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1972 Part 1 - Time Alone Can Judge A Work of Art

Jimmy: Hey, everybody, welcome back to the show. It's 1972 here on Unpacking Peanuts, which was a big year for me because it was the year I was born. So I'm really excited to get into these strips.


And who am I? Why, I'm Jimmy Gownley. I'm your host for this evening. I'm also a cartoonist. I'm the cartoonist of 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. He's a playwright. He's a composer for the band Complicated People, this very podcast and the Amelia Rules musical. He's the original editor of Amelia Rules, the co creator of the very first comic book Price Guide, and the cartoonist behind such great strips as Strange Attractors, A Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River. It's Michael Cohen.


Michael: Hey there. And I was born-- like no, really, I was born like, three weeks before the first Peanuts strip. So now you know how much older I am than Jimmy.


Jimmy: Well, one thing you said to me, obviously now, years and years ago, that I find so funny. You said something-- we had known each other for like, four years at this point, and you go, wait, how old are you again? And I said, well, yeah, I'm still in my mid twenties. And you said, you've always been in your mid 20s. It's very annoying.


Also with us, he's the executive producer and writer of Mystery Science Theater--.


Harold: I was born in 1966.


Jimmy: 3000, the former vice president of Archie Comics and the creator of the current Instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts. It's Harold Buchholz.


Harold: Hello.


Jimmy: This is an exciting day. I'm very happy. I'm always happy to talk Peanuts with you guys. I'm really happy to be fully into my era. but I have to say, the burden of selecting strips to discuss is too great for me. I did not realize the amount of thought you guys had to put into just whittling down 365 strips to just a few. It's very difficult. So thanks for doing it for all those years without me, but, hopefully.


Michael: it's easier if you just, like, randomize it.


Harold: And thanks for giving us five each more to look at. So, that was easier to pick.

Jimmy: Oh, there you go. Well, what do you say? It's 1972, Harold. What's going on in Mr. Schulz's world? Do you got anything for us?


Harold: Well, according according to that excellent timeline that they have on the Schulz Museum website, there is a major, major milestone, in Schulz's life. It's not a particularly happy one. He and Joyce divorce this year. And coinciding with that on the work side, he's no longer in the Coffee Grounds in Sebastopol, where he'd been for, gosh, was it 14 years, in his office. So, as cartoonists, we're kind of creatures of habit and going back to the same place every day, and all of a sudden, it's gone. and with it, your marriage. And so that's a big deal, I would think, for Schulz, I think. How could it not be? And so he's building a new office, in an area called Healdsburg, which I guess is north of Santa Rosa.


Michael: Oh that’s where my cousin lives.


Jimmy: That's why he picked it.


Harold: Wow. Is that how you pronounce it? Is it Hildsburg?


Michael: Healdsburg.


Harold: Okay. And in the meantime, while they're building this new location for him, for his office, he's actually at the ice rink that he built, with an office there. So that's an interesting thing to consider this year, that he's in a new place, a temporary place, but a place that he enjoys built that's a part of the community now. So I don't know if we'll see are we going to see some more skating, in this year? but that's the biggest thing that's going on in, Schulz's life at this point.


Jimmy: And it's always sad when something like this happens. And, of course, we don't know either of these people. I certainly, know very little about Joyce, but one thing I think I know is that you couldn't do Peanuts by yourself and have the life he had without someone like her for all that time. And while it's very, very sad that it didn't work out, I think she deserves quite a bit of credit, for keeping the ship as right as it was, for as long as it was. He had five kids and that huge estate.


Harold: Oh, my gosh.


Jimmy: And was still doing this with no assistance. That's partly because someone else is taking care of everything else. Very sad to see a marriage that had gone on so long and had seemingly been so successful, break up always. But shout out to her for all, she contributed behind the scenes, for sure.


Now, Michael, 1971 was, wow. Right. Basically, it was all over the place. Are you feeling well, I'm not going to say ask. I'll ask you. But I'll tell you my feelings first. I feel that there is a certain, if not 100%, but there's a certain correction, that's going on in 1972. You see more Linus, more things like that. What are your thoughts?


Michael: Well, I have a lot of deep thoughts on this year.


Jimmy: Well, that's why we are here. settle back.


Michael: However, I don't feel like talking about them.


Jimmy: All right, well, tune in next week.


Michael: No, deep thoughts. I think your explanation, of what was happening to Schulz this year might account for a few of the things I noticed. He might not have been in the best mood, for sure, and he might have been kind of I think he was kind of stretching it to get the jokes. They didn't seem to be coming so naturally out of the characters, meaning we discussed this. I, think when we started that, one thing that was really great about the strip was that the jokes were very specific to the characters. So if Linus had a punchline, it wouldn't have worked if it was any other character. But I'm seeing some cases here where it's like, anyone could have said that, or anyone could have been in the strip feeding that line.

But one thing I did notice is he abandoned a lot of his go to shticks. I mean, some of them are ten years old. But, here's a little list of the things that are not in this year. there's no kites, there's no Snoopy imitating animals. There's no Great Pumpkin. There's one leaf strip. This goes away back. Patty and Violet being incredibly mean. There's none of that. Pig pen is not there. Shermy's not there. Frieda doesn't have any rabbit chasing thing going with Snoopy. There's none of Lucy's crazy science explanations. There's very little bit of the, flying ace in this year. So I think with a few exceptions, he's not relying on his old standbys, which are good for generating endless jokes, and he's pulling in some situations, which to me, are a little more sit-comy than usual. The situation is funny, but it seems to be stretching the boundaries of what's permissible in the Peanuts world, which is the direction he's going. So I'll go with it. But I do want to give a shout out to one schtick that goes back to the third year of the strip, which is unfailingly good, and it's never changed. And that's the Lucy and Schroeder at the piano strips.


Jimmy: Lots of Lucy and Schroeder this year.


Michael: I mean, it's never changed. It's just exactly the same. But he keeps coming up with new ones, and there are a lot of them this year.


Harold: Yeah. And given his situation, it's interesting that he is dealing with that lack of connection, romantically. I can't help but think of that.


Jimmy: Me too.


Michael: There's one other aspect to this which feeds into the divorce thing. Okay? In this year, Lucy gets fired from the baseball team. Snoopy and Woodstock break up. Linus is thrown out of his house.


Harold: Right.


Michael: Which I thought was odd, but now that you explain his situation, he was thrown out of his house. Right. So anyway, that's the year that was, and I kind of liked it, but it's definitely not my favorite stuff.


Jimmy: But you liked it better than 71?


Michael: Yeah, a little bit.


Harold: that's interesting. I liked it a little bit less, I think. I felt like it was going in a direction that I wasn't as happy with.


Jimmy: What's that? Can you find that?


Harold: Well, I think there was some pretty enjoyable stuff in 71. and there was a lot of fun in 71. 72. I think I kind of agree with Michael that he swings pretty hard on some of these sequences, but they don't feel as connected to the characters as we know them, and so they don't always land. Or he's kind of known for dropping something. He got a really good, interesting idea, and then maybe he won't let it play out, or maybe he'll come back to it a year later, but he doesn't fully wrap everything up. It feels a little more, I guess, non committal. It's not as crisp and incisive as the Peanuts that I've known before. And it does feel a little bit more sit-comy. And I think the ongoing influence of creating plot lines for animated specials that were dictated by TV as being primarily for kids is now having its impact. This is only obviously a theory, but the Mendelson Melendez effect, you might call it, where they, if not he, are constantly trying to take things and work with them from the strip in order to make something that would appeal to primarily child or mostly child audience. And I get that because I'm on this crusade right now to create, what I'm calling family books, which is along the lines of what Schulz does is write something that's for everybody. But since Schulz always insisted that he wrote for adults, he didn't know how to write for kids. I'm guessing that there is this constant influence that's kind of pulling him into at least having in the back of his mind that he is making things that will, at least at some point, possibly be adapted for primarily children's medium from a business standpoint, which is not what the newspaper is. Of course, the newspaper is bought by adults, and children might read it. But now he's in the flip side in animation, and he does seem to be sensitive to the market for what he does.

And this year is also a big year for- he's got You're Not Elected Charlie Brown comes out as a special and Snoopy Come Home the feature, which is, I have that amazing memory parents taking me up to Toronto and surprising me when I was, I think, six years old to see that, in a theater in big theater in Toronto. So I have very warm memories of that. But this makes zero sense. But I'll just share it because this is what came to my mind this year. To me, felt like crunchy peanut butter, with partially hydrogenated oil.


Jimmy: Well, I can't help but agree with the fact that I do think the animation is playing a role in the types of ideas he's pursuing, because there's certainly no impulse or impetus, rather, from the world of comic strips to create longer sequences like this. The world of comics is decidedly going the other way. And basically everyone and their brother who's coming up is, if not ripping off Schulz directly, is super influenced by his early work, which primarily wasn't long sequences, and obviously with television and everything else that was eating into newspapers already by the 70s. They weren't launching a lot of, like, story strips in the 70s.


Harold: yeah. It's crazy what his influence is by 1972 on the comic strip page, and it just continues into the 70s.


Jimmy: It's dominating. I wish there was some other cultural force I could compare it to, but I won’t


Michael: Beatles? Just a wild guess


Harold: Walter Cronkite?


Jimmy: Monkees, perhaps. You know, one of my favorites, actually, one of my favorite things about them. I love the Monkees. As a Beatles fan I also lovde the Monkees. They were my second concert I ever saw. And, one of my favorite things is the famous fact that in 1967, the Monkees outsold the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, except it's not true.


Harold: It was Slim Whitman.


Jimmy: It's not true. But if you look it up on anything to this day about the Monkees, it'll say that. And it's just because Mickey Dolenz said it in an interview once to see how far it would go.


Michael: We’re bigger than the Beatles!


Jimmy: It's in their 20th anniversary Even like, package, like “in 1967, they outsold them both.” Neither is true.


Harold: Wow.


Jimmy: Anyway, yeah, but so I definitely hear what you guys are saying, and I agree with it to one extent or the other, except that this is Peanuts, as I've always understood it, this would have been what I was reading. Well, not this, but the 70s in general would be what I was reading when I was a kid and at the same time reading all those old books. And I never had any sense of continuity, what came first, what came later. Probably by the time I was, like, ten or eleven, and I got a box set of books from the Scholastic Book Fair, and I could see I saw some for the first time, some of those really early ones. Those I was able to indicate, to understand. Oh, those are from the very early days. But it was all just, a big Peanuts stew, for me.


Michael: Gettin’ hungry


Harold: As a kid, If you weren't aware, like, time wise, I mean, how did you deal with seeing a 1972 strip against a 1955 strip? Did you have any disconnect or any, like, what's going on?


Jimmy: No, it just was what it was never I know. And every I mean, I'm we're talking about before I was ten, let's say, so. I mean, I was very young. My earliest memories of reading Peanuts, I really go back to being like, three years old, and, a lot of as we've discussed, a lot of my memories have faded into oblivion, but those really haven't. I mean, I remember where I was when I discovered the bag of Peanuts books that my cousins had left at my grandmother's. I remember 100%. They were on the washer in the wash room, which was my Uncle Charlie's office, meaning it was the only room he was allowed to smoke in. And I'm like, what are these? And I'm like, oh, the Cabaluses, because that was their name, believe it or not, left, them here. And I was like, oh. So I just swiped them and took them off. Yeah, so I remember that stuff really clearly, but I don't remember thinking, oh, yeah, this one's from 15 years ago. This one didn't make any difference to me at all.


But, yeah, there's a lot to discuss. Somehow we've picked more strips than ever. So that's going to be fun. And we should talk about what we're planning to do because there are so many longer sequences and a couple of very famous ones, and one that Michael specifically really wanted to talk about in depth. We're going to take all the sequences and short stories from this season or this year and move them into a new episode, which may be next episode or maybe two episodes from now, depending on if we ever get started discussing the strips in this episode.


Harold: We're not going to do all of the sequence. Aren't we? Like, select just few of them?


Jimmy: No, we're doing all of the sequences. I think we're doing three.


Harold: Okay.


Jimmy: We're going to do the six bunny wunnies freak out.


Harold: Okay.


Jimmy: The cat fight. And Thompson is in trouble.


Harold: Great.


Jimmy: All right. But before we get there, we got to start here. So how about we get started with the strips? Yeah, sure. All right, here we go.


January 7. This is actually in the middle of a different sequence. it's another dress code violation for Peppermint Patty. And she is, in fact, forced to wear a dress to school. So we see her doing just that in what looks like a ridiculous cross between, like, a prison garb and a nightgown. And she's walking to school, a scowl on her face, and she says, “A dress? I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be wearing a dress to school.” As she approaches the school, one of the other kids from her side of town sees her. Peppermint Patty says, “by golly, if anyone laughs at me, I'll pound them.” That kid makes the mistake of going, “hey, look who's wearing a dress.” And in panel three, she does, in fact, pound him right on top of the head. And then she yells to anyone who's listening, “all right, who's next?”


Jimmy: All right. To me, this whole strip is about that third panel and the drawing of the kid getting pounded. She has erased his entire torso. He is just a head and two legs shooting out of the bottom. And, it just makes me laugh. I just think it's so funny.


Harold: Yeah, that looks so 70s. I think of the 70s when I see the strip. That's what I think.

Jimmy: What are those cartoons? Are they called, like, Mr. Men or something like that? You know what I'm talking about? Where they're just heads, legs, and arms.


Harold: Yeah, I know what you're referring to. I don't know if we're using the right--


Jimmy: It can't be Mr. Men. That's a terrible idea, name it's got to be something like that, though.


Harold: Yeah, that was the thing. And the stars coming out of pain out of that boy's head. Classic soft, round edge, five point stars. Oh, my gosh, that's so 70s.


Jimmy: Absolutely. Holy cow. It is the Mr. Men.


Harold: No kidding.


Jimmy: Mr. Men.


Harold: Wow.


Jimmy: Must have been easier to sell a project back in the early 70s.


Harold: Well, that's easy for you to say, Mr. Man.


Jimmy: That's exactly what it is Mr. Man.


Harold: So I think these came out of the UK. At least recent years are huge in the UK.


Jimmy: Oh, wow.


Harold: Still a big thing.


Jimmy: Yeah. There you go. I also like the scratchy line on the prone figure in the last panel, where he's just laying there with the stars above his head. Yeah. Now, I use cartoon symbolism like that over people's heads. I know Michael doesn't. Harold, do you do that?

Harold: I've been known to do it. Yeah, particularly for chagrin.


Jimmy: You got to have a symbol for chagrin.


Harold: Yeah, I guess I could just write Chagrin if I had to.


January 12. We're still on the, dress code thing. Peppermint Patty's now at the principal's office, and she says, “yes, sir. Yes, sir. I admit that I have deliberately chosen to defy the school dress code”. She continues in panel three, “I knew that I'd probably be sent to your office. In fact, I was prepared for it.” In panel four, she says, “I brought my attorney,” and we see it's Snoopy wearing a bow tie.


Jimmy: All right, I have to say something. Go ahead. You know how I hate golf jokes in comics? Well, lawyer jokes are just maybe a millimeter below that, but I hate lawyer jokes almost as much as I hate golf jokes. And although I am a huge fan of the 1972 and a huge fan of all Peanuts going forward, boy, I don't like the lawyer.


Michael: I don't like the lawyer. It violates something that seems, integral to the strip. The adults are not ever in the strip, but generally the characters are not in the presence of adults either. And so whatever's going on in their crazy world, nobody's there to see it. And as soon as you have Snoopy here being in the presence of the principal, it doesn't make any sense.


Jimmy: Here's my take on that, though. And you can choose to ignore it if you wish, because it's only a half baked take, but Snoopy could behave like this in Snoopy land in the Snoopy strip, if you will. Right. Snoopy's doing the world where flying ace, the grocery clerk, whatever. Patty's been infected by that world. Right?


Jimmy: So Peppermint Patty has crossed over into the main Peanuts world and into the Snoopy world. What's happening here is she's bringing the Snoopy strip into her world. And I imagine if you were the principal in the Strip, you would just see her sitting there with a dog with a bow tie and the kid would be ranting. and you would just be triply annoyed with the kid. But you wouldn't literally think the dog is her attorney.


Harold: But devil's advocate here, if she then winds up going to the student council meeting, right? And they have a strict dress code, they probably have a strict anti dog code, which we already know, and he wouldn't be allowed in there in the first place in that world.


Jimmy: Well, that's not in the text, though. You're bringing that to it. And I will live or die by this theory, which I just thought up 30 seconds ago.


Michael: Dress code for dogs. Dogs cannot wear ties at school.


Harold: Yeah, this was another thing. I just wrote down that this year was loaded with non sequitur kind of stuff. And this does feel like a non sequitur. I will say, of the three of us, I think I find some bizarre pleasure in this little running gag of Snoopy quoting just random legal stuff which makes absolutely no sense to himself. that was the one thing that kind of made me enjoy the sequence, was just the silly stuff that Snoopy thinks is what it means to be a lawyer. I don't know.


Jimmy: But I would say I actually do find the stuff that Snoopy's thinking funny. And that's the thing, like this is always good. You know what I mean? Right. Once I was on a show on a YouTube channel, and we're talking about Love and Rockets and what are the high points of the medium in my life, which is the Death of Speedy story. And we were talking about one thing. We're going, this thing doesn't really work here. Whatever.


And I did feel like I had to say, I get he's a genius, I get that this is better than anything I'll ever do. But I don't think that means you can't discuss it and find the things that do work and maybe don't work. And that's just how anyone who's trying to find their way through in the craft or even enjoying the art form.


Harold: We wouldn't be talking about


Jimmy: 100%. But having said all that, would it have worked better if Snoopy was the world famous lawyer on top of his doghouse with Woodstock and that's it, and he's doing all those things and saying those stupid quotes and whatever that don't make sense, but we don't have him interacting with the Peppermint Patty verse.


Michael: Well, the thing is, it's a really good setup and I saw it. What a great idea, her versus the dress code. And he dodges it by making Snoopy thing, how, funny Snoopy is.


Jimmy: Yeah, but what I also think is this feels like the kids are moving out of the house, right? So we're not just marinating in this giant stew of life and all the hip kid stuff. And he's also now shutting off a little bit of his own reflectiveness on his own past and childhood, at least briefly, I think, because of the pain he's in. Again, all conjecture, but this is what I think, and this is middle aged guy stuff. He's playing golf with lawyers. He's playing golf with, ophthalmologists and stuff like that. And I think that's where this kind of stuff comes from, but that's my guess.


Michael: So I'm guessing he did not get custody.


Jimmy: Well, I mean, I don't think it even matters at this point. They're almost all out of school.


Michael: Right? Okay. Because I always thought that was just a huge influence on his humor.

Jimmy: Just while I think he lost custody just by most of them going off to college, by the way, can you imagine being a freshman in college and suddenly Snoopy is Joe Cool? And it's got to be kind of a little bit of a pointed parody of what you're, like, writing on your postcards home and stuff. I mean, it's pretty weird that Joe Cool shows up as second his kids go to college.


Harold: Yeah, well, let's clarify that. Jill, this year would be around 14, and Amy would be 16.

Jimmy: They're the only two home.


Harold: The youngest girls are still around, but they are teenagers and teenagers in 1972, which is still a lot of crazy stuff going on. And I do think I see some echoes of what he must be experiencing through their eyes in these strips. Again, while we have more Peppermint Patty and even some more Lucy stuff that might suggest, things that he could be observing and, experiencing through his kids.


January 19, Peppermint Patty and Snoopy are hanging out at the principal's office as the case about the dress code is being decided. Peppermint Patty says, “they're deciding my case now. Snoopy.” Then she says to him, “without your help, I doubt if I would have had a chance.” Snoopy thinks I remember my most famous case, John Doe versus Richard Roe, that Richard Roe was quite a guy.” Peppermint Patty continues, “Actually, I'm very confident. I have faith in the judgment of my fellow human beings, and I'm sure that with your handling of my case, I'll be found--” And then we hear a giant yell from off panel, “Guilty.” And Peppermint patty and Snoopy go flying.


Harold: It's all about that last panel. It's the butt shot. Anybody who knows Peanuts, it's Charlie Brown being hit by the baseball. It's the you just see the butt, the feet, and the arms sticking out.


Jimmy: What a piece of abstract art these things are. And I don't find what's weird about Peanuts, even though we've looked at it in such detail. It's not like you see these little iconic things really develop. It seems like often they just arrive fully formed. I don't remember various versions of that butt shot, as you call it, right, but you'll see thousands of them now and they'll all be the same.


Harold: I have to say, Snoopy has a really big butt.


Jimmy: He really does.


Michael: for such a little dog


Harold: Given how big he is when he's sitting next to her.


Jimmy: This is now our new segment.


Michael and Jimmy: Butt Watch


Jimmy: We will now be charting the size of butts.


Harold: So, foreheads and butts. This is the most important thing that we need to look at in this Peanuts strip to understand the artistry of Charles M. Schulz.


Jimmy: I can't wait for the Unpacking Unpacking Peanuts podcast in 25 years when they talk about how we jumped the shark this episode.


February 5. Woodstock is perched on a very sad looking tree. Then he's looking out at the horizon. Then he walks back towards Snoopy, chirps a few things on top of his doghouse. And then Snoopy lies down. Woodstock perches on Snoopy's feet. And Snoopy thinks “Woodstock wants to fly to distant horizons, but he doesn't know where they are.” Woodstock sighs.


Jimmy: Now, does anyone know why I picked this one?


Michael: It's funny.


Jimmy: It's my birthday.


Michael: Your actual birth day.


Harold: My actual birthday.


Jimmy: That's a pretty good one. Oh, gosh. And now it's February 10. that's my mom's birthday. Weird.


And Charlie Brown has gone to the mailbox and we see a package has arrived for Snoopy. Charlie Brown says “here your new Bunny Wunny book just came.” Snoopy peruses it as he walks back to the doghouse. And Charlie Brown calls after him. “Miss Sweetstory is still grinding them out, I see.” Snoopy is on top of the doghouse and he thinks “Miss Sweetstory does not grind them out. How can anyone grind out such an obviously great book as The Six Bunny Wunnies and the Female Veterinarian?”


Michael: Was that an Amazon Delivery? Who in those days had a book come in the mail?

Jimmy: Book of the Month Club.


Harold: Right. Miss Helen's Sweetstory is cranking out a book a month.


Jimmy: Anyone know what the first graphic novel offered by Book of the Month Club was?

Harold: Amelia Rules.


Jimmy: It was Amelia Rules.


Michael: No kidding. Wow. So you're like a celebrity or something.


Liz: Is it an Obscurity as to what the Book of The Month Club is?


Jimmy: It is, although it's actually from Pennsylvania. Karen Gownley worked at it, for summers. As a job.


Harold: He's the New York Times bestselling author of Amelia Rules, the first book of the month club selection as a graphic novel.


Jimmy: We used to do that all the time.


Harold: Yeah, right. Well, that's cool. And so it's so funny. My mom, we're just trying to go through all these things to kind of help wrap up things. And she got pulled into one of those last vestiges of book club things. It's called Bottom Line books. And she said, I ordered one book. They keep sending me this annual version of this book. I never asked for it. I said, well, maybe there was a box you checked to say that you're subscribing to this on an ongoing basis. Maybe, but I didn't do that. I finally found one of the forums and my gosh, the way they write it is so horribly sneaky. It's like, yes, please send me this book and my free blah, blah, blah bulletins and all this thing. And then it says, I understand that I may be given the opportunity to peruse future titles. The way they word it is just like, oh my gosh, no wonder nobody knows they're signing up for this thing. They have no idea what they're doing when they check that box and send that.


Jimmy: Well, it's like when you go to the I don't know how this is in other countries out there, but in the US. When they have ballot initiatives where the people vote directly on an issue on a particular ballot, and they phrase it in the most obscure way possible.


Harold: So it's like the negative the negative of the positive. The negative the negative yes.


Michael: Vote yes on no. (That's not my joke).


Jimmy: Someone oh, really? Oh, it's great either way.


February 28. Peppermint Patty and Franklin are in school. Peppermint Patty says to Franklin, “we all need hope. Franklin, did you know that?” Oh, by the way, she is wearing her ridiculous dress, which I just noticed. “And we all need memories. Without good memories, life can be pretty scungy.” Franklin casually leans his arm back on his desk and says to her, ”I had three good memories once, but I forgot what they were.”


Michael: Now, this is a case where that could have been anyone. Now, I realize that we don't know too many of the kids in her school, but doesn't say anything about Franklin's personality.


Harold: no.


Michael: And this strip could have been any any two characters in school.


Jimmy: No, but you know what it does, which is very rare for Schulz. Yes, but I think panel three says something about Franklin's personality, just the way he's drawing it, or, the way he draws them that leaning on the I don't know. There's a certain casual, savois faire I sense from Franklin to me, even though he's had very little what do you call-- panel time, let's say. I get the feeling that he is the straightest arrow, the one that has his head on straight, the one that's the most together of any.


Harold: He feels like a more grounded Charlie Brown.


Jimmy: Charlie Brown.


Michael: Or a more grounded Shermy


Harold: Yeah. Very similar personality type.


Michael: I means he's a straight man, and so he hasn't really developed any distinctive characteristics. But he does appear nine times this year, which we can't just throw him in with, the Violets and Patties and Friedas. Yeah, more moving up active than them.


Harold: I would go with Jimmy that there is a personality here. I wouldn't say it's a lack of personality, I just think it's a certain type of personality that isn't quite as over the top as what we see in elements of Snoopy or Lucy. he's a grounded character.


Michael: This is probably his first punchline.


Jimmy: Yeah.


March 4. Charlie Brown and Linus are hanging out at the good old thinking wall. And Linus says, “my dad doesn't drink, smoke, nor swear.” Charlie Brown says to Linus, “that's very commendable.” Then they think for a moment. Panel three. And then Linus says, “he rubs his eyes a lot.”


Michael: I have to admit, I don't get this joke.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: This was non sequitur 1972 to me.


Harold: I sat there and I was like, No. Does he mean? I don't know.


Jimmy: You guys don't have kids. You see, I think if you're a dad and you don't drink, smoke or swear, you're going to rub your eyes a lot. The thing I think of is, there's a line very similar to this in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where it's late in the run and the guy who's, like Buffy's watcher, takes his glasses off and rubs his eyes and says something that the reason he does it is he doesn't want to see what these kids are doing. And that's why you've been doing it all these years.


Harold: Is there something that rubbing your eyes is representative of? I just have not experienced this.


Jimmy: You've never rubbed your eyes out of a sense of tiredness and just look, I cannot deal with this thing right now.


Michael: I thought it was allergies okay.


Jimmy: well, people do I assure you.


Harold: I'm sure our listeners will jump in and explain it.


Jimmy: that is true. oh, yeah. Check it. Everybody in the world who's ever rubbed your eyes out of stress or frustrated, I'm doing it right now, as a matter of fact, and I'm going to take up drinking. No, but here's why I actually picked this.


Harold: Whose birthday?


Jimmy: It is March 4. I don't know, but if it's your birthday out there March 4, happy birthday. But what else it is, I want to follow because we've been talking about the Van Pelt parents for quite a while now. I think we can start figuring out little things about what these parents are. So we now know at least Linus's dad is a teetotaler.


Harold: Yeah.



Jimmy: So we know that.

Michael: And we know that mom is pregnant. And nobody knows it.


Jimmy: Nobody knows it. Sshhhh


Michael: Yes?


Jimmy: Well, I mean, people know it now.


Michael: Well, the kids didn't know.


Harold: You were the first to know, Michael.


Jimmy: Could be another reason that Good Ol’ Mr. Van Pelt was rubbing his eyes.


Michael: another Lucy.


Jimmy: Yeah. Can you imagine? Anyway, let's look and see if we can get any insight going forward into these Van Pelt parents because I think there's stuff going on.


Michael: All right, so this could be the Peltometer.


Jimmy: The Peltometer. There you go.


March 8. We're with Peppermint Patty again, and she is, hanging out in her bed. She's just woken up, it seems. possibly with a bit of a start from a dream. She goes, “wow, that was too much.” Then she's ready for school. And out the door and greeting her is Franklin. And she says, “I don't know, Franklin. I think all this ecology and environmental stuff is getting to me.” Then in the last panel, as they walk to school, she says, “last night I dreamed I was engaged to Johnny Horizon.”


Michael: and I wrote a big question mark.


Jimmy: Harold, for you?


VO: Peanuts Obscurities Explained


Jimmy: Harold has to know this, right?


Harold: Yes, Peanuts Obscurities Explained. The problem is, I'm now living in the era of the things that Schulz is bringing up in the strips. And so they're not obscurities, to me for the most part. So it's hard. But this one, I really genuinely scratched my head. Okay? I'm six years old at the time this comes out, or just around that. And I was like, who is Johnny Horizon? I was like, I don't know this. And so I found out that Johnny Horizon was the cultural high point of the Bureau of Land Management.


Jimmy: Well, this clearly was the cultural high point of the cultural high point.


Harold: I'm telling you. So it's a guy who kind of looks like cowboy, Marlborough man kind of guy with a big cowboy hat. Introduced in 1968, he was an anti litter crusader. And I've also learned that this is no longer a protected character as of 1982. So we could get Johnny Horizon to meet up with Miss Helen Sweetstory? Possibly. Or we'd have to call it Miss Helen Sweat Story. So then we could still do those and do our own series of Johnny Horizon and the bunny. I don't know.


Jimmy: Anyway, I'm already on the call with my agent. We got this, buddy. Don't worry.

Harold: Oh, thank you so much.


Michael: vs Miss Othmar and the Great Pumpkin


Harold: So Johnny Horizon's famous statement was, this land is your land. Keep it clean. And I remember Woodsy Owl.


Michael: Woody call your lawyer


Harold: I remember Smokey the Bear. I had a Smokey the Bear. I remember Woodsy the owl. He was everywhere. All the PSAs give up. But in Rochester, New York, they had absolutely no respect for the Bureau of Land Management.


Michael: How about Don't Mess With Texas.


Harold: No, I didn't see that either.


Michael: That was a Litter campaign.


Jimmy: Texas was a litter campaign?


Michael: Yeah


Jimmy: Well, I have my art-- near my art, right next to my art desk, which is where I'm recording this right now, is what we called a priest's bench. I don't think anyone outside of Girardville PA calls it that. It's just a bench that you can put stuff in it. And still from 1976, on the front is a Smokey the Bear sticker.


Harold: Well, yeah, and see, talking about 1976, supposedly the high point of Johnny Horizon was leading up to the bicentennial. And I'm reading about this, and I'm going, where was I as a little kid? Because I was the target of these ads. And I don't remember a single Johnny Horizon anything.


Jimmy: I'm a bicentennial like, aficionado. It's like one of the earliest memories for me. I was four years old. We had just moved into my new house, where I lived, like, the rest of my childhood and teenage years. So I love the bicentennial I collected all the little crap that we could get and stuff like that. I have no recollection of Johnny Horizon.


Harold: I just don't get yeah, but Schulz, obviously in California, maybe it was much more common. He was watching that, afternoon television, and, maybe there was the PSA just coming up over and over again. Who knows?


Jimmy: Well, he's pretty big. Maybe he got a call from Nixon. We need to plug this Johnny.

Harold: Well, actually, I think Gerald Ford made a Johnny Horizon day or something.


Jimmy: So it was a thing, I guess, yeah.


March 12. Sally gets canceled in panel one. And then in panel two, Charlie Brown walks towards Sally in her-- you can just look it up outfit. Then we see good old Sally is asleep in bed, but Charlie Brown wakes her up. And he says, “07:00, Sally, time to get up.” “Good grief.” She says, “I've got to hurry.” As she's putting her shoes on. Then we see her at the kitchen table writing “the Incas.” She continues, “The Incas were people who lived a long time ago in Inca land. They had a highly developed civilization. They would still be here today, but they lacked motel facilities.” She reads it over, then ends up at the breakfast table with Charlie Brown. And she says, “some of my best term papers have been written before breakfast.”


Michael: Snickersnacks.


Jimmy” Oh, yeah, it's snicker snacks.


Michael: But there aren't enough letters.


Jimmy: Well, it's the new 70s logo. It's an abbreviation.


March 15. This is a sequence here where Lucy, is coming up to bat, and it's a big game for the gang. Charlie Brown's on the bench in his manager role, and he says, “we need a run. We need a run.” Lucy, holding her bat, says, “hey, manager, what do you give me if I hit a home run?” Schroeder, sitting next to her, interrupts and says, “A home run? You've never hit the ball out of the infield in your life.” Lucy says, “If I hit a home run, will you give me a kiss?” Schroeder, indignant, says, “if you hit a home run, I'll meet you at home plate and give you the biggest kiss you've ever had.” Lucy stands up, brandishing the bat, and yells “incentive!” sending both Charlie Brown and Schroeder flying.


Michael: butt shots


Jimmy: with the butt shot. Should we continue before we discuss this? Should we just go right to March 17?


Michael: Keep going, keep going.


March 17. Lucy goes for a big swing and POW. In panel two, we see she did, in fact, hit a home run. And Charlie Brown is yelling, wide eyed, actually, “she did it. She hit a home run.” Schroeder looks shaken in panel three. Schroeder has now slumped to the ground. Charlie Brown, with a big grin on his face, reminds Schroeder, “and you're going to have to stand out by home plate and kiss her. You promised.” And in the last panel, we see good old Lucy rounding the basses and singing. “She's rounding first, she's rounding second, she's rounding third. She's heading for home. It's kissing time. La de da de da de da de da.”


Jimmy: And that all wraps up here on


March 18, where Linus yells, “Lucy hit a home run.” Charlie Brown reminds Schroeder and the readers out in newspaper land, “okay, Schroeder, this is it. You promised to kiss her.” Schroeder makes good on it, walks out to home plate and says, “a promise is a promise.” As he puckers up. Lucy has a big grin on her face as she's just about to touch home, but then she blows right past Schroeder, who has his lips puckered, and she says, “Forget it. If that's the only way I'll ever get you to kiss me, forget it.” Then she sits on the bench, arms folded, a huge smile on her face, and says, “another triumph for Women's Lib.”


Jimmy: I love that one. I love everything about that one. I love Lucy in this. And that is, I think, the perfect ending of this little sequence.


Harold: Yeah, that's good. He changes this up a lot, from just strip to strip. and the characters and their expressions and what they're going through. Even the fact that he opens it up where she doesn't seem to be going after a kiss from short at the beginning, she's saying, hey, manager, to Charlie Brown, what will you give me if I hit a home run? And I think this is part of one of the many great things that Schulz does, is he seems to be able to he doesn't keep you in the same state panel to panel with characters. I think, as much as other cartoonists do. It's easy to lock some character into a certain mode and then everybody just kind of stays in their mode and then the gag plays out. But he seems to be really good at finding a way to just mix it up a little bit. So even like, if a character starts but being angry about something the next strip, they're probably going to be a little depressed about it. he's really good about just taking them through stages of emotional thought or development into storylines. And I think that's one of his great traits.


Jimmy: Absolutely. One thing I'm noticing, and I'm not sure if it's true or if it's just something I'm putting onto it I feel like he's pressing a lot harder with the pen, like he is making these drawings as fast as he's always made them, if not, maybe a little faster or whatever. But there's a roughness to the drawings that wasn't there, say, two or three years ago.


Harold: Would that be the tremor starting to cause him some issues, you think?


Jimmy: I don't know or if it's just the place he's in when he's working. It's hard to say. But again, if you want to, you can see a couple of lines where you'll notice there is a little bit of a shake. It might be that, I mean, I know for a fact when mine's bad, I press really hard on the pen. And actually, I changed. Ultimately, I'm using the brush pen that I use now because I'm able to press as hard as I need to.


Harold: Right. As I see Charlie Brown pointing at Schroeder saying, you promised. And the line of, the balloon is pretty darn shaky there. Yes. And so, yeah, I wonder if those two things are connected.


Jimmy: Yeah. And those two strips, the word balloon around incentive as well. I imagine they were probably done on the same day, inked on the same day. And they both have that sort of what's the word for it? Ragged. Crude isn't the word because that implies it's not good. But you know what I mean? A little bit more, juice to the line, let's say. All right, so since Lucy, hit a home run, how about we call that the 7th inning stretch and we take a break and get some snacks and some water and then come back and do a few more?


Harold: Great.


Jimmy: Sure. All right, let's do it.


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. So let's get right into it.


March 26. This is one that Schulz himself always signaled that he liked. And I got to say, I agree with him. Panel one, we see Sally sticking her tongue out at the letter C in a bit of a symbolic panel on one of these that can be removed. And she says, “Bleah.”. In, panel two, we see what she's carrying, what looks like just a string or something that's been wrapped up in a spiral shape. And she says, “a C?” In panel three, she's back at her desk, and she says, “a C. I got a C on my coat hanger sculpture. How could anyone get a C in coat hanger sculpture?” She raises her hand. “May I ask a question? Was I judged on the piece of sculpture itself? If so, is it not true that time alone can judge a work of art? Or was I judged on my talent? If so, is it right that I be judged on a part of life over which I have no control?” Next panel. “If I was judged on my effort, then I was judged unfairly, for I tried as hard as I could. Was I judged on what I had learned about this project? If so, then were not you, my teacher, also being judged on your ability to transmit your knowledge to me? Are you willing to share my C?” Sally studies her own sculpture and says, “perhaps I was being judged on the quality of the coat hanger itself, out of which my creation was made. Now, is this also not unfair? Am I to be judged?” She says, now indignant “by the quality of coat hangers that are used by the dry cleaning establishment that returns our garments? Is that not the responsibility of my parents? Should they not share my C?” Then she concludes, quite satisfied with herself, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”


Michael: Did she get the grease?


Jimmy: I think so. They're going to have to bump it up to C+.


Harold: This is an absolute classic strip. There's no question about it. I'm with you, Jimmy. I love this strip. It's so classic. This is the ultimate Sally. She doesn't do terribly well in school, but then she comes up with this. That's amazing. And I remember as a little kid studying this very closely, because I was in school at this time, not too much older than Sally when I'm reading this and I'm going, okay, yeah. This is very helpful. I'm going to remember some of these things. Yeah, absolutely. And I love the fact that when she's piling it on at the end, her language is elevating to the point where she's like, am I to be judged by the quality of coat hangers that are used by the dry cleaning establishment that returns our garments? That's fantastic. This is another really sad thing to connect to this, but when I think of all this high falutin language and I think of Snoopy as a lawyer again, I think of the divorce. How much legal documents are you having to go over that are just stressing you out?


Jimmy: Especially when there's that much money at stake and that much property and that much everything. Really funny stuff, though, for sure. That's definitely one for the old hall of Fame.


April 1. Woodstock walks past Linus, and he looks very upset. You can tell because the word balloon over his head is covered with black scribbles. A great cartooning convention, if you ask me. Linus notices this, then goes to Snoopy's doghouse and says, “your friend looks kind of depressed.” Snoopy says “ex friend. No stupid bird is going to tell me how to read War and Peace.” Oh, that's right, because this is in the middle of a sequence where Snoopy has decided to read War and Peace, but he's doing it one word at a time, which, of course, one word a day, because one word at a time is the only way to read anything. So one word a day. Woodstock is not having this because he wanted him to start over. So Snoopy continues in number three. Panel three. “Just because he couldn't follow the story, he got mad. I can't help it if he came along when I was already up to the fifth word.” Linus says to Snoopy as he looks off after Woodstock, “it's a shame to spoil such a good friendship.” Snoopy, lying on his doghouse, thinks, I say, “let him flock together with birds of his own feather.”


Jimmy: Harsh, Snoopy. Harsh.


Michael: This is really way too harsh for Snoopy.


Jimmy: Poor little Woodstock. Absolutely. Now this, though, drifts into, one of the larger sequences that we are going to study in depth in a later episode, probably as I look at the clock. Two episodes from now, but well worth it. Really good. I like the drawing of Snoopy in panel three. And I love, the sad Woodstock in panel one.


Harold: He's so adorable, you just want to give him a hug


Michael: crush him.


Jimmy: You love Woodstock. My two of my great triumphs, of this is that you like Sally and Woodstock. Now that's just awesome.


Michael: Oh, I love Woodstock. Actually, this is the year of Woodstock. I'm going to give him Peanut of the year.


Jimmy: Oh, spoiler. Whoa, Woodstock is getting that? Well, we'll have to see where Harold and I land. Hey, since we're talking about features of the show, and we did talk about anger, but do you want to give us the old anger meter now, Harold?


Harold: Well, all right. So let's see where we were in 1971. So we had 81 strips showing a character with the emotion of anger. In 1971, only 22% of all of the strips. That means 78% of the strips had no character showing any anger. And that was an all time low since we started to count this, which is some time in the mid fifties. And we had 139 happy strips with a character showing happiness, which was the second highest since we started collecting that information. So with that as a background, where do you think we've gone with the anger in 1972? Is it still lower or is it going up again?


Jimmy: I think it's going up because I think he's getting more comfortable with his new situation and therefore more comfortable with expressing different emotions about it. That's my guess. And I think the happiness is about the same. Maybe ticks upward, but not a lot.


Harold: Okay, Michael, what do you think?


Michael: I think anger is down a hair. Happiness up a hair. Even though this one we just read is an anger.


Harold: Well, Michael, you are correct that the anger is actually down slightly to 76, a new all time low, 21%. And you both thought that the happiness, even though it was the second highest, was maybe at and close to an all time high. It is actually way down-- 86. From 139 to 86. It's only 24% of the strips. So to me, that says this is a stoic year for Schulz, which maybe makes sense because like you're saying it's still your theory, Jimmy. It's the idea that he's having issues with the processing still, maybe. And there's less coming out in those extremes, perhaps.


Jimmy: Who knows? I think you're right. I think that makes a lot of sense. And a recent episode. I read Siddhartha because Snoopy mentioned Herman Hesse. I would like to announce I read War and Peace last week because-- no, I didn't.


Harold: I read Johnny Horizon.


Michael: I read one word of War and Peace. First word was great. We're skipping ahead to April 30 because this is the catfight.


Jimmy: Yeah. So come back in two weeks for the cat fight episode. It's really a great sequence. And you'll also get to hear Thompson is in trouble and the six bunny wunnies freak out. But now we're at


April 30 and, Woodstock is wearing a ridiculous party hat. He goes over to Snoopy's house. He says something to Snoopy. And this launches Snoopy into a few panels of just really blissful dancing. Woodstock takes it all in and then hops off the doghouse and goes back to wherever he was going. And then it leaves Snoopy alone, who thinks, “I hope I helped him. But I don't know. Ten minutes before you go to a party. It's no time to be learning how to dance.”


Harold: That little Woodstock hat makes me think of Dr. Seuss.


Jimmy: Yeah, it's very Seussian. I just think it's so cute, watching Woodstock watch Snoopy dance. And that last panel of Snoopy dancing on the first panel in the bottom tier, that's iconic late Snoopy. I mean, that's the kind of Snoopy you're definitely going to be seeing going forward.


Michael: Yeah, he does have the forehead. Seems to come and go.


Jimmy: Well, panel. The second time we see panel or Snoopy, which is panel two on the second tier, that's some pretty high forehead.


Michael: Yeah, but the next panel, it's way down.


Jimmy: Yes. And then we get this, a great illustration of how off model Snoopy is allowed to be. When we can see the last panel, we see the thickness of Snoopy's neck in his classic dog on the dog house pose. And then right above it, we see the neck while he has a snout pointed to the sky, dancing. And the only reason they're the same character is Schulz tells you they're the same character, and so you believe him.


Harold: And it really works a lesson to us cartoonists everywhere.


Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely.


May 2 Sally comes home from school. She sees Charlie Brown and says, “I learned two things in school today.” As she's taking off her jacket, she says, “I learned that if you don't watch where you're going, you can get knocked down in the hall. And I also learned that the drinking fountain is out of order.” Then she walks away from Charlie Brown saying, “it's not often that you can learn two new things in one day.”


Michael: Education is a great thing.


Jimmy: It really is. You know what else is a great thing? That, panel two of her taking the jacket off. I absolutely love that one.


Harold: The little tongue sticking up. That's so classic Schulz. Love that stuff with a little when you're concentrating on doing something, it's kind of kid hard. You got to have your little tongue sticking up from the bottom of your lip.


Jimmy: Got to do I remember my friend Frankie O'Neill, that was how he would play Atari games. He would always sitting there with his tongue out. Used to drive my mom crazy for some reason. Don't know why she even noticed.


Harold: My wife Diane was like, who does that? It's like, people do that. So sometimes I actually do it on purpose. I know she's watching me. I'm, like, writing a note or something. I have my old tongue. She's like, stop that.


Jimmy: Isn't it weird that she doesn't notice that? But you guys are like, no one ever rubs their eyes in frustration.


Harold: Yeah, exactly.


Jimmy: Sure. Everyone sticks their tongue out.


May 5. Sally is sitting at her desk. Yes. Hands folded, and she says she's clearly been asked a question by her teacher. And she said, “who is the father of Henry the Fourth? I could not possibly care less.” She covers her mouth and says, “I'm sorry. I apologize. That was just a gut reaction.”


Michael: Okay. This was definitely a candidate for strip of the year. Put stars next to it, so I remember.


Jimmy: Yeah, that's just honesty, right? That is just honesty.


Michael: Despite the, rather obvious answer.


Jimmy: if you out there in Unpacking Peanuts land, can guess who the father of Henry the Fourth was. Although it doesn't necessarily have to be Henry III, right?


Harold: No.


Michael: But, that's certainly the obvious.


Jimmy: If you were going to guess, though, I would go Henry III. But the correct answer is, I could not possibly care less.


Harold: And his father was John. John of Gaunt.


Jimmy: Oh, see, there you go.


Harold: But is it a trick question? Trick question. Grant's Tomb. I don't know.


Jimmy: Grant and his wife, right? That's the answer to that one.


May 6. Woodstock is saying something to Snoopy. He continues in panel two, saying something. He looks very, adamant about whatever he's saying in panel three, Snoopy sighs, rolls his eyes skyward as Woodstock continues to babble on. And on panel four, Snoopy looks really frustrated, laying on his stomach on the doghouse. Woodstock is now sitting on top of Snoopy's butt, still talking. And Snoopy says, “why do people always have to tell you what they dreamed last night?”


Michael: Is this a universal thing?


Jimmy: Yeah. First off, we had a rule as father of the household with my kids growing up, there was a rule you could tell someone what your dream was last night, but he had to do it in ten words or less.


Michael: Wow. Okay. There's only two things, I think, which this rule applies. Dreams, and your Dungeons and Dragons game.


Jimmy: Right. Because no one else has any context for what you're talking about? No answer.


Michael: Even if they know.


Harold: I have to say, bringing up Diane again, she, is the most amazing interpreter of dreams I have ever met. And I'm always fascinated to be around her when someone explains their dream, because she's going to-- expresses what they dreamed. And then she will ask a couple of pointed questions and then often come back with a crazy good analysis of what you're processing.


Jimmy: Wow. Well, she will never hear any of mine, because, by the way, I am well aware of what I'm processing. I know 100% what I'm processing. We don't need to talk about it.

Harold: I dreamt I rubbed my eyes last night, but I don't know what it means.


Michael: I had some great Dungeons and Dragons games.


Harold: I dreamt about Dungeons and Dragons.


Jimmy: Oh, boy. Oh, wow. That's a really bad situation. But you know what? You never know. When I was a kid, I used to hate to sit and like when we were talking about playing Atari right. And it wasn't even your turn. And the other kids playing, and you have to watch them play a video game. It's like, this is the worst thing.


Harold: That it's like Twitch.


Jimmy: Yeah. And that's all there is now.


Michael: Oh, I love watching people play video games.


Jimmy: How did this become a thing?


Michael: I used to stand at the arcade and watch a friend play Asteroids.


Harold: Were you learning tips?


Michael: I never did.


Harold: Just enjoy the bright colors, the lights, and the white dots.


Michael: No, it's just like, I can't take the stress myself.


Harold: Save some quarters.


Jimmy: My daughter Anna feels the same way. She loves watching other people play video games because she can't take the stress of play. Although she's a world class Mario Kart player.


Harold: There you go.


May 9. Joe Cool is hanging out at the dorm leaning up against his doghouse, and he thinks, “here's Joe Cool trying to decide what he's going to do this summer.” He goes for a little walk while he contemplates it. “If I go home, I'll have to get a job.” He looks at a bulletin board, and then he's back at his desk and he writes, “here's Joe Cool signing up for pottery.”


Jimmy: I have done this because even though I had a job on campus, a campus job is not like a real job. You're right. I mean, they're basically trying to just help you out with your tuition. You have to do a couple of hours here and there. It's no big deal. I took my job in college just because I thought the girl was cute. And, that's Karen Gownley.


Liz: Good choice.


Jimmy: Yeah, it worked out.


May 10. Linus is working on a piece of art in his room with Lucy. In his house, rather. With Lucy. “Whoops.” He says. “I broke another one of your crayons.” Lucy's outraged. “All right, that does it. Get out of this house.” Linus says, “but I live here.” Lucy's standing up, and she's enraged. “Not anymore, you don't.” Linus is screaming, “I live here. I live here.” Lucy is physically removing him from the house. “Out,” she says. Linus is sent flying out the door through the air. And he says, “It's ridiculous to say you can't throw me out of my own house while you're still flying through the air.”


Jimmy: A little Stan Lee right? Spiderman.


Michael: Spiderman falling from a plane. Well, if I can maneuver my leg just enough to catch that...


Jimmy: Only milliseconds left. Must reach out with all my strength. Oh, bad. So, yeah, this is another opportunity, I think we're going to have to figure, out what's going on, with the old Van Pelts. This is part of a longer sequence as Michael alluded to earlier, where, in fact, Mrs. Van Pelt is pregnant, but the kids don't know.


Harold: I want to ask you an art question here in this third panel of this strip, as Lucy is carrying Linus out, she has her arm extended and her fingers extended, and they're kind of floating on his jaw and the air and maybe the very tip of one of his arms. Why is Charles Schulz drawing that obviously impossible--


Jimmy: I'm glad you brought this up


Harold: situation with this extended arm, with extended fingers, grabbing onto her brother,

Jimmy: because I have thought about this. And I think he is always trying to go for a thing that will read iconically at a very, very small size, because I did notice that partly because we're looking at it in different formats than it was in the newspaper. I'm actually looking at it on a huge screen right now. And I think if you were going to actually do it correctly right, you would have to put her arms probably under his arms, as if she's lifting him from under his armpits or whatever. But even that then screws up her dress, which never behaves like a real dress. You're not going to have it, like, bump up against him and get wrinkled or pushed down or anything like that. So I feel what he did was drew Lucy in the most iconic carrying pose he could and then fit Linus in with it.


Harold: That makes sense.


Jimmy: That's my thought. Now, whether or not it 100% works, your mileage may vary, but I think that's what he's trying to do,.


Harold: because it's not offensive and it is clean. You can certainly tell what's going on. And this is one of those examples where I think another thing that, is often overlooked in what Schulz is doing in terms of directing the eye is that he will usually have very clean lines for the eyes and the outlines of the face, the nose and the mouth, where most of the expression is. Then you go further down in the body, where it's less important. He draws it more roughly. And I think for some reason, our eyes are drawn to the clean and the rough looks like it's almost like slightly out of focus. Out of focus and works really well.


Jimmy: And you brought that to our attention a long time ago when you were talking about some of the stuff off to the edges of panels. And you have to kind of be working at the top of your game to even attempt something like that.


Harold: Yeah, but it works so well.


Jimmy: Yeah.


May 14. Woodstock, a very sad little Woodstock is standing all alone, holding a sign that says Mom. And then in panel two, we see him picking a flower. In panel three, we've seen he's picked a few flowers and he walks over to a bird's nest, but there's no one in the bird's nest, so he takes the flowers back. And then he sits on Snoopy's dog house in size. Then he climbs atop Snoopy's head, still holding the flowers, looks up into the sky as if he's looking to find his mother in the sky and sits down, looks so sad somehow. And then in the last panel, hands the flowers to Snoopy and then leans up against them just looking so sad. And Snoopy thinks, “I've never really thought of myself as a mother substitute.”


Michael: This is the saddest thing.


Jimmy: It is saddest.


Harold: So sad. So sweet.


Jimmy: but like, explain it to me. There is Woodstock in panel five, and he has a neutral expression. And there is Woodstock in panel next to the last, and he looks sad. And in the last panel, he's devastated. There's the slight angle of the body language, but it's not even that somehow the eyes look sad.


Harold: Yeah.


Jimmy: Right. And when you see it never occurred to me until Michael said it a couple of weeks ago. That how little real estate Woodstock takes up in a panel. It's the tiniest little character you can imagine.


Harold: Yeah. And talking about like emotional shifts, I'm guessing that there may be an extra emotional shift or two in this strip versus if other people would draw it because they start with the throwaway panels and you have the questioning kind of confused Woodstock. Then you have the happy Woodstock who's found a flower. Then you have the proud Woodstock who has the little bouquet for his mom. Then he has the kind of the seeking Woodstock just looking up in the nest. And then he's the thoughtful Woodstock, it looks like, because he's the eyes slightly down, like he's looking at the ground as he's carrying his flowers back towards Snoopy. Then there's the depressed Woodstock who's sitting on the edge of the dog house as Snoopy's watching. And then again, there's two of the seekings, but the second one's a little different as he's sitting on Snoopy's head, looking out and then looking depressed, like there is nobody there. And then the second to last one, you see Woodstock with his eyes. You can't tell quite if he's looking up at the sky still or he's kind of looking side eyed at Snoopy, like maybe you'll do. And then that last little panel, and you get almost a sense of consolation because the heads tilted against Snoopy's side, like there is actually some consolation that Snoopy can be the mom substitute. But Snoopy just broke--


Jimmy: Yeah, well, we'll cover all of that in relation to the catfight sequence. A great example. Okay. Maybe a better example of what I was trying to hint at as well. In terms of what Harold's saying and in terms of the minimalism of it, if you look at panel one and panel three in the second tier, that's the exact same drawing by any regular human standard. Somehow, though, as you pointed out, he is proud or satisfied with himself in the first one. And he's thoughtful and contemplative


Harold: And the eyes closed. The eyes only closed in the first one. And the eyes open in the okay.


Jimmy: The eyes closed because why.


Harold: it's that little stroke of the pen that Schulz knew just what to do.


Jimmy: Amazing. I don't even know what to say. I don't even know what to say. It is one microscopic little bit more ink or something on the second one. Yeah. Amazing.


May 21. Snoopy is carrying a, flag with a little heart on it. Then he hops off his dog house and joins Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown, who are walking along, having one of their little conversations. Peppermint Patty asks Charlie Brown, “is love a now kind of thing, Chuck, or is it mostly hope and memories?” As Peppermint Patty takes a drink from the water fountain, Charlie Brown answers her question. “Well, my dad says that he took a girl to the movies once, and it was one of those real sad love stories. He remembered that Anne Baxter was in it. And for years afterwards, every time he saw Anne Baxter, he'd get real depressed because it would remind him of that movie and the girl he had been with.” Now they continue to walk in a beautiful silhouette drawing, and Charlie Brown continues, “he never forgot that girl because every time he saw Anne Baxter, it would remind him of her.” Charlie Brown continues, “then one night on The Late, Late Show, that same movie came on, but it turned out that he had been wrong all those years. It wasn't Anne Baxter. It was Susan Hayward. (The shock). Then they are all hanging out at Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty's favorite tree. And Charlie Brown finishes with “love has its memories, I guess.” Peppermint Patty says, “I was really hoping it was, a now kind of thing.” And Snoopy says, “It is for some of us, sweetie.”


Jimmy: I love the drawing in this one. I love the water fountain. I love that Peppermint Patty's world is slightly more ramshackle, slightly more lived in, slightly more worn down. And you just see that with basically the post of the fence and just the line quality of the fountain. but it feels to me very much Peppermint Patty's World.


Harold: Yeah.


Michael: Charlie Brown is kind of a bore.


Jimmy: When he goes on and on like this. Yeah.


Michael: These stories don't seem to have a point. This one doesn't really have a point.


Jimmy: To me, I feel that, again, I, think this is real. I think this is Schulz has that real memory. And his goal isn't necessarily to make it funny, comic with a point as much as it is to record it, put it in the work. That's so much a part of him now. and it's actually very nice of him to do it this way, because lots of people are just bored in their real life. Right. So he puts it in Charlie Brown's mouth and makes it a fun comic.


Harold: And I really enjoy these long stories from Charlie Brown that he's thinking things through. And I think what he's thinking through is really complex.


Jimmy: Oh, it's super complex.


Harold: I kind of love that he may not always know how it all adds up, but to me, this is very vivid. I mean, I'm with him in this story. I'm not getting bored. A lot of words, but I'm like, I'm with you.


Jimmy: I want to see where this goes. Yeah, okay. but this is interesting, too, that's you outside the strip and me outside the strip. I think if you were Peppermint Patty, you're having a different feeling.


Harold: Well, I feel like that they're always not always, but they're often at, cross purposes of what they're trying to get out of a conversation. And I think Charlie Brown is often in his head, and that does make him a bore in the sense that he's not addressing somebody where they are emotionally. He might actually it's a jumping off point for something that he's thinking about. And that's true for, I think, all of us. We wind up again, it's cool to see in a strip where you see a character who's given something to think about or talk about, and then it becomes their own thing. And then it goes so far afield what the person who asked the question was asking that it becomes boring, like me talking right now.


Jimmy: We've spaghetti at our house three times this month.


May 23. This is crazy stuff happening now. Linus has been thrown out of the house, and he's hanging out of the dorm with Joe Cool. Charlie Brown comes up to Linus and says, “what I don't understand is why your mother would allow Lucy to throw you out of the house.” And then Linus says, “mom isn't home. She went to the hospital yesterday.” This shocks even Joe Cool. Charlie Brown says, “Is she all right?” Linus says, “I don't know. Nobody ever tells me anything.” Then hard cut to inside the Van Pelt household. Lucy's on the phone, and she says, “A new baby brother? But I just got rid of the old one.”


Jimmy: And this is, the birth of the third Van Pelt child. And one of the strangest things that ever happens to Peanuts is Rerun. And this is where it all starts. Now, Michael, when you read this for the first time, did you know this is where it was headed, or was that a shock to you?


Michael: No, I knew Rerun was coming at some point this early. I always saw that maybe it was the but what I was basically worrying about was what happened to Snoopy's dog house in panel three. Doesn't have any walls.


Jimmy: It disappears, totally disappears. Now, Michael, as a cartoonist, is very much of the thought that he tries to think of the panel as if it's like a frame of film. And if you were photographing said thing, you would have to show it in the panel, because that's the only thing that makes sense. Absolutely. So that's a huge problem in panel two, here I am curious to see how they would have colored this when they recolor all these for the dailies these days. And, I don't know if this one's ever been rerun, but I'm curious to see, if it's ever been rerun. Oh, that's a spoiler, because coming up here is--


May 30. Linus and Lucy are watching TV, and Linus says, “listen, our new baby brother is crying. For a long while you had just one baby brother,” he says to Lucy. But then he says, “suddenly you have two.” This doesn't please Lucy. She gets up and leaves and says, “at this time of the year, all you ever get is Reruns.”


Michael: Schulz really liked that name.


Jimmy: And then it's weird, right, that the Rerun thing comes up. And then it's not until the next strip that they mentioned him when he gets the nickname, I assume Rerun, as opposed it could have been one strip that does that, right?


Michael: Yeah, but it's also like, why would the parents-- well, I don't know if they actually call him Rerun.


Jimmy: Yeah, we never really find that out, I don't think. What I assume it's like, the kid's nickname.


Harold: Yeah. I don't get this, especially for Linus. This just seems so demeaning to the little brother. I guess maybe because this is the side of Linus is disconnected from the humanity.

Jimmy: Yeah. I don't in any way mean I think he just but it just seems, like, so stupid.


Harold: I mean, I would never want to call my younger brother Rerun.


Jimmy: Well, you don't have a younger brother so you don't know..


Harold: I guess not.


Jimmy: What is strange about this is Rerun does, a few things, but, never really becomes much of anything for decades. And then, as Peanuts ends, he's the star of the strip and one of the brightest points of the whole run of it. And I floated this-- name dropping here-- to Jeannie Schulz when I got to be out at the museum, I said, does it have something to do with his grandkids. And she was like, 100%. She thinks that him reconnecting or not reconnecting because they're little. But as the grandkids were born and Schulz, connected with them, he found new inspiration in the same way he found inspiration in his kids way back in the day. So Rerun ends up becoming this hugely important figure, but you sure wouldn't know it from the beginning.


Harold: That makes a lot of sense.


Jimmy: You know what else would make a lot of sense? If we just called it right here and came back next week. What do you guys think about that?


Harold: Sure


Michael: Sounds reasonable.


Jimmy: All right. So coming back for the rest of 1972, we will finish up these strips. Then, we will visit, the tier list to be, sure that we're all up to snuff and up to date on that. And then the week after that's, when we're going to do our trifecta of the Cat fight, Six Bunny Wunnies freak out, and Thompson are in trouble. Thompson is in trouble, rather. The three big storylines from 1972 sound good.


Michael: All right, cool.


Jimmy: All right. So all you blockheads out there, if you want to follow us on the social media, we're at Unpack Peanuts on Instagram and Twitter. We're unpacking peanuts on Facebook. You can also visit us at our website, which is unpackingpeanuts.com, where you can send us an email. And I would love-- send us an email. What do you think of, as we shift gears into the 70s? What are your feelings? I know there are there are a couple people who contacted us earlier, that saying the 70s was their favorite, their favorite era. I think even Lex, Fajardo said it's one of his favorite eras. So if that's you, we want to hear from you. We'd also love if you could support us in any way, possibly financially, you could buy a book through Unpackingpeanuts.com. You could buy us a mud pie, or you could, follow us on Patreon or buy a t shirt. Any or all of those would be much appreciated. Other than that, please just come back next week where we continue 1972. Until then, for Michael and Harold. This is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.


Michael and Harold: Yes, be of 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 Unpack Peanuts on Instagram and Twitter. Unpacking peanuts on Facebook and YouTube. For more about Jimmy, Michael, and Harold, visit unpackingpeanuts.com. Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening.


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