Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts. I'm your host for the proceedings, Jimmy Gownley. You might also know me from my comics, Amelia Rules, The Dumbest Idea Ever and Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up. Joining me, as always, are my pals, co hosts, and fellow cartoonists.
He's a playwright and a composer, both for the band Complicated People, as well as for this very podcast. He's the creator of the original comic Book Price Guide, co creator anyway, the original editor of Amelia Rules, and 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's the executive producer and writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000, former vice president of Archie Comics, and the current creator of the Instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts. It's Harold Buchholz.
Jimmy: Hey, guys. Well, it has been-- a little peek, behind the curtain. It has been a long time since we did the first half of 1977, so it is going to be interesting to see. We had a little unforeseen delay, in recording. It's going to be interesting to see what we come up with here on this second half. How about then we just get right back to this great year of strips.
April 8. Oh, starting auspiciously. A golf strip, as we know. My favorite. So Snoopy is out golfing, and good old Woodstock is with him. And Snoopy says, “I wonder how many yards it is to the green.” In panel two, we see Woodstock very cleverly counting his paces, as Charles Schulz is showing us, him doing that with just those little hash marks. Then we have panel three of Snoopy just waiting as the clouds darken. And then in panel four, it is night, and Woodstock has returned. And Snoopy says, “251 yards.”
Jimmy: Golf strips are. Wow. I don't know what it is. There's something just about golf-- the guy could say to you, listen, I'm going to solve all the world's problems, feed the hungry, solve inequality. But if he's telling you I'm golfing.
Michael: Yeah, it's bourgeois.
Harold: Just feels blandly decadent.
Michael: Yeah, I'm not too crazy about the tennis stuff just because I don't know what all the lingo is.
Jimmy: Yeah. tennis is a notch down from golf for me, because tennis involves running around.
Harold: Yeah. But this is adorable.
Jimmy: Oh, my gosh.
Harold: stepping off the entire course there, taking him all night.
Jimmy: And how cute is it when you see his little chirp marks? One, then two, then three, then four.
Harold: You can read Woodstock chirp.
Michael: That's why it took so long, because he's going, 250 chirps.
Jimmy: This is it. I've now broken the code. Right. I just think that's such a clever thing for him to add in, because in a newspaper, when you're not reading it for your podcast, you're probably not even going to notice that he's adding one with every step Woodstock takes. But it's very--
Harold: That's right. Yeah. They could have done it in Roman numerals, too, but he didn't.
Jimmy: Yeah, he, does not do the Roman numerals, but that wouldn't be chirps, so he had to stick with it.
April 25. Peppermint Patty's in school at her desk, and she says, “please, ma'am, no hard questions this morning. The sun is shining. It's a beautiful day. Let's not spoil it. Who was Moses Mendelsohn? You spoiled it.”
Michael: What kind of grade school is this?
Jimmy: I feel that way about most days
Harold: This is some school.
Michael: Moses Mendelssohn.
Harold: That's just nuts.
Jimmy: No, by the way, we should give Peppermint Patty credit for wanting to go to obedience school because they have some tough classes.
Michael: No kidding.
Harold: Grade schools, I'm telling you. Moses Mendelssohn. Well, we can use this as an obscurity.
VO: Peanuts Obscurities Explained.
Michael: He's a philosopher. Religious.
Harold: Yeah. He was a German Jewish philosopher from the 1700s. Wrote on a bunch of things. But also one of the things he wrote about was kind, of religious tolerance. The argument for religious--
Michael: So he's not Felix Mendelssohn's father or anything.
Harold: No relation to cat or Felix Mendelssohn. not to my knowledge.
Jimmy: You know what's great, though? Because of what he wrote, religious intolerance is no more.
Harold: Well, he might have helped.
Jimmy: It always makes you feel bad when you're writing something and you're like, okay, I feel like I'm really saying something. And then you realize people have been writing about the same problems and foibles and everything for thousands of years.
Harold: Well, I'm sorry, Jimmy. You couldn't solve all the world's problems, but you're probably helping the world a little bit, doing your bit.
Jimmy: I know, but that's all I want. Harold. It doesn't seem like it's too much to ask.
Harold: It gets a little scary if you think you could just.
Jimmy: But, like, only through comics. I don't want to get up off my ass.
Harold: It's hard work behind the drawing board.
Jimmy: I guess it is. It is true. I do feel like anything, also, too early in the morning does spoil the rest of the day. So I’m with Peppermint Patty on that.
Harold: But, boy, that teacher, I don't know.
Jimmy: A lot of them, I think, have to be year one teachers that are really. “We're going to challenge these kids.”
Harold: Yeah, but it shows you how broadly Schulz is reading all this. Know, there's all this stuff going on in the background that he's absorbing, and then every once in a while, it just falls directly into the strip.
Jimmy: Yeah. My gosh. And there's so much of it. I mean, we've seen Herman Melville a couple of times last year. We've seen Tolstoy. It's wild. Or even things like Rachel Carson.
Harold: Yeah, right. He's reading pretty broadly.
May 30, Snoopy's lying atop his dog house, and he's reading, what looks like maybe a brochure of some kind. And he says, “hey, stupid cat.” He thinks to himself, whatever. And then he's sitting up thinking with his mouth open, and says, “here's an ad for around the world cruises. Why didn't you take one and don't come back?” And then we get the familiar slash, which sends Snoopy flying in the air. And then we see the cat has slashed Snoopy's doghouse in half. So now he's lying on only the doghouse stump, and he continues to read. “Here's an ad I should answer myself. How to keep your mouth shut.”
Michael: Here we have an example of what's going to be the new model Snoopy.
VO: It's Snoopy Watch.
Michael: No forehead. Very little forehead. Kind of a rounded mouth, especially in that last. It doesn't seem like he's not more expressive. He's less expressive is what I'm trying to say. It seems like Schulz has kind of stylized him to the point where he doesn't resemble good old Snoopy from the 50s and 60s that much anymore.
Harold: What do you think makes him less expressive in this new version?
Michael: I don't know, but I find that there's a lot of panels where he seems to be showing no emotion.
Jimmy: That's very true. I did notice that you can see even here in panel one and four, and I understand that's the joke. It's serving the joke, but I know what you're talking about.
Harold: Yeah. There's a little bit more stoicism in this era, I don't know.
Jimmy: Now, in some places I do think it works. Like, I think he's fairly stoic in panel three as he gets sent flying sky high. but I think that really works.
Harold: Yeah, he does have a history of doing that. Right. Not having the characters show expression, no mouth, just the eye staring at the other person.
Michael: The lack of forehead because it was pretty big not too long ago.
Harold: So foreheads add to expression.
Michael: Maybe it makes him look cuter, but it also makes him look a little stupider.
Harold: That's interesting, because he doesn't have as much brain up there.
Michael: Yeah, exactly.
Jimmy: Interesting. Yeah, I'm not sure. One of the things about this is when you start, like, I'm listening to you guys talking and I'm zooming in really close on our little PDF from Go Comics. And at a certain point you look so close that you can't see it anymore. You're like, is it expressive? Is it not expressive? I don't even know.
Michael: Just go ahead to the next one. That's another good example.
Jimmy: Well, yes, that's a really interesting point.
June 9. Snoopy walks up to, let's say a shed, possibly because inside there's a room with just a solitary rake leaning up against the wall. Snoopy walks out with the rake and then uses it to toast 1 2 3 4 5 7 marshmallows on the rake.
Michael: Yeah. Which is a good joke, but he shows no response to anything in any of these panels.
Jimmy: That's interesting. Yeah. There's not even a smile in the last panel.
Harold: for somebody who owned a little Snoopy plush toy, it's weird how this kind of fulfills having the plush toy because it's stoic, right? It's only got one expression. So he's living out the plush toy version here.
Michael: This does look like a stuffed animal.
Jimmy: Can I take this moment to ask our listeners something?
Jimmy: So, you guys are talking about the stuffed toy. And a few episodes back I mentioned I had the Snoopy electric toothbrush.
Jimmy: With the Woodstock that you can roll up in the toothpaste tube roller.
Jimmy: Well, I have looked online for that thing and I find the toothpaste, or, the electric toothbrush, no problem. But none of them have the Woodstock toothpaste roller.
Harold: Oh my.
Jimmy: So I'm thinking either I'm insane and I've imagined it. B, it's a Mandela effect, which that's what it is. I know. Or c, maybe I just haven't found it correctly, and maybe someone out there can find it. So if anyone can find the Woodstock toothpaste.
Michael: Yeah, Jimmy says he'll pay top dollar.
Jimmy: no, but I will send out a thank you email with an emoji if you send a picture.
Harold: Wow. Well, we're talking about Snoopy.
Jimmy: I don't want the real thing, because I don't want to store it. I just want to look at it so I'm not crazy.
Harold: We were talking about Snoopy with-- Did you say there was, a bit of mail, Liz, about Snoopy?
Liz: I did. There was a message from friend of the show, William Pepper.
Jimmy: William Pepper, host of It's A Podcast, Charlie Brown, which you guys should all be listening.
Liz: And he says, something just occurred to me where Schulz draws Snoopy with his mouth open while thinking dialogue at somebody. Is it possible that is to convey Snoopy is also barking? What do you think?
Jimmy: All right, Michael, what do you think?
Michael: I am a solid no on this, because we have seen him bark occasionally and also communicating with everyone, especially Woodstock. I'm convinced it's extrasensory perception is the answer.
Jimmy: All right, we got one vote for ESP. Harold, how about you?
Harold: Oh, gosh, that's a tough one. I, would guess that it has to do with making a noise to get the cat's attention across the-- You know, there certainly is argument for ESP as well, given that the characters seem to know what Snoopy's thinking these days.
Jimmy: Well, allow me to be a statesman and say, I don't think one precludes the other. He could be engaging in ESP and also barking. So that's what I'm going to say.
Michael: Wishy washy Jimmy.
Harold: Good old Jimmy Gownley.
Jimmy: I can't stand it.
June 19. Snoopy's atop the dog house, but he's not looking too happy, and he sighs to himself. “Memories sigh. Memories will drive you crazy.” Then the strip really starts on tier two, where he says, still on top of his doghouse, “I wonder whatever happened to my dad. Hey, pups, you want to go for a little run? He used to ask. We'd go scampering off like a bunch of boobies, falling all over ourselves.” And he's running on the doghouse to illustrate this. Then he lies down and continues. “In the evening, dad would invite a few rabbits over. Dad never chased rabbits. Instead, he'd invite them over to play cards.” Snoopy is miming. “Those were good days,” he thinks. Then he continues. “I remember the time a preacher came around telling about how the wolf and the lamb will lie down together and the leopard and goats will be at peace. Cows will graze among bears. My dad stood up and shouted, how about the beagles and the bunnies? It broke up the meeting. Yes, those were good days,” says Snoopy, with a wistful look on his face. Then he lies back down thinking, “anyway, happy Father's Day, dad, wherever you are. And say hello to all the rabbits.”
Michael: Pretty wordy.
Harold: Yeah. I think the wolf and the lamb, I think is probably the better interpretation. I got my little comic book with the lion and the lamb, but, the wolf is definitely the more appropriate.
Michael: Cows and bears, hard to picture that.
Harold: But yeah, this is a cool strip. I really like this. I like learning about Snoopy's dad and how Snoopy was a chip off the old block in certain ways, it seems. Yes. And that he had a relationship with his dad. And dad liked the bunnies, too.
I just saw the movie of Mice and Men. have you guys ever read the book or seen the old 1939 film? And Lenny loves little soft things, and so he wants to have a bunch of bunnies. And I just thought of him when we were reading this strip,
Liz: Tell us about the rabbits, George.
Harold: Yeah, it's so weird watching that movie because I saw the Warner Brothers cartoons. I want me a bunny. I can hug him and pet him and call him George. And you see that over and over again. And then finally, when you see the actual film that was based on the play, which was based on the short novel, it's so hard to stop thinking of that when you're watching. It's almost ruined the movie for people. It's crazy. It's so hard because I don't know, Lon Cheney Jr. Who Diane and I also just went to the Mahoning Drive in theater in Pennsylvania. They show 35 millimeter films, and they had a Friday and Saturday Universal monster movie night. So we saw seven movies over two nights.
Jimmy: Did you see Dave?
Harold: And Lon Chaney Jr. Was in a bunch of them. Saw Dave, yeah. Dave checked us in both times as we went through the gate. And it was crazy seeing Lon Chaney Jr. Because he's such a sympathetic performer. He's not really heralded much as an actor. And his very first movie was Of Mice and Men. And he plays [Lennie], this big kind of hulking guy who's not very smart. And he loves these little bunnies. And here they are. He's such an iconic performance in that. But the problem was, he's iconic because of the humor that people have based on that character. You just can't see it fresh. If you know anything about Warner Brothers cartoons.
Jimmy: That's kind of like we were talking about with Rosebud and Citizen Kane a few weeks ago.
Harold: Yeah. Because that was my first exposure to Citizen Kane. And by golly, Schulz gave away the ending. And I was a little upset because when I did see it. Yeah. I have no Idea what it been like to watch it fresh and see that at the end, because it didn't feel profound at all at the end, because I knew it from the very beginning.
July 13. Good old Lucy is out in the outfield, and a ball lands right behind her head. Bonk. Charlie Brown comes out. “There's no excuse for missing a ball like that. There's absolutely no excuse.” Lucy says, “the moons of Saturn got in my eyes.” “I take it back. That wasn't a bad excuse,” says Charlie Brown.
Michael: I love this one.
Jimmy: Now, this is a throwback, Michael, right?
Michael: Oh, yeah. But it's the best retort she's ever had. I'm going to start saying this. It's just the greatest excuse.
Jimmy: I like that. It's not Saturn, right?
Michael: Cause you can actually see Saturn.
Jimmy: Just the moons of Saturn.
July 14. Oh, I like this one. Linus and Sally are hanging out at the thinking wall. Linus says to Sally, “I thought you went to summer camp. How'd you get out of going?” Then Sally answers, “I followed a very simple plan. I hid under my bed for three weeks.”
Harold: Well, Charlie Brown can sleep in a cardboard box for a few days and not be found by his parents. I guess Sally can hide under--
Jimmy: The Brown parents are getting as bad as the Van Pelts. Charlie Brown's across town sleeping in a box. Sally's hiding under her bed for three weeks. It's fine.
Harold: There's something going on. And I think Schulz single handedly made huge damage to the summer camp world in the United States.
Jimmy: They really went with _____ every year.
Harold: All these kids are hiding under their beds.
Jimmy: Well, like, from this point on, in pop culture, too, the camp is nothing but a place that you go and get murdered. It's amazing that, any kind of camp survived the 80s with the slasher movies.
Harold: Yeah. Boy, camps did have a bad. Well, it was all Schulz. Schulz really made me never want to even consider going to camp. It just sounded so horrible.
Jimmy: No, but honestly, even in movies, when it's supposed to be a cool place or fun, it still seems completely hellish.
Harold: That's true. Yeah. Can you think of a movie where going to camp is like, oh, I wish I were there. No, I wish I were at that camp. I can't think of a single.
Jimmy: No, no.
Harold: Makes it look like you really want to go to camp.
Jimmy: Absolutely not.
Harold: There was a Dennis the Menace comic that he did, and they reprinted it multiple times. Where he goes to camp. It was based on an actual camp in California. And, he did his best to make it look good, but that's probably as close as I've seen. It's like, oh, yeah, let's do that.
Jimmy: Those Dennis comics are amazing. The ones, did. There's a YouTube channel called Cartoonist KFAB, which I'm sure a lot of you know. I like it a lot. And they did an in depth dive on Dennis goes to Hawaii, and they talked a little bit about how those things were produced, where they would send the writer and the artist, and they'd get all this reference photos.
Harold: Isn't that nuts? Can you imagine a comic book sending people to Hawaii to get reference?
Jimmy: I know.
Harold: That is one of the best selling comic books of all time. I think they reprinted it multiple times. Hawaii had just become a state, and they sold millions of copies of that.
Michael: So why didn't they just, like, Google some photos?
Jimmy: I know. So dumb.
Harold: National Geographic was good enough for Carl Barks. Right.
Jimmy: That's another thing people just don't-- It's people, young people have no concept of having to come up with some sort of morgue file of old photos or whatever because you had a reference stuff and there was no Google sketchup or Google images.
Harold: Yeah. You weren't a real comic artist. If you didn't have the morgue, they would always tell you, you need to have a morgue of your own art. Which is such a creepy name for it too.
Jimmy: Yeah. Why is it called the morgue?
Harold: I think it had to do with the newspapers where they had the stuff that had been in yesterday's paper. It's dead.
Jimmy: It's dead. Got it.
Harold: Everything from the old days.
Jimmy: I see. See, now I learned something too. That's why I do this show.
July 20, Snoopy and Woodstock are sitting on top of Snoopy's dog house. And Snoopy says to Woodstock, “I say, forget it. You're a bird. You can’t change what you are.” And in the last panel, Snoopy says to a disappointed Woodstock, “you're a bird. And birds don't shave.”
Michael: poor Woodstock.
Harold: Although a little could be taken off the top, I think.
Michael: This is just to show that his concept of Snoopy is not set in stone because the forehead's back. So, he hasn't quite settled on it yet.
Harold: That's interesting.
Jimmy: Now, it may seem like this is an insane thing to focus on, but. Well, you could say that about the whole podcast, huh? However, you're really onto something there. It's very strange because it is a fairly significant difference between, let's say, the June 19 Sunday and, the July 20 that we just looked at. And I cannot imagine he is in any way doing any of this consciously. He's just drawn Snoopy. Right? I mean, I'm asking. He's not in July 20 going, no, today he needs to be a little more of the old. Right?
Michael: Yeah, I don't think he's, I would think, pondering the forehead, but that's definitely the direction it's going. we've probably experienced this with our characters. You just don't think about it, and they evolve on their own.
Harold: So do you think he's shifting it emotionally because something's emotionally happening in the strip?
Jimmy: I think that plays in every artist to some degree, that there's a little bit of the emotion you're trying to convey, and the drawing has to get its way into the drawing somehow. I think there probably is something to that. Yes.
Harold: It's interesting. Yeah. Because he's trying to make an argument. So he's got to be a little brainier if he's going to--
Michael: Or he's stuck thinking about the animated specials, which might be drawn a little different. And he's kind of wavering whether he wants to copy the look of those characters to conform more with the commercial aspect of the toys and stuff.
Jimmy: The one thing I wish in the animation, particularly now that it's later and that this is doable, I wish they could get a little more of the ink line feel.
Harold: But which ink line? Which era ink line do you think?
Jimmy: I would just pick something from the 60s to 70s. I'd try to find something in that sweet spot and make something that is like the--
Harold: You're right. I mean, they could just make-- This is the pen line that you're going to use, and they could recreate that Radio 914 nib. You're right.
Harold: that would be wild.
Jimmy: Wouldn't that be cool? Yeah.
Harold: well, maybe they'll start to do that.
Jimmy: Yeah. Peanuts Worldwide, get it together. If you listen to me, someday you'll be successful.
August 8. This is the end of a sequence where Charlie Brown has been forced to be Peppermint Patty's watchdog, sitting out on the stoop at night, and he has not been a great watchdog. And, so this morning, Peppermint Patty comes out and says, “okay, watchdog, you can wake up. It's morning.” And we see poor Charlie Brown just slumped over, sitting on the steps. In panel two, he says, “wow, that was a long night. I don't think I'd make a good watchdog.” Then in panel three, Snoopy returns. “Snoopy, where have you been?” Charlie Brown says, and then in panel four, Snoopy thinks to himself, “around the world and back, I'm in love.
Harold: Snoopy in love.
Michael: Creates a little suspense.
Jimmy: Now, this is the one that eventually gets adapted into the animated special about Snoopy and Spike, right? Spike runs away with.
Harold: Yeah, spoiler alert. Yeah. it's going to happen. Poor Snoopy. Well, there's also something about this strip that is minorly momentous in the history of the strip. Something happens in this daily strip that happens for the first time in the 27 years of the strip.
Michael: This particular strip we're looking at.
Harold: In this particular strip.
Harold: I'll give you a hint. It's in the first panel.
Jimmy: Long pants. No.
Michael: You got me there.
Jimmy: No Idea.
Harold: So this is the first strip where Schulz dropped the Peanuts inset in the upper left hand corner. So he can now use the upper left hand corner for the first time in any daily. Because in the past, Peanuts was white on black in the upper left hand corner as a little rectangle in the strip. And so he couldn't put writing in the upper left hand corner or artwork that needed to be--
Michael: How come we're not seeing it?
Jimmy: They took it out for all the reprint.
Harold: Yeah. Which is-- it bugs you when you realize that. You go back and you look at the old strips and like, oh, man.
Michael: So there's never been dialogue
Harold: given how little space he had.
Michael: There's never been dialogue in that corner. I never would have noticed that.
Harold: Yeah, this is a big deal. So Schulz has got a little more space to work with now after 27 years. But it does change the aesthetic very subtly going forward.
Jimmy: It absolutely does. I mean, it just changes what he can do in the first panel in terms of where he can place the things and how much he can place--
Harold: Yeah. Even put the copyright notice up there as a moment of triumph. Left hand side. It's like I can put the incorporated right where Peanuts was. I don't have to use that space up anymore.
Jimmy: Nice. Yeah. so this is a longer story. Snoopy falls in love, and eventually he, is going to get married. But of course, he doesn't. And in this instance, he did not get married because his brother Spike has stolen his bride and this takes us to
August 29, where Charlie Brown receives a letter and hands it to Snoopy. “Here you got a letter from Spike,” says, old CB. Snoopy reads the letter. “Dear brother, what can I say? I ran off with your bride and broke your heart. But you know what happened the day we got here to Needles? She left me and ran off with a coyote.” And then in the last panel, Spike concludes the letter to Snoopy with, “Have you seen any good movies lately? Your brother Spike.”
Michael: I once got a letter like that.
Harold: Oh, really?
Michael: From my friend who was basically cursing me out for 13 pages. Saying what a horrible human being I was and my parents were terrible and everything. And then at the end, he goes, like, I'm thinking of going to France next summer. You want to come along?
Harold: Kind of kills the power of the first pages, I hope.
Jimmy: Wow, 13 pages. What'd you do?
Michael: I still have it.
Harold: You still have the letter?
Michael: I don’t want to get into that.
Jimmy: well, he was wrong.
Harold: I hope he didn't write on both sides, so you could have framed each page.
Michael: Boy, is this a wordy one.
September 25. Lucy and Sally are walking around outside. And Lucy, looking at the ground, says, “look.” Sally says, “look at what?” Lucy says, “look at that tiny bug. Have you ever thought about how little he knows?” Sally says,”he doesn't know what day it is, that's for sure. He doesn't know what's on TV tonight either.” Lucy says he's never heard of “Farrah Fawcett Majors” “or Mary Tyler Moore,” Sally. Lucy continues, “he doesn't know there's a moon in the sky and fish in the ocean.” “He doesn't know,” says Sally, “anything about kites or frisbees or even ice cream cones.” Lucy. “And he's never heard of barbers or baptism or bass drums.” Linus, walking by, says, “say, do either of you girls know where the new post office is?” Lucy says, “what new post office?” And Sally says, “I didn't even know we had a new post office.” Then Linus looks at the bug. He says something. Some directions, I guess. And Linus says, “oh, it is. Thank you very much.” Then the bug walks away whistling, leaving the girls…
Michael: You haven't seen bugs and Peanuts for, like, 20 years. They used to be a big part of the strip.
Jimmy: Bugs are making a comeback.
Harold: Yeah. Bugs are given some respect here.
Jimmy: And it moved and talked. So not a piece of fuzz, right? Yeah.
Harold: Unless it was a moving, talking piece of fuzz. In the Peanuts world, you never know.
Michael: I always liked in Pogo that all the big characters are walking around having exciting lives, and then you'd see, like, little Mama Bug and her little baby bug, like, walking to school or something.
Harold: Yeah, the little bonnets.
Jimmy: Now, I have a question for you, Harold, and I don't know, have we done the, anger meter for 1977 yet?
Harold: No, we haven't.
Jimmy: Let's do it now.
Harold: Do you have any feelings about this? What does this feel like?
Jimmy: Well, I'm happy right now, so I'm going to say it's happier,
Michael: In general, I'm rather angry, so I'd say it was angrier. No, I actually don't know.
Jimmy: Are you angry?
Michael: I'm angry that the strip is happier.
Harold: Okay, there we go. Let's go back and look here. So, 1976, we had 92 anger strips, about 25%, which is kind of low, right. And happiness, we had 130 strips, which is 36%, which I think we had mentioned was quite high. So the anger meter for 1977 is actually at, 77, or only 19%. That is super low. So that stoicism we were talking about when Snoopy, maybe all the characters are moving a little more in that direction. I don't know. What do you think about the happiness thing? Do you think that's up or down from that high in 130?
Michael: I think generally up.
Jimmy: I think it's going to have to be down just because that's really high.
Harold: That's super high. Yeah, it's actually down. It's 111 from 130. So down to 30%, still high. yeah. So there we are for the Anger and Happiness Index. But again, for those of you who are listening, for the first time, we're just looking at strips and seeing if there is a character who shows anger or happiness, at least one in each strip, to get counted. So it's an, interesting thing for me to kind of see where things are with Schulz just in those two little indices. I find it interesting anyway.
Jimmy: It absolutely is. Okay, so how about we, take a break now, go, get a little snack or whatever, and come back, wrap this year up, pick our MVPs and whatnot. Sound good?
Jimmy: All right, you guys have a good break. We'll see you on the other side.
VO: Hi, everyone. Have you seen the latest Anger and Happiness index? Have you admired the photo of Jimmy as Luke Skywalker or read the details of how Michael co created the first comic book Price Guide? Just about every little known subject we mention is referenced on the unpacking Peanuts website. Peanut obscurities are explained further and other stories are expanded more than you ever wanted to know, from Albert Payson Terhune to Zipatone, Annette Funicello to Zorba the Greek. Plus the latest tier list and, of course, the thermometer. Check it all out at unpackingPeanuts.com/obscurities.
Jimmy: And we're back. What'd you get for your snack? Did you get anything good? I hope you got something good. we'll get back to the strips in a second, but before we do, how about we, check in with our new segment sitting in the mailbox? Liz, do we got anything.
Liz: We do. Our new listener, Colin Heaney from Ireland, writes that he and his girlfriend love the pod. And then he says, random question that might never be answered, but I thought it was worth posing. If Charlie Brown was a real kid today, would videos of him not being able to kick the football make him an Internet famous meme? Would Charlie Brown be invited onto the Jimmy Fallon Show?
Jimmy: Well, poor Charlie Brown. I hope he wouldn't have to go on the Jimmy Fallon show because they'd make him sing. Or, can, I just say, as a society, I think we need to stop encouraging Jimmy Fallon's musical career in any way. Like, we just got to stop as a people, just. It's the right thing to do. What do you guys think? I think there's a chance he would be a meme for sure.
Harold: Yeah. If he was that famous and he was having that same thing happen over and over again, which would become a meme. And then somebody's using that fame to promote their show to get people to watch. Yeah. Have you guys ever seen the kid that was on the local news who wound up on Ellen? Multiple times. I was trying to think of what the--
Jimmy: With the shoes?
Harold: the kid was being interviewed about something. I think he was at the fair, like the county fair or something, and he was saying. I forget what the word actually
Jimmy: are you talking about. Apparently.
Harold: Yeah, that's.
Jimmy: That's from PA. That's where I grew. Like, that's Scranton. That's right. Yeah. Apparently I'm doing this and apparently I'm doing that. Apparently I'm going to be on the news. Yeah, it's really funny.
Harold: He was just a delightful kid who's so funny. And then somebody saw it and said, hey, we can have him on our daily talk show. And he was a big hit, and they kept bringing him back. If they could bring somebody who's saying, apparently, on the local news and becomes a meme, why couldn't Charlie Brown become a meme?
Jimmy: Absolutely. I just hope they don't ask him about his hair, because that's got to be a sensitive issue for. All right, so I think that settles that. What do you got anything else, Liz?
Liz: Yes, I do. Let me see. Okay, so, super listener Debbie Perry writes, on one of your episodes, you asked your listeners about their favorite comic strip artists and art styles. Aside from Peanuts. I always enjoy reading Garfield in our Sunday paper. While Jim Davis didn't draw all of them. This strip has a funny looking style to it that drew my eye. Popeye had a fun, sketchy pen and ink look to it. And while they weren't always the funniest strips, Heathcliff and Family Circus are also fun just to look at. Zippy the Pinhead was another strip I never missed when I was in college. I like Bill Griffith's detailed art, along with his often enigmatic stream of consciousness writing. Currently, I like Dana Simpson's Phoebe and Her Unicorn and Charles Brubaker's online strip, Lauren Ipsum. Both of them are funny and fun to look at.
Jimmy: All right, well, there's some, recommendations. That's great.
Harold: Yeah. And respect for anybody who mentions both the Family Circus and Zippy the Pinhead, as favorites.
Jimmy: Yeah, that’s gotta be-- That's wild that you are a cartooning connoisseur, if you can, bridge that gap.
Jimmy: That's pretty wild.
Liz: Another, regular contributor, James McCleary, writes, I listen to your podcast while I'm drawing or painting, and I want you blockheads to know that this year, in addition to submitting some paintings to the state fair, I submitted a rather unusual heritage craft. Instead of a quilt or a corn husk doll or something normal like that, my heritage craft was my attempt to recreate how daily comic strips were made 100 years ago.
Liz: And then in, a second message, he wrote back and said, I just got back from the fairgrounds. My heritage craft, How were comic strips made 100 years ago, got third prize, and he sent us some pictures.
Jimmy: It's a very cool project. I got to see those pictures. First off, though, you were robbed. Whatever first and second was clearly some shenanigans and chicanery there. We're going to launch an investigation, but, yeah, it's really cool. It's an amazing project.
Harold: Can you describe it verbally to get us all excited? So we go and see it in the, obscurity section of UnpackingPeanuts.com.
Jimmy: Yeah, I mean, he is literally doing comic strips using the old fashioned tools on paper and using that India ink.
Harold: Or is it a brush.
Jimmy: Well, you're going to have to go and see.
Jimmy: I think he has both, actually.
Harold: But cool.
Jimmy: It's worth checking out the pictures. And it's very interesting. It's just crazy that, like, 100 years ago they were made this way. They were also made this way, like 30 years ago.
Harold: or last year, if it's you.
Jimmy: Right? Or if you're a crazy person. But it's worth checking out. So thank you for sending. That's, that's awesome.
Liz: And, lastly, Tim Young, also a regular contributor, says, hi, folks. Harold has been talking about newspapers doing polls about their comic sections. My brother and I voted in the Des Moines Register’s Comics poll in early 1979. I was 13. My brother was ten. I recall that some of what we advocated in the poll carried the day Beetle Bailey was added. Encyclopedia Brown, a strip that my brother and I thought was poorly done, was dropped. I remember we enjoyed the feeling of our voices being heard.
Jimmy: Take that, Encyclopedia Brown.
Harold: Wow. I didn't know Encyclopedia Brown had been turned into a comic strip because that was originally like little mini mysteries, done I think, in Scholastic books, I used to get a bunch of-- I loved the mini mysteries that you could read as a kid, part of the Scholastic book fairs and book clubs. But I didn't know that they had turned it into a strip. I don't know. Did they have a mini mystery in three panels or?
Jimmy: I have no recollection
Harold: Apparently it didn't.
Jimmy: We also got, from the Peanuts Hotline, we got a text from Shaylee Robson, who wrote, hello, unpacking Peanuts gang. Just wanted to pop in and wish you a happy Halloween. Yeah, Happy Halloween. We're recording this on Halloween. It's my favorite holiday and love dressing up for the day. I'm actually going to carve my Pumpkin with my sister. Only downside, since I live up north, we already have snow. Hope you have a spectacular day. Well, in Pennsylvania, we've had some blizzards. in October. I remember, one year on Halloween, trick-or-treating was actually canceled because we had something like ten inches of snow.
Harold: Oh, wow.
Jimmy: Not anymore, though.
Harold: Pretty intense.
Jimmy: Well, thank you all for writing in. We love hearing from you. And like I said, if I don't hear from you, I worry. So you can reach out to us in a number of ways. You can just, send us an email through our website. We're email@example.com. And you could obviously just visit the website at Unpacking Peanuts where you can check out the obscurities page where we have all kinds of interesting facts and tidbits from there, out the ears, the Anger and Happiness index, all kinds of fun stuff on the website. And of course, on social media, we're at unpack Peanuts on Twitter, Threads and Instagram. We're unpacking Peanuts on Facebook. And what's the other one?
Liz: Blue Sky.
Jimmy: Blue Sky. Facebook and Blue Sky. We're unpacking Peanuts. And of course, you can, as always call our hotline, which is--
Liz: 717-219-4162 I'm working with Michael to put this to music.
Harold: Oh, nice. I look forward to that. And thank you, everybody, for getting in touch. That's so cool to get these messages.
Jimmy: Yeah, we love hearing from you.
Harold: And it's cool to know that people reading the Des Moines registered Tribune in the 70s are part of our listenership.
Jimmy: All right, let's get back to the strips.
October 23, Sally is sitting in one of those symbolic panels with a dunce cap on her head and also a dunce cap on a football. Then in panel two, Linus says, “there's more to football than just kicking the ball.” Now the second tier starts, and Linus says, “today I'm going to teach you how to catch a forward pass.“ ”All right”, says Linus. “Start running.” Sally takes off. “Get way out. Way out,” says Linus, as he revs up to throw a pass. Sally's gone out. She's looking for the ball, and of course, Bonk. It just hits her on the head. And as she's lying there dazed, Linus comes over and says, “okay, now here's what you did wrong.” And Sally gets up and says, “I know what I did wrong. I never should have spoken to you years ago. I never should have let you into my life. I should have walked away. I should have told you to get lost. That's what I did wrong, you blockhead.” She walks away, leaving Linus alone to say, “you also probably should hold your hands a little closer together.”
Jimmy: that's a great strip. That is so funny. I mean, he hits her in the head with the ball and says, here's what you did wrong.
Harold: Linus splaining.
Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely. I think it's odd, how he's holding the ball when he's going to throw it. I know he's showing it from the angle.
Michael: That is weird, because when all of sudden he's like, has a basketball.
Jimmy: Basketball. Yeah, it's very strange.
Harold: Yeah, we're seeing the end of it. Yeah.
Jimmy: And I think that's what it is. It's probably correct. Like, if you were looking at a photo in Sports Illustrated, you might see the ball that way. But it's a rare occurrence in the strip where I think it would have been better if he drew it a different way. That happened, like, now, four times in 27 years. So that's not too bad. That happens four times in one panel of my own comics.
Harold: And he forgot to write Wilson on the football there.
Jimmy: I love the relationship between Sally and Linus. Sally will be there next time. Doing it again.
Harold: She's just like her brother. Coming back for more.
October 25. Snoopy's out for a little walk, and he comes up against a sign that says, “begin scenic route.” He then passes Woodstock, who is just holding three of the trademark long peanut flowers. And then as he continues walking, he sees a new sign that says, “end scenic route.”
Michael: I like this one. But then again, here we have that Snoopy. Inexpressive Snoopy.
Jimmy: It is again, yeah. Literally no expression. Well, what are you guys making of that?
What do you think that's all about?
Michael: I don't know. He seems to be a peaceful kind of guy.
Michael: Kind of a Zen.
Harold: I do like those strips. And I remember seeing more of this in the. Don't know if everyone was looking to Schulz and he kind of inspired it or-- It just seems like there's more of this type of thing in the comic strip page. starting in the.
Michael: Do remember a strip? It was probably from the 60s. It was like the Strange World of Mr. Mum. Do you remember that? No dialogue, and he'd just be walking around and something weird would happen and he wouldn't react to it. It's just part of his life. Just weird things happened around this guy. Never said anything.
Jimmy: That must have been a package deal.
Jimmy: You had to get that when you got Encyclopedia Brown. That's why we didn't see it.
Harold: Maybe so. Well, those strips that did have no dialogue, like there's Henry and the Little King. You think about it often, those are pretty stoic characters. Often there's no mouth on them. That's interesting, because if there's no dialogue, why do you have to show a mouth? But that tends toward this kind of stoicism in the strip. Yeah.
Jimmy: I find Henry one of the most disturbing character designs of all time.
Jimmy: Okay, good.
December 26. Charlie Brown and Lucy are hanging out at the old thinking wall. And Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “just before the test began, our teacher goes, does everyone have a pencil? The fat kid across the aisle from me goes, I don't.” Continues in panel three. “Then this other kid with the glasses goes, sure you do. You have mine.” And then in panel four, Charlie Brown leans on his hand and says to Lucy, “whatever happened to the word said?”
Jimmy: I remember actually being admonished specifically for using goes instead of said when I was like, I didn't get in trouble much for slang or anything like that. That was not something that registered in the Skook. But goes drove my parents crazy.
Michael: how come they're not saying, like, our teachers, like?
Jimmy: Maybe that's more of an 80s, like, go.
Harold: This, is old guy humor, but it's funny old guy humor.
Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely. Well, that brings us to the end of 1977, and I'm going to go give you guys the rundown of stuff I always give you the rundown of. And then we're going to go back and I'll get the strip of the year and the most valuable peanut from my beloved and esteemed co hosts.
So, again, if you want to reach out to us, it's unpackingpeanuts.com. We're firstname.lastname@example.org. You could just send us an email. Uunpacking Peanuts on-- Oh, for [bleep] ‘s sake. I can't think of any of these.
Liz: We already did it.
Jimmy: All right, so all that leaves, then is for you guys to tell me your MVP and your strip of the air. Michael, you go first.
Michael: Well, okay. Not sure about MVP. Tell you the truth, I probably enjoy the Woodstock stuff the most, so I think I gave it to him last year. I'll do it again.
Jimmy: All right. Do you have a strip?
Michael: Yeah, I got to go with the moons of Saturn, July 13. Lucy, she just came up with that.
Jimmy: Good for her.
Michael: That was great.
Jimmy: It is a good one. Harold, how about you?
Harold: This is a really balanced year for characters, I think. Yeah, I'm kind of torn between Charlie Brown and Snoopy. I think I've given it to Snoopy recently. I will give it to Charlie Brown this year.
Jimmy: Good pick.
Harold: And I have to say, my favorite strip is the one from March 15, 1977, when Charlie Brown winds up in the new neighborhood after he's run, away from home, and he meets the two little kids, and Charlie Brown says, where am I? And the kid points at him, goes, right there. And the other kid, we were practicing, and your head got in the way of our ball. We're looking for an older person to coach our team. Do you know anything about baseball? And Charlie Brown has that big grin. I mentioned this before, but I do love it when Charlie Brown has a little victory in life. And this is one of them, and it's mixed in with three gags and four panels. You can't go wrong with that.
Jimmy: The three gags and four, you cannot. I love the whole sequence of Charlie Brown coaching the team, living in the box. That's one of the real, highlights of the whole run for me. I couldn't wait to get to it, actually. So I hope we did it justice talking about it, because I love that whole sequence.
I'm going to go, though, for my strip of the year since. Yeah, I could definitely go for one of those, but I'm going to go ahead and go with October 23, which is Linus, teaching Sally how to catch a forward pass. I think that is a great, character moment for both of them. And, for most valuable peanut. I'm going to go back one week and pick the bug that gave Linus directions.
Liz: I was hoping for that.
Harold: All right, so what is your pitch to Peanuts Worldwide for the bug?
Jimmy: All right, so here's the thing. It's the bug and his best friend, who is, unfortunately, a piece of fuzz. They sit in front of the wall. All right, top of the wall. And there are two characters talking. Then you just pan down right to the bottom of the wall. You see a bug and a piece of fuzz.
Harold: And, yeah, that's a great Idea. You could have a little gift book. It's always the same image. It's Bug and Fuzz, what it's called. They're sitting on top of the wall or on the sidewalk, and there's no difference in the artwork. And you just change the dialogue.
Jimmy: Exactly. And the fuzz never says anything, but somehow he helps the bug come to realizations.
Harold: Yeah, I think that could work. I think that's a hit.
Jimmy: And keep in mind, if you guys have any ideas, that you want, to include in our various pitches that are unasked for and uninvited from Peanuts Worldwide, you can let us know now. You will not be getting any cut from us or anybody else, but I'll think about you now and again.
Harold: And not any similarities between pitches, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Liz: But you'll give them an emoji, right?
Jimmy: Yeah. Well, we'll see if it's a good one. You'll get an emoji. Well, it is always fun just hanging out with my pals and hanging out with you characters, discussing Peanuts, discussing comics. I love it. I love that we get to do this. We're going to come back here next week to continue the show. Until then, write us, text us, email us, do whatever you can. We want to hear from you. Until then, for Michael and Harold, this is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.
Michael: Yes, be of good cheer.
Harold: 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.