top of page

1970 Part 2 - Woodstock and The World Famous Grocery Clerk

Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts, and we're talking about the second half of 1970 today. I'm really excited to get to it. I'm your host for this evening. I'm also a cartoonist. I did Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up, The Dumbest Idea Ever, and a series of books called Amelia Rules.


Harold: All classics. Classics.


Jimmy: All classics. Who am I? I'm Jimmy Gownley. Joining me, as always, are my pals, co hosts and fellow cartoonists. He's a playwright and a composer for the band Complicated People for this podcast and for the Amelia Rules musical. He's the co creator of the original comic book Price Guide, and the cartoonist behind such great strips as Strange Attractors, A Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River. Michael Cohen.


Michael: Hey, there.


Jimmy: And he's the executive producer and writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a former vice president of Archie Comics, and he's currently creating the instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts, Harold Buchholz.


Harold: Hello.


Jimmy: Okay, guys, so we talked everyone's ear off for an hour plus last week. I say we get right back to it right now.


Harold: Sure.


Michael: Sounds good.


Jimmy: So you fire up your old computer, you go over to GoComics.com type in Peanuts, type in 1970, and, you can follow along with us, as I read out the dates. Now, if you want to get really hip and you want to be a good student, you want to be a Linus, not a Sally, then you can sign up for our newsletter. at unpackingPeanuts.com, and, my pal, Mr. Harold Buchholz, puts together a lovely newsletter for you guys once a month that'll tell you what's coming up. So, with all that out of the way, this is 1970, part two. Let's get to it.


April 8. Lucy is standing out in center field again. Charlie Brown is a bad manager. Put her in right. Lucy says, “what am I, a new feminist, doing standing out here in center field?” Lucy now has a scowl on her face. “This is a male dominated game. Why should I take orders from that stupid manager? I'm just as good as he is. Why should I stand out here in center field? This is degrading, and I resent it.” Then a rogue baseball mitt flies from center field and hits Charlie Brown in the back of the head. He looks out in Lucy's direction and says, “now, what was that all about?”


Michael: Good arm on that girl. It's hard to throw a glove as far as a ball.


Jimmy: That’s the best throw she's had.


Michael: This is great. He's not making fun of this. Most cartoonists would use this as an excuse to make fun of Lucy. He doesn't do that.


Harold: Yeah, it's like he's processing it.


Jimmy: That's what he does. Right? You can see him process this stuff through his art but he's not didactic about anything. He really, feels to me that he is always sharing with his audience, but the audience's opinions, views and all that stuff he honors and shows in the strip as well. if it's something I'm sure that he founded completely objectionable, he wouldn't. But that's a really sophisticated way to approach your art. Again, as he got older in life. And bonus points for unnecessary quotation marks around new feminist.


April 18. Lucy's hanging out with Schroeder. She's leaning on his piano like she's Michelle Pfeiffer. And she says, “it's raining outside. I love rainy days.” Then she continues, “someday when we're married and it's a rainy day, I'll make a fire in the fireplace. And while you're practicing the piano, I'll bring us some tea and toast.” Schroeder, without even looking up, says, “no way.” Lucy looks very hurt by this and says, “I hate rainy days.”


Michael: I picked this one for one reason. It's a Joni Mitchell song.


Jimmy: Oh, yeah.


Michael: Well, no, it's a Graham Nash song about Joni Mitchell and I think the year is right.

Harold: Wow.


Michael: I light the fire, you make,


Liz: Our House.


Michael: yeah, it's called Our House, but it's there.


Jimmy: Yeah,


Michael: I light the fire. And you do this and blah, blah, blah.


Jimmy: well, and that is the type of thing that I could see Schulz liking the type of music. Whenever he would talk about the songs he did like, it seemed like he liked story songs. He liked that type of more mellow, singer songwriter, story based movie. He talks about liking Hank Williams and stuff. I can see that for sure.


Michael: I think it works out date wise, too.


Harold: Yeah.


Michael: I’m not sure.


Jimmy: Well, 19. What was that off that Deja Vu album or no, it doesn't.


Harold: I'll look at it. I'll google it.


Liz: Our House.


Harold: I'm just going to get madness now off of my thing.


Jimmy: Let's see, Our House in the middle of our street.


Harold: 1970. There you are.


Jimmy: Yeah. I think you're onto something there, Michael.


Harold: That's cool.


Jimmy: also, this feels like a throwback strip in a good way to me. This is his Haiku perfect single strip.


Harold: oh. oh oh. Okay, well, I'll just say this. They say it was recorded in November of ‘69 and released in September of 70. So, I guess. Don't know.


Michael: Bootlegs. Yeah, bootlegs.


Jimmy: Very strange, though, that he always


Harold: The Zeitgeist


Jimmy: It’s so strange that he's like six months ahead of the zeigeist all the time. Really weird. But yeah, this feels like haiku perfect. This is a perfect comic strip. You can't do something better than this in four panels.


Harold: That's really good.


Jimmy: Although I wouldn't have put the exclamation part point at the end. I would have had her say, I hate rainy days, period. Or no punctuation or no punctuation at all. But I wouldn't tell him that.


Michael: You know, he will top this within like a week. So don't say this is like the perfect thing that will never be beat.


Harold: It's crazy.


Jimmy: By the way, that's a good deal. I don't know why Schroeder is poo pooing. That sounds pretty darn good to me.


Michael: Lucy couldn't make a decent toast at him.


Jimmy: It would be burned and bitter.


Harold: Raw. Raw toast.


Jimmy: Raw toast.


April 19. A, goofy, silly, but sort of fun display panel at the beginning, showing Sally as a balloon. and then the next panel, we see Sally holding a balloon as Linus approaches her. Linus notices the balloon and says, “that's a nice balloon.” Sally, without looking at him or acknowledging him in any way, just says, “thank you.” Linus says, “what does it do?” Sally says, “It doesn't do anything except maybe fly if I let go of it.” Linus has an idea. They walk towards their house or Linus's house or Sally's house and says, “why don't you paint the word love on it and let it fly off someplace?” And they do just that. Linus says, “this may change the life of the person who finds it.” Sally, as she's painting it, says “maybe some person who is depressed will find it and be encouraged to carry on.” In the next panel, they let the balloon go, and Linus says “maybe some great leader will find it and be inspired to seek world peace.” Sally says “go balloon. Carry your message of love.” Then an absolutely beautiful panel of the balloon floating away. As Linus and Sally look at it. Then it's almost as if we have a film dissolve as somewhere, someplace else. The balloon lands in front of the bird, soon to be named, Woodstock. And, he's baffled by this.


Jimmy: This is like such a 1970 strip.


Michael: Oh, man.


Harold: Right. Yeah. And again, he's ahead of his time because I'd like to buy a world of Coke that was not until next year.


Jimmy: Amazing.


Harold: But yeah, this is classic 70 strip. Yeah. Absolutely.


Jimmy: Oh, yes. Do you guys do balloon launches when you were kids in school?


Michael: What?


Jimmy: Did you ever do them? No?


Harold: Yes. I remember because we did a couldn't afford one. I was in the administration of the senior high school. I was the secretary. And we were the most hapless leaders of our school. And we were overseeing all sorts of the world's worst fundraisers. And that was one of them. And I remember I don't think we got much, but we all released balloons. And whoever's went the furthest got a prize or something if people got back in touch. Not quite as, a little more 80s version than the love version.


Jimmy: Yeah, right.


Harold: That's your motivation. Not love.


Jimmy: I love this strip. I love the way love looks on the balloon. I love the panel of them letting it go. I love the panel of them looking at it as it drifts off. And I love the panel you know what? I love all the panels.


Michael: Except the first one.


Jimmy: The first one’s hack work. My God, does he hate these top two panels by this point. The fact that he put any effort in at all is amazing.


Harold: Yeah, but he may have snuck in the word gem in the tangle of I don't know, maybe I'm just reading into it there the tangle of strings.


Jimmy: Oh, yeah. No, I see that.


Harold: Rare gem, huh?


Jimmy: Rare gem.


May 4 Charlie Brown comes out to Snoopy, who's lying on top of his doghouse, and he says, “I have a job for you.” Charlie Brown, looking around to make sure no one's eavesdropping, says to Snoopy, “there's been a series of robberies in the neighborhood recently. I want you to stay on the front steps of our house tonight and look real mean.” And panel four, we cut to Snoopy doing just that, except he is in the pose of former world heavyweight champion John L. Sullivan from like, 1909.


Harold: The pugilist,


Jimmy: bare knuckled boxing pose. It's awesome. I picked that just because that panel just makes me laugh. I love the spotlight.


Michael: Yeah, he's got the spotlight effect, which is kind of like that moon effect.


Jimmy: He had earlier going back. Jaime Hernandez does this a lot. He will do that's.


Michael: Totally Jaime panel.


Jimmy: Yeah, right. Totally.


May 7. This, is a little sequence where, well, we'll talk about it as we go along. But right now what's happening is Snoopy and the bird, soon to be known as Woodstock, are having some problems with some scary stories, and, they're checking out Lucy's help at the psychiatry booth. And Lucy says, “Vampires. You guys are afraid of vampires.” She continues, “surely you must realize that a fear of vampires is really a psychological problem.” She continues, “frankly, I doubt if either of you even knows what a vampire looks like.” In panel four, we see Woodstock, who has somehow acquired Snoopy's talent for mimicry. He's been well taught, being a perfect vampire bat.


Harold: The little fangs and the pointy wing


Jimmy: pointy wings.


Harold: Yeah, I nominated this one. I don't know if you guys did, but I just love that last panel. It's so funny. Just made me laugh out loud. And Lucy's little take with her arm shielding herself. Yeah, it's great.


Jimmy: Yeah. And this is part of a longer story where, Snoopy and Woodstock are upset by some scary stories, and we're about to find out why.


May 9. We see Snoopy and his friend the bird hanging out with Peppermint Patty. Peppermint Patty is talking to them, and she says, “it was midnight. She turned to the bedroom window. Suddenly she saw a vampire.” Charlie Brown catches the scene going on, and he steps in saying, “Peppermint Patty, you're the one who's been scaring them with those vampire stories. You ought to be ashamed.” Peppermint Patty says, “Just a little harmless fun, Chuck. They don't really believe those stories, do you, Snoopy?” In the last panel, we see Snoopy and Woodstock with ridiculous embarrassed grins on their face.”


Jimmy: What I think is cool about this is the little character detail of Peppermint Patty is telling this story. If Lucy was telling this story, if Frieda was telling the story, I nine times out of ten, bet the protagonist of the story would have been a man. He saw the vampire, he did the Peppermint Patty puts, a girl in this horror movie story that she's telling. And I just think that is because Schulz knows this character. That's the kind of story Peppermint Patty would like and want to share.


Harold: Well, not to be too Haroldian, but, that would be in a vampire story. He's going to show up at a bedroom window of a woman, traditionally.


Jimmy: Oh, yeah, I guess that's true. All right, well, you know what? Every once in a while, you can be wrong. You being me.


Harold: I can be me, too.


June 3. So we're in the middle of a sequence here where a new character named Thibault, is borrowing Charlie Brown's glove. They didn't have one for Peppermint Patty's team, so she requested one from Charlie Brown, and now Thibault does not want to give it back, and he says to Peppermint Patty, “if he wants his glove back, let him come and get it.” “Thibault you're being unreasonable.” says Peppermint Patty. Then the kid leans into Charlie Brown and said, “what's the matter, kid? Are you afraid to fight me? Charlie Brown says “I” then Thibault walks away saying “okay, then I'll keep your glove.” Peppermint Patty yells after him, “Thibault, you give him back that glove.” Thibault turns around and says, “I'll fight you both. Come on. I'm not afraid.” Charlie Brown looks ahead of us and says, “how did these things happen?”


Michael: It seems to me that most kid’s strips eventually introduce a bully character.


Harold: Yeah, Lucy


Michael:: and Schulz has resisted this, and this is the first.


Jimmy: Yeah. You don't count Lucy as a bully, because we've talked, like, for hours about how this is a strip about bullying, so it seems like he must have.


Michael: Yeah, but she's a psychological bully. She's an emotion vampire, you know? What is it?


Jimmy: Yeah, this kid Thibault here looks like the dirt bag kids I grew up with.


Michael: with sideburns.


Jimmy: Yeah, sure.


Michael: It's five years old.


Jimmy: Absolutely.


Michael: You can’t grow sideburns at five years old.


Jimmy: Well, it's pulled down. It's not growing out of the side.


Harold: Oh, he's pulling it down. And a nice little wisp. I just think of a Glenn Campbell Good time hour.


Jimmy: so what do you think about this sequence? So, eventually, Charlie Brown then goes and gives, Thibault the glove, and says, maybe he was afraid to fight him, but I just feel so good that someone thought I thought I was better than them. How do you feel about any of that stuff?


Harold: Well, to Michael's point, you were like, this is the first time we've had the one dimensional bully. Which is what everyone else has done in comics. Right. That's what he's doing. That kind of is jarring. I agree. It feels kind of odd that 20 years into a kid’s strip, this is the first time we've got somebody who's just unrelentingly mean.


Michael: That doesn't work.


Jimmy: That doesn't work for me either.


Harold: oh boy. Okay, I'm going to be a little contrary.


Michael: Schulz introduces a named character for an entire week’s strip and then drops him, which is I guess that's sort of like Charlotte Braun but I don't know if this guy was intended to stick around. I'm glad he didn't. Scary.


Jimmy: What do you think about it, Harold?


Harold: I think it's true to Charlie Brown and gives another layer to Charlie Brown using this two dimensional character against Charlie Brown. But the reason I think Schulz does this whole sequence is that somebody thinks, yeah, this totally resonates for me, that Charlie Brown is being where he is and he looks at this inferiority complex that somebody even just give the idea that, he thinks that Charlie Brown thinks he's better than him is kind of like

Jimmy: a great way to get out of a fight if you're afraid.


Harold: But that's not what's happening. Unless you think he's totally self deluded.


Jimmy: No, because he even says that later. He says maybe he's right and I just didn't want to get in a fight, but I don't care because I'm happy and I'm like,


Harold: well, that's the wishy washy version. I think that's the washy to his wishy here. He's genuinely 100% in a place like me? better than someone else me. I think that's 100% where Charlie Brown is in that moment, and then he questions himself because he's Charlie Brown. But anyway, that's my take on it. Is that's the piece that nobody else would pull out of that conversation. It's totally out of context. But that's the thing that Charlie Brown is like, I've never heard that before. That's amazing. Someone could actually think that I think I'm better than someone. That's so Charlie Brown.


Jimmy: All right, guys, we're going to take a quick break and then we're going to come back and we were going to discuss the last six months of 1970. Come on back.


BREAK


VO: Hi, everyone. I just want to take a moment to remind you that all three hosts are cartoonists themselves and their work is available for sale. You can find links to purchase books by Jimmy, Harold, and Michael on our website. You can also support the show on patreon or buy us a mud pie. Check out the store link on unpackingPeanuts.com.


Jimmy: And we're back. And it's a really good time to be back because it is


June 22 and a little bird flies by Snoopy upside down. Snoopy watches and he thinks to himself, “I finally found out what that stupid bird's name is.” The bird flies back the other direction, this time upright. Snoopy looks at us and says, “you'll never believe it.” And it happens. “Woodstock.”


Jimmy: The bird is named Woodstock.


Michael: Yay.


Jimmy: But I love it. But weird.


Michael: I find it weird that Snoopy is directly thinking to the reader.


Harold: Yeah, right.


Michael: in panel three.


Jimmy: Well, he does it.


Harold: Yeah. Ah, he is like someone else.


Jimmy: It's weird. He will do it once or twice in a panel. But the whole thing where the whole strip is being directly addressed to the reader is a real unique thing. Like, Schroeder did it all those years ago.


Harold: Yeah. But now it's like surrogate Charles Schulz. Snoopy's becomes the surrogate for Charles Schulz. We used to have Charles Schulz, as you're saying, the outside force, the unseen hand. But now I kind of feel like sometimes...


Jimmy: A lot of times I feel that way. And really, that is one of the key ways I think about Peanuts. And like I said, this didn't come from me. Other people said it. But yeah, I mean, Schulz gradually does allow Snoopy to become his avatar. And it's like you're watching the strip shift from the focus being on Charlie Brown, the loser, to Snoopy, the kind, of genius at just living life. And, I think that's what we're seeing, in Schulz as well. He's gone through tons and tons of changes, and Snoopy now just fits him better than Charlie Brown does.


Harold: Yeah, it's really fascinating to look at it through that lens. It's crazy how you can hop characters. I'm trying to think of another strip where somebody was developing as a person as well as his character’s is developing that you kind of sense. Well, I guess Nancy with Fritzy Ritz. I mean, the character that kind of takes over a strip. I don't know if that's because of the character, though, or the artist. Yeah.


Jimmy: Popeye


Harold: because the character catches on, or because the writer just identifies with that, or there's ten times more ideas for this new character. But this is uniquely like a personality thing. It really does feel like Schulz--


Michael: Well, I think he was probably sick and tired of people writing in asking for the bird's name.


Jimmy: That's true.


Harold: Yeah. And to choose something that, again, was part of youth culture that I guess, in its own way was kind of divisive in the culture. I think a lot of older people look down on this. But Schulz was absolutely fine with naming this adorable little bird Woodstock with its representing peace,


Michael: I would suspect it was one of his kids, and he thought it was a great idea.


Jimmy: Yeah, well, it's such a great bird. Thank God it wasn't like the Lala Palooza Festival at the time.


Harold: Yeah. Here comes Altamonte


Jimmy: You'll never guess what this bird's name. It'd be like two birds go off panel, but only one bird comes back. Altamonte. Anyway, it's weird. I don't mean weird bad. Like it's Snoopy and Woodstock. It's great. There's no better name.


Harold: And only Schulz could actually add yes, only Schulz could add to Woodstock. It's like Woodstock the Event has happened a year ago. And then this documentary, I don't know when the documentary comes out, if it's, if it's around the time that this strip is coming out. But then Schulz, we now have another meaning to Woodstock, which had a bird as the logo, a bird of peace. And you've got Melanie Song. What's it? Let your white bird I can't remember what it is, but Lay Down, the song Lay Down was about Woodstock. So it's like Schulz, he puts the final stamp on Woodstock, that people are going to think of this bird in some ways more right than, the actual event. But he's not stealing it or taking away or denigrating it. He's somehow I don't know what he's doing, but it's amazing that the power of the strip, that he keeps that name alive with a positive message.


Jimmy: I remember going very clearly there was an anniversary of Woodstock, the concert, that they talked about on the news. And it must have been, I'll say it's the 10th or the 15th anniversary. Right. Probably I was ten or no, I was like eight or twelve or 13 or whatever. That's when I found out that it went the other way. I thought the concert was named after the bird. I had no idea there was a town named Woodstock.


Harold: That makes sense.


Jimmy: And I remember just thinking I remember seeing this strip and thinking, all right, his name is Woodstock. It was very weird, all of it. Never I had the puzzles to the jigsaw puzzle, but they were in the wrong order and there were few missing.


Harold: So they say that the release date for the documentary was March 26, 1970. Because it was a documentary, I bet it probably eased its way into theaters around the country. And it made $50 million at the box office for a documentary, that's nuts in 1970. So obviously because of the documentary, people had heard about it. But it's not until that documentary comes out that people are actually seeing what happened, except for the ones who were there. And then a little bit of probably news coverage at the time. But yeah, it's fascinating. Here he is again. He's just stepping right into where the culture is. And how would Woodstock be remembered if Charles Schulz hadn't named Woodstock Woodstock? Would it be 99% of what we remember it as? Would it be 90?


Jimmy: Keep in mind, there is no end to baby boomer, self mythologization, what's the word of it?


Harold: Yeah, but how did Schulz aid and abet that for it to be now, all these years later? I have a friend, Gary Adamson, who is a musician and a teacher, makes his living. And he started, Back to the Garden, this band, and they were performing. And then when the 50th anniversary, the 50th anniversary of this thing came along, then he was booked like he'd never been before. And that's 50 years of celebrating something that was so iconic and so special.


Michael: We're doing a podcast 23 years after the strip stopped.


Jimmy: Crazy.


Harold: Yeah.


Jimmy: Time, man. So, Michael, you were not in any way intrigued, interested, thought about Woodstock at the time. You didn't go to any of those festivals, the big ones?


Michael: It was far away.


Jimmy: It was 3000 miles away, right?


Michael: Yeah.


Harold: Would you have gone if it was like 10, 20, 50 miles away?


Michael: I'm not sure.


Harold: Ah.


Michael: All my money went into comic books, so I didn't like spending.


Jimmy: I have to say, I love, all.


Michael: Probably like $3 or something.


Jimmy: Well, then once the fence came down, you could go for free. But I do have to say it doesn't look super appealing to me.


Harold: In reality, I wouldn't want there for three days. I'm not walking all the way to that sewing machine store to buy that ticket.


Jimmy: No way.


Harold: And then traveling, traveling, parking my car 15 miles away from the venue.

Jimmy: The mud, and listen to ShaNaNa and Arlo Guthrie. No, I'm okay. Because, you know, I would have left before Hendrix and stuff. It'd be like, forget it.


Harold: They're going to make a documentary about this, aren't they? I'll see it in the theater.


June 30. Snoopy, is reading a little letter on top of his doghouse. And good old Lucy comes up and she says, “I hear you're going to give a 4th of July speech.” She decides to give him a little, advice. She says, “I suggest that you speak on the new Women's Liberation movement because it's really the most important thing that--” Snoopy kisses her on the nose. And then Snoopy thinks to himself, “I don't recall asking for any advice, sweetie.”


Michael: This is the second one where the girls should just punch him in the mouth.


Jimmy: Well, Snoopy is in over his head. So this is a sequence where this is still Snoopy involved with being the head beagle, right? Yeah. But has he already been removed as the head beagle, or no, I think.


Michael: We're into the Daisy Hill puppy farm.


Jimmy: Yeah, we are. I was just wondering if he got to make the speech because of his post as the head beagle.


Michael: probably.


Jimmy: Okay.


Harold: Yeah, right. He was invited because he had been the head beagle. So now he's on the speaking circuit.


Liz: But do you guys recognize how offensive his statement is?


Michael: Yeah, that's why she should have punched him.


Jimmy: Well and it's classic. Yeah. He is absolute power corrupts absolutely. I guess Snoopy is. And he's about to get his comeuppance for this, because here on


July 6, Linus is watching the speech on TV. “A riot.” He says. Maybe Snoopy, took some of my advice. Charlie Brown is apparently just wandering around Linus's house. And Linus says, “look, Charlie Brown. There's a riot at the Daisy Hill Puppy farm. It's on the news. See?” Charlie Brown says, “but that's where Snoopy is. Have you seen him? Have they shown him? Where is he?” In the last panel, we see Snoopy being pelted by supper dishes and bricks of some kind. actual bricks, I guess. And he thinks to himself, “doesn't anyone want to hear my speech?”


Michael: I think we're jumping the shark right now.


Jimmy: This is what you don't like?


Michael: Yeah, this is absurdity level four.


Harold: Now. Which is the most troubling piece of it that's on TV?


Michael: All of it. A dog who can't speak, giving a speech to a bunch of dogs


Harold: on TV.


Michael: There's a riot on TV. I'm sorry, I can't buy it.


Jimmy: How about you, Harold? What do you think of this sequence?


Harold: It is a really odd sequence. 1970 is a really odd time, too. there's just been a lot of division in the country at this point. We're in violence mode, and we don't know which direction it's going to go. Is it going to just escalate and escalate and escalate? Is it going to peter out? Is it going to run itself out?


Michael: But wait, it gets weirder. Let's go on to the next one.


Jimmy: Which is


July 10. Linus is doing the favorite thing of all Peanuts characters, which is to walk around the neighborhood reading a newspaper. And he says, “according to the paper, the riot was about war dogs.” Wow. And, he shows Charlie Brown the paper and he explains, “apparently there's been some trouble about dogs being sent to Vietnam and then not getting back,” which is a wild thing to drop in panel two. And then panel three, Snoopy, who has been overhearing this, thinks to himself, “all I know is I went to the Daisy Hill puppy farm to make a speech. I got swamped with a dog dish, trapped in a riot, lost in the smoke. And then I met her” he says, putting his head in his hands with a big, goofy grin on his face. Charlie Brown says, “good grief.”


Harold: Yeah, I guess all I can say is, if Peanuts is jumping the shark here in the sequence, I think 1970 kind of jumped the shark. And he's reflecting it in the strip in this weird way, and he's not going to go back here again, but the fact that it's tied to Vietnam, I mean, he's leaning into this. If there's any if there's any question that what Schulz is referring to in his strip, he takes all that question away. And, the idea that it was televised, I mean, there were all these terrible things televised in the previous couple of years. People being shot, assassinated. It's a really rough time, and no one knows where it's going. And I think Schulz is reflecting that in the strips here. And then the thing that makes it so weird to me is that it's dealing with Vietnam. And there's earlier strips for Snoopy's like, well, we don't have the right to vote, but we're being sent off to war. And yet the last panel is Snoopy blissing out over touching the soft paw of this beagle that he didn't see in all of the smoke. that is even stranger. Right. Because we're dealing with this heavy thing. And then Snoopy's is off in his own little bliss world. It feels very strange, weird.


Jimmy: It's great in its own way for me. yeah, I agree with all that. The 1970 jumped the shark in some ways, is the line of the episode, because, boy, is that true. But also, I think the original sin of this whole sequence and this series of sequences is that making Snoopy the head beagle and bringing all of that stuff so into the forefront feel like an awkward fit, which is the problem Michael's having. But then the thing what Harold is saying, where all of this stuff is sort of an awkward fit, almost makes it meta cool again. It's a very weird thing to do.

Harold: Because, again, this is Schulz avatar being Snoopy. He is in this super divisive time in the country, and he's at the top of his game, and he's beloved by practically everybody, but he knows that could go away in an instant. Right, right. He is so exposed.


Jimmy: Yes.


Harold: That something he could do, could just turn on in an instance. And that's what I see in this strip, is that he's processing that. It's like, if I make a wrong turn, I could become a pariah among half the country. Right.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: And yet, at the same time, that doesn't make him back down. That actually makes him lean into his fear. And even as he's dealing with this romantic Snoopy, it only works because it's so specific to Schulz. Where Schulz is at this point, it seems like to me. And so it feels real. It feels authentic to me. So it doesn't jump the shark in that sense. I mean, it feels like this is very coming from the soul of Schulz. And so, as strange as it is, I can't say, no, you can't go here, because that's where he seems to be right now.


Jimmy: And I think the thing about when we're using jump the shark, there's no coming back from jumping the shark. And that's not really what happens here. What happens here is and he's done this a million times, where pursue a thing until you realize, oh, maybe it's not 100% a perfect fit, retreat from it, and then you'll reintroduce it again. But a modified yeah.


Harold: and it never happened. The old version doesn't even make a difference.


Jimmy: Look, okay, we might as well I don't want to get too far into this, but


July 16, Snoopy has continued to think about the girl beagle he met. And he's lying on top of his doghouse, and he's thinking, “that girl beagle I met at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm is really something.” He sits up and he just looks delighted. “I wonder why I liked her so much. I think it's because we teased each other.” Then he continues to just be lost in this reverie. “We laughed a lot, and we teased each other,” and then he is just like a toddler, happy. And he thinks to himself, and “then there were those soft paws.”


Jimmy: Wow. Now, what's obviously happening here in real life, I don't get into it, but Schulz's marriage is falling apart, and he begins a brief affair with, somebody else, a person who is not his wife. And all of this and all of this gets played, out a little bit, I think, through Snoopy, which, is wild, because on the one hand, because I think that's what Harold well, I shouldn't put words in your mouth, but is that kind of what you were alluding to when you're talking about?


Harold: Yeah, I mean, you just sense that this is absolutely something that Schulz is processing. It's just a part, and it just pops up over and over and over and over again throughout this year. It's unmistakable. It's just right there at the forefront of this year.


Jimmy: It really is. Now, let me ask you this. Do you think he's aware of that? Do you think he's aware of how obvious this is once you know the behind the scenes stuff?

Harold: Well, like, did he spell GEM out in those balloon strings? Right? I don't know.


Michael: I don't know any of this. I don't think you've explained it. Is there a girl named Gem?


Jimmy: No.


Harold: Well, I mean, Peppermint Patty is talking about a rare gem. I don't know what kind of I mean, this is, again, total conjecture, and I don't want to go too far into this either.


Michael: This woman is named Gem?


Harold: no, but the idea that you might call somebody gem that might be in your vocabulary,


Jimmy: like a pet name


Harold: for some reason. I have no idea. I have no idea. But it is showing up in the strip in these various ways and escalates into this year. Jimmy, you probably know, how the timeline fits this better than I do. I have not read the huge biography on him.


Jimmy: Yeah, no, I don't, actually, because I, have this superpower of when I don't want to know too much about something. I just set up a static force field.


Harold: Okay. Yeah, I hear you. You're the one who said don't read it. And when you said that, I just.


Jimmy: Yeah, and listen, I mean, I've alluded to the fact that I'm not a fan of this book before. I mean, we're 20 years into the Strip. I might as well talk about it. The problem I have with the book and I actually alluded to it when we were talking with Steven Lind because he didn't do this, which is, I have a psychological theory, and I'm going to find all the things in this life that, supports my psychological theory, and I'm going to jam it all in. And if that means something is a period that lasts six weeks. But to make my theory work, it needs to take up 150 pages, then that's what I'm going to do. And it distorts the way a life is. I feel like I know a little bit about this because I wrote that Dumbest Idea memoir, which is the story of how I became a cartoonist, except it's not, because there's no story. Life has infinite amount of detail and no forward momentum, no plot. Right. So you're just pulling stuff and trying to make a story out of it. And sometimes that's what a biography does, actually, all the time, that's what a biography does. But sometimes, if you're enamored too much with what you want to put in, or maybe you think you got a juicy scoop and you want to highlight it, it distorts things. And that's why I've never recommended that book too much. Aside from the fact that it it’s a good book in lots of ways.


Harold: I think I've skimmed through pieces of it or looked at it, and I was like, yeah, okay, I can see tremendous amount of work. When it came out, I had this reaction because prior to this coming out, one of my other, I guess, heroes in popular culture and entertainment is Frank Capra. And he also had the unfortunate experience of having the definitive biography done on him by somebody amazing researcher, did incredible amount of reviews. But the reason you're attracted, usually, to the subject of a biography is because there's something that you are just like a magnet, something's drawing you. And I think sometimes, like in the case of Capra, Joseph McBride, who's just an amazing researcher and biographer, but I have a real problem with this book called The Catastrophe of Success is the name of the thing. So you got to get a sense of where it goes with his version on Capra. And he has tremendous insights to the things that are related to his own connection to Capra. But it does skew things so amazingly to the point where I can't believe that the biographer of Frank Capra that is THE biographer. If you look at the chapter on Say It's a Wonderful Life which is my favorite movie of all time-- I've gone to the Seneca Falls, New York, every year to give a presentation on aspects of this film because, just like Peanuts, I keep getting more out of it every time I look into it. He, says almost nothing about that movie. It's like, that's not the Capra that he connects to. And I'm like, oh, that's a shame. And this guy was so he doubled down because people like me were not happy with his book. He wrote a second book just as long about why everything he wrote was so true and how he was put upon by all the people that didn't like the fact that he was being critical.


Jimmy: That's insane. And I do appreciate that level of insanity. I could get behind that. Oh, you think that was bad?


Harold: Yeah. And he's got the details to back up what he has to say. It's not lying about the guy. It's just what do you focus on? Right, exactly.


Jimmy: It is what do you focus on? Yeah. But this is what Schulz is going through right now, and it is playing out in Snoopy's world. And it's going to lead to he's going to get divorced coming up and a, real shift in his life. You can almost look at the Peanuts, experience as, like, the Joyce years and then the Jeannie years. And there are differences. There's lots of differences, but we'll follow that as it goes along. In the meantime,


July 26, Snoopy, with a stocking cap is looking for something to read. He finds it, and he heads back to bed. Only for this night, he's sleeping in bed with Charlie Brown, which is the cutest little thing. And Charlie Brown says to him, “okay, what shall we read tonight? Treasure Island? Hans Brinker?” And then Snoopy shows the book. He has selected The Six Bunny Wunnies and Their Pony Cart. “Again, I don't understand why you want to read the same book every night. Oh, well.” Charlie Brown sighs. “It was a warm spring day and the Six Bunny Wunnies decided to go on a picnic.” Snoopy is listening, and he has a huge grin on his face. Charlie Brown continues. “I'll fix the lunch, said Pam Bunny Wunny. I'll hitch up our pony, said” and Charlie Brown slowly falls asleep. “Peter Bunny Wunny.” great little lettering there. Charlie Brown completely falls asleep. Snoopy checks to make sure he's asleep. Looks, that the coast is clear, then runs out, makes himself a snack, and watches a little late night television.


Harold: I love those little stocking caps.


Jimmy: I do, too. And the Six Bunny Wunnies, by Miss Helen Sweetstory. Harold and I are Big Bunny Wunny Partisans.


Harold: Oh, my gosh.


August 25. Oh, now we're talking the peaks of Western art. This is my vulture. Snoopy is standing on top of, his doghouse, wearing a little apron. He is, in fact, the world famous grocery clerk. And, he's ringing someone up. “Butter, 98, twice. Bread, 39. Here's the world famous grocery clerk working at the checkout counter.” He thinks, he continues, ringing up an order. “Eggs, 59, tea 79. Milk” and Snoopy looks out at us and thinks, “actually, there aren't more than a dozen world famous grocery clerks.”


Michael: It's an outrageous idea.


Jimmy: Why did any of this happen? Why did he think this? Why did having thought it, do you think yeah, I'm going to draw that.


Harold: Several times as a little kid. I'm exposed to this probably when I'm nine years old. I think I was kind of in awe, looking up at that person with those heavy buttons on those old fashioned cash registers. These people are just burning through it. They did kind of look like a superhero to me. I remember that. And then when Snoopy started doing yeah, that's cool. There's one I picked that didn't get in because, I was stupid enough not to type it in. That is I think the favorite one I remember is Snoopy. It's a Sunday, and I won't make you read the whole thing, Jim, but I think it's from August, 27th. Anyone wants to look it up? And while he's typing and he's just doing all the things and he's doing the banter with everybody, and then he's yelling for this and that, but he's talking to the customers and he rings up the magazine. And then he says he's doing a little heavy reading tonight?


Jimmy: Whenever a customer buys a magazine, you always ask him if he's going to do a little heavy reading tonight. I used to say that I love that, to every person that bought a magazine when I was a grocery clerk. And I mean, no, I got zero reaction. No one what the hell I was talking about.


Harold: Nobody?


Jimmy: Gonna do a little heavy reading tonight, eh? Just blank stares.


Harold: I'm so glad you did.


September 3. Sally walks up to Charlie Brown, who's watching TV. She says, “School starts next week. Where am I going to get $3 for another desk?” Charlie Brown, without looking away from the TV, says, “you don't have to buy your own desk. Where'd you get that idea?” Sally says, “really?” And she looks really angry and says, “just wait till I catch the kid who sold me that one last year.”


Harold: Brilliant. that's just a funny gag in and of itself. And it being Sally makes it much funnier. And boy, is she miffed at the end there.


Jimmy: So, Michael, since you're like a new Sally fan, is it the fact that she is this type of more real kid in the classic Peanuts world that appeals to you because she feels like she doesn't quite fit there's, like some sort of grip between her and them? Or do you think you could just take her out and give her her own strip and it would be just as funny?


Michael: Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, Charlie Brown's a straight man.


Jimmy: You'd have to take a couple with you.


Harold: Yeah.


Michael: No, it's just a funny character who's very much like a little kid who you just don't know what's going on. And you're making guesses and you have no idea what's going on.


Harold: Plenty of opinion.


Michael: I Identify with that.


Jimmy: we talked about that in the past. And it is so funny. You only can grok a certain percentage of the world when you're a little kid and it's all flying by you. You get taken advantage of once or twice.


Harold: Yeah. And she's not taking it lying down.


Michael: Yeah, I hope she never grows up. I can't see how we could keep her at this little kid level forever. I hope she doesn't grow up too fast.


Harold: Well, I was just thinking, because we have this angry Sally, maybe we should do our anger and happiness index while we have a few strips left.


Jimmy: Before we do the anger index let’s take a moment, once again, to mourn the loss of the Shermometer… Alrighty.


Harold: Ah Shermy. So, let's see where we were in 1969. We had 100 angry strips, which 27% of the strips, and 119 happy strips. This was a happier year than angry, the previous year. And I do remember I think I mentioned the last month that the happiness was like, over half the strips. It was kind of crazy. So I was curious to see where we wound up in 1970, if that was part of a trend or just a little blip on the angerometer and all that. So what do you guys think?


Michael: I'm not seeing Woodstock, even though we're not picking a lot of Woodstock. He really dominates this year. And there is no anger or happiness. He's just kind of bemused.


Jimmy: Yeah. He has a Buster Keaton-y you know?


Harold: Yeah.


Michael: So I would say anger is way down and happiness probably around the same.


Jimmy: I'm going to agree.


Harold: What do you think?


Jimmy: I'm going to say anger is not way down. I'm going to say it's a little down. And I think happiness is about the same.


Harold: Well, so we had 100 anger strips in 1969. We had 137 this year. Yeah.


Michael: I don't believe you. your Methodology.


Jimmy: I question your algorithm.


Harold: Yeah. Was it Thibault or whatever? Thibault.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Michael: That's a lot of anger there.


Harold: Yeah. And we got some Sally rants that help out a little bit. I'm trying to think of the other things that maybe we're adding


Jimmy: I didn't think about Thibault. Every time he looks at you, he never changes his expression.


Harold: Right, yeah. And then Snoopy gets miffed about head beagle thing and so yeah, there's just more of it, I guess, spread out among the characters. and then for happiness, we had 119 in 1969. We have 133 in 1970. A little bit more. And I was looking at like, the you're saying that you'd think there'd be a more stoic year when you have more of Woodstock, but actually there are quite a few strips with little cheesy smiles on the bird that I think help bump that up a little bit. Or moments when they're like, they're laughing at a joke together. They have little happy moments together, as well as the strange stoic ones.


Jimmy: When you see something like the strip where Peppermint Patty has been revealed to be telling them the vampire things and they smile at the end, but it's kind of a smile of embarrassment. Now, would that count as happiness? I would say not.


Harold: that's a judgment call. Yeah. But I could go either way, I think, given any moment, because there is a big old smile on both of their faces. But I think it's embarrassment maybe more than happiness.


Michael: I'm starting to question your scale altogether.


Jimmy: As opposed to I think there are other scientific method that goes into the tier list.


Harold: Yeah. Well, seriously, if I invited--


Michael: So you don’t like roll dice to determine..


Harold: No I consult the BeagleBoard. No, that creeps me out. The BeagleBoard. But


Michael: I don't know, I think there are other emotions that are much more prevalent.


Harold: well, it would be interesting we could invite if we have any incredibly insane reader listeners here, who would want to take this on one year and then do your own count and see how far off we are. That would be interesting. I would bet there would be some significant differences.


Michael: I want an empathy meter.


Liz: Make one.


Harold: The one thing is that-- there's a that's a good one. Yeah. But there's, a I would say the one the one constant is that you got one person doing it. So there might be a little more consistency in interpretation.


Jimmy: You have to continue doing this through the because we could see a graph and that's the control. I would just be curious to see what someone else comes up with.


Harold: Yeah, me too. I would think there would be some significant shifts from person to person.


Jimmy: I don't think it would be I think you'd be surprised at how close they are, I bet. Because if you're doing a close enough reading and you understand the thing of it I do think…


Harold: So for any of you who want to take on this challenge or find it interesting or just want to do it, Liz has made this chart. And these are something we haven't really played up a whole lot, but there are a tremendous amount of really cool little articles and graphs and things. on the UnpackingPeanuts.com site, click on Obscurities as that's kind of where it all began. When we talk about the various obscurities in a given year, a lot of those wind up as articles in there. But it's not just that. It does have the Anger and Happiness index, and there's a chart you can actually see from the year we started doing it, how it goes up and down, and these two little colored charts, which is amazing that Liz has set this up. Please check that out, because, it's fun. So you could pick any year you wanted. You want to go back one? Maybe one you haven't read? You've joined us late in time. You can do it all at once anyway. You're more than welcome to do it. And then you can get in touch with us through the social media or through the, phone line, which you can. What is that magic number to call in?


Liz: That number is 717-219-4162. That number again is 717-219-4162.


Jimmy: Thank you. Yeah, listen, I would just like this is because I didn't get a chance to say this in the finale, because I am, stupid. I, usually in the season finale, try to make sure I give a shout out to Liz and Aziza for their work. So I would just like at this point to say truthfully, if you like this podcast, it would not exist without Liz editing. If you knew what she has to cut out, if you knew, if you understood what it was truly like, unedited.


Jimmy: You would send her your homemade valentine's every year.


Harold: Yeah. For all you fans of editing, we never get off this, call 24 hours, and Liz has to pick.


Jimmy: Up every once in a while. People say to me, do you think you guys will run out of things to talk about? I'm like, no, that is impossible.


Harold: We may run out of interest.


Jimmy: There are only, like, four people in the world that I would want to have these conversations with. But no, we will not run out of things to talk about. All right, here we go. Home stretch, people.


September 6. Linus is sitting oh, I love this one. Linus is sitting in school. he's thinking about what to write, and he starts to write. “Theme on returning to school after Summer Vacation.” He continues writing. “No one can deny the joys of a summer vacation with its days of warmth and freedom. It must be admitted, however, that the true joy lies in returning to our halls of learning. Is not life itself a learning process? Do we not mature according to our learning? Do not each of us desire that he…?” And then we see he has continued to write this, and he finishes up and brings it to the desk, sits down, and the teacher apparently has immediately read it and says, “yes, ma'am. Oh, why thank you. I'm glad you liked it.” He leans back and says to Charlie Brown, “as the years go by, you'll learn what sells.”


Jimmy: Spoken like a true freelance writer.


Harold: And, a syndicated cartoonist.


Jimmy: And I figured out Linus must, have skipped the grade. That's why he's in class with Charlie Brown now.


Harold: I totally believe that. I think he's the kind of mother that would have done. Absolutely.

Jimmy: And since we're talking about this, I would be remiss if I did not mention my mother skipped a grade. And she told me that constantly. She skips from fourth grade right to fifth.

Harold: Wow. Did that make her less or more likely to want the same thing for you?


Jimmy: She absolutely refused. She's like, no way. terrible. Because she graduated. She was 16. She was asked the prom at twelve and she had to tell the guy I'm twelve and he was mortified.


Harold: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.


September 8, it's the first day of school. Sally runs into Charlie Brown's room and yells “School!” Sending him flying above the bed. Still in his jammies. She's now running and screaming, “today is the first day of school. Memorize those conjunctions. Name those rivers. Don't forget your locker combination. What's the capital of Venezuela?” And in the last panel, we see Charlie Brown in a heap at the bottom of the bed saying, “I think the summers are getting shorter.”


Michael: I think Sally's hitting a home run every time.


Jimmy: I love your love of Sally, she's a great character.


Harold: And how about that last panel of Charlie Brown at the foot of his bed? That is gorgeous cartooning there.


Jimmy: Beautiful.


Harold: Even the rumpled door.


Jimmy: Boy, the door is really wavy.


September 12. Again, Lucy is hanging out with Schroeder, like she hasn't in quite a while. “If you really liked me,” she says, “you'd say something nice to me. That is, if you really liked me.” She continues, “really.” Then the fourth panel, she just says “if” and she looks very upset.


Jimmy: But clearly Schroeder does not really like her.


Michael: This is a brilliant strip. We talk about Schulz as a humorist. We talk about Schulz as a great artist. This is just great writing. Yeah, he really using the language. I don't know if this would work in another language, but you know exactly what's going through her head.


Harold: Yeah.


Jimmy: I love the four panels of Schroeder playing the piano and watching his fingers in different positions as if he's really kind of going to town and playing. It's not the same pose again and again. It's really cool.


September 16, good old Snoopy is at the vet. Charlie Brown's brought him there and Charlie Brown says, “I think he's been having some kinds of pain, Doctor.” Snoopy says “me?” Charlie Brown says, “I didn't know anything about it until I noticed he was wearing that copper bracelet.” Snoopy holds out his front paw. And he is indeed wearing a copper bracelet, says “did the trick too. Pain went away immediately. So let's go home.” Charlie Brown continues “that's why I brought him here to see you.” Snoopy, who's sitting on the examination table, rolls his eyes and thinks “it's embarrassing sitting here without any clothes on.”


Michael: You could use that punchline into any Snoopy strip.


Jimmy: That's a go to, right?


Harold: Yeah. I love the copper bracelet. And that Snoopy, he's like doing a little grin while he's holding it out like everything's fine, I don't have to be here. and I'm guessing was that a thing in 19--?


Michael: Was that an obscurity?


Harold: That's what I was thinking, yeah.


Michael: I remember it.


Harold: And apparently they did some studies in the think it's weird. It's one of those weird things where it happened in ancient times. People thought it helped cure arthritis and then it came back in. The people were buying it was kind of like a fad, wasn't it? It was like a fashion statement as well. They had the copper bracelet on and people had it on for like Vietnam vets and POW stuff and there's a lot of stuff going on there. But the strange thing was apparently they did a bunch of studies in the 70s, don't know, like as a result of people wearing them.


Jimmy: Does it really?


Harold: Oh, this actually does do some things. I guess there are some studies that suggest that there's some properties in it. Yeah.


Michael: it's a placebo effect.


Jimmy: Well, Joe Lewin who was, he was involved with our fantastic little project Renaissance, press. He swore by his copper bracelet.


Harold: Wow. Lives on.


Jimmy: it does.


Snoopy here is lying on top of his doghouse on September 19. Charlie Brown comes up again and says “actually Snoopy, you're very lucky. The vet said you don't have arthritis at all. You have a little tendonitis.” Charlie Brown continues, “the cortisone shot he gave you should take care of it.” Snoopy lying on the dog house, says “my copper bracelet cured me. The pain left as soon as I put it on.” Charlie Brown walks away saying “if you have any more trouble, just let me know and I'll call the vet.” Snoopy doesn't move, but thinks to himself “maybe I'll go chew some autumn crocus. I've heard that's good too.”


Harold: I think Schulz is a little skeptical on these folk remedies, but I love that Snoopy just doubles down. He's wearing his little copper bracelet and autumn crocus. That's all he needs.


Jimmy: Now do you think maybe because we are seeing slightly more and we're going to see even more pronounced next year of the looseness of the drawing, partly due to his hand tremor, I'm sure. Of course it later is basically laid completely at the feet of his open heart surgery that it developed after that. But that's clearly not true. Do you think that people were recommending this for like carpal tunnel or tendonitis or something for him and he's like, oh, great, thanks.


Michael: It was in the air. I don't see your tremble, trembling line.


Harold: Yeah, well, I wanted to say this year, again, the lettering, as a rule, particularly at the beginning of the year, some of it was just really gorgeous. I mean, like he was spending time with letters.


Jimmy: The wavy door that we were talking about. It's not all the time. It's just in fatigue, in moments of fatigue that I see it. And also, I have this issue, so I look for it everywhere. So when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.


Harold: When I think of 1970, I think of the looser Peanuts that Schulz got to getting tightened up in some cases, actually. Like the iconic poses and the things that we think of Peanuts. The 50 years of Peanuts. This is like an era where I feel like this is the Peanuts that a lot of people remember who, weren't necessarily the ones reading the old paperback, collections like when we started reading them. This just looks like Peanuts. And it's just gorgeous design. But it's like the version of Peanuts that I think is like the Peanuts that the world remembers.


Jimmy: Absolutely. I think you're right.


Harold: Snoopy's kind of hit, like Michael's been talking about, peak forehead and all of that. This Snoopy, if you looked at, your 2000 Snoopy, you wouldn't say there's a whole lot different. He's he's pretty much nailed where Snoopy is going to be for the next 30 years. He gets a little fatter, but it's pretty much just like the 1950s Snoopy or the banana nose Snoopy. This is the Snoopy we're going to have for the next 30 years.


Jimmy: Great character design for sure. And it was fun to watch them develop.


September 24. Poor old Woodstock is holding a full size football as Snoopy comes running up to kick it. Unfortunately, he accidentally kicks Woodstock instead. Boot. Snoopy looks out at us and says, “how embarrassing.”


Michael: This is pure poetry.


Jimmy: Beautiful cartooning. What's your favorite panel, Michael?


Michael: Three.


Jimmy: So great. Again, where we're seeing a bunch of really discrete bits of information collaged into one panel and really done well.


Harold: Yeah. He'll take away a detail that isn't necessary or just might in the slightest way, distract you. Like, in panels two and three, he doesn't bother to show Snoopy's tail, so you assume it's on the backside. But because he's got other things going on with a little bent paw above it, he doesn't need that extra noise. Right. All those really amazing, smart choices. Yeah.


October 19. Lucy and Linus are standing outside. And Linus says, “have you ever known anyone who is happy?” Snoopy dances by like a lunatic. Kisses Lucy on the nose, lips, cheek, cheek. And then Lucy's horrified by this as Snoopy dances away. And Linus says, “and was still in his right mind.”


Jimmy: I mean, that's a great--


Harold: big grin on Snoopy.


Jimmy: Big grin on Snoopy. Well, Snoopy is not in his right mind, but not necessarily just because he's happy.


Michael: Well he is manic depressive.


Jimmy: Hey, that's called bipolar these days, pal. I don't know why, because manic depressive is clearly insulting and bipolar isn’t.


October 31. Linus is out in the pumpkin patch. Of course, the pumpkin has not shown up yet, so he's wailing to the heavens and he says, “oh, Great Pumpkin, please don't let me down. Vindicate me before mine enemies deliver me from my adversaries.” Then in panel three, he yells, “show up, stupid.” And then you have to just see it for yourself. But he instantly regrets having said that.


Harold: Hands on his mouth, his hair flying greater.


Jimmy: Greater. I love also the silhouette and I love the use that he's really this is like the year of the spotlight.


Michael: Spotlights and, I don't know, I hadn't been paying attention. But there are silhouettes this year. And have there been before?


Jimmy: There have been. But he's going to like Frank Miller Extreme sometimes with the black and white. I think it's weird in panel, too, that he put the two dots for his eyes.


Harold: I like it.


Jimmy: Yeah. Do you? What do you think, Michael?


Michael: I didn't even notice it.


Jimmy We got one weird. One likes it. One didn't notice it.


Harold: Makes it feel like those modern again, he's ahead of his time. when you have those infrared cameras and the animals in the forest and these two eyes are just glowing.


Jimmy: Okay. And I love this one.


November 1. Linus is asleep in the pumpkin patch and Lucy sees that it looks like it's about 08:00 a.m. And she should go out and get him. The next panel we see, Linus is just about waking up. He says, “Halloween is over.” He wanders into the house and Lucy says, “have you been sitting out in that pumpkin patch all night again?” Linus says, “I was waiting for the Great Pumpkin. He didn't come.” Lucy is yelling, “why don't you just curse the Great Pumpkin and forget the whole thing?” Linus sits down in his little beanbag chair forlorn and says, “you sound like Job's wife.” Lucy, who's ranting, says, “Shake your fist in the air and say, curse you, Great Pumpkin. I know you don't exist. Then you'd be free.” She says to Linus, “you can do it. Just say curse you, Great Pumpkin. I know you don't exist. I don't need you. I'm free. I'm free.” Linus in a very strange position on the beanbag chair. Looks like he's fighting it. He's thinking maybe he's going to say it. And she is begging him, “come on, you can do it. Just say it.” Now she's shaking him, saying, “Come on, say it.” And Linus yells, “Just wait till next year.” “Oh, good grief,” says Lucy.


Jimmy: Oh, boy, I love that one. I love everything about-- great cartooning, great reaction from Linus. I love and need to use the all black mouth more shouting to the heavens. I love that look.


Harold: Yeah. That look of Linus when he's sitting on that beanbag chair. He's just looking off. You sound like Job's wife. which she does. She's like, are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die. I mean, wow, that sounds so Lucy.


Jimmy: Yeah. I mean, like it's it's such a weird dichotomy in that if I was a friend of Linus, if he was a real person, I don't want him to be sitting out in the pumpkin patch and deluding himself that the gray pumpkin is going to come. But in the world of the strip, I don't want Linus to ever come to that conclusion or realization. It would destroy everything.


Michael: I just want to know what the Van Pelts think of their kid sleeping outside all night.

Jimmy: The Van Pelts are a weird family.


Harold: Yeah.


Jimmy: Like I said, I don't know what's going on in that house. I think Charlie Brown's family life is probably a lot healthier.


Harold: Yeah. I don't know if they're like kind of the libertarian family where it's like all about the education, but then if your child wants to go out and sleep in the woods, that's good.


Michael: Yeah.


Harold: That's kind of the vibe I get. The family, they're very smart. They're very kind of this strange progressive.


Michael: Especially on Halloween when there's all kinds of maniacs running around with razor blades.


Harold: Oh, yeah.


Jimmy: All the famous razor blades and candy. You know, in Pennsylvania, I think last year was the first year we were ever allowed to actually trick or treat.


Harold: Really?


Jimmy: Halloween? Yeah, because for my yeah, my whole life growing up, it was the Thursday before Halloween. Well, if ever there is a rule that makes no sense, but people do it for decades, it is because at one point, there was an old white guy that was afraid of something. So he made a rule, that's the secret. And he was like, kids are going to go out and they're going to soap cars and they're going to throw corn and they're going to do all.

Harold: So the real hardcore people are going to do it on the 31st, so we're going to fool them. Three days earlier.


Jimmy: The idea was they're not going to go out and do it on a school night. So if Halloween was on a weekend or the real Halloween Mischief Night yeah. Somehow this was supposed to prevent this. It did not.


Harold: So when did that stuff start? Because as a kid, I mean, to think that you didn't do it on October 31, the night of October 31 was insane. But then, all around here it's like, well, this town is doing it. So basically, if you just want to skip towns, you could really clean up as a kid because there's like 18 different times for Halloween.


Jimmy: There was a couple kids that I knew, they would trick or treat in Ashland, where they lived. And then they had a grandmother in Girardville, where I lived, and they would come and trick or treat in Girardville, too, and they would get two nights.


Harold: Maybe it was thought up secretly by some drugstore owner who went to some more Mounds.


Jimmy: Brilliant.


November 2. Sally is, memorizing some stuff for homework, apparently. “One times one is one. Two times two is two-dy two.” Charlie Brown hears this and says, “two-dy two?” “Three times three is three-dy-three and four times four is 444.” Sally looks at Charlie Brown and says, “I thought I was going to have trouble with multiplication, but I don't find it hard at all.” Charlie Brown just says, “I'm glad.”


Michael: she's doomed.


Harold: He's not getting involved.


Jimmy: That's a brilliant reaction from Charlie Brown, too. He is learning.


Liz: I think that chair should go into the gallery.


Jimmy: Oh, that's a beautiful lounge chair. Not lounge chair, club chair. Gorgeous type of upholstery it has.


Michael: The spotting blacks does not work in those panels.


Jimmy: Okay, explain all of that, because as we talked about long, long time ago, spotting blacks means, putting blacks in a composition to balance.


Harold: There's a black, there's a black.


Michael: If you have a big black on the right, you have to have, some kind of black on the left to balance it out. Cartoonist lore, which doesn't make sense, but people talk about spotting blacks all the time.


Jimmy: Well, we got to talk about something.


Harold: So why doesn't it work here, Michael?


Michael: Well, there's nothing to balance it. You'd need a little one on the left. Could be anything.


Harold: The only thing weird to me about that chair is it looks like the back cushion has been removed. Everything's hard.


Jimmy: The back cushion has absolutely been removed. Someone's playing with it as a fort.


Harold: Yeah, but I will say, it is a cool-looking chair, but it looks very uncomfortable to me.


Jimmy: Oh, really?


Harold: I love the drapes in the first panel. Oh, my gosh, those drapes those drapes really exist.


Jimmy: There's no question in my mind that those were in his house somewhere.


December 4. Someone else could set up this whole story, but Snoopy and Peppermint Patty are at a dance, and Snoopy is busting out the suit and bow tie, who looks quite dapper. Peppermint Patty has a beautiful little black, dress on with her sandals. She says, “Boy, Snoopy, you're a great dancer. How about stopping for a little rest and some cold punch?” They walk over to the refreshment table. Peppermint Patty continues, “I'm sure glad you came with me. I've never had so much fun in all my life. I don't think anything could spoil this evening for me.” But then the kid comes over and whispers to Peppermint Patty, “hey, kid, where'd you get the weird looking boyfriend?” And Patty levels him out with a giant punch. POW. Sending him flying and shocking Snoopy,


Michael: I want to know how these characters from Cathy somehow wandered into the Peanuts strip.


Jimmy: Which one do you think looks like Cathy?


Michael: Panel three. Those are not Schulz characters. Someone else drew those.


Jimmy: Mine was, I have a scan that was taken with a 1950s, Nikon, so I can't tell what's wrong.


Michael: Those are not come on, look at that girl. That is not a Schulz girl.


Harold: Yeah, well, she seems to be in on his joke there because she's got a big old grin. that was an odd choice, that it's not just the boy he's thinking it, but the girl who's with him is feeling the same way. Well, how do you feel, Michael, about this world? So now Schulz is establishing that when in Peppermint Patty's world that the chaperones don't seem to have a problem with, this funny looking kid as a funny looking kid, and then the kid thinks he's a funny looking kid. Now everybody thinks that Snoopy is a funny looking kid and not a dog. Does that bug you?


Michael: Yes. This strip is sort of how I imagine that we're going to end up in the late seventies, eighties in Peanuts. This is not familiar to me at all.


Harold: Do you like it because it's unfamiliar, or do you think it's just plain wrong if there's too many steps?


Michael: This is wrong in so many ways.


Harold: I like the punch bowl, though. Right.


December 23, Santa Here Today. Linus and Lucy are going to see Santa, and they say, “well, did you tell Santa Claus what you want for Christmas?” Linus says, “sure. I also wished him a very happy Hanukkah.” Linus continues as they leave the store, saying, “we didn't have much time, but we discussed Judas Maccabeus and the cleansing of the temple.” They continue walking, and Linus says, “it's not often that you find a Santa Claus who's interested in religion.”


Harold: Interesting. Yeah. What's kind, of interesting to me is if you look at this second panel, it looks very clearly like Hanukkah has been relettered, over--


Michael: Who can spell Hanukkah? Who on earth can spell that word?


Harold: This is my totally unfounded theory. I bet that Schulz chose to spell it Chanukah and some editor said, we asked around and people think that you should use the other spelling. And they sent it back to him, and he whited it out with some bumpy whiteout. That's really hard to letter.


Michael: Yes.


Harold: Right. And it still looks like Schulz's lettering, but it looks like he's doing it on cobblestones or something. So that's why I'm thinking it's like this bumpy whiteout that he's trying to put it on, and then he just mails it back. So that's my theory.


Jimmy: You know what? I think that's a pretty good theory. It makes sense to me. And it's been a pretty good year. Yeah. I really enjoyed this. This was so fun for me to pick strips I haven't done much of it. obviously there's a couple that I had to make sure were in there, but they were generally things that the other guys were going to pick anywhere. So this was really fun. I promise, my pals, co hosts, and fellow cartoonists that I will pick fewer next time. But as it stands, I think what I'd like now, we're going to have to revisit the tier list because I think he's going to be adding so many characters and stuff. I think it'll be more of a reoccurring feature, as opposed to an episode every episode feature. So let's check in with that next episode.


But, other than that, that'll bring us to the end of the year. So if you're going to want to come back next week, you can do that. And the way to prepare is you can go to our website where you can sign up for the newsletter and you can find out exactly what strips we're talking about. The newsletter goes out once a month. Harold put it together for you, and it's very lovely. You can also check us out on social media. Facebook we're Unpacking Peanuts. On Twitter and Instagram. We're at Unpack Peanuts, and we would love to hear from you. If you have any questions, you have any comments, you want to just talk to us, just hang out with the gang. You can reach us there. You can also, of course, if you wanted to do something to actually support the, podcast financially, you could buy, some mud pie through our website. You could support us on Patreon. You go buy a t shirt or one of our books from our store on our website, UnpackingPeanuts.com. Other than that, we, of course, just want you to come back next week. But before you do, Michael, for this year, give me your most valuable Peanut and your strip of the year.


Michael: Okay. Most valuable Peanut, even though this wasn't reflected in our choices, is Woodstock


Harold: All right.


Michael: And I have a controversial decision coming up on the tier list.


Jimmy: Should we get to it? Let's do it then.


Michael: If there was-- I just need you to discuss this one thing.


Harold: Yeah.


Michael: Okay. Because I cannot decide how to go on this. All right. From the very beginning, there's been four A lists, okay. And it's just obvious to anyone who the four A list characters are because at least one of them appeared in every single strip, with maybe two exceptions. I think Woodstock belongs in the A list.


Jimmy: Whoa. That is wild.


Michael: It's wild because he only pretty much only appears with Snoopy. So he's kind of a Snoopy subunit in a way, but he just totally dominates this year and clearly one of the most popular characters in the strip. Yeah, for, I mean, just the achievement of a character who doesn't think or speak that we can tell just to just blow everything else away this year, except maybe Sally.


Jimmy: What do you think about that, Harold? would you sign off on that? Or do you need a week to think about that?


Harold: I would sign off on that. I would even entertain Sally, Peppermint Patty in that world at this point. Maybe not quite yet, but yeah, I feel like the world is getting to a place where you can see these characters in their own right, not just through the lens of the other, even if it is through the lens of Snoopy. If Woodstock can be on there, I think these other one other characters may, merit a consideration.


Michael: I think eventually we didn't see. I mean, Peppermint Patty, she comes in now and then, but we also, clearly have to say goodbye to a Pig Pen. It's two years in a row he hasn't shown up.


Harold: Yeah.


Michael: Here's Patty one. Violet, one.


Harold: I had a controversial question for you, Michael, and I think I know the answer, but I was going to ask anyway. Should the kite eating tree be considered a character?


Michael: no.


Harold: That's what I thought you’d say


Michael: The tree.


Jimmy: I thought it was another character.


Michael: If it was an Ent, I'd consider it.