Jimmy: Hey, everybody, welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts. And I'm your old buddy Jimmy. I'm your host for the proceedings. And I’m also the cartoonist of Amelia Rules, 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, he's a composer, both for the band Complicated People, as well as for this very podcast. He's the co creator of the original comic book Price Guide and the original editor of Amelia Rules, as well as the cartoonist behind such great strips as Strange Attractors, A Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River. It's Michael Cohen.
Michael: Say hey.
Jimmy: And he is the executive producer and writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a former vice president of Archie Comics, and the current creator of the instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts, Harold Buchholz.
Harold: Golly. Hi.
Jimmy: So, guys, we're back to, going through the strip year by year. We're at 1975, the exact halfway point. Can you believe it?
Michael: No, I don't believe it.
Jimmy: It is shocking. I'm really happy that we got this far. I wasn't 100% certain we'd make it, but we did. And I think, that's great and worthy of celebration.
Jimmy: so, Harold, 1975, to get us back oriented in the world of Mr. Schulz and the gang, what's going on in 1975?
Harold: Well, remember, he's moved out to Healdsburg, I think, just outside of Santa Rosa and has built his own studio. He had been working in the ice rink a couple years earlier, after marrying, and then he's been married to Jeannie Schulz for a couple years now. So he's kind of settling into that life. And, he's halfway through, we talked about the Peanuts Jubilee book that he, was very involved in, I think, early in that year. And so if you want to see a document of where Charles Schulz was in 1975, that is pretty phenomenal, check out the Peanuts Jubilee book. But, it's an interesting year. I don't know how you might describe it. It seems like it's kind of settling in. That's kind of a feeling I get. And some of the themes that I noticed there was a lot about security, robbing, stealing, people getting, and a lot of tennis.
Jimmy: Tennis, slightly better than a golf strip. Michael, I'm, assuming that at this point, we're just going to have to bid adieu to the old tier list, but maybe I'm wrong.
Michael: Yeah, I think we're bidding adieu to it just because there's just a lot of new characters coming in, jumping right up to major characters.
Harold: Yeah, this was also a year of weird new character.
Michael: Yeah, weird. Definitely weird year. And also a lot of the old crew are still hanging around. Surprisingly. A rare Frieda. Two Frieda appearances right. Violet and Patty both had three, Five showed up a couple times. Mostly the baseball strips. He had to fill out the infield. And, the schoolhouse got five, which is nice to see a new character get some activity.
Jimmy: well, one of the shocking things that we're going to talk about, although I don't think it'll be in this episode, it'll probably be next week's episode. I want to talk about the October 2 strip, which is 25 years to the day. And I think we could do a whole episode just on that strip because it really shows the difference, how far we've come in those 25 years, how much really everything has changed. But that'll probably be next episode. I felt that this was, in some ways, a year, where the original cast, like you're saying, actually made a pretty strong comeback. It feels, you know, Peppermint Patty has downshifted a little bit. I mean, she's still there, but it feels, know, we're getting lots more Linus. Lucy.
Michael: I agree.
Jimmy: Charlie Brown and those guys.
Michael: The first half of the year, it was kind of a mixed bag for me. Yeah, the first half of the year seemed kind of goofy, and it was a lot of these new characters popping in. yeah, I was not picking a lot from the first half, and then in the second half, it sort of seemed to shift back to classic Peanuts.
Jimmy: Yeah, I felt that, too. I didn't actually notice that it was more heavily on the second half, but as I was reading it, it did feel like we were getting more of those original vibes.
Michael: And the art style is shifting a little bit more into the what's the word we were using for 70s thing?
Jimmy: The decadent period?
Michael: More expressive.
Jimmy: Expressive. Grungy.
Jimmy: There we go. Okay.
Michael: Yeah. Especially, one of the new characters is total grunge.
Jimmy: I think I know which one you're talking about. I thought it was pretty wild to see some of those character designs. I talked about one of them, the little girl that Linus meets months ago on this show. And I really thought that happened in the late 80s, early 90s, my timeline of where some of these things happened. I'm shocked at how off I was, having already gone through it a couple of times. So, I was really surprised to see her. But I like those strange it's not like I want a whole comic strip, with those strange off model characters or off Peanuts model anyway characters. But I like them when they pop up now and know, I'm excited to get right to the strips, but there is a little bit of, interesting information from Mr. Harold Buchholz. Harold, you went and visited, you saw the Reuben Awards?
Harold: Yes. So the National Cartoonist Society has its annual Reuben Awards. It's kind of the black tie affair. It's still a very fancy thing it's been going on since the 1940s. I first learned about it through Charles Schulz, when he learned that he won a Reuben Award. And I was like, well, what's a Reuben award as a little kid? And then I realized there was this fancy event that would be held, ah, once a year to celebrate comics. Because I think it was a bunch of cartoonists got together and said, really, this profession doesn't get enough respect, and we really should do something about that and honor the artists and really kind of uplift this art form in the United States. And they did a bang up job of it. And it just became this annual event that the cartoonists really looked forward to attending. Because you're dressing up for comics, how often do you get to do that? And so, having read about that stuff since I was ten years old, I kind of was tearing up as I was driving to go there, because it's like it's 47 years.
Jimmy: Yeah, but you tear up going to Wendy's, that doesn't count. Well, that's not.
Harold: Sorry, maybe Chipotle.
Jimmy: Oh God, we're not giving Chipotle free advertising on this podcast. I'm sorry. Go ahead. Anyway.
Harold: Yeah, well, I knew you would bring that up, Jim. I can cry the drop of a hat, but I did definitely. It's like, yeah, this is like 47 years. I'm a member now, and I had always dreamed about being a member. And here I am going to this fancy event. It was held in Jersey City at this hotel looking out over the water toward Manhattan. It was lovely setting and got to meet a lot of wonderful cartoonists.
One of those was Jim Davis, who is celebrating the 45th year of Garfield. And we're just thinking back on that strip and the impact it had not too long after what we're looking at here in Peanuts in the Peanuts world, I think, 1978, that strip hit, and it just made a huge splash, unlike what any strip had had for a while. And it was really kind of cool getting to talk, with Jim Davis. And I told him we did this podcast, and he said, I have a story for you. And he was recounting when he got his chance to do the very first Garfield special. And he got to work with Bill Melendez, just as Schulz had. And so he was trying to figure out, how do you animate Garfield? The same issues that had come up when Peanuts was being animated. Because as we talked about all these different poses that Schulz makes, he gave a lot of challenges to Bill Melendez because he didn't design it for animation, and neither did Jim Davis with Garfield. He said he was in one room of Melendez's, studio, trying to figure out, well, how do we make like, walk on his back legs? He couldn't figure it out, and Schulz dropped by and to say hello. And he said, how's it going? He says, well, Sparky, I don't know how to do-- the way I've designed Garfield. I can't make him stand up in a way that looks believable. And Schulz says, oh, that's simple. And he just took a pencil and started to draw and he gave those really big fat back legs to said, you know, I don't draw him that way. He says, it doesn't matter. You draw the pose that we've talked about here before on the podcast, but right there on the spot, Jim Davis got this light bulb moment, was like, oh, my gosh, I can do anything I want with this character as long as you do it with Believability. And he solved my problem right there on the spot.
Jimmy: That's amazing. That is really cool. Well, you waited 40 years to go. That's a great thing to come away with from your first Reubens. That's a good story.
Harold: Yeah, it was a wonderful time. I really enjoyed it. There were probably about 250 people at the Reuben Awards and big old banquet hall, and it was about as special as I thought it might be in my mind. And usually stuff like that that hangs around for 47 years, doesn't live up to what you've built into it, but I genuinely enjoyed it and hope I get to do it again.
Jimmy: Well, that's fantastic. Very cool. All right, well, let's get to the strips now. and if you guys are out there and maybe you're a new listener, or maybe you've, been here from week one, but you just are slow, that's okay. There's room for all of us here. Here's how you could follow along. You could go to GoComics.com type in 1975, as we announce a date, you type it on in there and it'll pop up. Or you could buy yourself one of those, wonderful Fantagraphics books. Or for some reason you can just go to the Peanuts Wiki and read them. Why, I don't know, but they just allow it to happen. So you could do all of those things. If you want a heads up on what strips we're going to be covering, before we get here, well, then you can go to Unpackingpeanuts.com, click, on the great Peanuts reread, sign up for it. And once a month, my pal Harold, when he's not hobnobbing with industry greats, will shoot you, a little newsletter that'll tell you what strips we're going to be covering that month. If you haven't done that yet, go do that now. Pause this and then come back and, away we'll go.
January 1, 1975. Charlie Brown and Lucy are hanging out at the thinking wall. Charlie Brown asks Lucy, “do you have any plans for the new year?” Lucy says, “New year? What new year?” Charlie Brown says “this new year.” Lucy is shocked. “It can't be a new year already.” She raises her fists and yells, “I'm not finished with last year.”
Michael: So funny. Lucy considers, each year an antagonist. She claimed what was it two years ago? She claimed the year is her year.
Michael: I think every year is her year.
Jimmy: I love that the year is an antagonist. That's a great way to put it.
Harold: It's like, the gift of Prophecy strip, with Linus, where he's like, you can ask Grandma, why is there a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but there's not a Children's Day? Every day is Children's Day.
Jimmy: The gift of prophecy.
Harold: Gift of prophecy. But Lucy yeah, Lucy is she's not claiming this one, but she's going to be strong this year.
Jimmy: Well, there is no question she is strong every year. Starting off with the thinking Wall. So that's a throwback to classic Peanuts for sure. And throwing out, two of the big four there for our first strip. So that feels good.
January 19, we're starting off with one of those symbolic throwaway panels, which is just Linus standing there and looks like a, star of pain, emanating from his, ankle.
Michael: Or is he farting?
Jimmy: Panel one, Linus stands alone and farts.
Then we hard cut to Sally, who's in class, and she says, “yes, ma'am, I'm ready.” Then the strip actually starts, and Sally's up in the front of the class reading a report, and she says, “for my nature report today, I am bringing you an exclusive.” Then, with a big grin on her face, she proudly says, “rock snakes.” She continues, now, earnestly. “What, you may ask, is a rock snake? That is a good question. A rock snake is a snake that sneaks up behind you and throws a rock at you.” Now, she's pontificating to the whole class. “Now, here is my exclusive. It used to be thought that rock snakes were dangerous, but my authority says this is not so. A rock snake cannot throw very high, you see? So therefore, all he can do is hit you on the back of the leg. So says my authority.”Sally is interrupted by the teacher, says, “Ma'am?” and then answers the teacher's unheard question by saying, “Linus Van Pelt. Yes, ma'am.” Then we cut to the lunch break at the schoolyard. Sally's sitting next to Linus, and she says “she said she remembers you from when you were in her class.”
Michael: Now, I understand the opening panel is the squiggly line, the snake.
Jimmy: It's the pain from the snake throwing the rock.
Michael: Okay, got it.
Jimmy: Yeah, I like the fart better.
Harold: I have such fond memories of this strip reading it as a kid, with a big grin on Sally's face.
Jimmy: Rock snake.
Harold: She is into, this report in their little tossing motion.
Jimmy: Yeah, I love that. I love the kids sitting, in their little desks. And sometimes do you ever look in the back and see if you can see some of these faces?
Michael: Know it looks like Patty. I got to change my number.
Harold: Yeah, I think it's Patty and a young Rudy Vallee.
Michael: But I think it's nice that Lucy taught all this nonsense to Linus, and now Linus is teaching it to Sally. Pass down the generations of pseudoscience.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's really fun.
Harold: It's so funny. What I love about Sally, she continues to develop as a character, and that this is some highfalutin off the cuff delivery she's giving to the kids here with her dialogue. And, it's so funny. She's so smart, but she's smart in her own way. And she'll tackle things in this kind of sideways way, which maybe is why she's so enamored with Linus, because he's, in his own way, very similar to her in--
Jimmy: Linus was looking up to Lucy and listening to her pseudoscience because she was the older sister. And now, in this instance, Sally has the crush on Linus. So there's always a little bit of extra emotional, thing going on that makes you susceptible to this sort of thing. Great drawing all around, of course. Okay, so the next thing we're going to do is, we're going to go over to January 21. But this is actually the middle of a really long sequence, and this sequence really makes me laugh. I've always liked this book. I can't remember which one it was, but I remember I had the Fawcett Crest book with this sequence, reprinting it, and it was one that I would read again and again. It's also animated in the Charlie Brown and Snoopy show, which is that Saturday morning 80s show. But the point is this Peppermint Patty has to stay at home because her dad's going out of town on business. so she needs a watchdog.
Harold: So she gets oh, he works late.
Jimmy: He works late. Sorry, that's what it is. Yes, he's working late. She has been falling asleep in class, because she stays up until he comes in, which is basically the morning. So she thinks she'll feel better with a watchdog. So she gets Snoopy. And here we go on--
January 21. We start with good old Peppermint Patty kicking off her sandals in her bedroom. She is getting ready for the first night with her watchdog, and, is looking pretty happy because she feels confident Snoopy will take care of things. She says, “I sure feel safer with Snoopy in the house.” Then she's in bed under her scratchy inked cover and says, “maybe I can get a good night's sleep for once and not feel so tired in school tomorrow.” She rolls over thinking, “once old Snoop gets used to the waterbed in the guest room, I know he'll sleep well, too.” And then we cut to just Snoopy not at all getting used to the waterbed, in the guest room, flying.
Jimmy: Now, have you ever had to sleep in a waterbed, either of you?
Michael: Yeah, once.
Jimmy: Oh, my god. I took a winter college class, where you could take them for four weeks or whatever between semesters and get your credits in. And I had to rent a room from a friend of mine and he had a water bed. I mean, they're absurd, right?
Harold: Yeah. Right. But they were such a thing in the 70s. This is such a 70s things for Schulz to be the craziness of the waterbed and for those of you too young to have ever had to experience a waterbed or those who lucked out. So basically, it is a gigantic we have air mattresses now, right. But these things were massive, kind, of rubber mattress shaped things that you would just stick a hose in and put gallons and gallons and gallons of water into, your bed. And then you would kind of float on the top of this thing. And if it's like a king size bed, there's no support. Right. You just have this wooden frame and then you have this weird rubber thing with some sheets on it that has possibly 3000 pounds of water in it that you hope doesn't leak.
Jimmy: Right. And that the person filled up themselves. So it may be filled correctly. May not be filled correctly, who knows?
Harold: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, but it was such a huge thing. And, the other strange thing is they were expensive. Very, yeah, you can buy an air mattress and stuff for, like, 19.95. I don't know what was going on with these water beds. Maybe because they held thousands of pounds of water that they had to be reinforced with some who knows what. But man, those things were not comfortable.
Jimmy: No, they're not.
Harold: But they were very cool for about six months.
Jimmy: Well, think about this, though. I rented that apartment in the 90s when I was on it, so I don't know what the deal was there.
Harold: Well, probably they didn't know how to move it out.
Jimmy: We're stuck with it.
Harold: The spigot wasn't working. They had no way to drain.
Jimmy: Oh, I love the drawings of Patty in bed. I love that it seems like he intentionally does a scratchier line when he's doing Peppermint Patty stuff.
Harold: Yeah, it's that 70s look we keep talking about a little bit of grunge. it's true that looks like that comforter has been well worn.
Harold: Especially that first panel.
Jimmy: Yes, it has been through the wash quite a few times there.
Harold: Yeah. Now, why they splurged on a waterbed for the guest room. You can't even get her a nice comforter.
Jimmy: Well, maybe this was left in the house. the previous tenants couldn't move it out to who knows? So we'll take that over to now, this is going on because, unfortunately, while Snoopy is stuck on the waterbed, bouncing up and down, the house is, in fact, robbed.
Harold: And for those of you who are selectively checking out the strips that we're talking about. Do go to January 21, 1975, to see one of the funnier drawings of Snoopy in the 1970s just bouncing around on this waterbed. It's great.
Jimmy: Well, this whole storyline is just to me about the drawing of the characters bouncing. And again, worth checking out the animation from the 80s, because here on--
January 28, we have Marcie shows up. She's apparently seen what's been going on from her house, and she says, “sir, I think some burglars have stolen all your furniture.” At this point, both Peppermint Patty and Snoopy are bouncing up and down on the waterbed uncontrollably. Next panel, we see Peppermint Patty butt over tea kettle, flying through the air, saying, “I know they have Marcie. Help me get off this waterbed.” Which then cuts to Marcie getting on the waterbed. So now all three of them are bouncing up and down on it with Snoopy completely upside down and Marcie screaming, “stop bouncing, sir. I can't help you.” This finally, though, causes Snoopy to at least reach the edge of the waterbed, where he thinks, “ah, land at last.” And Peppermint Patty flying through the air saying. “Stop calling me sir.”
Jimmy: Just about the drawing. To me, the whole sequence is worth it for that third panel, I think that is just some fun drawing.
Harold: It's just so absurd and it's so.
Jimmy: Really cute. Yes, I'm glad we got to check that one out. That's a, good little sequence. And I think, if you want to read the whole year, which you should be, come on, do the great Peanuts reread, read them all. But that's worth checking all of them just for the fun drawing.
February 18. It's Snoopy in a new persona. he's wearing a little helmet, like a motorcycle helmet on his head. And he's thinking to himself, “here's Joe Motocross going out to start his bike.” He hops up on top of, his bike, which is of course, his dog house, and he starts it up varoom. And then in the next panel, as he gets it revving, it's rip, rip, rip, rip, rip, rip rip. Poooooooooosh. And then in the last panel, Snoopy looks out at us and thinks, “the neighbors hate me.”
Michael: It's funny thinking him doing the sound effect.
Jimmy: And at least two thirds of the Unpacking Peanuts crew are plagued by biker gangs riding up and down the street. There may have been an incident last year, but we're not going to talk about that. Those records are sealed.
Harold: I think we mentioned before that Craig Schulz, Charles Schulz's son was racing Motocross around this time for a number of years. And apparently he was super competitive, did tons of races. So Schulz is definitely pulling from I'm assuming he attended a lot of those and watched his son get beaten up on the tracks.
Jimmy: Yeah, I think it would be a rough sport for a parent to have to watch because it's up and down dirt tracks with jumps and dipsy dos and every kind of possible way to kill yourself on those tracks.
Harold: And you're just standing in one spot. And so they're out of sight. He's like, what's happened to them? They get to come back around.
February 23, 1975, it's a Sunday. Woodstock is in his nest. And he's yawning and, from a distance behind some birch trees, Snoopy, is spying on him as Woodstock falls asleep. Snoopy sneaks up to the tree holding Woodstock's nest and very quietly and casually sneaks away with Woodstock's nest. And he takes it from the tree and he puts it on top of a fence post, being very careful not to wake Woodstock the entire time. But then Woodstock does wake up and looks around. He's completely surprised to see that his entire home has been moved to the top of a fence post. He walks over to Snoopy's, climbs up on the doghouse and says to Snoopy, as we see translated by Snoopy “I dreamed that my mother had come back to the nest and that she and I were flying through the air together. And I was so happy.” Woodstock continues to chirp as Snoopy says, “then I woke up. My nest was sitting on a fence post. My mother really hadn't come home. I was all alone. Sigh.” Woodstock then sniffs with the saddest little dots for eyes imaginable. And Snoopy says, “I think I'll give up practical jokes.”
Michael: Oh, that is really harsh.
Harold: There's a chipotle moment for me. I'm tearing up here.
Jimmy: A chipotle moment. Well, that's true. I do cry if I have to eat at Chipotle. That's true. Look at the tiny little-- I mean, he has just those big eyes on Woodstock in that last panel.
Jimmy: And it's just dots, but they just look so sad.
Harold: Yeah. I mean, there's so much to like in this strip. That very first little panel of Woodstock yawning and stretching is adorable. That's the cutest bird yawn I've ever seen. And Snoopy peeking through the birch trees is just great cartooning.
Harold: And then the very next panel, we got the Snoopy with this really cheesy practical joke grin on him crouching behind that tree. Yeah. And then it turns out to this gut punch of Woodstock's story. It's like, oh man, poor Woodstock. Poor Snoopy.
Jimmy: Yeah, well, that'll teach you. Snoopy practical jokes aren't fun, I tell you.
Harold: Boy, that's just so rough. And again, how many cartoonists would go here? Who would even think to go here with these characters that we've come to know and love? And this thing gone horribly wrong. That was well intentioned.
Michael: It wasn't well intentioned.
Jimmy: Yeah, right.
Michael: But there is a topic that permeates the strip and we never discussed it. Everybody wants to sleep all the time. Have you noticed that? It's so important people are falling asleep in class. Snoopy wants to sleep.
Jimmy: Woodstock wants to, Peppermint Patty can't sleep, so she needs a watchdog.
Michael: it's just like anybody at any moment in their life will fall asleep if anyone bores them.
Harold: I dreamed I was in a Chipotle, and then Jimmy Gownley came in, turning over all of the tables anyway.
Michael: And maybe we can do a show on sleep.
March 3. Oh, these are good ones. This is a type of throwback, I think, too. We got Lucy and Linus watching television, and Lucy, says to Linus, “why don't you go get me a dish of ice cream?” Linus asks, “what would you do if I told you to go get it yourself?” Lucy says, “I'd pound you until the sun went down. And I'd keep on pounding you until the sun came up, and then I'd pound you until the sun went down again.” Linus gets up and asks, “Chocolate or vanilla?”
Michael: This actually just could pop out of the 60s. It's not out of place. The drawing style, everything.
Jimmy: Yeah, you really could just insert.
Michael: The TV goes from white to black.
Harold: For some strange reason,
Jimmy: that would have happened in the 60s, too. I love that. He really did, figure out a way to draw a television set that was going to last him for about 30 years before just a cube on some spindly legs. Now, did you guys have big TVs when you were younger, or what was the biggest set you guys had? And I'm thinking in 70s, they were big, gigantic units of furniture.
Michael: Yeah, I think we started with one of those big three inchers yeah, those are nice.
Harold: Yeah. Our family got in 1965 was pretty early for color TV, before I was born. Yeah. My parents went out and got this really cool looking Motorola set that had that kind of gold thread weave over the speakers.
Jimmy: Oh, sure.
Harold: And the black ridge knobs. And it was a fancy TV set. And we had that thing, I was in college, and we were still using it.
Jimmy: Oh, yeah.
Harold: It had a long, long life.
Jimmy: Yeah. TVs would last decades back then. I remember once, though, breaking our TV, or TV breaking, rather, and having the little smaller TV sitting on top of the big TV that's usually black and white. Oh, that's, humiliating.
Harold: Oh, man. my memory is, in high school, my best, friend, Wayne Mayfield, he would come over and we'd be watching, like, tennis or something on TV. And he would complain because he said the bottom half of the TV made everyone look a little shorter and squatter. And, I never noticed because my whole life watching TV. And I was like, really? It's like, wow, that'll mess with your aesthetic.
March 4 Linus and Lucy still watching TV. Lucy says, “Why don't you go make me a sandwich?” Linus isn't having it. He jumps up and says, “you're not going to be able to order me around forever. Someday I'll grow up and I'll be bigger than you.” Lucy says, “but you'll also probably be a gentleman. And a gentleman is always courteous to a lady.” Linus walks away saying, “Ham or peanut butter?”
Michael: Lucy's a genius. She's got the hard sell, she's got the soft sell.
Jimmy: They both work. Pure genius. She cannot be beaten. It's brilliant. She has all the angles covered. I love it.
Harold: Yeah. I'm trying to think of anything else, like, in popular culture that represents a sibling relationship as well as this relationship right here. It just seems so real.
Jimmy: Yes. And like I said, even from the point of view of an only child who just witnessed, his friends having brothers and sisters, it feels very real. Yeah, it's one of the great little corners of Peanuts, for sure. And we have some more corners to explore. But before we do, we're going to take a little bit of a break, maybe get some goop or a bowl of snicker snacks. and then we'll come back and we will, tackle, some more strips. Sound good?
Harold: Sounds great.
Jimmy: All right, we'll be right back.
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 be of good cheer Penn nib design along with the four of us crossing Abbey Road. And of course, Michael, Jimmy and Harold at the Think and Wall. Collect them all, trade them with your friends, order your T shirts today at unpackingpeanuts.com/ store.
Jimmy: And we're back. So, hey, before we go to the old, strips again, Liz, you got anything in the old mail bag?
Liz: We do,
Jimmy: Michael. What is our segment title again? I can't remember.
Michael: Sitting in the mailbox.
Jimmy: Sitting in the mailbox. All right, Liz, what do we got?
Liz: Okay, let me see. First, I want to say thanks to Sam Alexander for his generous support. That was a lovely message and a bunch of mud pies.
Jimmy: Thank you, Sam. Be of good cheer.
Liz: And let me see, we heard from Rich Bowen, who, he says, Love your podcast. It's become an essential part of my commute to work. And then he wants to add a little more background on the Little Red haired girl and her name. So I'm thinking because a number of our listeners have pieces of the puzzle that they've been contributing to us. I'm going to create a special section on the website, on the obscurities page, where we collect all of the pieces of information about who the little red haired girl is and how she was named in the animated specials.
Jimmy: Oh, great. That's awesome. Thank you, Liz, for doing that.
Liz: And Rich goes on to say, he says, I've always been a particular fan of the TV specials. I made a video for my YouTube channel on some of the rules of the TV specials and the times they were broken as Peanuts fans you might enjoy it.
Jimmy: Oh, see, Michael, that's interesting because you don't like the animation. Or at least you don't want to see the animation. But you do love rules.
Michael: I do like rules, but maybe just.
Jimmy: That'S how you do it. You just watch his video. Yeah.
Michael: Good idea.
Jimmy: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for, the message. I got something on the Peanuts Hotline. And this is for readers of Dumbest Idea Ever. This is Dumbest idea character, Ellen Tool sent us that outside of Bangor, Maine, a farmer has carved Sally Linus Lucy Snoopy Charlie Brown, I think into his corn. And, if you want to at this point, you could go up and do the maze. It's outside of Bangor, Maine. And I have to say, for drawing with a tractor, it's dead on. It's pretty impressive.
Jimmy: Because if I couldn't get the radio 914, it would be away down before I got to tractor as my preferred drawing.
Harold: Yes. I would think that requires a little bit of practice.
Michael: Yeah. The middle step is a chainsaw.
Jimmy: Right. All right, so if you're out there and you want to contact us, you can go ahead and you can go to our website, unpackingpeanuts.com and you can send us an email. You can find us on social media, on Instagram, Threads, and Twitter we are at unpackpeanuts and on Facebook we're unpacking Peanuts. And, if you want, you can give, us a call on our Peanuts Hotline. Or you could also text it. And Liz, that number is 717-219-4162 and we would love to hear from you. yeah. Since we're in the mid 70s, tell us your favorite 70, s story. Who's your favorite 70s character? Do you have a thing for Spike? Let us know.
March 22. Charlie Brown is lying atop the pitchers mound looking forlorn. Linus comes up and says, “the game's over. Aren't you going home?” Charlie Brown says, “no, I'm going to lie here for the rest of my life.” Charlie Brown continues, “maybe somebody will buy this field and make it into a parking lot. I'll just lie here and let them black top right over me.” Then we push in on Charlie Brown as he continues, “when people park their cars, they'll ask what that bump in the black top is? And it'll be me.” Linus walks away saying, “I'll see you tomorrow, Charlie Brown.” Charlie Brown says, “that's all I'll ever be, a bump in a parking lot.”
Jimmy: I relate to Linus in this one. I'll see you tomorrow. That is actually often the response to over the top depression. Like, okay, I'll see you tomorrow.
Michael: This just sums up the whole baseball experience so well.
Harold: Yeah, boy. Yeah. These last two strips, Schulz will go to some pretty dark places.
Jimmy: Yeah, being, black topped over is pretty dark.
Harold: Yeah, right. Well, at least there's someone who's asking about the bump.
Jimmy: That's true.
March 31, okay, now we're in the middle of another kind of long sequence. What is the beginning ish of a long sequence. Linus and Snoopy are on the hunt because Linus has decided he's going to go out and find some truffles, and, he needs a truffle hound. So of course, he gets Snoopy to go with him. But in fact, they come up and they meet a young lady whose name is Truffles. That's quite a coincidence. And, here they are. Truffles is sitting under a tree, and, Linus and Snoopy are talking with her. Truffles says, I said, “if you find anything, just remember that you're digging on our property.” Truffle says, “Actually, this is my grandfather's farm.” Linus now stands up and says, “Gee, I apologize. I didn't even think about trespassing. We're hunting for truffles.” And Truffles says, with a smile on her face, “well, you found one.” Linus says “we did?” And then she reveals, “that's my name, Truffles,” to which Snoopy and probably a lot of readers say, “oh, good grief.”
Michael: Also, they were trespassing in someone else's comic strip because this is, not a Schulz character.
Jimmy: I love it. This is not a Schulz.
Michael: This is like a Broom Hilda character.
Jimmy: Yeah, I love this character design for some reason. I mean, I get what you're saying. It doesn't match, but it's so goofy. It's a really cute character. I think the fact that her mouth touches the bottom of, like, it's so much lower than any other Peanuts character. The nose, the eyes.
Harold: So weird.
Michael: Well, this reads in comic book world because, let's face it, they all look like freaky monsters. But this reads as ugly. And so I was surprised when later on, they talk about how beautiful she was because, this reads as ugly. I mean, in comic book language.
Harold: All right, well, in the first three panels, she doesn't really stay the same character in terms of the design. He's just kind of winging it as he goes here. I think it's a really odd design. I mean, for whatever reason, I don't know some of these strips that are in the 1975 books or all in line, the ink line. It just seems like we're not seeing his ink line. We're seeing his ink line that has been reproduced and smudged very much. And that does not do Truffles justice, I will say. But I will give her that she's wearing a cool, Mondrian dress.
Jimmy: Yeah, that's pretty cool.
Harold: But I will say my favorite part of this strip is in the first panel, Snoopy peeking around Linus, who's peeking around the tree at Truffles. That is a darn cute Snoopy.
Jimmy: When you look at that first panel, you could really see the ink bleed as it's just what you're talking about. The fact that, it looks smudged and, we're seeing it from a reproduction rather than the original art.
Harold: I'm wondering what happened. I'm assuming these did get reproduced. These weren't, like, lost strips or something. It makes me wonder what's going on with I don't know if he has the originals lying around, but it looks like these are being taken from and it could have just been that whoever was running the photostat machine for the United Feature Syndicate just didn't do it justice. And they ruined all the strips for that.
Michael: Were these reprinted in the books, these Truffles?
Jimmy: No, I don't remember them, but I see no reason why they wouldn't be.
Harold: I don't think-- a really good clue to us of what's going on. If you look in the second panel and you see, the word balloon for Truffle, it's just kind of cut off. And that's where the, copyright sticker went. So maybe that's a clue to us that when Fantagraphics had to take this over, or whoever was having to do this, they were working from. It seems like they have bad ways of avoiding that in other situations. Maybe this was second or third best choice of original, and it is something.
Jimmy: That we don't talk enough about. But, what they had to do to be able to assemble a complete Peanuts is astounding, because some of them were lost, some of the original, I mean, many of the originals were given away, sold, whatever. And you're talking about 17,000 strips. It's an astounding accomplishment.
Harold: And you can tell we're looking on with the Go Comics version. You can just see how poorly reproduced this particular strip is by looking at the copyright indicia. It is a blob.
Jimmy: Yeah, you can't read it at all.
Harold: Yeah. I can't judge Truffles entirely on this because I know poor Schulz was, not getting the reproduction he deserves for this.
April 1 Truffles continues. she says to Linus, “do you think Truffles is a funny name?” And Linus says, “no, I think it's kind of cute.” Truffles says, “My grandfather likes me. He says, I am as rare as a Truffle. So he calls me Truffles.”
Jimmy: Old people calling their daughters or granddaughters rare.
Harold: Yeah. Why is that a thing?
In the next panel, Linus says, “well, my name is Linus, and this is Snoopy. He's sort of an unusual dog.” Truffles says, “can he do tricks?” To which Snoopy says, “see this coin? Now watch carefully.”
Jimmy: I don't know why. That just really makes me laugh.
Harold: And that is pretty indicative of mid 1970s Peanuts. It's just that fever dream Schulz humor sliding in and out of different realities is very evident here.
Jimmy: Absolutely. I love the Truffles design. I mean, I don't know, I have mixed feelings about this whole sequence, the weird Linus-Snoopy rivalry, because what ends up happening is Linus falls in love with Truffles for some reason. And Snoopy, also loves Truffles, and Snoopy won't take him back, Linus back to visit Truffles, and Linus can't find his way back because this genius who can write her a letter so he has her address, cannot find his way back to her house, can't do it. It's impossible.
Michael: It's a very weird sequence.
Jimmy: Very weird sequence. And I love though, that, what I love at the end is that Snoopy was just there for the cookies. I think that is that's one of those instances when I think the punchline at the end is like, all right, that's really fun. I really like that.
Harold: Yeah. I like it when Snoopy gets shived by the weather vein, the rooster weather vane.
Michael: But if we do a special episode on the weirdest Peanuts strips, I would definitely nominate these.
Jimmy: well, first off, we got to do that now. That's an episode for sure.
Michael: Well, we maybe get some reader input, listener input.
Jimmy: Oh, yeah. What do you think is the weirdest, most unpeanut Peanuts sequence?
Michael: Up ‘til this date
Jimmy: Yeah. Between the beginning and 1975.
Harold: Yeah. And it's cool to see, a romance beyond Miss Othmar going on with--
Jimmy: Even though he can't find her, it's still more healthy than most of his other--
Harold: And they do have this cool little sequence in a barn when it rains and then they're talking. And I can see why, he's bonding with
Jimmy: I also feel when I'm looking at this, that I feel heavily the influence of the animation and him thinking, oh, I think we could do something with this. There's the barn, there's the weather, there's all that kind of yeah.
Liz: I have to mention that when this episode releases, it's going to be the first weekend of the Pergola Truffle Festival.
Jimmy: Oh, really?
Michael: Big deal. Very big deal.
Jimmy: All ah. Right.
Harold: So Pergola Italy has a has a truffle festival.
Michael: It's a white truffle festival. It's huge. I mean, you can't even walk down the street, it's so crowded.
Liz: The first three Sundays in October.
Harold: Okay, well, that outdoes my Southington Apple fest. That's only 2 weekends.
Michael: Well, these truffles are worth more than, their weight in gold. The white truffles.
Jimmy: I don't know that I've ever had a truffle.
Michael: Don’t. Yeah. One of the first times I went hiking around here when we just moved here, I'm always trying to find ways through the woods. And I came across a fenced in plot, like barbed wire with video cameras. And I had like, a backpack on. And I'm looking in there. I had no idea what it was. So obviously I'm on camera, this weird stranger with a backpack, like, gazing at this truffle patch. They were coming with their guns.
Harold: It was Truffles grandpa.
Jimmy: Wow. Okay, so you listeners out there. You have your marching orders. First you go, you get to the Apple Festival and you meet Harold. Then you hightail it up to Bangor, Maine, and you walk through the maze that looks like Snoopy's head. Then you get on a plane, you fly over to Pergola. You get your Peanuts Truffles. That's the trifecta.
Michael: Right. And the first person who does that will get a prize.
Jimmy: Yeah, you'll get a shout out on our next episode.
Harold: A vinyl Unpacking Peanuts sticker.
Jimmy: There you go.
May 12, Snoopy's atop his dog house. And, he's got his typewriter out and ready to go. Linus says to him, “you know what Herman Melville said?” Linus tells him “he said, to produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.” In panel three, Snoopy thinks this over. And in panel four, he types “the dog.”
Harold: Well, it's interesting that we got two Herman Melville references this year within a few weeks of each other. I'm guessing he was indeed reading Moby Dick when he was, making these strips because they're spread out over about three weeks.
Jimmy: Yeah, he must be.
Michael: It actually is a tribute to our favorite Ulysses podcast, where you always that mighty novel, Ulysses.
Jimmy: I was just thinking about this. I had a dead on impersonation of the guy that hosted that Ulysses podcast. But the only person in the world who would appreciate it was Michael,
Michael: who just did a terrible impersonation
Jimmy: Re Joyce with Frank Delaney. a mighty podcast about the mighty novel by James A. Joyce. He once did an entire 20 minutes on one word. Hellenized. Can you believe it? Anyway.
Harold: Well, we've, focused on the Letter W.
Jimmy: Yeah, I think he would doff his hat to this podcast in terms of insanity. May 18.
Michael: I'm going to say in advance, I picked this one solely for its weirdness.
Jimmy: All right, this is a Michael pick for the weirdness.
May 18. Peppermint Patty is up at bat. Schroeder is behind the plate. Patty whaps it. We now hard cut to poor Woodstock, who is half asleep, of course, in his nest. But something gets his attention. And then in the next panel, POW. We see the ball that Peppermint Patty has hit has, in fact, hit Woodstock's nest and basically shattered it. Woodstock is not thrilled by this. And we have a great panel of Woodstock returning the ball. And he does this by standing on top of it and rolling it like a log. It's just brilliant. He rolls it that way all the way up to the pitcher's mound where Charlie Brown is baffled. This does cause Schroeder to come out and see what's going on. And we see Woodstock reading Charlie Brown the riot act. He is just screaming at him, with his little chirps. And then he walks away, still chirping in anger as Charlie Brown and Schroeder watch after him. Then Schroeder leaves to go back behind the plate and says to Charlie Brown, “I think what he probably said was, if you throw one more dumb pitch down the middle like that, I'm going to come back here and break your arm.” To which Charlie Brown looks out at us and says, “everyone in the stands is an expert.”
Michael: This has so much wrong with it. Let's go through this. Peppermint Patty is playing against Charlie Brown's team, which we've never seen before.
Jimmy: What are you talking about? Like, dozens of times. Yes.
Michael: It's always on her game playing right.
Michael: All right.
Jimmy: No. She plays Charlie Brown many times.
Michael: All right, so I'm wrong. second of all, Schroeder somehow has the mysterious ability to understand what the birds say, right?
Jimmy: No. He says I think what he probably said was he's saying that to Charlie Brown. That's the joke. You, know what I think he said? Charlie Brown, if you pitch that pitch one more time, that's what he's saying. He is threatening Charlie Brown himself and, using Woodstock as if Woodstock's, the one that said it. Woodstock may have said that, but he may have said something totally different.
Michael: Okay. And thirdly, Woodstock couldn't possibly break Charlie Brown's arm.
Jimmy: Probably not. But what do you think about the drawing of good old Woodstock on that ball? that kills me as a great drawing.
Harold: It's great cartooning. Yeah. The little angry look on his again there's. Cartooning wise, Schulz has just created his own language. the nest being hit with the ball. You don't even see the ball. You just see POW. And this emanation from where the little twigs of the nest had been. And then you got the classic feet, up butt and tail, upside down. That's Peanuts. We know what that means because he's built all this into his vocabulary, and it's such great cartooning. And then I also love the fact that once Woodstock does roll that ball all the way up to Charlie Brown's dirt mound, it's at about 02:00 130 on the thing, and it stopped. And it's not rolling down because it's Charles Schulz's fever dream world that he's living in here now in 1975.
Michael: Yeah, we need to get our physicist here and help us with some of these things.
May 21. Snoopy is atop his dog house. He looks a little, concerned. Charlie Brown says, “I think you've forgotten something. At the end of the story of the three little pigs, the wolf fell into a pot of boiling water. So what do you have to worry about?” And, Snoopy thinks “his grandchildren may be out for revenge.”
Jimmy: Now, this is, in the middle of a sequence where Snoopy is very concerned that the, big bad wolf is going to come and blow his doghouse down.
Harold: Yeah. And this whole year does seem to have these little moments of being concerned about being burgled and these dark worlds where people are after you, wolves and their grandchildren want to attack you. So, yeah, I don't know if that's if he's got in a kind of a new protective granddad mode or what's going on here.
Jimmy: well, 75 right. We're prime Taxi Driver time. Things are turning dark in the--
Harold: There's definitely stuff getting in the news. I actually looked up to see if Schulz had been burgled in 74, 75, because it does seem to there's a lot of it. Yeah, it seems to pop up reasonably often in the strip, and it's always been there. There's always been whenever one of the characters says, what if I get mugged? I always think, that's hilarious. I don't know why, but it's fine. It's Marcie or whatever.
Michael: The Bird gang ripped off Snoopy way back.
Harold: So this is nothing new here. I just love the idea that, Snoopy's concerned that not only the Big Bad Wolf exists and could come to his neighborhood, but the fact that actually in the story, he's been dispatched. There's still the opportunity for his grandchildren to come and take revenge.
May 24. Snoopy is lying atop his dog house, and Charlie Brown comes up, says, “I'm glad to see you stopped worrying about wolves.” Snoopy sits up and says to himself, “at least my grandmother used to say that you can waste your whole life worrying about things that never happen.” Then Snoopy, thinking about his grandmother, thinks, “what a dog. The last time anyone saw her, she was chasing five rabbits across a cloverleaf interchange.”
Michael: That's grim.
Jimmy: That is so funny.
Harold: Yeah, that is pretty grim.
Jimmy: It's very grim, I will grant you. Oh, we got, one. That's so good.
May 25. We're back out to the baseball field, forgetting Snoopy's grandmother being run over. We don't know. We just haven't seen.
Michael: Come on.There's no chance.
Harold: How'd the bunnies fare?
Lucy's out in the outfield. She says, “time out,” and walks in. She needs to call timeout because you have to have these two strip panels that, don't do anything. Then this strip really starts as she walks up to Charlie Brown saying, “you know what you need, Charlie Brown? You need a nickname. We can't keep shouting, pitch it to him, Charlie Brown. That's not colorful enough. You need a nickname. You should be called Catfish or Babe or Lefty or Dutch or Speed or Doc or something.” Charlie Brown says, “I think I'd like that. If you come up with anything, just shout it right out.” Lucy says, “Good.” Then she walks out to the outfield and then yells back in. “Throw it in there, Cement Head.”
Michael: This was my one laugh out loud strip this year.
Jimmy: What do you like about it?
Michael: cement head. Perfect.
Harold: Simple enough
Jimmy: Yeah, simple enough. You know what? Sometimes you don't have to think too hard. Sometimes it's right there on the surface. You know what? I'm enjoying the heck out of 1975, guys. But let's, take a break now and come back next week and pick up from here. What do you say?
Michael: Sounds good.
Jimmy: All right, so you characters out there, if you want to hang out with the gang, you can find us on social media. We're on Twitter, Instagram and Threads at Unpack Peanuts over there on good old Facebook, we're Unpacking Peanuts. And of course, you could go to the website and you go to our website unpacking peanuts. And you could shoot us off an email. You can sign up for the Great Peanuts Reread. So you get our newsletter once a month, knowing what, we're going to be covering, and like that. Otherwise, I just want to, hear from you. Even if you have nothing to say about Peanuts, just say hi. Because, as always, you know, if I don't hear from you, I worry. So that's it for this week from Michael and Harold. This is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.
Harold and Michael: Yes, yes. Be of good cheer.
VO: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright. Jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen and Harold Buchholz. Produced and edited by Liz Sumner. Music by Michael Cohen. Additional Voiceover by Aziza. Shukralla Clark. For more from the show, follow UnpackPeanuts on Instagram and Twitter. Unpacking Peanuts on Facebook and YouTube. For more about Jimmy, Michael and Harold, visit unpackingpeanuts.com. Have wonderful day and thanks for listening.