
Harold: They look older, right?
Jimmy: Yeah, they definitely look older.
Michael: It's not the same line width as far as I could see anyway.
Harold: The thing that's interesting to me about these camp strips, again, reading them as a little kid, I was convinced just by reading Peanuts that I never, ever wanted to go to camp because he equates it with army, these are like army memories. It seems like that he's being shipped off to this place. He's got to take a bus somewhere, be around all these strangers, and be in this tough environment where you don't know any of these kids. And, yeah, it just was so unpleasant that, as a kid, I never, ever wanted to go to camp.
Michael: And I never went to camp, and I was happy about it.
Harold: Yeah. My one experience is we went up to the Adirondacks, I think, and whatever reason, the thing we signed up for, the parents were in one space for, like, events at night, and we were in this other place in the Adirondacks in some cabin watching Hogan's Heroes with a bunch of kids I'd never met before. And it being entirely unpleasant. And I thought, this is what camp is like.
Michael: This is what TV is like.
Jimmy: I grew up in the coal region, and we couldn't do camps and stuff like that was very fancy… Our whole life was sent you down in the…
Michael: They sent you down in the mines
Harold: Mine camp.
Jimmy: That was next level. Harold bravo. That's a multilingual pun people. You don't get that on other podcasts. You don't get that on The Nerdist.
June 11, One of these strange new kids is sitting on a little stump at camp and he's he's sniffing. He looks very upset. Charlie Brown's behind him and notices this kid, and he walks up to him and says, “excuse me, but I couldn't help overhearing you crying. What's the matter?” This kid says, ”I don't know. I guess I'm just lonesome.” Charlie Brown reaches out his hand, shakes the new kid's hand, and yells, “friend!”
Michael: This is new.
Michael: Here we have a named well, not yet, but a named character looks like a new entry into the Peanuts lineup. And, after, like, a week, he's gone. You never see him again. Well, do you?
Jimmy: You do.
Michael: Oh, you do.
Jimmy: Okay. Yes. Because this is actually super momentous, because he actually becomes our link to Peppermint Patty.
Michael: All right, so, does he get placed in the tier list now?
Jimmy: In the tier list, yeah, he needs to get a place. I don't think it'll be very high ever, but this is Roy, people, and Roy will, be coming back, so, he definitely deserves a place in the tier list.
Harold: I like his design, I like the design of Roy.
Jimmy: Okay, this is what I wanted to talk about. Michael was pointing out that the kids in the previous strip don't really kind of look like Peanuts characters to me. They look a little bit like a cross between a Peanuts character and one of his Young Pillar characters.
Harold: The church strips that he was doing with teenagers in this time.
Jimmy: Exactly. But yet, when we introduce Roy here, Roy is clearly a Peanuts character.
Michael: Yeah, he's got a shirt.
Jimmy: Yeah, he's got a distinctive shirt. The body type is more like a Charlie Brown body type. The head is more like a Peanuts head. Yeah, it's really interesting. I really like that first panel, the way Schulz uses the very spare incline to just define those trees in the background. Clearly, Jeff Smith learned a lot from strips like this, masterfully done here. I think it looks beautiful.
Harold: Yeah. Roy is wearing, like, what you call a Hawaiian shirt. Very Californian kid. And again, I'm wondering is he may be inspired by a kid or a couple of kids that were showing up all the time in Schulz's life, Through his kids.
Jimmy: Yeah, it could possibly be. So, he spends some time becoming friends with Roy. And then, on June 17, it's time for camp to end.
Charlie Brown and Roy are saying goodbye. Outside the cabin, Charlie Brown shakes Roy's hand, and Roy says, “well, so long, Charlie Brown. It's been nice knowing you.” And Roy hoists his suitcase on his shoulder. And Charlie Brown says, “it's been nice knowing you, too, Roy. Have a good trip home.” As Roy walks away, Charlie Brown watches as Roy leaves camp. And he says, “for the first time in my life, I feel I really helped someone. He was lonesome, and I became his friend.” Then Charlie Brown walks out to the dock of the lake and says, “what an accomplishment.” And he looks very pleased with himself.
Harold: Yeah. It was a small victory for Charlie Brown. I think it's really cool that Schulz gives this to Charlie Brown, and I think it's time for Charlie Brown to kind of have this kind of experience because we keep seeing him as the perennial loser and yet he is again becoming the voice of reason in the strip. There's reason for us to believe that Charlie Brown should have more of an impact with other kids. And I think Roy in a strip we don't mention here specifically is, writing home and we get to see Roy's perspective on this. And he basically says he's a good temporary friend. He's not the kind of friend that you would want if you were back home in your own environment, but for somebody who's going to be with you just for a time, yeah, he's a good friend.
Jimmy: And what I like is we're seeing Charlie Brown and we will continue to see him as the strip goes on, succeed at various things. Not necessarily the primary things that he's always on about, which is baseball and the Little Red Haired Girl and stuff like that. But he does have these successes. And what's cool about it from a writer’s point of view is that the successes he has comes from his own pain. He understands what it's like to be lonely. That's why he reaches out to Roy. He becomes a good friend to Roy for this because he has complete and total empathy. And he has that empathy because he's gone through hell with Patty and Violet and Lucy always coming down on him and his failures on the things that he wants to see that he wants to be the hero and maybe he can be.
Harold: It's just going to be and the things are more the thing that he actually is a success in is quite admirable, right?
Jimmy: Very, very admirable.
June 19, Charlie Brown is back in the neighborhood. He says, “oh boy, is it ever good to be back home.” He walks up to Lucy saying, “Hi, Lucy, I'm back.” Lucy looks at him blankly and says, “you're what?” Charlie Brown says, “I said, I'm back.” And Lucy says, “have you been away?”
Michael: The ultimate putdown.
Harold: That little sincere look on her face.
Jimmy: you know, and that's another thing that we'll see as things move on with Charlie Brown is a lot of his successes come when he's outside of his neighborhood, he's outside of the group. And you do find that a lot of times, especially in a small knit community, people have a viewpoint of you and they want to hang on to that, especially if that viewpoint of you makes them feel better about themselves.
Harold: Jimmy, as somebody who grew up in a place your whole life, I moved around a lot as a little kid and so I was always trying to kind of reinvent myself when I'd go from one place to another or even just one school to another. It seemed like, here's my chance to try to be seen differently by somebody every year. I was always in that position, but as somebody who had much more continuity growing up, it's interesting that you say that, that you say it's hard, I guess, to break out of the way people see you, because you've got this continuity and people have known you, like, your whole life.
Jimmy: Yes, it's very hard. I mean, even to this day, when I go back home, people remember the 15-year-old me, and that's nice, but they think I am also still that person. And sometimes there's a resentment if you're not that person, and it's hard to be that person, hopefully. Actually, like you were saying earlier with Schulz, hopefully you're constantly growing, hopefully you're constantly changing. But it seems to me that in a situation like we're seeing in this strip, people like Lucy, and Violet, and Patty, they get a lot of their self worth by putting Charlie Brown down.
Harold: So you can relate to that.
Jimmy: He's going to have his successes elsewhere. Not to say that that was my-- I'm not complaining about the people in my-- no one's trying to keep me down, man. That was one of the things I definitely wanted when I did the book, The Dumbest Idea Ever. The only thing I wanted to make sure I didn't do was write the story of how I was the lone soul with a deep understanding, and this whole harsh world was against me. If anyone was going to be portrayed as an idiot in the book, it was going to be me.
Harold: It makes for a very endearing read, the way you do it. It is done with this kind of humility, but also a wisdom to it. So, yeah, it's a very special autobiography.
Jimmy: Aww. thanks.
June 23. Charlie Brown is sitting at the psychiatry booth. He's the patient, of course. Lucy is listening intently. Charlie Brown says, “you know, I feel better already. You must use very modern methods.” Lucy, with hands behind her head in complete confidence, says, “oh, yes, absolutely. The latest techniques.” Then in the last panel, we see the entirety of the psychiatry booth, which previously has been covered by word balloons, and, it now reads, Psychiatry A Go Go. The Doctor Is In.
Michael: Anything with a go go in it is good enough for me.
Jimmy: I think we should bring back a go go.
Michael: I would go up to this booth yeah. With dancers. Especially.
Harold: Now, this was the big thing in LA. Wasn't it, in particular? It seemed like that was where it was coming from in the United States.
Michael: The Whiskey A Gogo. That was the big club on Sunset Strip.
Harold: Yeah. That's why I think of LA. When I think of a gogo in the US.
Michael: yeah, but I suspect it has something to do with France.
Harold: Yeah. With that little accent on the A.
Michael: Maybe there was a Whiskey a Go Go in Paris or something. I don't know. Google It.
Jimmy: Le Whiskey. Well, it just means, like, modern, right?
Michael: Yeah, but that's a perverting English gogo. I mean, that sounds like somebody who doesn't really know English would make up something like that. Go Go doesn't really mean anything.
Jimmy: Here's a famous strip, one we've discussed already.
July 12, We see Snoopy lugging, what looks like a heavy suitcase of some kind. Then in panel two, he's pushing it. Panel three, he opens it up. We can't quite see what it is. Maybe it's the briefcase from Pulp Fiction. But then in panel four, we see Snoopy as atop the dog house. What was inside the suitcase is his famous typewriter making its very first appearance. And Snoopy types the first words of his masterpiece. “It was a dark and stormy night.”
Harold: You'd like a little eye on Snoopy there. He's kind of got the slit eye. How do you describe that expression?
Michael: The last panel?
Harold: Yeah, when he starts to type. But there's this look on his face.
Michael: He looks a little arrogant, I think.
Jimmy: Yeah. He's being a man of letters. Right. Yeah. It is an arrogance with which he is approaching this very high minded craft he's taking up.
Harold: Yeah, that would be a great photo on the back of the dust jacket or whatever.
Michael: So did this thing take off right away? I noticed there were a bunch more dark and stormy night strips in this year.
Jimmy: I don't know. Someone would have to make a podcast about that.
Michael: Yeah, I would like to know.
Jimmy: I was surprised to see that Snoopy has so much success as a writer.
Harold: Yeah. Right up front, he's really doing well. No wonder he kept at it. Once you have that taste of success, it's like when you play the first time in golf and you get below par, and then the rest of your life, it's over.
August 2, Lucy and Violet are both sticking their tongues out at each other. Lucy says “nyah.” Violet says “Nyah nyah nyah.” Then Violet storms away, looking very angry. She comes across, Charlie Brown in panel three and says, “and nyah, to you, too.” In the last panel Charlie Brown looks out from the panel and says, “this is a tough neighborhood. You never know when you're going to get hit with a stray nyah.”
Jimmy: Well, Michael, this confirms, your original thing. You would never say bleah in this instance. Schulz has made right by you here. This is a nyah situation for sure.
Michael: Well, I'm also interested in nyah as a cross cultural phenomenon.
Jimmy: Well, we have listeners from all over, this globe. So people out there tell us, what do you say? What is your onomatopia when you want to just annoy someone?
Michael: Well, but it's only kids. You're not allowed to say it over a certain age.
Jimmy: What is that age? What is that?
Michael: I think it's six.
Jimmy: Wow, you're hardliner. That's young. I was going to give all the way to nine, but I guess a nine year old. That would be obnoxious. Harold, you want to weigh in on the age limits for nyahs?
Harold: Yeah, I'd give up to nine.
Jimmy: Let's say seven and a half.
Harold: Okay. Yeah, I'm not going to fight over that, but I mean, I think there's more tongue sticking out this year than anything. Again, I don't know if that's because he's around so many kids. Although, to Michael's theory, the youngest we have in the Peanuts clan is seven. So if he's pulling it from real life, they're breaking your rules.
Michael: Maybe I'm wrong.
Jimmy: Well, before we move too far on, I'm actually looking at this as a whole sheet of comic strips. And I forgot to mention in the last one, great drawing of a typewriter. Great drawing of a typewriter case. Just in our list of bizarre things that no one ever cartoon before. Typewriter case has got to tell you.
Harold: Yeah, I love the sheet of paper that's sticking out of the typewriter, because you know how they have, like, the little they used to have, the little thing you could flip up to kind of hold the paper. That is not long enough sometimes. And the paper then falls over the edge of whatever has been lifted up. He's got that perfectly here.
Jimmy: Sorry to give you listeners, whiplash.
Harold: To go back a strip, but it's instantly making me think of Shoe as well. Anybody who read the comic strip Shoe, there was always a typewriter. There was always that rumpled look in the newspaper office. Just think of that.
Jimmy: Yeah. there were some very evocatively drawn characters in Shoe that really did feel like a newspaper office, even though it was birds in a tree.
Harold: It's amazing.
August 8. A Sunday strip. Charlie Brown and Lucy are just standing outside in the neighborhood, sort of staring off into the middle distance, when Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “you think I talk too much, don't you, Charlie Brown?” With no visible change on either of their expressions, Charlie Brown says, “perhaps .” That's enough to set Lucy off. She puts her fist up and says , “all right, Charlie Brown, I've had enough of your insults. Put him up.” She continues, in the next panel, even Charlie Brown is just confused as to what's even happening. She says, “Come on, we're going to have this out right here and now. Put ‘em up.” Charlie Brown says, “good grief” with his eyes closed in disgust. Then in the next panel, he just basically extends his right forearm and ever so gently, seemingly bops Lucy on the nose, barely touching her. Lucy freaks out. “He hit me. He hit me. He hit me on the nose. He damaged my great beauty.” She's freaking out. Charlie Brown is still standing there, frozen with his fist out in the air. The next panel, Charlie Brown is predictably, completely distraught. “I hit a girl. That's terrible. What an awful thing to do. I've never felt so guilty in all my life.” He takes his guilt where he probably shouldn't, which is the psychiatry booth. Lucy is already there, looking astoundingly annoyed. He says to Lucy, “and so I hit this girl see, and now I feel terribly guilty.” And the next panel, Lucy just reaches out through the psychiatry booth and lays Charlie out a good one. POW. Sends Charlie Brown flying. He's flat on his back, but he looks relieved, and he says, “I don't feel guilty anymore. Psychiatry has cured me.”
Michael: I think this is a rare case. I mean, it's very funny. It's a good punchline, it's a good thing. Seems a little forced. Like, he had this great punchline, great set up, but he had to make it happen. And making, if you notice in the middle panel, panel five, Charlie Brown is extending his arm. It's like, twice as long as his normal arm.
Jimmy: It's very weird when you see those instances where the character design just doesn't allow him to do the physical thing he needs them to do in those instances. That is definitely an example of that. You don't normally notice it, I think, when you're writing through it, but certainly when you're doing a close reading like that, that definitely jumps out at you.
Michael: yeah, certainly when you're doing a podcast, you have to be critical.
Jimmy: You have to notice these things.
Michael: Yeah. And also the fact that he's talking to Lucy and doesn't seem to be putting it all together that this is the girl he hit. That's a little weird.
Jimmy: Like a vaudeville routine.
Michael: Like the psychiatrist is somebody else or something.
Jimmy: You know what I found? and I might be misremembering this, but I think that I never saw the top two panels. I think in reprints I had, it, was only the bottom two tiers, because famously, of course, these Sunday strips, you can lift that top tier right out. It's ten times better with those two panels, because you get to see what upsets Lucy, which is Lucy getting a mild and honest answer to a question she herself asked. That's what starts this whole melee. I think that's the funniest part of this particular strip.
Michael: No, that really helps, because Charlie Brown there is not being mean.
Michael: He's actually trying to agree with her.
Jimmy: Exactly. Right.
Michael: I like to agree with her because she just said something well, and then.
Jimmy: The other thing is, if you cut those two off and you just jump in with, all right, Charlie Brown, I've had enough of your insults. I mean, we've never seen Charlie Brown really insult Lucy. One time he sort of pushed back against her. That's basically it. So it's jarring in that sense. Later, I believe Schulz does this thing where Charlie Brown has to hit someone by just sticking his hand out, and it works a little better when he goes the second pass through it.
Harold: I think in the third panel, which is the first panel, below that top removable tier, do you think that Schulz put the little question mark of Charlie Brown's? Like, Why, Lucy, are you upset with me in after the fact?
Jimmy: Well, I never thought about that, but when you mention it, it's very small and sort of crammed in there.
Harold: it's like his chin is confused.
Harold: But I have to say, I absolutely love the strip because of the flow of the elements that are only Peanuts. I mean, this strip could not have existed anywhere else because of the set up. Lucy seems to be innocently asking something. Charlie Brown innocently responds, Lucy overreacts. Charlie Brown is also, the second time around, also being agreeable by punching to put him up. I love that. And then she overreacts the second time. And then Charlie Brown is like, he feels so guilty, which is so Charlie Brown. And then he goes to the place where he deals with his guilt, and there's Lucy again. And then he says something to her as his psychiatrist. She overacts the third time, and it all, to me, makes sense. And then Charlie Brown at the end, just lying there, looking so relieved that there's been some retribution for his terrible act. So now he can feel okay. I mean, that is just classic Peanuts to me. That's all in these characters. And Lucy three overreactions in a row from Charlie Brown's innocent actions, is just hilarious to me.
Jimmy: It's pretty funny, actually. I could look at this as a whole metaphor for, like, Catholic school and confession if I really wanted to.
Michael: It's an act of contrition.
Jimmy: You are the source of all my problems. Let me go confess my problems to you.
August 9. Snoopy's at the beach. He's hiding behind a surfboard, a really well drawn surfboard, making our list of bizarre little 20th Century things that Schulz is a master of cartooning. At the first time he does it, Snoopy looks out in the ocean and says, “I got to show that beach beagle what a great surfer I am.” In the next panel, he is paddling out on his board wearing swim trunks, and he says, “I'll prove to her I'm no hodad. I'll impress her with some fast turns and hot dogging.” Panel three. He is up shooting the tube. He screams, well in his head, “Cowabunga.” We cut back to the beach where Charlie Brown is making a sand castle. And Linus points out towards Snoopy and says, “isn't that your dog out there, Charlie Brown? I think he's lost his mind.”
Michael: This is 1965. It's a little late for the surfer craze. It's, like, two years too late.
Harold: Well, you have to give it to Snoopy, though. He knows where to find the best waves in Hennepin County.
Jimmy: That's right. That's not an easy thing, I don't think.
Michael: Not a huge fan of the Cowabunga panel.
Harold: What don't you like about the Cowabunga panel?
Michael: It's just a Snoopy expression I don't think we've seen before.
Harold: That's true.
Jimmy: Yeah, well, that's a reference to the surfer culture, right? I mean, it's not like he's the one that coined the term cowabunga. He's just appropriating it for this.
Michael: So who did coin the term cowabunga?
Jimmy: Joe Bunga
Harold: Bob Odenkirk. The look on Snoopy's face is kind of unique, and it's hard to explain or express, but if you can go to August 1965 in the third panel, you guys can see what we're talking about. The closest thing I can describe is he's got that little balloon snout, but it stops coming. I don't know how you describe it, but there's a different look. It almost reminds me kind of how the vulture look is sometimes where you got the line of the mouth coming off of a straight line off of a bulbous nose. Anyway, it's unique, and I think that was used in a lot of merchandise. I think I had something that had this cowabunga panel on it. Maybe it was the Snoopy bedspread. I'm not sure.
Jimmy: Yeah, I definitely have seen that panel reprinted elsewhere.
August 24. Charlie Brown and Linus are are at the baseball field. Linus is swinging, away, getting ready to bat. He says to Charlie Brown, “I'm going to try for a home run, Charlie Brown. Either we win or we lose. All or nothing.” Charlie Brown is very impressed by Linus's attitude. He says “that's the spirit. Go for broke.” Linus marches off the home plate and says, “Sydney or the Bush?” Charlie Brown looks out at us and says, “Sydney or the Bush?”
Michael: I love this, when I read it.
Jimmy: Okay. I love Sydney or the bush.
Michael: I love Sydney or the bush. But I had no idea what it was when I read it the first time.
Harold: Me neither.
Jimmy: Nobody did. Some insight into Jimmy Gownley, and we'll see how well you guys know me. When I first heard about this new search engine called Google, the second thing I ever Googled was Sydney or the Bush. That bothered me for about 30 years.
Michael: The first was what? Cowabunga?
Jimmy: No, well you guys…
Harold: No. Jimmy Gownley.
Jimmy: Correct. That is right. Well done, Harold. And the third one, there is no record of this, but most likely would have been Cindy Crawford, but we don't know. But yes, Sydney or the bush. Which is like an Australian thing, right? Are you going to be, a wuss and hang out in the city, or are you going to be a tough guy? Are you going to be a master of your own destiny and live out in the bush?
Michael: Oh, I don't think it has that connotation.
Jimmy: That is what it is.
Michael: Well, they're wrong. Google is wrong. Google just say Google is wrong and see what it comes up with.
Jimmy: That's not it.
Harold: It'll blow up, I'm sure.
Michael: No, there are no Sydney or the Bush is clearly that it's success or failure. Total success or total failure. You're either living in civilization or you're out in the naked in the bush.
Jimmy: I think that's right. Sydney. Sydney, Australia. Or the bush. Right?
Harold: You try to make it in the big city.
Michael: Google is wrong.
Harold: Well, Google's agreeing with you, Michael.
Jimmy: You are actually now arguing with yourself. Yeah. Which is a new which is a new level.
Michael: I love arguing.
Liz: No, you don't.
Michael: Yes, I do.
August 15. Charlie Brown is out in the backyard playing croquet. “Oh, no.” He says, as one ball clocks into another ball, Lucy says, “I hit him. I hit him.” And she goes running towards the ball, saying, “Ha. I hit Charlie Brown's ball. I get to knock him away.” Then she lines up the two croquet balls, takes a mighty swing, and POW. Sends it flying. Charlie Brown watches the ball go and yells, “Good grief.” Then we see 123456 panels of Charlie Brown walking to reach the ball. Then in the 7th panel, he is in a phone booth and he's making a call that says, yes. Call me when it's my turn, will you? The number here is 343-2794.
Michael: Call that number. See what happens.
Harold: Well, there lies the story. There were two different arguments as to what went on with that phone number. Apparently, somebody claimed I think it was Lee Mendelson claimed that that was his home number. They're working on the Christmas special at this point, deep into it. And he had claimed that Schulz had done that as a joke and that they got lots of calls. But, there was a guy online who said that, he had researched it and he thought it wasn't the case. That was kind of Lee Mendelson's own urban legend. So I did a little digging, and what I found was the, Sebastopol area phone book and the San Francisco area phone book. And all I could find was that the Lee Mendelson Productions was 343-5337. And Lee Mendelson's home number, is not listed. But given that it has the same prefix, I'm pretty darn sure Schulz did do that to Lee Mendelson.
Jimmy: Well, that seems like a weird thing for Mendelson to make up. He wouldn't even make a note of this...
Harold: Yeah, and the fact that it's unlisted is even funnier.
Jimmy: Oh, so funny.
Harold: But this is a classic strip in its own right. It's just kind of epic croquet. Probably the best croquet strip ever.
Michael: Yeah. However, having recently relearned croquet from an expert, I don't think you can put your foot on the ball.
Harold: Oh, really?
Jimmy: I've never played.
Harold: We used to do it. We were not pros.
Jimmy: Yeah, maybe it's, a sort of a thing like it's like a T ball thing for younger kids. Maybe.
August 29. The first panel is an odd one. We see Linus wearing, like, a Merlin's wizard hat and holding what looks like a crystal ball. The second panel, unrelated. Lucy comes walking up, reading what looks like a newspaper, I guess. She says “fantastic.” Then she asks Linus, as she continues to read the newspaper, “have you ever known anyone who has the gift of prophecy?” “Just myself”, says Linus, looking very calm. Lucy says “you?” Linus says “absolutely. I can predict what any adult will answer when he or she is asked a certain question.” He continues in the next panel, if you go up to an adult and say, “how come we have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but we don't have a Children's Day, that adult will always answer, every day is Children's Day.” Lucy is thinking this over. Linus continues in the next panel, “it doesn't matter what adult you ask. You will always get the same answer. It is an absolute certainty.” Lucy walks away and says, “I'll try it out on Grandma.” The next panel, we see Linus in classic thumb and blanket position, just waiting for the events to unfold. From off panel, we hear Lucy, “Grandma, how come we have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but we don't have a Children's Day?” A rare off panel adult voice comes in saying, “every day is Children's Day.” The last panel, Lucy comes back looking a little bit stunned, and Linus is totally calmly and still in his thumb and blanket position. Just says, “the gift of prophecy.”
Jimmy: This is a classic classic.
Harold: Oh, my God. Totally true.
Harold: That line is a standard line in our house. The gift of prophecy. Man, as a kid, I remember this strip so well. I remember decoding it, because as a child, you don't think that the world revolves around. You often think the opposite. At least I did. And so as I was reading it through and seeing what Linus was doing and seeing what he's setting up for Lucy, I remember and I must have been, like, seven years old. I remember just kind of going through the motions of understanding what's going on in this strip. And I did figure it out that that's the way that adults look at kids, but I had never thought of it before until this strip.
Michael: Right. Amazing what you can learn from comics.
Harold: Yeah, this is such a classic. And again, it's based out of the characters. I think there's something about Linus that this is such a perfect thing for him to do to Lucy, and she gives him the perfect set up, and he just sees it through so beautifully. You've never really seen a situation that I can remember that Linus really dumbfounds Lucy the way he does in this strip. It's extremely memorable to me.
Jimmy: Do you think he's using, like, a circle template in that first panel to draw that ball?
Harold: I would think so. Either that or he's--
Jimmy: tough to do it.
Harold: I would say he did, but, he doesn't usually do that sort of thing. But that is so perfect if he did do it by hand, kudos, Charles Schulz. That's amazing.
Jimmy: And if he did. It using, like, an ink compass, kudos. Because both of the things are impossible to do. Right?
Michael: Yeah. But he's used to drawing Charlie Brown's head.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's true. He has, like, a lot of…
Harold: Maybe he drew Charlie Brown's head and then just didn't finish the eyes. And he’s like it's perfect.
Jimmy: Okay, well, here comes another classic.
September 9. Charlie Brown is standing out in the dark. Linus comes walking out, holding a little candle on a tray. And Charlie Brown says “what's this?” Linus says to, him, “I have heard that it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” Linus continues on his way. Charlie Brown, looking off in the distance, says, “that's true. Although there will always be those who will disagree with you.” In panel four, we have Lucy screaming into the black night sky, “you stupid darkness.”
Michael: That is a classic. Schulz finds the word stupid very funny.
Jimmy: Yes, he does go back to it.
Michael: It's in the next strip. It's also in my favorite line of all time-- you're stark raving stupid.
Harold: This is one of the few strips where Charlie Brown has three dimensional hair in all panels. You can kind of get the idea of the glow of his blonde hair here when you really never get that otherwise. Because normally it's just a black line. Right. Because he's drawing it. But here you got, him against a black night sky. So he has to create, essentially, a white outline of what would have been black. And then when he's in Linus's candle light, it's interesting that he continues that idea, with the hair in the front and the back, that it's done with two lines instead of one. And it really does give the feel to me there's a glow to his hair, which is pretty wild.
Jimmy: Yeah. I would not have thought to even consider that in that second panel, but it really does give a different effect.
Harold: And what's interesting is he doesn't do it to Linus's hair. So I'm assuming Linus's hair is probably brown. Black or Brown. And so, it's not catching the light the way Charlie Brown's blonde hair is.
September 14, Charlie Brown and Linus are standing outside. Charlie Brown says to Linus, “do you know why English teachers go to college for four years?” Linus says, “no, I don't know why English teachers go to college for four years.” Third panel. Charlie Brown says, “well, then I'll tell you why English teachers go to college for four years.” Then Charlie Brown screams, “so they can make stupid little kids write stupid essays on what they did all stupid summer.” And Linus is sent flying.
Michael: I like it. And I like anything with the word stupid in it.
Harold: I love the set up, the deliberate pacing of asking the question. The person responds by repeating the question. It's like when you ask the riddle or, the Amazing Karnac. Where Ed McMahon will repeat something that's been said by Johnny Carson is this classic set up, repeat, repeat, and then explosion. It works. It's very funny.
September 26. In the first panel, we see Linus, a box of Snicker Snacks and a bottle of milk in hand. And he says, “this is what I enjoy, a mid afternoon snack.” And we see him fixing the cereal at his little, kitchen table. And he says, “I think I like cereal more in the afternoon than I do in the morning.” And the next panel, we see him pouring the milk onto the cereal. And he says, “Now I have to find something to read while I eat my cold cereal, and I have to find it before the cereal it gets soggy.” In the next panel, he takes off looking for or something to read. “I can't stand to eat cold cereal without having something to read.” He's tearing through the newspaper. He says “rats. Somebody took the sports section out of the morning paper. And where's the funnies? They took the funnies, too. Good grief.” Now he's in a very well stocked home library. He's perusing volumes, that might, accompany him while he eats his cereal. “Moby Dick? No, I don't want to start that right now. The Interpreter's Bible. Twelve volumes. That's a little too much for one bowl of cereal. Bleak House, no? Joseph Andrews. No. This is terrible. I've got to find something fast. Comic magazines. Have I read all of them? I've read that one, and that one, and this one, and that one, and this one, and this one, and I haven't read this one.” Linus tears it back to his cereal, but only to find that it has indeed gone soggy he looks out at us and confirms that. “Soggy.”
Michael: I have this problem? Do you guys have this problem?
Jimmy: Oh, absolutely. Not going to eat a bowl of cereal without reading something, for God's sake.
Michael: Or I can't eat anything without reading something.
Jimmy: But yeah, no, absolutely. Of course you have to be able to read something before you eat your bowl of cereal. I mean, my God, you're not going to just sit there and eat it alone with your thoughts? Yes. one of the great pleasures, and universal things of childhood is reading your cereal box in the morning I think.
When I was artist in residence at the Schulz Museum, Mrs. Schulz was telling me some story, and we were standing-- I can't remember if we were standing-- either in the-- he had a little studio in his house at the time that he sometimes worked from, but we may have been at the recreation of his studio in the museum. I'm not sure. But she's telling me something, and I see out the corner of my eye, the Interpreter's Bible, twelve volumes. And it was like seeing a celebrity. Like I couldn't even focus on-- there they are. It's the twelve volumes of The Interpreter's Bible. I can't believe it. Can I get a book to give me an autograph.
Michael: I share this experience of desperately looking for something to read while I'm eating. Do you? Yeah. Luckily, the internet is always there for quick chunks of text.
Jimmy: That is true. That is true. Linus would have had an easier time if it was the 21st century, for sure.
Harold: And I know in my case with with Linus, this is one one area where I diverge from Linus is that I would have been happy just to read the back of the cereal box, like Charlie Brown, but Linus was very well read, and so was Schulz. Schulz read a lot. From from what we know. He read very widely, and we've seen that in some of the references he makes here. And, the other thing I noticed is, Snicker Snax is keeping up with the times they change the spelling of their cereal. It's now spelled with an x in snacks.
Jimmy: Whoa. These are the underground snicker snacks.
Harold: Right. And then when he's looking through his comic book collection, we see, a comic book called Comix Comics. Comics with an x, and then a CS. so he is inspiring some future underground cartoonists, I think.
Jimmy: You know what? Actually, I was thinking about this a while back, and I never remembered, to bring it up, but timeless topix was with an x, wasn't it? That's right. Yeah. The first comic he worked on as a letterer, and that's so I wonder if that's the first instance of the x being used in the comics title.
Harold: Wow, that's interesting. Yeah. I can't think of anybody, given that so many comics that were spelled comics the right way. I don't remember ever seeing anybody do that. And topics yeah, that's interesting.
Jimmy: And for those who aren't, like, deep in the woods with this kind of stuff, the comics with an x instead of a CS at the end is is generally, like a designation for underground comics. It became that anyway. It wouldn't have been at this point. No, it wouldn't have been at this point.
Harold: but right before it.
Jimmy: by the end of this decade, right before it's, like, what we're talking about. Well, I mean, Binky Brown by Justin Green was already out at this point, but you're, like, a year and a half or so away from, like, Zap by Crumb.
Harold: And again, what we've seen is that anybody in comics, just universally, there was this respect for Schulz. So I wouldn't be at all surprised if, somebody who loved Peanuts, if Robert Crumb was reading Peanuts, he would have seen that, and who knows? Might have been an inspiration.
Jimmy: Yeah. And Schulz crosses genres of cartoonists like that in ways that even people like Jack Kirby or Will Eisner don't. You'll have plenty of people who are willing to take shots at Eisner. And there were decades where Kirby wasn't really respected at all by people who were making their living drawing comics, that he drew, he created. But Schulz seems to I don't know what it is about that. Maybe it's just that one man against the world, I'm the only one doing this. Integrity that really speaks to these.
Harold: I guess we'll have to unpack that.
Michael: Well, Mad Magazine did a lot of parodies.
Michael: But I don't remember them being vicious in any way. Not like the Archie parodies. Starchy.
Harold: And when we did, I think mention, who are we talking with, in the 100th Birthday episode, we talked with a couple of people about Mad Magazine, and then one of them was, Marty Baumann. And, pointed out that Schulz himself did a comic strip for Mad Magazine in the 60s. So obviously he was in with them as well. They pulled their punches. Maybe he was a friend.
Jimmy: Well, but also, you want to pull your punches because you can't really be mean about it. It's deep, it's warm hearted. It has all kinds of integrity, artistic integrity. I mean, what are you going to fault the guy for? Later on it becomes the excessive commercial, the products and stuff like this. But even that's adjacent to the--
Harold: Not at this point.
Jimmy: Yeah at this point not at all. No.
Harold: Yeah. And it's funny that the comic strip that Charles Schulz did for Mad Magazine, where he's poking fun at himself, where he's essentially talking about how, he wishes that he didn't have to use photo reference models for his comics and do all of these, all these studies of backgrounds. and so he wishes he could do a simpler comic than Peanuts. And it's a leaf joke, Michael, so... Come on. You gotta love it.
Jimmy: You gotta love a leaf joke.
Harold: Flower and a leaf. Right. The leaf falls next to the flower, and I think the flower says, stupid leaf. And that's the strip.
Jimmy: That's great.
October 8. Linus and Sally are sitting at a table. Linus has a pencil in his hand and a piece of paper, and he says to Sally, “today, I want to talk to you about renaming numbers or equations. This is a concept,” Linus continues, “which will be carried over when you begin to study algebra.” Sally is freaked out. “Algebra?” She screams. “Don't talk to me about algebra. I don't even understand math. You'll drive me crazy. “Linus's hair is standing stick, straight, as as Sally screams. Then in the final panel, head tilted all the way back and with the largest possible lettering pen, she screams, “I'm losing my mind, and nobody cares.”
Michael: He's really getting a handle on Sally. He's not using her much, but her freaking out about school is just a great bit.
Harold: And she's a unique character, too. I mean, I'm trying to think of somebody like Sally that is a precursor to Sally. There's something about her that is also very unique. That this character we've spoken a little bit about it, but how she's very certain of herself in navigating the world, but she's also she's looking out for herself, and she's very articulate about the things that are freaking her out. And I'm trying to think of who before Sally was like Sally or is Sally another one of those just very original Schulz characters?
Jimmy: To me, she feels original and she also feels 60s in a way that, like, Patty and Violet felt fifties. And then we're going to be coming up on Peppermint Patty, where it'll be like she just falls in from the future. The way he's able to add these characters, whether it's Frieda or Sally or Peppermint Patty, while maintaining the integrity of the original world. The original strip, it's really amazing. Really, amazing.
Harold: I love the second panel here of Sally when she's screaming algebra and she'll just raises the back of her hair ever so slightly. That just kind of shows her outrage. It's very funny.
Jimmy: If this was the first strip you ever saw of her and you just zoomed in super tight on that character, I don't think you'd know what was going on. I mean, it looks like is it like a turnip head? Is she a cone head of some sort? but of course, we've seen her before, and we have the context of panels three and four, so we know what's going on. But yeah, he's into expressive hair, for sure.
Harold: And for some reason, when I think of Sally, even though she's really kind of the youngest of the group at this point, I get this kind of teenage vibe out of her when she's saying, I'm losing my mind. But he cares. He's got teenagers in his household. And it's funny how Sally I don't know if that's true for you guys, but I just kind of get this teenager railing at the world kind of vibe from her.
Jimmy: Yeah, I never actually thought about that. But now that you mention it, I do sort of understand that. Because whereas Linus is talking in quotes like an adult, Sally isn't, but she's also not talking like a very little girl. She is in that middle ground. Well, and that kind of strident outrage that a teenager has, no one understands and never will, which I still have.
Harold: Yeah. And that look on Linus in the last panel is kind of I don't know, how do you describe that look?
Jimmy: What is that look? The look is he's resigned. He's slightly confused. He does not know what he used. What was that, Michael?
Michael: It's Bemused.
Harold: That's good.
Michael: Yeah. Look it up in your dictionary of expression, comic expressions.
Harold: Your Peanuts dictionary will have a proper definition with Photos.
Jimmy: Interesting. We'll see. Now we're going to have to do another, meter where we see does Bemused beat Chagrin going forward? We don't know.
Harold: Yeah, we've moved from Chagrin to Bemusement.
Jimmy: Which is probably a healthier movement, I think. I thought that's a way to go.
Oh, boy, here we go.
October 10. Snoopy wearing a World War I style helmet, a flowing scarf and what, carrying what looks like a riding crop is walking. And he walks past a sign that says, “pilots, empty your pockets here” and there's a little box underneath that. Then we see Snoopy dressed in his classic World War I Flying Ace attire, standing next to his doghouse, which we will soon come to know as his sopwith camel. And he says, “Good morning, ground crew.” He continues. “Here's the World War I flying ace posing beside his sopwith camel.” He climbs aboard, assuming a pilot's position, and yells, “Contact.” Well, yells in his mind, he continues to think. “It's the dawn patrol. We're out to hunt down the Red Baron.” We see him looking out of the side of his plane, which is, of course, the doghouse, and says, “I cross over the enemy lines. I can see the network of trenches below. “Suddenly a Fokker triplane appears out of the clouds. It's the Red Baron.” Snoopy is now deep in his fantasy and Linus walks up behind him. Snoopy continues to think, “diving down out of the sun, anti-aircraft fire exploding all around me. I catch him in my sights. I--”With this, Linus looks out at us bemused and says, in the next panel, “Rat a tat tat tat tat tat tat, mimicking a machine gun. Snoopy goes flying head over tea kettle, yelling, “aaugh.” He lands on the ground and he thinks to himself, “maybe I can get a job with a good commercial airline.”
Jimmy: Here we are. It's the World War I Flying Ace. One of the most famous parts of Peanuts.
Michael: I am going to posit that this is the beginning of the Third Age. The Third Age of Peanuts. The third-- I'm not sure of the demarcation between the first and the second.
Jimmy: Well, I'm still I think of this as the second in the midst of that Snoopy strip I was talking about. You're definitely right. This is where the Snoopy strip component of Peanuts becomes its own thing utterly. Yeah.
Michael: I think that you have to distinguish between the very early Peanuts and when we get into the classic 50s stuff, I don't know exactly where that marker is. I think maybe it's Snoopy starting to think, so he's no longer just a regular dog. So the first age is short. Second age is, very long. Maybe from 53 up till here. And now this. I think we're going to get into the longer sequences. We're going to get into more of the Snoopy fantasies. He's also I don't know if he ever acts like a dog again. Does he ever walk on four legs again?
Jimmy: well, yeah, occasionally. But I mean, obviously super rarely. And the next to the last strip, I think it's actually the last daily strip before his sign off strip. Snoopy isn't even referred to as Snoopy. He's referred to as the dog, which is sort of weird and jarring at that absolute last stage of the strip. But yeah, you're right. He is a full on different type of being now.
Michael: Yeah. Well, we've had some hints coming up this year of especially the summer camp strips, Snoopy surfing. They're kind of leading up to this. It's not like a, clear break, but I think we're definitely transitioned into a slightly different strip at this.
Jimmy: There is some weird and I have tried to explain this many times, probably to Michael, like 50 times in the last 27 years. He's probably sick of me saying this thing. But there is something in my mind that equates the World War I flying ace with Sergeant Pepper. And I'm going to try one more time to explain it as quickly as possible. It's the point at which the thing that started out gets so big that it has to become something else, which now just contains the thing it used to be. It's also weirdly internally, formally forward looking. It's doing something, but in its content, it's backwards looking. I mean, the World War I.
Michael: Yep. There was a trend in pop music to kind of go back to the 20s.
Michael: Kind of the Winchester Cathedral and things like that.
Michael: You wouldn't expect a kid to know anything about the Red Baron in World War One. But someone that Schulz's age...
Jimmy: Right. And this was still 1965. But when was Winchester Cathedral?
Michael: I'm not sure what year that probably around ‘66.
Jimmy: Yeah. So he's a little ahead of that curve.
Harold: Yeah. And he mentions The Dawn Patrol, which I don't know if he ever mentions again. It's like in the very first strip. And the Dawn Patrol had been in a movie in 1930, 1938. I don't know if it originally was a novel of some sort. So he's evoking something else, which then apparently he just drops. And now Snoopy, he doesn't need any reference. It's really interesting to see him put that in there. Here in this very first strip.
And I had a question for you guys. Do you know what the meaning of the little sign is that Snoopy walks by, with the, helmet and goggles and the scarf.
Jimmy: I only thought, I do not have an actual any knowledge of this. But I always thought it was something like a roller coaster. You don't want stuff falling out of your pockets if you're going to be doing like, flips while you're fighting the Red Baron. But no, I don't know.
Harold: You don't want that jackknife to be flipped.
Jimmy: Yeah. You don't want some wounded child down there gets a Swiss Army knife in the cranium. No, I don't know. What is it for?
Harold: Yeah. I don't know. I was just curious about it. It reminded me of something. I just went to see, a series of these puppet films from the 30s through the 60s in New York City. And they had--
Jimmy: ah, your poor wife.
Harold: She was not involved in this puppet movie, mania. I was on my own, in this case with my friend Paul Castiglia, who took me there. And Tommy Stathes puts on these 16-millimeter films, which I never knew about in New York City from his own personal collection. And he loves old animation. Well, in this case, it was puppets. But he had this brief thing which was kind of a jaw dropper. It was, a movie theater, kind of like those interstitial things where in between the features or the cartoon or whatever, there's this brief thing that says if you see somebody tearing up the seats in the theater, it says, report them immediately. They are agents of Hitler. I was like, wow. Well, that's one way to get people to narc on their friends. Vandalism in World War II. Yeah, that could be an agent of Hitler tearing up the seat next to you, sticking his chewing gum underneath.
Jimmy: The World War One flying ace stuff, it's where Mort Walker reportedly said he realized he doesn't know anything about comic strips.
By the way, I have a Peanuts Obscurity Explained in the last panel. Maybe I can get a job with a good commercial airline. Fun fact there used to be good commercial airlines.
Jimmy: It was a different time. A different time.
Michael: There were only, like, two, I think
Jimmy: that's true.
Michael: Or three. Like like the networks.
Jimmy: There was Pan Am, United and TWA.
October 28. Lucy is getting a call on her landline. She says, “Oh, hi, Linus. Just a minute. I'll get him.” In the next panel. She goes and gets Linus, who's sitting in classic thumb and blanket position. Lucy says to Linus, “it's for you. It's Charlie Brown.” Linus says, “I'm not speaking to him. He insulted my belief.” Then Linus, very outraged, loudly says, “I'm not speaking to anyone who doesn't believe in the Great Pumpkin.” Lucy walks away saying, “Good luck with the world.”
Jimmy: This is part of a longer sequence between Charlie Brown and Linus having a real conflict in their friendship over Linus belief in the Great Pumpkin. And Charlie Brown's lack of
Harold: Charlie Brown is so tenderly bringing up the possibility that there's no Great Pumpkin, and Linus just loses it. And this is an example of Lucy kind of being the voice of reason, in this world, which we're seeing more and more of where she's kind of finding her own place where she's not out of line all the time. She's not seeing things from her own skewed ways.
Jimmy: This is actually a very astute comment to Linus.
Michael: Yes, absolutely. So, Harold, do you consider these as part of his religious strips?
Harold: I think so. I think Schulz--. Stephen Lind talks about this. he's obviously thinking about these things. The concept of somebody who can become the religious fanatic which Schulz set up long ago, and it's not always just talking about the good side of faith, like maybe we see in the Christmas special or whatever. He's also talking about the pitfalls of faith. And it's obviously things Schulz is thinking about with himself. I think he's still, at this time teaching, going through the Old Testament, going through the whole Bible with his class at this Methodist church near Sebastopol. But he's not afraid to go to this place where the concept of religion could be seen in a bad light, that the idea of believing in something that maybe isn't there could cause you some trouble.
Jimmy: Well, also the genius of it being the Great Pumpkin is then it becomes a stand in for ever, whatever it is that comes between people in a relationship and a conversation.
Jimmy: Let's continue and read the next one that we have highlighted here and then talk about it further.
October 30. Linus, with a scowl on his face, is sitting out in the pumpkin patch and Charlie Brown comes out to see him and says, “well, has the Great Pumpkin come yet?” Linus says, “what do you care, Charlie Brown?” Charlie Brown says to his friend, “I'm sorry I insulted your belief. I don't think any point of doctrine is worth splitting up a friendship. I apologize.” The third panel, Charlie Brown and Linus shake hands and Linus says, “I apologize too Charlie Brown. Sit down and we'll wait for the Great Pumpkin together.” Charlie Brown screams at the top of his lungs, “there is no Great Pumpkin.” Linus screams back, “there is too.”
Jimmy: This is Twitter.
Harold: This is so true and it's so funny. And who else is touching on this in in popular culture, let alone comic stripes? And it's done in a really winsome way.
Jimmy: It's really, it is, it's really funny. I but I would like to give Charlie Brown and Linus credit because these are actually real apologies. I mean, Linus screws it up at the end. Charlie Brown takes the bait. But when we were talking about the strip where Violet tries to give Charlie Brown a valentine after the fact, if she would have said this something like that, then that would have been a legitimate apology. So I really admire Charlie Brown for doing that.
Harold: Yeah, it makes you just love the characters all the more.
Jimmy: And I also totally get it because I would also rise to the bait and start screaming, there is no Great Pumpkin two panels later. It's just such sweet, juicy bait.
November 14, Linus is watching television. Lucy comes up behind them, then she just walks right in front of them, clicks the TV off and says, “might as well turn this off. There's no one watching it.” Linus is shocked beyond belief and yells, “no one watching it.” He turns and yells after Lucy, who's actually just leaving the room now, and he says, “what do you mean, no one? I'm someone. You come back here and turn on this TV. If anyone is a someone, I am. I demand that you come back here. Do you hear me? I'm a real someone.” He's really screaming because she's clearly walked well away by this point. He continues, “I demand that you come back here and turn on this TV.” A beat panel. And then he just sits back down, picks up the thumb and blanket and says, “it was a lousy program.”
Harold: Anyway. Yeah, boy. This concept of the sibling relationships again, he just captures it in a way that you haven't seen before. As a kid, I just remember these strips and how true they rang. I had an older sister, Sarah, and she was not a Lucy, but we had our moments. And this just rings so true for these characters. and, again, I've heard people say that in some ways the characters in the strip were more real to them than--
Jimmy: Harold's next door neighbor?
Harold: Harold's next door neighbor. Yeah. It was somehow is resonating, with people where they are in their mind-- This is probably the thing that as a little kid, yeah, we would have had the shouting match. Or maybe if you're a certain personality, you just thought it in your head.
Jimmy: Right? Yeah. How about you, Michael? Does this remind you of, times with your sister?
Michael: Yeah, I had a big older sister inflicted on me and I don't think she would have said, there's no one watching it. That's just evil. But, the older sibling has precedence and lords it over the younger.
December 1. Poor Sally Brown is sitting there just kind of staring into space, wearing an eyepatch. Her big brother comes up holding a piece of cardboard and he says, “all right, Sally, we're ready now to test you for lazy eye,” with some unnecessary quotes. Charlie Brown holds up the eye chart and says, “I'm going to hold up this modified illiterate e chart,” (also with quotes) “and I want you to--” “Illiterate” yells Sally. “I'm not illiterate. I'm just as good as anyone. I was born in this country. I even have my own IQ.” She says as she storms away. “I didn't come here to be insulted.” Charlie Brown sighs.
Michael: Siga. I even have my own IQ. God what a great line.
Jimmy: God, that might be the line of the year. That is just so funny.
Michael: I think it is.
Jimmy: So good. the other thing that's--
Michael: And we all learned the word amblyopia from this. I was so proud of the fact that I knew the word amblyopia.
Jimmy: Yeah. This is part of a long sequence, where Sally does, in fact have lazy eye or amblyopia. It's just so cute. We'll talk about the next one in a minute. But you see this strip we have, Sally wearing a square patch which Charlie Brown has just put on it's just for the test. But then when she actually does it, has to wear an eye patch, he slightly redesigns it. So it's more of a form fitting professional eyepatch. Just the wild little detail in something that's basically a black smudge. I love the look of her. I wish she would have kept the eye patch the whole time. I think it's great.
Michael: Yeah, I think Linus should have kept his glasses.
Jimmy: The glasses in the eyepatch. Are you kidding? That's good stuff.
December 6. Continuing this story, Charlie Brown says, “you did have a lazy eye, didn't you?” Sally, wearing her new professional patch, says, “Yes. My ophthalmologist said I have to wear this patch for six months.” She continues, “but just think, after that, my eye will be all right. You put the patch on my good eye so the weak one will work harder.” She asked her big brother, “how do I look with an eye patch?” Charlie Brown says “you look fine. You really do.” Sally looks at herself in the mirror and says, “I feel like an ad for men's shirts.”
VO: Peanuts Obscurities Explained.
Jimmy: Is this Arrow?
Harold: No. Okay, so here's the story. Has anybody heard of David Ogilvy? He's famous, famous ad guy. He was like Madison Avenue whiz for years in the 60s and 70s and beyond. And the story goes that there was this company, very small men's shirt company called Hathaway, C.F. Hathaway and Ogilvy had gotten the account for Hathaway. And when he was on his way to a photo shoot, he stopped in to, like, a novelty shop and he bought $0.50 worth of black eyepatches. And he went to the photo shoot and he said he had the model, the male model, with really no real explanation, wear this eyepatch and they ran the ad in, the New Yorker. It's like a $3,000 ad in the New Yorker. And every shirt in New York City sold.
Jimmy: Amazing. How about the eyepatches? Do they sell out too?
Harold: I think they sold another $0.50 worth of eye patches after that. But it made Ogilvy immediately famous in the ad world for for that ad campaign. And it ran for, you know, for this was would have been maybe 14-15 years into it. And the funny thing I was thinking about Schulz is drawing this strip in the heat of trying to finish the very first animated special. And so he's hanging around ad executives and stuff, because Coca Cola is helping pay for this animated special. So I thought it was kind of funny that he does this little reference to an ad campaign, in his strip at this point.
Jimmy: This had to have something to do with one of his kids, right? One of them had to have this or one of their friends. I mean, it's such an odd, specific thing.
Harold: Yeah. And I'm guessing that knowledge is out there somewhere. Somebody listening is going to know the answer to that one. but, yeah, you think that that is the case, right. But he's actually experiencing this and coming up with funny ideas.
Jimmy: Yeah. And using his funny words. One of his great points, he would make in interviews later is that he wouldn't say optometrist. He would say opthalmologist because that's just a funnier word going back to Beethoven versus Brahms or any of the number of things that he does where he just gets the word that's just so funny. And he would have had to do that with Amblyopia, too. He would have thought, oh, that's a great comic strip word.
Harold: He loves he loves words like that. It seems like. Yeah. Lots of lots of things about vision just seem to pop up in the strip.
Jimmy: All right, guys, so that is 1965. We are well deep into this this masterpiece. Now, 15 years, and he's still adding new stuff. He's still breaking new ground.
Michael, give me your your final words on the year, and how about your pick for strip of the year and most valuable peanut?
Michael: Yeah, this is a really great year. Introduced-- yeah-- I was just flipping back over it, and yeah, there's just so many great strips this year. I love the blanket coming alive. Important, strips like Charlie Brown going off to camp, Snoopy writing his novel, the beginnings of the Red Baron and stuff. I'm going to go with strip of the year-- I'm torn between two because there's just two hilarious lines, and they're both Lucy. I can't decide, so I hope you will allow me to pick two.
Jimmy: You know what? I absolutely will allow it.
Michael: Okay, thank you. You are a very kind host.
Jimmy: I don't know that I have that power, but sure.
Michael: Okay. It's in the Constitution I think.
I got to go with, September 9. You stupid darkness. These really define Lucy's personality. Yes. And the, punchline again, Lucy, is stick it to the next generation.
Jimmy: Oh, yeah. That is greatness.
Michael: And that is April 10. I'm not saying those are the best, but I love those punch lines.
Jimmy: But, those are your picks.
Michael: Those will be my picks, yes.
Jimmy: All right, Harold-- oh and what about your most valuable peanut?
Michael: I don't know. Nobody sticks out. I'm going to give it to Sally just because she’s strong.
Jimmy: I was going to say, I think there's only one correct answer, and I do think it's Sally for this year. All right, Harold, how about you?
Harold: I'm going to have to nominate August 29. this is one I have remembered my whole life since childhood. This is the one where, Lucy is asking about the gift of prophecy, and Linus says that anytime you ask an adult, why do we have a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but we don't have a Children's Day the adult will always answer, every day is Children's Day. And then she goes off and talks to Grandma. Grandma says exactly what Linus says and then just with him, with his eyes closed, sucking his thumb, holding his blanket, the gift of prophecy, just looking in wonderment. I love that strip. I think it's so classic and so funny.
And this to me is peak Peanuts. 1965, in my mind, is my very favorite year of Peanuts from what I remember growing, up reading the strip. Now there's a lot I haven't read that's off in the future, but this is Charles Schulz hitting on all cylinders and he's really finding his place in the culture and he's just knocking it out of the park over and over again. And for my most Valuable Peanut, I'm going to have to give it to Charlie Brown this year because, it seems like the Charlie Brown that we're going to know for the rest of the run is really locking into place. He's in so many of the strips that we selected. he goes off to camp and has he's starting to have these moments where again, he's becoming somebody who's, who is in his own way, a success, even if he doesn't see it. And I love the scene in the camp when he becomes friends with Roy and he's having some minor victories for himself and he just seems to be kind of settling into the character that we know and love.
Jimmy: Yeah, well said, well said.
Boy, it's a tough one because like you guys said, this is just a chock full of good comic strips. I'm going to go, for My Most Valuable Peanut, I'm going to go with Sally. Like I said, I think she's a new voice that, brings something different to the strip, but at the same time just reinforces what it always was, too. So I love that. And I'm going to go with strip for Strip of the Year. You know what, I'm going to go with the Interpreter's Bible. The one where Linus is looking for something to read while he is chowing down on a bowl of snickersnacks. just because I always thought it was funny because I saw the twelve volumes of Interpreters Bible at the Schulz studio. and it just gives me all kinds of good feelings and just great drawing. But if I were to give a runner up, both for MVP, my runner up would be the World War I Flying Ace, because he's going to pay off some dividends going forward. And I think my other strip, my number two strip, would be just the one where they're all talking about morality on the baseball. Love any scene where you get all the Peanuts characters together in one panel. So that would be my runner up strip.
But that's it for 1965. We would, of course, love for you to continue the discussion with us. You can do that by following us on social media. We are unpackpeanuts on both Instagram and Twitter. Assuming, Twitter is still up at that point in the future, you can, of course, visit us at our website, Unpacking Peanuts.com. you could check out the store where, you could support us by buying some of our books or maybe buying a T shirt. We have two T shirts, an Abbey Road style parody, and a logo. So if you want to be the most stylish kid on Your block, you can pick up those. And you can also support us on Patreon, which you can find, a link through our website. Other than that, we'd love for you to just come back next week and read 1966 with us. So until then, for Michael and Harold. This is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.
Michael and Harold: Yes, be of good cheer.
VO: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright Jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen, and Harold Buchholz. Produced and edited by Liz Sumner. Music by Michael Cohen. Additional voiceover by Aziza Shukralla Clark. For more from the show follow @unpackpeanuts on Instagram and Twitter. For more about Jimmy, Michael, and Harold, visit unpackingpeanuts.com. Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening.