Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts, where we're in 1973, talking about the work of our hero and idol, Charles Schulz
Hope you're all doing well out there. We're doing well here because it's a day we get to hang out and talk about comics, which is the best thing in the world to do.
I'm your host for this evening. I'm Jimmy Gownley. I'm also a cartoonist. I did the Amelia Rules series, Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up and The Dumbest Idea Ever.
Joining me, as always, are my pals co hosts and fellow cartoonists. He's a playwright and a composer, both for the band Complicated People, as well as for this very podcast. He's the original editor of Amelia Rules, the co creator of the original comic book Price Guide, and the creator of such great strips as Strange Attractors, a Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River. It's 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 the creator of the instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts. And he's coming to a town near you. It's Harold Buchholz.
Jimmy: So, guys, the Unpacking Peanuts hotline was ringing off the hook this week.
Jimmy: Yeah. So we got some stuff from some listeners. I thought before we get into the strips and get into talking about 1973, we see what our listeners have been, what they have on their minds.
Jimmy: All right, so this is from Shayley Robson.
Speaker: Hi, it's Shayley calling, one of your followers from Winnipeg. Holy cow, this is crazy. I just want to say that, I always look forward to your episodes every Tuesday. And, what I love about the 70s so far is how Peppermint Patty and Marcy have been getting screen time. So you could say Peppermint Patty is one of my favorites. Anyway, this connects. Got to go. I hope you guys have a good day and be of good cheer. Bye.
Harold: be of good cheer, Shayley.
Jimmy: Yeah, be of good cheer. Well, I'm a huge Peppermint Patty and Marcy fan, so I have to agree with that. I'm really enjoying their strips. What do you guys think?
Harold: It's definitely changed the the flavor and tone of the strip. I think when I think of this era, you I've just got to think of Peppermint Patty and also kind of this Woodstock Snoopy thing that seems to define this era for me.
Jimmy: Yeah, Woodstock and Peppermint Patty are definitely, I think, the icons of the have to agree with that. Got another call from our pal Joshua Stauffer from good old Lancaster, PA.
Speaker: Hi there. This is Joshua Stauffer, and I am thoroughly enjoying your lively conversations about Peanuts in the 70s. So what do I like best about this era? Well, we are seeing lots of longer storylines in the comic strip, which are always a lot of fun to read. In fact, nearly two thirds of the source material for the Charlie Brown Snoopy Show came from these longer sequences from the 70s.
Speaker: Speaking of animation, lots of spectacular specials came out in the 70s. My favorite one from this era. There's No Time for Love. Charlie Brown. That's the one where the gang goes on a field trip to an art museum but Charlie Brown, Sally, Peppermint Patty, and Marcy get lost, and they end up in a supermarket instead. This special marks the first animated appearance of Marcy, and it's the first one where we get to see how Peppermint Patty feels about Chuck. As a kid, I loved field trips, I loved museums, I loved grocery stores, and I love Peppermint Patty. To see all of those things in one special was just thrilling. Anyway, it's a pleasure talking to you again, and as always, be a good cheer.
Jimmy: All right, well, Josh, thank you.
Harold: Yes, thanks.
Jimmy: oh, also, and I sent you guys this. This was from our listener Mary in Colorado. She sent us a letter. This is a text to the Peanuts hotline. She sent us, a story from the New York Post that said, the Coffee Grounds estate, the original Schulz estate, where he raised his kids and had his photographer studio, art studio, and the three hole golf course and all that stuff is for sale.
Jimmy: 3.9 million.
Harold: That seems a little low for California, right? Is it the entire
Michael: why don't we and all our readers just buy it?
Harold: Just, chip in
Michael: just keep just send in that send in that money to Unpacking Peanuts
Jimmy: yeah. If we get 3.9 million in mud pie donations, T shirts and stuff doesn't count because there's overhead, so it's got to be a straight up mud pie or Patreon donation. If we get 3.9 million, we will put a bid in.
Jimmy: That'd be a great place to podcast from. I would enjoy that.
Harold: Wow. Yeah. That would be something else. That is a large, three whole golf course. I mean, that tells you something.
Jimmy: Yeah. Right? And there's a miniature golf course. I think there's stables and stuff. It's a whole thing. Yeah.
Harold: And that's all survived. Do we know that? Have you ever gone on to Zillow?
Jimmy: I'm looking, actually, right now. Hang on.
Jimmy: It may have been broken up. It's not quite as big as it used to be.
Harold: Okay. But one and a half holes for golf.
Jimmy: the one containing the Schulz art studio and a second parcel containing a four hole golf course, I believe are what's actually for sale.
Harold: So you get the four hole golf course. Wow.
Jimmy: Everybody does need to go on to this New York Post story, because there's photographs of the place. It is stunning.
Liz: Thanks Mary
Harold: Really? Wow. So why is such a bargain? I mean, are these just hoping they'll bid it up, get the bidding war going, I guess, yeah, I don't know. I mean, there's obviously a dedicated Schulz museum but it would be pretty cool if that space were also kind of something to commemorate Schulz in one way or another. Like the Brady Bunch house, how it was bought.
Harold: was HGTV bought it, and then they made it look inside like it did, in the original TV show. And now just sitting there, I don't think I don't know if anyone's living in there or not, but we did walk by there, Turner Classic Movies Festival in April. And, we did see, the random recycling bin and trash can. So I think maybe somebody is actually staying there.
Jimmy: That's pretty awesome.
Harold: Going through the Brady Bunch of trash is not allowed.
Jimmy: No, I can imagine that that would be a pain to whoever does live there. Well, anyway, go on this New York Post and just type in Schulz or something. I'm sure it'll come up anyway. Really cool.
And our last text for, the Peanuts Hotline is from super listener Anne. And she just wanted us to know that we were giving Peppermint Patty too much credit when Charlie Brown brings up the little red haired girl and insults Peppermint Patty, after they're leaving the fair. Because, as she pointed us out, Peppermint Patty made it very clear that Charlie Brown was her last choice.
Harold: That is easy to forget when it's Charlie Brown, because he's always getting that. But, yeah, that's probably of the two digs, she got the worst one.
Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely.
Harold: I think you're right there, Anne.
Jimmy: So it is so fun to hear from you guys. I love it when you write in. I love it when you call the hotline. So please continue to do that. If you want to reach out to us, you can do it on social media. We're at Unpackpeanuts on both Instagram and Twitter. We're unpacking Peanuts on Facebook, and you can email us, through our website unpackingpeanuts.com. And we would love to hear from you. And of course, you can call the Hotline, the number of which is.
Jimmy: Phone lines always open 24/7. All right, so that's old business now, getting to 1973. Mr. Harold Buchholz, do you have anything to let us know about Mr. Schulz's life?
Harold: Yeah, this is another year of change for Charles Schulz. The strips themselves, I think they do have a bit more of a soap opera feel to them because they're getting a little more extended. And as Joshua was mentioning, a lot of that material served well in the animated specials and the TV shows in later times. And I can't help but think that he's running, not just a strip now. He's got this large franchise. Story wise, the TV shows are something that have to be on his mind because he's constantly working with, Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez to make these shows and he's got to come up with the premises. I think I see that clearly in the strip now that the idea of telling longer stories, Schulz is getting a little more comfortable with it. Maybe, he's had it under his belt now for about almost ten years. So that's interesting to see. The other really big thing that I noticed in the strips themselves was this is a year of sports. There's like 152 strips out of 365 that are about sports or games or in one way or another, related or unrelated to competition. There's hopscotch, there's football, tennis, hockey, gymnastics, fishing, baseball, and even organized snowman building. So it's quite a year for sports.
Jimmy: Organized snowman building sequence felt very familiar, especially I was a coach, a basketball coach later, when I was like in my twenties. And that felt very familiar to me.
Harold: Yeah. And even more so today, it seems, it's even more relatable, for sure. So much as, I mean, kids were much freer. It seems like I was growing up in that era. And it does feel like everything is prearranged by adults for the kids to get involved in.
Jimmy: I think we should call for a Gen X summer. They always say it's hot girl summer or whatever. We need to have a Gen X summer. Everybody's outside all the time. You don't come in until the lights come on. I think it'd be a lot of fun.
Harold: Everyone's got the unique whistle to call everybody home for dinner and all that stuff. Yeah, that would be amazing. Pendulum swing. So I'm guessing sooner or later it's going to swing back the other way.
And I also wanted to mention there are two major things I still haven't gotten into. I think I mentioned it in a previous episode. This is the year that Schulz wins his Emmy for writing on a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which is a classic episode. And the other big piece about that is that I think Lucy shows up in like a football sequence in the very opening, maybe before the credits run, and then she's not there anymore. It's like Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown and Linus and Snoopy and Marcy. All those people are there. But Lucy is interestingly absent. And the other thing that I noticed in that special, there's some really wonderful slapstick stuff with Snoopy and Woodstock. And the song Little Birdie, which is sung by the composer Vince Guaraldi. I didn't know that. I didn't realize that. When we hear the song Little Birdie, why do you do the things you do? That's Vince Guaraldi's voice. And somebody, pointed out very interestingly that this is the first time we've actually heard an adult voice in a special and it's through his singing. So those are the interesting things related to the strip.
And then the last thing I have to share huge news. Schulz remarries in September to Jean Forsyth Clyde, and then remains married to her through until his death in 2000. So that was a huge change in his life, because if you can imagine, he had been divorced, I think, in late 72 maybe, and then he's on his own, but also preparing for a marriage. And now he's, he's wed in September. So it might be interesting to kind of put that filter on as you're, as you're listening to us go through the strips this year.
Jimmy: Well, that's good. What a wonderful thing for Mr. Schulz, I have to say, Jeannie Schulz may have said the coolest thing any human has ever said to me, or maybe just the coolest thing any human has ever said. And she was maybe in her late 60s, early seventies at this point. And I was a guest at the museum and she said, you could come over into the main house and hang out anytime you want. I'm around every day except Saturday mornings. That's my trapeze lesson.
Jimmy: It's like, wow. I think when we see, a lot of that sporting, life that we're seeing in Peanuts this year, I think some of that is her influence. I know she was a big tennis player.
Harold: Okay. Yeah. Because we'd mentioned that football Linus is reading that football is more popular now than baseball. All of a sudden, there's tons of football strips. And now, she's into tennis, he's obviously into skating, he's got the ice rink. How many cartoonists were that active in sports and that broadly active in sports?
Jimmy: Yeah. When you think of Schulz, you think of sort of this mild mannered and retiring guy. But he was a very athletic person and played, of all things, hockey, which is like the most physical game you can imagine playing. Very difficult, even if you're only playing in a seniors league or whatever.
Jimmy: So, yeah, he was a very athletic guy.
All right, so Michael,
Jimmy: How are we looking at the end of 1972? How are we looking on the tier list? And how, if at all, do you think we're going to be changing it by the end of this year?
Michael: I think it's going to get really scrambled by the end of this year. But just to review, here's the tier list from 72. Now, we broke it down into five categories. And A. The top billing is, the original big four Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy. We added Woodstock a couple years ago, we added Peppermint Patty, and we boosted Sally up to top billing. So we've got seven in the A list, which leaves, Schroeder all by himself on the B list, sitting there at the piano. He's very lonely.
Jimmy: That's how he likes it, though.
Michael: Well, yeah, he probably alone with Beethoven.
Michael: C list now, Frieda, Violet, Marcy, and Franklin.
Michael: And that's definitely going to get shaken up a little bit. The D list is with the original Patty, and then Roy from camp and Five, and then the funny little kid at camp who just says, shut up and leave me alone. I don't think we were totally serious about that. And then E is
Jimmy: He’s my new favorite character. I don’t know who he is but alright.
Michael: And then finally, the E tier, which is basically people who have dropped out of the strip. they may come back, we don't know. But, Charlotte Braun, five’s twin sisters, three and four, Faron the Cat, Jose Peterson, who really only showed up for a couple of strips years ago. And then good old Pig Pen, and most tragically, of course, good old Shermy, who was one of the first three characters in the strip.
Jimmy: First person to speak.
Harold: Where did you have Violet in that, Michael?
Michael: I boosted Violet up just because she's still getting marginally more than Patty.
Harold: Than Patty. It's just C lister.
Michael: Yeah, but this is going to change. So, by the end of the year, major shifts in this year list. Earthquake type shifts.
Jimmy: All right, well, that is, something for us all to look forward to, as we move on. Do you guys want to get to the strips?
Michael: Sure, let's do it.
Jimmy: All right, so if you characters out there want to follow along, how you can do it is you could go right now, you get on your Commodore 64, you dial up to the old Internet like Matthew Broderick, and you hop on GoComics.com, and you type in Peanuts 1973. And, away you go. Now, if you want a heads up on what exact strips we are going to be covering every single episode, then what you need to do is go over to Unpackingpeanuts.com, sign up for the Great Peanuts reread and, my pal Harold will email you once a month, with a newsletter, letting you know in advance what strips we're going to be covering. So, with that said, let's, take it away to 1973.
January 2. Lucy and Linus are standing outside, looking off into the distance. Linus says, “do you think there are other people in outer space?” Lucy says “no. Absolutely not.” Then she walks away saying, “if there were, they most certainly would have tried to contact me.” Linus, alone in the last panel, says, “that settles that.”
Jimmy: I think this is a very classic Lucy strip. I absolutely love this one. And, I also feel seen by Lucy. I sort of feel this way, too. If people are getting abducted, certainly I would have been abducted by now. I'm fascinating, no?
Michael: Yeah, that convinced me pretty much there are no aliens.
Jimmy: hey, I wonder why this didn't happen at night?
Harold: It's a good question.
Michael: Are you too scared to go out at night because there's aliens everywhere?
Jimmy: Have you guys been following the Las Vegas UFO crash that happened a few weeks ago?
Harold: I've had friends tell a little bit about what's up?
Michael: How did I miss that?
Jimmy: Oh. Apparently, I don't know, it's being reported regularly on their local news. Something hit earth, in someone's backyard, and they're saying beings got out, fried all their electronics, got back in, whatever.
Michael: Well, it's Vegas.
Jimmy: It's Vegas. That's true.
Harold: That could just be, it didn't stay in Vegas.
Michael: I have a comment.
Michael: My comment is, there was something bugging me this whole year. And, I'll get into it deeper as we go through more strips. I was finding the punchlines, like, not the best, a little weak, because this could be a totally classic Peanuts strip. But it seemed like Schulz, could have come up with a better punchline, in that fourth panel.
Harold: Then that settles that.
Michael: That's fine. But it's, I think a lot of the strips sort of, like, end in a way that I found unsatisfying.
Harold: Michael, is it the wording? I mean, is the idea of that where Linus is saying, that settles that, is it the wording isn't as sharp as you want? No, it's just not like the way that it ends.
Michael: It's just not brilliant. And usually Linus Linus, because he was my favorite character, and he might still be my favorite character, but it seems like he's just not as deep as he used to be.
Harold: If he said, Thus endeth the conversation or something.
Michael: Yeah, maybe something Linus-y. But anyway, I'll point out more of these as we go, but that's why I didn't think this was a great strip. Even though the setup is really good.
Harold: We'll keep looking as we go along.
January 7. Snoopy is lying atop his doghouse. He thinks to himself, “why couldn't she just stay away?” This is a continuation of a storyline from last year where Poochie, who is someone Snoopy knew for about 12 seconds a few years ago, is, back to visit. In panel two, Snoopy sits up and thinks, “why did she have to come back?” Then we cut inside. It's Charlie Brown talking to a little curly haired girl, who's sitting on a chair in his house. And Charlie Brown says, “Poochie, it's good to see you after all these years.” Poochie says, “Where's Snoopy?” Charlie Brown ignores that and says, “you were the one who first started to call me Charlie Brown.” Poochie says, “I wonder if Snoopy will remember me.” Charlie Brown says, “he's changed a little since you lived around here.” Now he leads her out back. He says, “he's probably out in the backyard.” And Poochie just runs past him, saying, “I'm really anxious to see him. I remember what a cute little puppy he was.” She's now on the back porch yelling, “Snoopy.” She walks towards the doghouse and says, “Snoopy, where are you, Snoopy?” In the next panel, she sees Snoopy standing against his doghouse in classic Joe Cool position. In the next panel, he smiles at her with a waggle of the eyebrows. And in the last panel, she walks away past Charlie Brown, says, “Thomas Wolfe was right. You can't go home again.”
Michael: I put a big question mark in my notes when I read this. This is weird. This is really weird. I mean, introducing this is the first time we've seen her, and it looks like he spent some time on this design. I mean, it's definitely with the pompoms hair.
Harold: what do you think of her shoes there?
Michael: I didn't even notice her shoes are.
Harold: Ah, those like, pumps. What would you call those
Michael: Anyway, does she have naturally curly hair? I wonder, because Frieda no, I think.
Jimmy: This is a perm.
Michael: Frieda would beat her up if she did.
Jimmy: There's no question this is a perm.
Michael: Yeah. I found this is very weird to pull in a new character who actually experienced the Peanuts gang before we ever saw them.
Harold: The thing that struck me, Michael, was when we had that panel as Jimmy read it where he doesn't answer her question about where Snoopy he says, you were the one who first started to call me Charlie Brown. And, again, I'm thinking along the animated specials and stuff, if he's just like, I want to make something canon in this strip, and I would just have to introduce I don't have anything really to do with it other than to introduce the idea. I obviously don't know what Schulz was thinking, but that was kind of in my mind, is that Schulz is now juggling two worlds in the animation and then the story. And maybe that's why he just threw it away as Charlie Brown kind of introducing something from their past that we don't know about as a side note yeah.
Michael: And then the Thomas Wolfe reference. Now, I'd heard of this book because, in my early days writing lyrics, I wrote a song called You Can't Go Home Again, even though I hadn't read the book. Thomas Wolfe was writing in the 40s, wasn't he? So that's pretty obscure for a punchline.
Jimmy: Well, it's certainly not as common as Albert Payson Terhune. Hey, Michael, do you ever notice how all the best albums came out when you were 15?
Michael: It's the weirdest thing.
Jimmy: Isn’t that a Miracle.
Michael: It's the weirdest thing.
Jimmy: That's strange.
Harold: Yeah. Wolfe died at the age of 37. So he lived from 1900 to 1938. Now, I don't know if it's because of Peanuts or because it's so famous that I know that phrase.
Jimmy: Oh, I've read the book. It's a very long book, and, it's very flowery prose. It's good, though.
Michael: Yeah. But he's hard to read. So I don't know if the book had a revival in the 70s.
Jimmy: Well, we read an excerpt in high school, but that would have been in the 80s, so I don't know.
Michael: Yeah. Anyway, crazy.
Harold: He only had two novels published in his lifetime, and then all these posthumous works.
Harold: That's amazing.
Michael: Yeah. And then Tom Wolfe came along and screwed everything up.
Jimmy: Yeah. That really does make him…
Harold: gets me very confused.
Michael: Anyway, very odd strip. I think I picked it for its oddness.
January 17, Peppermint Patty’s in the classroom, looking at a test. She says to herself, “this is some test. Who is Cyril Fox? Discuss briefly the Bronze Age. Who were the Beaker People? Who was Cassivelaunus? Who was Cunobelin. What were the Causeway Camps?” And in the third panel, Peppermint Patty, just as confused as me, looks at the paper. And in panel four she yells, “it's guessing time.”
Michael: What 6th grade class or what, fourth grade class is this?
Jimmy: Right. That's what makes it so funny to me. It's like, what…
Harold: Some very zealous teacher is just taking over this class?
Jimmy: Yeah, I was going to say it's a first year teacher, definitely.
Harold: Yeah. But this is classic stuff, and we're going to see so much of Peppermint Patty in future years just dealing with how incredibly overwhelming the class work is. And it's just beyond her. It's a different approach than Sally. Right. You know, Sally will take you on head on and and question the system, and Peppermint Patty's just trying to get through it.
Michael: I sure hope Sally doesn't get this teacher.
Harold: That's going to be fireworks,
Jimmy: immovable force. Irresistible force and immovable object.
Harold: But, I got very interested in knowing what this teacher is trying to teach Peppermint Patty. So let's have a Peanuts Obscurity explained here.
Jimmy: All right.
VO: Peanuts Obscurities Explained.
Harold: Who was Cyril Fox? Cyril Fox was an archaeologist, and they head of the National Museum of Wales from the 20s to the 40s. Okay. And then who were the Beaker people? Well, it was a band in nineteen sixty--, No. they were people from the Bronze Age.
Jimmy: that muppet is descended directly from them, right?
Harold: Yeah, I hope so. Yeah.
Harold: The Bronze Age is from 2300 to 1200 BC. And that they were making, bronze from melting tin and copper. And so that changed everything for people in that era. The Beaker People were migrants to the United Kingdom from Central and Eastern Europe around 2400 BC. Which was just close to that Bronze Age. And, they were named after uniquely shaped drinking cups.
Harold: And nobody really knows why they had such uniquely shaped drinking cups.
Michael: They were called the Beaker People, of course.
Jimmy: Can you imagine what you were known for? You find out a thousand years later.
Harold: You know, for your drinking cups. Like, I would have worked a little harder on my design if I knew.
Jimmy: We would be known as, like, the Big Gulp people,
Michael: the Peanuts Mug people.
Harold: The super sized people. But Cassivelaunus was a British defender against Julius Caesar in 54 BC. So he's jumping around quite a bit, in this history test. Ultimately, he fell to Caesar. And then Cunobelin, please, all of our archaeologists, historians, please correct us here was a Roman ruler of the southeastern England portion, I think, after it did fall to Caesar in the ten to 40 AD. And he always the inspiration for Shakespeare's Cymbeline. If I didn't pronounce that right, I'm really in trouble. So there you go. That's what Peppermint Patty is expected to know.
Liz: What about the causeway camps.
Harold: Oh, the causeway camps. This is the most interesting of all, the most fascinating.
Jimmy: Oh, no.
Harold: So these were pre-castle edifices that were usually done in concentric circles, like, usually on a hill to fight off people who are trying to tack them from all sides. So I don't think stonehenge is considered one of those. But it's kind of the idea that you're you're working in a circle. Everyone's kind of corralled it's the old circle the wagons.
Michael: It's Minas Tirith, basically.
Harold: Okay, Lord, of the rings. That's an obscure reference. Who would ever have heard of Lord of the Rings?
February 4. Peppermint Patty is in a little symbolic panel in panel one, where she's wedged between a true and a false that are floating above her head. We then cut to inside her classroom where she is sitting behind Franklin, taking a test. She says to herself, “Question number one, true.” She leans into the test. “True again. False.” Now she lifts up the paper as she contemplates, “true, by golly. And false and true. And true.” Now she's back scribbling on the paper. “False again. There's no doubt about it.” Now she's really getting wound up. “True. That one is absolutely true. False. False. False. True.” She's yelling. Now she's screaming. “Oh, I say this one is really false. True. False. True. False. True. False. True, by golly, true.” She's shaking. Franklin turns around and says, “Patty psst.” Patty, bleary eyed, says, “what? What's the matter? Huh?” Franklin says, “you're getting kind of loud.” Peppermint Patty composes herself, says, “how embarrassing. It's easy to get carried away in these true or false tests.”
Michael: I must say, it is much funnier when you read it. I need you to read all of these.
Jimmy: This one. Oh, my God. I laughed to myself. Every true false test I took for the rest of my life.
Harold: I remember this strip as a kid because I was a student about this age, when this strip came out. And yeah. As you performed it, it's kind of how I remember it myself as a reader because it's such a huge part of your life, right? When you're a little kid, you're doing these tests. And I don't know when the true false test was invented, but I'm guessing it didn't exist too many decades before this, right? I haven't seen it in ancient literature. It's not quoted in Cymbeline. The beaker people knew nothing of true and false. [laughter] leave all that laughter in that's vey gratifying.
Jimmy: The people knew nothing. Oh, I'm joking now. Okay, listen, I love the row of or the sequence of 123457 panels that are just Peppermint Patty at the desk. I just love every one of those drawings. That last one where she has four arms going up and down is great. Oh, I say. This one is really false. I love that one. So good.
Harold: Oh, man. The looseness in Schulz's art here in certain cases now, we've talked about it before, when someone's getting like when Snoopy's getting beaten up by the cat and all of that, when he mistakes Woodstock for the yellow glove. but there's just even that first panel. You're always saying that the top tier of the Sunday strips, which is a throwaway Schulz is often taking tremendous liberties with. Yeah, that true or false that he's drawn in there. And that kind of balloon lettering is pretty wonky and pretty fun.
Jimmy: It's very wonky. He's definitely, over the years, simplified the way he draws Franklin's skin tone. The earlier ones, I think he was trying to go for, a more not realistic, but maybe a more graduated shading as it curved. And now it's just simple pen lines. And I think it reads a lot better. Although not necessary, really, in the Sunday strip, if you think about it.
Harold: That's true. You know, I wonder I get obviously, he thought that it was important that the that the line art was consistent. Yeah. What he's had available to him.
Jimmy: Yeah. All right, now, the next strip we're going to talk about is February 17. But this is part of a really long sequence where the gang gets together and decides that they are going to throw a testimonial dinner for Charlie Brown. And it's a comedy of errors, and, eventually what else should we say about it? Well, one thing that is important is that they invite Joe Shlabotnik, Charlie Brown's favorite player.
Harold: recipe for success.
Jimmy: Right. Exactly. And he has a fee, but he accepts whatever they offer. which was what? Like $0.50 or a quarter or something like that. And then at the end, they decide that, well, we're all hypocrites for even having this dinner, and they don't have it. Now, I've often said, oh, sometimes Schulz doesn't stick the landing. I encourage everyone to read this whole story, but this is the finale of it, and the dinner has not happened. They've all decided it would be hypocritical to honor Charlie Brown. They all go home. And then, we're with Linus, who's in his bed, and he says to himself, this is
February 17. “Who in the world could be calling at 03:00 in the morning?” Then we see him go out to the living room and answer the phone. “Who? no, the dinner was canceled. Well, it's a long story.” He continues talking on the phone, saying, “yes, we were wondering what had happened to you. I'm sorry you got lost. All right, maybe next time.” And then the last panel, Linus signs off saying, “Good night, Mr. Shlabotnik.”
Jimmy: I think that's hilarious. I think that is such a great ending to this story.
Harold: Yeah. I think that is a great ending. I'm just kind of baffled by the whole thing where Linus makes the case for why they should honor him in the very first strip. And then it's slowly, one by one, they're all like, oh, this is hypocritical. I think Linus is very sincere in that first strip. He has no secondary reasoning. he's not trying to get stuff from the Great Pumpkin. Even you could question his sincerity for the Great Pumpkin. But here this is really sweet of him. He's dedicated baseball manager. The guy doesn't get any respect. We're going to give him respect. But then even Linus this is not the Linus I remember. He seems to have been talked out of his own strong feeling that this is something they should go out of their way to do. And I don't quite get it. I guess I don't need to, but, I was kind of surprised that Linus backs down on his own and doesn't fight for Charlie Brown. It doesn't fight for the very thing that he tried to happen in the first place.
Jimmy: Yeah, I definitely can see that. Michael, do you have anything you want to weigh in on that one? That storyline or that strip in particular?
Michael: The storyline. I thought it was really cruel.
Michael: No, I have no objection to cruelty,
Jimmy: in art
Michael: I don't like torture animals or anything.
Jimmy: Good. All right. Just wanted to make yeah. Get that on the record.
Harold: Right. Were you happy to see Violet show up in this story?
Michael: Yeah, she only gets three this year, but that's three times as many as Patty.
Jimmy: Now, what is it about the cruelty in this version that you find harsher than cruelty maybe we've seen before? What's amped up in this one?
Michael: Well, I'd have to reread it to remember all the bits, but just after you've done it, then to back down is worse than not having done it at all.
Jimmy: Right. Whereas it would almost be maybe in an earlier version, it might have been something cooked up by Patty and Violet.
Michael: Yeah. We're not going to invite you to our party.
Michael: That kind of type of thing.
Jimmy: Interesting. Well, yeah, I definitely hear what you guys are saying about that. But I have to say that last strip literally made me laugh out loud. I, thought that was great. And I love the silhouettes.
Harold: Yeah, those are great.
Jimmy: Have you guys ever heard the cartooning theory that when you're designing a character, they should be identifiable by the silhouettes?
Harold: Yes, that's very animation kind of styled theory that if something looks good and understandable in a silhouette, you've really done a good job as an artist, a cartoonist.
Jimmy: Yeah. Oh, this is something. I was cleaning the old Ameliaverse, and I found that old notebook of mine that had the little random sequence generator for how to create comic strips under a deadline. And, the format of strips that I chose to model it on was 1968 Peanuts.
Jimmy: Yeah. So anyway, I didn't bring it this time, but next time I think I might bring it on because it just shows how many different types of joke formats he was able to do in four panels. And I just thought it was interesting. It has nothing to do with my work. this was just stuff I identified in his work. So I'm going to bring it on next time, and, we could look at it because it's pretty fascinating what he does.
Michael: Yeah. So he doesn't actually have to write this script. He can just say, like, number 48.
Jimmy: Number 48.
March 23. Linus is at the mailbox, and he's reading something that he's got in the mail. And in panel two, he's very upset by this. “Oh, no.” Then in panel three, we see Lucy come up to him, and he's visibly distraught. He says, “I knew this was going to happen sometime. My blanket has been recalled.”
Michael: This is actually an obscurity. Now, I was surprised that this wasn't the beginning of a sequence, because I think it's a really good setup.
Michael: But it's a total standalone. And he's just commenting. I think the first car recalls were this year. That year.
Harold: So was this was this the Pinto isn't isn't recalled until the next year. And that's the one I remember. The big deal was that the Nader one, ralph Nader was really going after the Pinto because it was,
Michael: Anyway, he's commenting on something that's new in the culture.
Jimmy: I had no idea until this moment. That's very interesting.
Harold: Because the term Unsafe At Any Speed. I don't know if anybody has heard that before, but it was a book that came out in 1965, and the subtitle was the designed-in dangers of the American automobile. And we're used to recalls all the time. The plastic cup holder might tip snap off, and you're going to spill coffee on yourself. But these were really big deals in cars being very dangerous. And because there wasn't a system for the government really to properly deal with it, there were these activists, including Ralph Nader, who were working really hard to get the car companies to fess up if the word comes out or if the government is seeing more and more people are dying because a gas tank exploded. That's all new here in 73. And yeah, I was thinking of the same thing, Michael, when I saw that strip.
Harold: that's topical and at least from you and me, the concept of that we can tie it back to that era. It's an obscurity that we kind of get.
Jimmy: That's amazing. No, I had no idea. I would have liked to see this expanded into a whole series. I think that could have been very fun.
Harold: Yeah, that's true.
Harold: I think he could have gone all sorts of different ways.
Michael: He's not doing a lot with the blanket. He tried, like, a million he had, like, so many great blanket jokes. I guess you run out at some point.
Jimmy: When you think about what you're milking for 20 years, milking the old blanket. But you know someone for 20 years, 25 years longer coming up on 30 years. And every once in a while, you just see something. You go, oh, I know he's going to like this. So I knew Michael was going to love
March 24. Snoopy is lying atop his dog house. In panel one, his eyes are wide open. In panel two, they close. He is lying there calmly. In panel three, a smile crosses his face. “I did it.” And then in panel four, a picture of serene calmness. Snoopy thinks to himself, “I'm in the Alpha state.”
Michael: This is the only strip that more than one of us picked.
Michael: Yeah. Me and Jimmy both picked this one. yeah. To me, this is like harkening back to the greatest Peanuts strips.
Harold: And why is that? Because, to some people, they may not even know exactly what the alpha state is
Jimmy: Oh that’s true Yeah.
Michael: Well, again, it was sort of a contemporary fad that was going on that people were talking about and probably making jokes. Probably Johnny Carson was making jokes about this stuff. It's just one of those little perfect strips that there's almost nothing here, but he nails it.
Harold: So were people using particular practices like meditation to try to get to this thing? Is that what they did?
Michael: They were doing, like, isolation tanks, and they were doing drugs, and they were doing meditation? Yoga. And it's like you bliss out, basically. But it's basically just funny because you reach it by doing nothing.
Harold: Oh, wow. I've just been looking around on the Internet while we're talking here, and there's a cover. This is the May June, 1973, issue. So this is right on top of when Schulz is doing this gag. This magazine called Elementary Electronics. And it shows this woman in a bikini, and she's upside down. So we see her basically see her from kind of the midriff, and then her head and her hair are kind of halfway down this
Jimmy: wait, this podcast Is just taking a weird turn.
Liz: Is she wearing a sailor hat?
Harold: All of a very orange and brown no, she's got one of those really thin, tennis sweatband kind of things with wires coming out of it. And she's looking, like, all blissed out like Snoopy is. And it says on the cover She's tuned to her alpha waves in the coolest font you've ever seen. Discover how electronic biofeedback helps you explore your body's complex electrochem activities. Monitor the complex signals from your brain.
Michael: Yeah, you can make you build your own biofeedback gizmos, probably in Popular Mechanics and stuff. I never tried that, but, I'm sure it worked.
Jimmy: Snoopy needs none of that. He just is In his natural pose, and he achieves it.
Michael: Yeah, but he does need it because he's normally seeking to find a new identity, and here he's at peace with being ...
Jimmy: oh, no, I just meant he didn't need any kind of gizmos to achieve.
Michael: No, of course not.
Jimmy: All right, so, with that, how about we take a break? We go get a drink and snack, and then, we meet you on the other side of these very important messages.
Harold: Sounds great. Have a Dolly Madison cake.
Jimmy: so good.
VO: Hi, everyone. You've heard us rave about the Esterbrook Radio 914 and what episode would be complete without mention of the Fab Four? Now you can wear our obsessions proudly with Unpacking Peanuts T shirts. We have a brand new Be of Good Cheer Pen nib design, along with the four of us crossing Abbey Road. And, of course, Michael, jimmy and Harold at the Thinkin Wall. Collect them all. Trade them with your friends. Order your T shirts. Today @unpackingpeanuts.com/store.
Jimmy: And we're back. I had a Tastycake, to be honest. PA pride. All right, back to the strips.
March 26. All right, here's a moment in history. And also one of the weirder Peanuts things has ever happened. Lucy comes up and says hello to her little brother, who we're seeing for the first time. She says, “Come on, Rerun, I'm going to take you for a little walk.” Then she holds his hand. Rerun is very tiny. But he's older than the one year old he would be. And she says to him, “it's about time you got to look at the outside world.” She shows him the outside world. Trees and flowers and grass and a little cobblestone walk. And she says, “well, what do you think?” And Rerun thinks to himself, “you mean this is it?”
Harold: What have the Van Pelts been doing to poor Rerun? He hasn't been outside.
Jimmy: He hasn't been outside in a year. I'm telling you, this is a weird family. Parents need to be looked into.
Harold: He's got little play blocks next to him. It's one that says B2 on two sides. I think he needs vitamin D.
Jimmy: He definitely needs a little of the sunshine. For sure.
Michael: Now, am I just having a deja vu? Because did he use this gag before with one of the other little kids, maybe?
Jimmy: I couldn't swear to it, but I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, it certainly could happen.
Michael: It's a great gag. it seemed familiar to me, and I hadn't read this it's also weird that he hadn't shown up since he was born before because usually I think it's a year.
Michael: Maybe it's a year. But usually Schulz really like doing the baby stuff, huh?
Harold: Yeah, he had no baby.
Michael: Lucy was a little baby when she started.
Jimmy: Right. So was Schroeder
Harold: he had a little baby in his house at the time.
Harold: And babies were all around him at that point. And now, I don't think he's quite a granddad yet. Right?
Jimmy: I don't think so. No.
Harold: So he skips that whole part of childhood. He wants to get a new character in the mix and he just like it's like, I better introduce him now so I can kick in later with what I really want to do with Rerun.
Michael: Now is his face Linus's face?
Jimmy: Essentially, the eyes, nose, and parentheses combos are, I would say exactly Linus.
Harold: He's got his older brother's parentheses.
Michael: And the head shape.
Jimmy: The head shape, too. Yeah. He, too, was dropped on his head like Linus because it always looked like a dent. The one thing Schulz never quite settles on, or maybe, from my point of view, maybe never quite nails, is Rerun's hair. I actually think this version of Rerun's hair is the best version of Rerun's hair. Towards the end, he starts giving it that bird’s nest.
Harold: Bird nest.
Jimmy: But that version of Rerun, the character from the 90s, is my favorite. He's a great character.
Harold: So he first was born, he was born on May 23, 1972. So we are just about ten months out from that.
Jimmy: And that brings us to
March 31. So our less than a year old kid who is he's been aged up sitcom style, so he's probably about two, he looks here. Lucy and Charlie Brown are standing on the baseball field. They're wearing their baseball hats, and Charlie Brown says, “I don't know, Lucy.” And then in panel two, we see that Lucy and Charlie Brown are looking at Rerun, who is standing out in left field in a ball cap and glove. And Charlie Brown continues saying, “I wonder if a little kid like a Rerun should be out in left field. A fly ball would kill him.” Then in panel four, we see Rerun running away from a fly ball. And Lucy says, “not if he runs from it.”
Jimmy: I picked this because I literally laughed out loud at a fly ball would kill him. That, combined with Charlie Brown going, I don't know, Lucy, could there be a, better example of Charlie Brown being a terrible manager? He's thinking, I definitely know a fly ball would kill him. But I guess we could give him a few plays out there.
Michael: Yeah, it is odd. Because Charlie Brown is usually like to have these blazing drives, like go, right over his head. Right through him, basically.
Michael: Which would kill anyone.
Jimmy: Right. I wouldn't put Rerun out there, although I guess he's taking Lucy's place in left. So maybe if those are your two options, maybe you do go with Rerun. No.
Michael: Now is that true? I always thought Lucy was in right.
Jimmy: Lucy eventually gets relegated to right. But the last few times we've seen him talking about her, it's been in oh, no, it's been actually in center field, I think.
Michael: That makes no sense.
Jimmy: No, because I think I did mention it at one point. I'm like, that is absolutely another example of Charlie Brown being a terrible manager. Just hide her in right field.
Harold: Yeah. I just noticed often in design, with your drawing an animated cartoon character, whatever, you design them by the number of heads high that they are. Right.
Jimmy: Yeah. Right.
Harold: Because in real life, what the average person is like six or maybe seven heads high. And, uh but in this case, I think Rerun is like two and a half baseball mitts high.
Jimmy: Right. He's kind of like the Calvin and Hobbes proportions of Calvin. Anyway.
April 8, We see, in panel one, a tree, which has a heart, but two hearts and an arrow carved into it. The arrow has missed the hearts, though. And then in panel two, we see it's Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty leaning up against their favorite tree. Peppermint Patty says, “I'm sort of curious about something. Do you think you'll ever get married, Chuck?” Charlie Brown says, “oh, I suppose so. Just about everyone does.” Peppermint Patty gives him the old side eye, looks over her shoulder and says, “what kind of girl do you think you'll marry?” Charlie Brown says, “Well, I always kind of hate to talk about those things because it may sound silly, but I'd like a girl who would call me poor, sweet baby.” Peppermint Patty bolts upright and says, “Poor sweet baby.” Charlie Brown smiling says, “uh huh. If I was feeling tired or depressed or something like that, she'd cuddle close to me, kiss me on the ear and whisper, Poor, sweet baby.” Peppermint Patty is having none of this. Stands up, walks away saying, “Forget it, Chuck, it'll never happen.” But in the next panel, as Charlie Brown watches her walk away, Snoopy comes up and then kisses his master on the ear saying, “Poor, sweet baby.” Smak.
Michael: How did Snoopy hear that?
Jimmy: He's a dog. Dogs have great ears.
Michael: He uses this poor sweet baby thing a bunch of times this year.
Harold: Yeah, he lots of callbacks.
Jimmy: This is a reference. This is a Jeannie Schulz thing.
Harold: Is it?
Harold: now, when you say that, what's the story? What do you know?
Jimmy: I do not know the details, but I know it is related to her and what she would have called him. I could look up the details for next episode.
Harold: Okay. Because as a kid, when I read Charlie Brown just kind of going into what he was thinking about this I remember as a kid going, yes, that's not a half bad dream. Kind of nice that someone would do that to you when you're down and yeah, it made an impression on me as a kid, and I was, very happy. Charlie Brown got a smooch from Snoopy.
Jimmy: Yes. Very cute. Yeah. It was a term Jeannie frequently called Schulz, and which, in turn, Schulz frequently used in this strip.
Michael: Okay. I thought he was trying to create a catchphrase, but apparently not
Harold: both, I think.
Jimmy: Yeah, both, I think both, for sure. I love, drawing wise. I love panel two tier two with Peppermint Patty giving the side eye.
Harold: This year, Peppermint Patty shows her hand a little bit more. it'd be interesting to see if we picked any of those strips where she's conflicted in the previous year. I remember. And you have reason to believe she really likes him, but then she's not willing to admit that she likes him, but it seems like she's moving into the yeah. I do like Chuck. She's going to admit it a little bit more now, which is a really interesting dynamic. In particular, he has somebody new in his life as well, and it's kind of cool that he has an outlet to kind of show issues of affection like that in the strip.
Jimmy: Yeah. I can't really think of another kid’s strip or comic strip featuring kids where you would have a boy and girl character having those kind of discussions previous to this.
Harold: Yeah. And I really appreciate that. I think that's that's cool. It's, it's like and it's really and it's not in a romantic sense between the two of them. It's talking about romance. In this strip, it's contemplating what would be an ideal relationship and that it's done in kind of this sweet way. I mean, it's what Charlie Brown is wishing would happen to him, but you kind of get the sense that he'd be that same way, too, to someone if he wasn't clueless right at the moment.
Jimmy: It makes me think that they were talking about, like, Linus was more contemplative earlier. What's contemplative is the strip. Right. And what's contemplative is Schulz. What he's contemplating has changed. So the mouthpieces he's using to contemplate them has changed. This is very real stuff for Schulz over the last few years.
Harold: Yeah. And I think that's what I miss in Linus right now is that Linus was often the one who got to go to those deeper philosophical, religious places, and, it just doesn't seem to be where Schulz is in in the moment. So that aspect of Linus is kind of cloaked for the moment.
Jimmy: I always took it as Linus was maybe just okay. You know what I mean? Like Linus contemplating a bunch of stuff when you win a lot of maybe not always. Certainly not always, but sometimes when you're contemplating deep and profound things you're doing, it actually out of a sense of insecurity or lack. Yeah, right. And maybe he's at a point where it's not to the focus of his mind because he's sort of made peace with it.
Harold: Yeah, I can see that you could read it that way.
Jimmy: Either way. We're reading it into it, though. But that's what I'm choosing to put on it.
April 16. Okay, so this is the end of a sequence where well, we should talk about this. I talked about the last one. Harold, can you give us a summary of the baseball game?
Harold: Okay, so this is a long sequence, and it's interesting that Rerun is introduced and is immediately dropped into this conceit that he is going to be the new baseball player on Charlie Brown's team. It's like Charlie Brown and Schulz have just brought him up into the leagues here, as part of the strips and the characters and the baseball team. And so the idea is, can Rerun play? And what is it like of the team that he does play? And we see that he's running away from the baseballs when they're hit at him, and he's having to go up to bat. And he doesn't know anything about batting. But he's so tiny. Like we said, he's Calvin and Hobbes high. He's about two heads high, two and a half mitts high. And so it's impossible in this story for one of the pitchers in the game that they're playing to get it through that middle between was it the knees and the I'm not a big-- the knees and shoulders?
Jimmy: Yeah, Top of the letters on your chest.
Harold: Yeah. So they can't throw it in that little tiny area. And so he's walking them all the time. And so the story goes, even Charlie Brown's not aware of this. Linus has to point it out. If I remember this right, he's going to win the game if they can't throw it over and make a strike. And that's what happens. They win a game and everyone's rejoicing. And Charlie Brown says, I think I'm going to cry. And Charlie Brown and there's a lovely strip, which I don't think we picked, where Charlie Brown's in bed at night, and he's just remembering the day. And we won our first game of the season. I can't believe it. Wonder how the other team feels. And then he stops and he goes, I don't know. When we lose, I'm miserable when we win, I feel guilty. So classic Charlie Brown. And so unique. That's such a unique, lovely strip for Charlie Brown. But what happens is that, Charlie Brown gets a phone call late at night to come to this bicycle repair shop, and Linus comes with him. And, that leads into this strip that we're about to read here.
Michael: Well, before we get to this strip, I want to have a historical interjection.
Jimmy: It's time for the Peanuts Time Machine.
Michael: The fact that he's so small that no one could throw a strike. There's a historical precedence to this.
Jimmy: Really? Okay.
Michael: Early 50s, this guy named Bill Veeck was the manager of the Pirates. And he was a real showman. he'd, like, get, doing crazy things to get the fans happy. He hired a dwarf whose name was Eddie something or other, I can't remember. And had him in the stashed in the dugout. And at a critical moment of the game, he had the dwarf come out and walk. I think he only had one at bat in his life, but it was an important at bat.
Jimmy: my favorite team the Pittsburgh Pirates. I learned something new today.
Michael: How come you don't know that?
Jimmy: I don't know that.
Michael: Read a book called-- V-E-E-C-K. He wrote a book called Veeck, as in Wreck. He was, the manager, and he would pull all these stunts like that.
Jimmy: Read it. Yeah. It's not the first thing they talk about on their website these days.
Michael: Okay, well, look him up. Interesting guy.
Jimmy: That’s wild
Harold: That's very cool.
Michael: Since you’re a Pirates fan.
April 16, they're at the bicycle repair shop, and Charlie Brown says, “yes, sir, I'm the team manager, and this is our second baseman, Linus Van Pelt. And you're the league president. We're very glad to know you, sir. You have a very nice bicycle repair shop here.” Charlie Brown says as he looks around. Then he concludes, “one of my great regrets is that I never got to meet Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis.”
Michael: That's not and obscurity for me. I know this guy.
Harold: Do you know him? you know him? Well tell us the story.
Michael:. He was the commissioner of baseball. And his parents named him Kennesaw Mountain because he lived on Kennesaw Mountain,
Jimmy: Of course. So he would have been commissioner in 1973.
Michael: No, it would have been much earlier.
Harold: I think he was the first commissioner of baseball. Is that right? And he ruled over The Black Sox scandal. That's why there was a commissioner of baseball. Because of what's the story of the Black Sox scandal, Michael?
Michael: The White Sox were basically paid to throw the World Series.
Jimmy: throw the series yeah
Harold: I mean, that was a huge, huge deal. People were losing faith and fed up with baseball because they're following these teams.
Jimmy: Right. Say it ain't so Joe comes from
Harold: Shoeless Joe Jackson
Michael: and in 1919 There's other things to worry about.
Harold: Yeah, but you lose this part of America you thought you trusted. And so Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis was known for being super tough, and that's why all these guys got thrown out of baseball. There was no mercy here and this guy kind of restored people's confidence in baseball. And he was there for a number of years in that role. And he also was a bicycle racer, which is, I think, where the joke is. They're in the bicycle store, and it's reminding Charlie, Brown of Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis.
Jimmy: Boy, this makes the Thomas Wolfe thing look...
Michael: man, this is an educational podcast.
Jimmy: You know what?
Michael: We should people get credits for listening to this.
Jimmy: And this is free, people. Free.
Jimmy: But you know what? If you did want to support us, I'm not saying you have to, but if you did want to, you could go over unpakingpeanuts.com. You could buy us a mud pie.
Michael: For a million and a quarter.
Harold: That's why we're trying to get the down payment, at least for that. Yeah.
Jimmy: People, come on, cough up for the coffee grounds.
Harold: that's our campaign.
Jimmy: Campaign cough up for the coffee grounds. We're going to try to get 3.9 million.
April 21, we find out what has really happened is, unfortunately, even the Charlie Brown's team has won the game. They have had to now forfeit it because there was some illegal gambling involved on the game. It turns out that Rerun, who did not know it was wrong, because he's ten months old.
Harold: that's why. A ten month old gambled?
Jimmy: Yeah. a Nickel. This seems, by the way, like growing up in Girardville, none of this seems that weird.
Anyway, so we Rerun bet on the team. We bet a nickel that they would win, and now that's, unfortunately, caused them to lose the game. And we, conclude here with Charlie Brown and Snoopy sitting on the bench. And Charlie Brown says, “there's one thing I still don't understand. Rerun bet a nickel that our team would win. Who did he bet with? Who bet against us?” And we see Snoopy rolls his eyes skyward and, tries to look innocent as he whistles, but it's clear it was Snoopy.
Harold: Snoopy. So a dog and a ten-month-old gamble over a game, and a commissioner of baseball finds out about this? This is Peanuts surreal, let me tell you. This is amazing.
Jimmy: who was the rat?
Michael: Yeah, right. If you think about it, if he was going to throw the game to make money, he wouldn't bet they'd win. He'd make them lose.
Jimmy: Yeah. Right. Well, that's the Pete Rose argument, right? I bet, but I bet on us to win.
Michael: That's nothing wrong with that. You always want to try to win.
Jimmy: Yeah. And yet that's the rule.
Michael: That's the rule.
Jimmy: What do you think? Do you think Pete Rose should be in the hall of fame?
Jimmy: I think Dale Murphy should be in the hall of Fame. And while we're talking about it, Big Star needs to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. April 25th.
Harold: Wait, hold on. Well, I just wanted to point out on April 20, I'm not terribly familiar with Rerun, but I see a catchphrase for the first time that I'm pretty sure shows up a lot after this, where, he's holding up his little his little baby bottle, talking to Lucy, and he says, I'll drink to that.
Michael: Linus did that once, I'm pretty sure.
Harold: Does that continue with Rerun? Am I am I hallucinating here?
Jimmy: I don't want to give spoilers. People are going to need to…
Harold: all right then. Okay, so maybe this is a first, at least for Rerun. He learned it out from his big brother while they were shut up inside the house for ten months.
April 25. Snoopy has decided he's done waiting for the new Miss Helen Sweetstory and is writing his own rip off version.
Jimmy: It is called.
Harold: it's a Minor classic.
Jimmy: It's a minor classic.
It is called The Bunnies. A tale of mirth and woe, yes. Ha Ha Ha laughed the bunnies. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Snoopy then looks at us and says, so much for the mirth.
Michael: Oh my god, what's going to happen to the bunnies? I can’t take this.
Jimmy: Woe, woe
Harold: This is a minor classic. Oh, my goodness. I want to see this book in its entirety.
Jimmy: Well, we should put that in on our pitch. When we want to do the Miss Helen Sweetstory books, we should also have a first option on The Bunnies.
Harold and Jimmy: A Tale of Mirth and Woe.
Harold: He just gets right into it, these stories. He's not talking about the clouds scutting against the sky. And for the first three pages, it goes right into ha ha.
Jimmy: Which, if we're being critical, that is the problem with you can't go home again. Oh, really?
Harold: Yeah. Lots of scutting?
Jimmy: A lot of that, yeah.
April 27. Snoopy is dictating something to Woodstock, who is typing on the world's smallest typewriter.
Jimmy: Can you imagine what the paper looks like on this? Can you imagine getting this?
Harold: It's on the stamp. You don't even have to mail a postcard.
Jimmy: It's just the stamp
He's typing, “Kindest regards.” And then panel two, we see Snoopy. And then underneath the signature is S /w. And then Snoopy hops away. And Woodstock finishes up by typing “dictated but not read.”
Michael: I have to admit I don't get it.
Jimmy: Well, the S/w means Snoopy dictated it. Woodstock typed it. That was like a secretarial code.
Harold: Okay, this is kind of an obscurity in and of itself. So I found out about this. Dictated but not read through a book, I believe. It's how to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. He has this great story in there about how he I think he had received he had written a letter to somebody and he had received a letter back. It was like a famous writer or something he was enamored with. And they sent back the letter and it was typed. And below it said, dictated but not read. And he was like, wow, this guy's so busy, he bothered to write me, but he wrote me. And he dictated but he didn't read it. That's so cool. So he wrote another letter to a famous person and he thought, okay, I'm going to try to impress them. And so at the bottom, he typed his own letter, but then at the bottom. He wrote, dictated, but not read in the typewriter. And he got back this letter from the author saying, your bad manners are exceeded only by your bad manners.
Harold: I've never forgotten that. Oh, my gosh, it was busted.
Jimmy: Wowza. Jeepers. I promise that if you're right to me, I wouldn't do that. I probably won't respond at all, butI won't do that. Oh, sometimes I do.
May 2, Charlie Brown and Lucy are at the Thinking Wall and Charlie Brown says, “someone has said that we should live each day as if it were the last day of our life.” Lucy freaks out, screaming, “AUGH. This is the last day. This is it. I only have 24 hours left. Help me. Help me. This is the last day.” Charlie Brown goes back to leaning on his hand, says, “some philosophies aren't for all people.”
Harold: That's a great Lucy. That's a classic.
Michael: Yeah, you've heard that slogan a million times and never really thought about it. You're supposed to go like, ah, a flower. I will appreciate a flower.
Harold: Yeah, this is such a funny one. And Schulz revisits it with a later strip book, which will maybe hear next week. That, yeah, it's just so funny. I love this classic, classic stuff.
May 4. Sally is writing something on a piece of paper. In her very nice cursive handwriting, she writes, “Butterflies are Free.” In the next panel, as we see Charlie Brown come up and observe her writing, she continues, “What does this mean? It means you can have all of them you want.” Then she looks at Charlie Brown and says, “so much for higher thought.”
Michael: This is a contemporary reference to a book, I believe.
Harold: A play. It was a play and a movie.
Michael: It was a play?
Harold: Yeah, it was a play in 69, and then it made a movie in 72.
Jimmy: Oh, yeah. Goldie Hawn.
Michael: And you could blame Charles Schulz for all of this because I think the happiness is a warm puppy just started a huge industry of little happy, little thoughts.
Jimmy: feel good, aphorism type thing.
Harold: Yeah. Butterflies are free. I'm trying to think if I've seen this, I think was it Eddie Albert's son was also like Edward Albert was in it.
Harold: you've seen it.
Jimmy: It's real good.
Harold: I thought it was a great movie. Won at least one Academy Award.
May 6. Snoopy is sitting in a mailbox waiting for something. Then in the next panel, he's typing away at his typewriter. Then in the next panel, he's checking the mailbox, which it does seem as if there is something, that has arrived for him. So in the next panel, he is reading what has arrived and it says, “dear Contributor, we regret to inform you that your manuscript does not suit our present needs. The editors.” Next panel. Snoopy is screaming AUGH while he crumbles the paper and clenches his fists. Then in the next panel, bam. He kicks the mailbox, bending the stake that it's in. Then in the next panel, he totally shatters the stake by headbutting it. And then the final panel, he reduces the mailbox to complete rubble by stomping on it. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. Then wham. He kicks whatever was left of it away. The little flag flying. Then the next last panel, all flustered. He looks down at the piece of paper again, picks it up and reads, “PS. Don't Take It Out on Your Mailbox.”
Harold: Those are some prescient editors
Michael: as distorted as Snoopy's ever gotten. The last tier, second panel.
Jimmy: Now, Harold, you've talked about there is, a whole sort of run of Snoopy in this era where he.
Harold: Gets really angry at things.
Jimmy: A lot of it's kind of focused on tennis stuff.
Harold: Yeah, I remember being really disturbed by how violently, Snoopy just becomes this blur of shaky lines and clenched teeth, and he just starts to fly away or fall apart. Artistically, you really feel the anger and the frustration. I remember as a kid, like, ten years old, like, Whoa, that's intense.
Jimmy: yeah, well, I couldn't relate to this very specific thing, actually. I love that last panel, next to last panel, rather, where his hair is all messed up. I think that's a really cute.
Harold: That reminds me of another artist, and I can't place it. I'm trying to think who that…
May 10, baseball time. Lucy is talking to Charlie Brown. They look like they're out in the outfield. Lucy says, “you don't think I care about all the games we lose, do you, Charlie Brown? Well, I'll have you know that I spend a lot of time out here in center field, and most of it is spent crying.” And she really looks upset. She continues in panel three as she points at the grass and says, “see, the grass is extra green all around this spot where I stand and water it with my tears.” Charlie Brown just walks back to the mound, saying, “that's very touching.”
Michael: That is really good sarcasm.
Harold: Or is it?
Jimmy: Well, that is a Van Pelt trait, for sure.
Harold: Is Rerun going to start to be a little more sarcastic as we go along?
Jimmy: Oh, yeah. Rerun is the quirkiest kid out of all of them, ultimately, and a complete iconoclast, but we'll have to wait a few decades to really see that.
May 16. Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty are hanging out under their favorite tree. And Peppermint Patty asks Charlie Brown, “do you like me more than I like you, Chuck?” Which is a pretty weird question to ask someone, and Charlie Brown says, “I don't know. Do you like me more than I like you?” This sort of surprises Peppermint Patty, and she contemplates it. And then in panel four, she says, “let's not play lovers games, Chuck.”
Harold: That's a great which is used more than once right in his career with this, at least in the animation.
Jimmy: Right? It's definitely used in the animation.
Harold: Yes. You sly dog.
Jimmy: That's the other thing. What do you think of those silhouettes?
Harold: I think they're beautiful. Yeah. And I'm looking at just the reproduction of it looks like maybe this was never reprinted and they had to or they pulled it off as something not immaculate proof. I don't know.
Jimmy: Yeah. I'm not looking at the book. I'm looking at it.
Harold: I'm looking at the book. Does it look really crisp on the GoComics.com? No, it looks or maybe it was. Well, no, I guess, who knows? Anyway, you can tell that this was not from the most pristine reproduction.
Jimmy: Oh, yeah. Like, if you look at the very next strip, that we're going to discuss, which is May 26, I'm just looking on Go Comics, and it's really crystal clear. This is the end of another sequence where-- Michael do you want to explain this one?
Michael: I think it's a really good sequence because they want to do a charity event. Yes. And they're kids, right. So they're not going to do anything too heavy, so they come up with stomach ache. Charity for stomach aches. So Marcy's going door to door asking for people to contribute or buy tickets to this charity event for stomach aches and has no luck.
And this is the end where, she's freaking out and she's yelling at Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty and Snoopy. “I tried to sell those tickets. I really tried. But every place I went, they slammed the door in my face. I couldn't take it. I tried and tried and tried.” She's now sitting on the ground, reverting almost to being a toddler and screaming. “Wah.” But Snoopy has his time honored technique of kissing the blues away by kissing her on the cheek and saying, poor, sweet baby.
Harold: Poor, sweet baby.
Michael: This is one of Marcy's first real big story you get to see.
Jimmy: What do you guys think of Marcy?
Harold: I like Marcy. She's developing.
Harold: obviously, she's a hard worker, and she's very loyal, but she's got an emotional side, too, that we're getting to see here. I'm sure she would rather we not see this, but she lets us see it. And I think she's pretty adorable here. I mean, you just kind of feel for it because she is the only one, actually, that we know of who dared try to sell these things and, got so much rejection and yeah, I know what that's like. Did you guys ever have to go around selling stuff for this or that? A band or for baseball?
Jimmy: Catholic school? Are you kidding?
Harold: Oh, my God.
Jimmy: Absolutely. Every single year, we had to do, like, the candy.
Harold: The Girl Scouts had the stuff that sold itself. The Boy Scouts were selling soap on a rope. It was the worst. Or they would get some food company would come along and you'd have these little plastic barrels of processed cheese you're trying to sell people. Oh, it was murder.
Jimmy: Wow. Now, one year I went all in at school, and I sold the third most in the whole school. And I got a pocket fishing rod.
Harold: Was it a Pocket Fisherman? The Ronco?
Jimmy: Yes, it was the Ronco.
Harold: Popeil pocket. Congratulations. That must have been thank you. Amazing. Did you go fishing with the Ron Popeil Pocket Fisherman?
Jimmy: Yes, I did. I never caught and I didn't go fishing once or twice. I went fishing a lot. Yeah.
Harold: Never caught it. I think that's maybe why the Pocket Fisherman did not ultimately become a staple. Go to the dollar tree.
Jimmy: Ron Popeil. I didn't catch a fish with a variety of instruments Okay.
Harold: So it's not necessarily Ron Popeil’s fault.
Jimmy: No. It was most likely my fault, my impatience. But speaking of being impatient, we're all going to have to be a little patient because we got to break it here. And then we're going to come back next week and discuss the rest of 1973. We're also going to have to talk about whether or not we're going to break off, the famous Mr. Sack sequence into its own series or its own episode, rather, just because that's Mr. Schulz's favorite. But we'll figure that out in between now and then.
If you want to hang out with the gang for the week in between, you can go onto our website and you can email us at unpacking peanuts. You could find us on Instagram and Twitter, where we're at unpack peanuts. On Facebook. We're unpacking peanuts. And, yeah, we would love to hear from you. So go on to our website. You could support us by buying one of our books, buying a t shirt, or just buying us a mud pie or even checking out our Patreon. We would love to hear from you one way or the other. So come back next week where we're going to finish up 1973. Until then, for Michael and Harold. This is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.
Michael and Harold: Yes, be of good cheer.
VO: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen and Harold Buchholz. Produced and edited by Liz Sumner. Music by Michael Cohen. Additional Voiceover by Aziza Shukralla Clark. For more from the show, follow 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.