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1978 Part 2 - Whatever I Was Saying, I’m Not Saying It Anymore

Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. It's Unpacking Peanuts. And I'm your host for the proceedings. My name is Jimmy Gownley. I'm also cartoonist. I did books like 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 and a composer, both for the band Complicated People, as well as for this very podcast. He's the original editor of Amelia Rules, the co creator of the original comic book Price Guide, and the creator of such great strips as Strange Attractors, a, Gathering of Spells, and Tangled River. It's Michael Cohen.


Michael: Say hey.


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


Harold: Hello.


Jimmy: We are in 1978, and we managed to talk so much last time that we barely got through any strips. So my vote is that we get right to the, comic strips we're going to discuss today. What do you guys say?


Michael: Let's do it.


Harold: Sure.


Jimmy: All right. Now, if you characters out there want to follow along, you can go to GoComics.com. They have all the old Peanuts strips in there. You can type in 1978 and follow along with us. If you want a heads up as to what we're actually going to be discussing on a strip by strip basis, then you could go to Unpackingpeanuts.com, sign up for the Great Peanuts Reread, and you'll get a once a month newsletter letting you know what exact strips we're going to be discussing on the podcast. So you can follow along that way. And if you're bougie, of course, you can buy the Fantagraphics books. So you guys do that, and, we'll get started. Here we go. Second half of 1978. Right now,


April 23, we got one of those old symbolic panels. We have Lucy with a miserable look on her face, and it says, number one, crab underneath her. And two, she slams the door from outside. Coming in, I assume. She says, “boy, do I feel crabby.” And in the background, we see Linus watching TV. Linus turns and says to her, “maybe I can be of help. Why don't you just take my place here in front of the TV while I go and fix you a nice snack? Sometimes we all need a little pampering to help us feel better.” Linus walks away. Lucy looks completely dazed by this. He comes back, little plate of snacks, and he says, “See, I came right back. Here's a nice sandwich for you, some chocolate chip cookies, and a cold glass of milk. Now, is there anything else I can get you? Is there anything I haven't thought of?” says Linus. And, Lucy looks down at her little plate of snacks and says, “yes, there's one thing that you haven't thought of.” And then Lucy screams at the top of her lungs, “I don't want to feel better.”


Michael: As a fellow crab, I totally, Yeah. Who wants to feel better? You want to just take it out on everybody.


Jimmy: yeah, me too.


Harold: Although I bet she did nosh a little bit afterward.


Jimmy: Oh, of course. And I have to say, I think this is very nice of Linus. This is a legit attempt. He really did his best, but that was a doomed mission to begin with.

Michael: Well, he's basically trying not to get slugged.


April 25. Snoopy's lying atop the dog house, and Sally comes up reading a piece of paper. She says, “now, about this report I'm doing for school.” And then she reads the title”Our Animal Friends.” Snoopy's now sitting up. He's listening. She turns and says to him, “I've been wondering what you thought about the title.” Then Snoopy lies back down on his back on top of the doghouse and says, “it's probably a little presumptuous.”


Michael: Now, we've been watching Snoopy lately to see occasionally, Schulz is doing these strips where Snoopy has no affect whatsoever, no reaction, no expression, and this is one of them.


Jimmy: This is also interesting, with your forehead watch, Michael, because panel two--


Michael: it's back.


Jimmy: Yeah, but not in panel four.


Michael: Yeah, not in panel one either, but panel two is your classic forehead.


Jimmy: That laying down thing-- he has really changed the way his head is drawn.


Harold: Yeah, this is a good. I like this gag with Snoopy.


Jimmy: well, it is funny, because we put all this on our pets and our oh, he's this and that. No. And it's all me. It's all projection.


Harold: Our animal friends.


Jimmy: Yeah, because that goes back to Snoopy handing in his collar when Charlie Brown, gives him grief.


May 6 Schroeder and Lucy are hanging out at Schroeder's piano, Schroeder's pounding away at the keys, and Lucy is in her classic leaning on the edge position. She says to Schroeder, “I am highly susceptible to flattery.” She continues, just the slightest compliment will cause me to melt.” Panel three, she turns to look at Schroeder, who does not look up from his keys, and continues to practice in silence. In panel four, Lucy turns back away from him and says, “or so I've always imagined.”


Michael: I'm really impressed with how much you can get out of this scenario. Yeah, I mean, they're still good. They're still really good. This could have been absolutely 20 year old strip.

Jimmy: Yes. And it is interesting because so much has changed, so much has been added. So many things, even, that are still around have evolved, but this has not evolved at all. It's just the two of them in this position, and it really works. This is a thing he also does again and again. He has the place where two characters you'll see, obviously the thinking wall is a variety of characters, but a lot of times it's Linus and Charlie Brown. Then you have the tree, which is Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown. And then you have the piano, which is these two guys. It's really a cool little way to set up these scenarios.


Harold: Almost play like, and I'm liking the look of the strip in this era. We had mentioned that not too long ago, he switched to it looks like a different size. He has almost perfect squares now, I guess, for each panel. And he's probably working smaller than he was before. And to me, it seems like it took a while for him to kind of get into really being comfortable in that. And I feel that now.


May 15. Snoopy and Woodstock are atop the dog house. Snoopy is thinking, saying to Woodstock, “one of the worst things that can happen to a person is to know his own destiny. One should never try to look into the future.” Then in panel three, we see Snoopy given the side eye to Woodstock, and Woodstock, who is looking into his right or to his left, to panel right into the next and last panel, where Snoopy yells at him, “I saw you peek and Woodstock blushes.


Jimmy: Well, that's obviously right up my alley. I love that.


Michael: Well, in comic strips, the future is to the right.


Jimmy: That's right. That's absolutely right.


Michael: This joke would not work in Japan


Harold: What they I wonder what they do about that. If they would reprint it, would they--


Jimmy: Well, they'd have to flip the whole thing.


Harold: Would they swap it? No, the future is going to look in the wrong way. They just flip the entire panel, flip the entire strip and just that's how you'd read it. Yeah. Just do a mirror.


Jimmy: I've often thought about that when they're doing it in manga translations, where the buttons are on the wrong side of the suit, or the sword is in the wrong hand or whatever. And I believe a lot of times they're going through and trying to make as many changes as they can to make, it read left to right.


Harold: Right. Because I know there's different philosophies about that, where the purists basically want to start it so that you're experiencing it as closely to the way the artist drew it in the first place. But you have to adjust your mind to that. And so some of the more popular books, where they're concerned that the reader that's picking it up won't know that will make some concessions and other ones won't as much.


Jimmy: Right. And when I was young, I mean, it was the think when a lot of manga started getting translated into America, and they were all switched left to right. But now if you buy a lot of those series, they don't even make the attempt. You just have to like you're saying, flip your brain and figure out how to read them right to left, which.


Harold: I guess makes it easier on the person who's to deal with it.


Jimmy: You can make that flip in your brain. You're seeing it the way it was intended to be seen. So, I mean, that's much closer than having someone in a production department flip stuff around.


Harold: Yeah, I would think so. obviously, for our purposes, we're not going to be doing a mirror image of the lettering or anything when they translate it. So it's not exactly the same experience. You're fighting on the reading going the opposite direction. Right. But the image is the way the artist drew, it which I guess is as close as you're going to get. Now, they often will do that where it's very vertical, just like their text would often be. Right. So you're reading little short dashes, left to right, left to right, left to right. So maybe it's not that different than if you were reading the opposite direction, the way it would be done in Japan. But you are going against the grain of the art, if you know what I mean. So I don't know if that probably makes much less of a difference than if they actually flipped the artwork from the artist's initial intention. And as artists, we can all say one of the things you do when you try to draw something accurately is you flip the page over and look at it through, like a lightbox. Or if you're working digitally, because if you're not quite sure if you think you're getting kind of wonky, if you flip it the other way, you can see some of the weird distortions you've done and you can fix it. So I'm wondering if that's true for the artists in Japan. They're like, oh, don't flip that because it looked okay to


Jimmy: I used to think about that all the time. Right. Please don't flip it.


Harold: Isn't it weird, though, that your eye can see something that looks just right the way you're drawing it, but if you flip it, all of a sudden it looks so distorted. I don't understand that. I don't know if that's an individual thing. And maybe it looks wonky to the person who's looking at it straight on the first time around. It's like, maybe it looked okay to you straight on the way you drew it. And maybe to them it looks wonky, because when you flip it, you know it's wonky. I don't know.


Michael: It's also true if, you look at your work, ten years later, you go, holy cow, that head is twice as big as it should be. I haven't noticed that for ten years.


Harold: Yeah, it is strange because you spend a lot of time drawing each panel I look at it from your eye.


Michael: Would tell you the truth, but time goes by and you realize that some reason, this illusion that you had when you were drawing it, it was good, is dispelled.


Harold: Yeah. And that's also kind, of a cool, mysterious thing about drawing comics. When you've just taken something down to the most stylized expression of a face. It's sometimes just a few lines, similar to Peanuts. I've never flipped Peanuts stuff. I wonder, would it look wonky at all, or is he just such a good artist that he generally nails these characters and they're not going to look OD at all? I think they'd be probably to do a little experiment.

Jimmy: Pretty close. So few lines, and he has done it. Yeah, I think they'd be pretty close.


Harold: I would think so.


Jimmy: Speaking of, flipping a character left and right oh, June 3.


Michael: Here we are.


Snoopy's lying atop the dog house, and Woodstock is standing atop Snoopy's nose. He's facing to the right. Then in panel two, same exact setup. except now Woodstock is looking to the left, and we see some motion lines indicating that he has switched quickly. Then in panel three, same scenario, woodstock has switched to the right and now switch back to the left in panel four. And Snoopy says, “I hate it when he plays weather vane.”


Michael: This is a good one.


Harold: It's weird that we were just talking about this.


Michael: Yeah, I didn't look ahead.


Harold: The two dimensional character, on a weathervane.


Michael: No. What I like about this is, what do they have in common, Snoopy and Woodstock? Not much. He's a bird. But they both have this fascination with imitating things.


Jimmy: Now, do you think Woodstock picked that up?


Harold: Yeah. They're friends who have things in common, right?


Michael: Yeah, I think so. Because Snoopy's definitely the hero, the role model.


Harold: So he doesn't like to be copied. That's the problem.


Michael: Yeah, I think so. Yeah. He gets angry when Woodstock pulls off a good imitation.


Jimmy: I think that would probably be the worst part of it.


Michael: Also, it's on his nose, which can't be comfortable.


Harold: Those little claws.


June 11. Sally's sitting at the table in her house, and she looks like she's about to write something when Charlie Brown comes up to see what she's doing. Sally begins writing. She writes, Deer The next panel, Charlie Brown interjects, “that should be dear.” And he says, “D-E-A-R. In the salutation of a letter the proper word and spelling of that word is dear. D-E-A-R’. Then in the next panel, Sally continues writing. ‘Deer are beautiful animals found in most parts of the world.’ This shocks Charlie Brown, who in the next panel says, ‘I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were writing about deer. I apologize.’ Sally says, ‘Well, I should hope so. It seems to me that a lot of the problems in this world are caused by people who criticize other people before they know what they're talking about.’ Charlie Brown walks away embarrassed as Sally gives him the side eye waiting for him to be out of range. She then crinkles up the paper, throws it over her shoulder and writes, “Dear Grandma.”


Michael: There's a comment on mansplaining, but it's also, really I mean, he had this Idea for a joke, and it's really tricky to pull this off.


Harold: How so? Like, what makes this particular one hard?


Michael: Well, because it's kind of a double joke, and you don't know ‘til the last panel that, all of that happened above was a mistake on Sally's part. You think the whole thing's a mistake on Charlie Brown's part.


Harold: Right.


Jimmy: Especially in the fact that Charlie Brown right. And he still can't win.


Harold: Yeah. This, to me, is one of the classic strips. this one I definitely remember and illustrates the characters really well. it's very true to the characters and it's very funny and feels very real.


Michael: He's right. And he still loses.


Harold: Yeah. Right. Yeah. Charlie Brown will never know that he was right about this one.


Jimmy: Right.


June 23, we're back at camp. And not only that, we have, our old pal Eudora is back and she is at camp with Sally. They are going fishing today. So they're up to the stream, and Sally is explaining the whole situation to Eudora. And Sally says, “okay, Eudora, you fish in this part of the stream, and I'll fish down there in that part.” Then Eudora, holding her stick and her string, which is being used as a fishing rod, says, “I don't think this is going to work.” Sally, who's already fishing now, says, “what's the trouble?” And then we see Eudora, who has cast her string clear across the tiny little stream which they are fishing in and says, “either the stream is too narrow or my line is too long.”


Michael: Okay. This Eudora character, I might have asked this last time she appeared. So she becomes a regular?


Jimmy: I mean, nobody becomes a regular to the point that they would be considered part of the big cast. Like, the last ones really like that are Peppermint Patty, Marcie and Rerun. There are these characters that come back again like, I wouldn't it's not like she's going to be on lunch boxes or anything.


Michael: Okay, but would she be in the animation?


Jimmy: As a background character, something like that..


Michael: People would know her, yeah, because from this strip, I cannot tell what her character trait is.


Jimmy: She has a hat.


Michael: Yeah, but that is not a character trait.


Harold: Well, what's your take on this version of Sally? We haven't really seen Sally being the not necessarily the older kid, but the kid who knows more than somebody else. This is maybe the first time we're seeing that in her character. What do you think of that, Michael? Does this seem consistent to you and who she is? And does it bring anything out in Sally's character?


Michael: Well, are we assuming Eudora is younger?


Harold: Not necessarily, but maybe less experienced. It's funny because Sally was never going to camp. Right? She was always--


Michael: Yeah. So I don't know. It doesn't seem like it's in Sally's character either.


Harold: Well, it might know vicariously through her brother or something she's learned some things about. Right.


Michael: Because she's usually wrong about the world.


Harold: Yeah. It's an interesting take on Sally. It might be surprising that she's, like Jimmy, what do you think about this part of Sally coming out when she genuinely knows something more than another character?


Jimmy: Oh, I think it makes total sense, because what I think it is, is we're all different depending on the group that we're in. The way of us interact with each other is different than we would interact if we were in some sort of business meeting somewhere or if we were, at a Christmas party or whatever with people we didn't know. So I think she found herself in this role. It's familiar to her because she certainly knows enough people who are telling other people what to do. And Sally has that in her. Like the deer thing. She is absolutely ready to tell people when they're wrong, even if she's the one who was actually wrong. So I think this makes total sense to her. So she knows something. She's going to take charge. I see her as a take charge gal when she grows up.


Harold: Yeah, I can see that. Yeah. That's interesting. I feel like, Sally feels very real to me. I don't see too many moments where it's inconsistent and there are quite a few sides to, you know, we see her in a relationship with Linus and with her their big brother. And now we see it with Eudora. And even though she is different with everybody, it's all of a whole it feels like somebody who's a very real yeah, she's she's got her complexities, too, which I really enjoy and appreciate. I mean, what's the closest character to Sally that you've seen elsewhere in fictional storytelling?


Michael: Boy, I have to think about that.


Jimmy: Oh, I'd have to probably go with Hamlet, I would think.


Michael: Or Beowulf,


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: She's pretty unique. Right.


Jimmy: She is probably the most realistic in a lot of ways in the sense that she has lots of different sides to her personality. She has relatively realistic kid emotions and stuff. She doesn't like school. She doesn't want to go to camp. She doesn't like rules. And Peppermint Patty has a lot of realism to her, too. But Peppermint Patty also has a lot of fantasy--. She went to an obedience school instead of an elementary school. So there's a little more crazy to Peppermint Patty stuff. So I think maybe Sally is like the most fully rounded in realistic terms, character.


Harold: Yeah, I think there's absolutely truth to that. She really is a cool character. And I'm thinking and she's maybe a modern character in the sense that she gets away with seeing the world the way she wants to and doesn't get as much blowback about it as other characters do. Or just in general. Let's say this was set in the, you know, this was like a Pride and Prejudice character. I think she'd get a ton of blowback for the way she sees the world. And Schulz lets her, for the most part, get away with saying something that isn't, is, or has a unique way of seeing it, that nobody else sees it. And she's not getting dumped on. Charlie Brown occasionally we've seen it this year. We'll try to correct her on issues of fact. Right. But generally, as a character-- I mean, the teacher, you get little pieces of it that she's not like the best student in terms of her grade. So she's getting that kind of negative feedback. But, as a whole, it seems to me a very unique, modern character, that it is somebody who sees the world in a very unique way and does not get shut down for it.


Michael: Well, she does get shut down by the teacher a lot because Sally, which seems kind of alien to me, because as not a great student, I didn't want attention. But you always see her in front of the classroom trying to make a joke, and the teacher kind of reprimanding her for saying something stupid. She doesn't seem to mind that.


Harold: She doesn't-- it seems like whatever she's getting is so gentle, it's not going to stop her from being it's like the old squeaky wheel gets the grease thing. That is probably the classic Sally strip to me. She's griping over the grade she got for her coat hanger sculpture. I mean, that is such a classic Sally strip. And in that one, she wins. Right. She makes her case, and she makes a really good case right. For why you can't judge a coat hanger sculpture and grade it very maybe.


Jimmy: She'll be a lawyer someday, because that is a very compelling argument.


Harold: Yeah. I could see her, as an advocate or a lawyer or whatever she really believed in. I could see her going all out for it once she finds the thing that's worthwhile to her.


Jimmy: Absolutely.


Harold: I think she'd be a fun character to be around a lot. Right. Of all of the Peanuts characters, she'd constantly delight you with this craziness.


Jimmy: I do think so.


July 2 Snoopy's playing tennis, and he's playing against Woodstock. This is really going to be one that you're going to want to look at because, my, description is not going to do it justice. They're batting the ball back and forth, and apparently Snoopy scores a point and says to Woodstock, if you're going to fool me with a drop shot, you'll have to disguise it better than that. And in the next panel, we see Woodstock has disguised the tennis ball with sunglasses and a mustache.


Jimmy: Liz likes that one, apparently. All right, Liz. Why is that so funny?


Liz: It surprised me. I was just following along panel by panel. And, it just came out of nowhere and totally cracked me up.


Harold: I was the same way, Liz. That's why I nominated it. It's so silly, but it's genuinely funny. And then you just think about Woodstock, right? Just the scenario is so absurd in the first place, that they're playing tennis. He's playing tennis with a bird who's got a racket that's maybe the size of the tennis ball, that he happened to have a good old handlebar mustache, on hand to affix,


Jimmy: which is Chekhov's mustache, because we have seen that mustache disguise earlier.


Harold: Yeah, it went off in the third act.


Jimmy: All right, well, here is something that could only be done as a comic strip, because if you did this as an animation, you have to slow the ball down or something.


Michael: Yeah, it stopped in midair.


Harold: That's some English he put on that.


Michael: Frankly, I find it a little hard to believe.


Harold: The discerning eye.


Jimmy: Oh, man


July 11. Snoopy is playing tennis, again, and he's playing with a character called Molly Volley, who we're going to see a little bit of. But don't get too excited, because it's not like she's the new Peppermint Patty. But anyway, he's playing with Molly Volley, and Molly says, “all right, partner, it's match point. We have to concentrate. That's the secret, partner. Concentrate.” And then in panel three, Snoopy, out of nowhere, pulls out an envelope and says, “I got a letter from my brother Spike today” in the middle of the match. And then he says, “has anyone ever noticed that the portrait of Carl Sandberg on a 13 cent stamp looks like Pancho Gonzalez?”


Jimmy: And I think we all have, obviously. that's completely relatable. That's the genius of Schulz. He puts things in that everybody knows, everybody gets.


VO: Peanuts Obscurities Explained.


Harold: Right? Yeah. So, again, one of those crazy things that Schulz noticed that he finds a way to incorporate into the strip that nobody would really I don't think there were people walking around. This is in the newspapers. Carl Sandberg looks like Pancho Gonzalez in new stamp. But it is true. There was a stamp that came out, and I looked at it, and, he's right. Pancho Gonzalez was an American tennis player. he does bear a good resemblance to this stamp that came out that year, for Carl Sandberg. So maybe we could put that into an obscurities image. If you guys want to check the website, we could see what on earth he awesome.


Jimmy: I want to check that out personally.


Harold: Because he is absolutely right. It is pretty funny that Schulz is just obsessing. And this is not the only time this year that that is the punchline. He does two Gonzalez Carl Sandberg jokes this year, so I was pretty impressed with that. that's dedication.


Liz: Do we need to explain who Carl Sandberg is?


Harold: That's a good point. So, Carl is a poet, right?


Michael: Yes, and a children's book author.


Harold: Oh. What did he work on?


Michael: Oh, my God. Rutabaga Tales. It's like, the funniest thing ever.


Harold: Cool.


Michael: Yeah.


Harold: I will check that out.


Michael: Rutdabaga Stories. I'm not sure, but anyway, listen to the audiobook of that. I think he's reading it. It's hilarious.


Harold: He was good enough to get it on a US. Stamp, so obviously, very highly thought of.


Michael: He was the poet laureate.


Harold: Nice. Do you know when that was?


Michael: I would have thought it was earlier, kind of the Robert Frost era, but this is the 70s.

Jimmy: Well, he is dead in 78. He died in the sixties.


July 31 Okay, so this is end of a sequence where they are trying to get Spike adopted, and Charlie Brown comes up to Snoopy, who's sitting atop the doghouse, and Charlie Brown says, “Spike just left.” And then Snoopy says, “Spike left,” and then Charlie Brown says, “we couldn't find a home for him around here, so he decided to hitchhike back to Needles.” Charlie Brown continues, “I loaned him a few things to make the trip easier.” And then where we see Spike with, all his, belongings in his hobo sack, but he also now has a little bag and a television set, which is picking up Hogan's Heroes, because we see Spike hitchhiking on side of the road and watching a TV that's saying, “ah, Colonel Hogan.”


Jimmy: Now, the reason I want to talk about this is if you go to the Peanuts Wiki, you could see that these Colonel Hogan strips there's a couple of them where Spike is watching Hogan's Heroes. That when they're reprinted, they're Colonel Hogan, but when they were in the papers, they were Mr. Spock.


Harold: Really?


Michael: Whoa.


Harold: Yeah.


Jimmy: So, I don't know. I was wondering if I don't have access right now to the 1978 book, because a bunch of my stuff is packed up, but if anyone has that Fantagraphics book and they mention why it is, that would be really interesting to know.


Harold: Yeah, I see it here in the book.


Michael: well, Star Trek was canceled years.


Liz: Years before


Jimmy: but so was Hogan's Heroes


Michael: Hogan's Heroes was running on reruns. I guess Star Trek was, too.


Harold: Yeah. I would think that in 1978, it would have been a wash between Colonel Hogan and Mr. Spock.


Jimmy: That's really only weird thing is, could it be? Well, I mean, this is too stupid to even I'll say it out loud, because what difference does it make? We're 80 some episodes in, people have already made their opinions on whether I'm stupid or not, but could it just be because it's Sergeant Schulz and he was Sergeant Schulz? I mean, not for the Germans, of course.


Michael: but, no one would put that together.


Harold: Wow. So you're saying that no, I'm not.


Jimmy: Whatever I was saying, I'm not saying it anymore.


Liz: Could the Peanuts Wiki be wrong?


Jimmy: No, because they show it. They show the strips that are the two panels.


Harold: It's wild.


Michael: So, wait, The Hogan's Heroes was in the original.


Jimmy: No it’s the new


Harold: No


Michael: So the Star Trek was in the original gag. Spock was in the original gag, which was 1978.


Harold: That's really interesting.


Jimmy: And frankly, if you're talking about for reprinting, Star Trek has longer legs than Hogan's Heroes. Certainly, yeah.


Harold: I would think by 78, they'd be crossing paths in terms of popularity.


Jimmy: Is that the year? Like the Star Trek the Motion Picture?


Harold: no. Next year.


Michael: Okay, so it's a mystery.


Jimmy: Or if anybody out there has any possible ideas as to why they switch those out, I would love to know. And you could find us, and tell us this a bunch of different ways. You can send us an email. We're Unpacking peanuts@gmail.com.


Harold: Huh?


Jimmy: You can find us on Instagram and Twitter, where we're at Unpack Peanuts. And on Threads. We're also unpack Peanuts. And on, Blue Sky and Facebook. We are Unpacking Peanuts. And, we would love to hear from you, and if you have any insight into why on earth we switched from Mr. Spock to Colonel Hogan, I'd certainly love to hear. We're going to take a break right now, get some snacks, get a little beverage, and then we'll come back and we're going to finish up 1978, give you our strips of the year and MVPs. So stay tuned.


BREAK


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Unpackingpeanuts.com. We hope you'll join us live on Zoom, Saturday, December 30, at noon Eastern Time.


Jimmy: All right, and we are back. Hope you got a good snack. Hey, Liz, do we got any mail? I'm just hanging out here in the mailbox.


Liz: We do. Tim Young writes, I agree with you about the sequence introducing Snoopy as a Helicopter in 1977, part one. We discuss the fact, and Harold thinks that the Snoopy Helicopter strips sort of seemed out of order. So Tim writes, I agree with you that the sequence in Introducing Snoopy as a helicopter is not well constructed, but I disagree about the strips being out of order. I've always assumed I remember these strips in the paper in 1977 that after Linus sees the chopper coming, woodstock then lands the chopper, consults with Sally, and takes off again. We just don't see the landing. I think it's weird that after Linus's exclamation, we have to wait three days for the reveal. I think Schulz should have just shown the chopper landing in the last panel, of January 29.


Harold: That is a much more generous and accurate response, I think, than what I said. I'm with you on that. I think I stand corrected. Of course, he has to negotiate the terms with Sally. He was coming that way, and Sally was right there with Linus. So he's landed and is talking to Sally. Yeah, that makes sense. And then once that's been negotiated, then he heads off to save Linus.


Liz: And then Tim goes on to say, I remember my family puzzling over the Nam punchline. I guess my parents were not familiar with that abbreviation for Vietnam. Nobody in my family was the right age to have been drafted in that era. I remember we checked the dictionary for what the initialism Nam might stand for.


Harold: Wow.


Liz: I did wonder at the time if it meant Vietnam, but couldn't be sure. And I feel as if I remember my mom doubting that.


Harold: Wow. Well, I could see that, given that you might not think that Schulz would go there.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: But it's pretty cool that your family cared that much about Peanuts. You got to figure that gag out. Yeah. That was its own obscurity in 1977, or whatever. That's interesting. Yeah. I don't know when I first heard that term. Obviously, it was being used by soldiers, and I guess it wasn't used in the news. It wasn't used and it was something that was used for those who were actually there. For the most part, maybe. do you guys remember when you first heard the term or Michael? That was there.


Jimmy: Well, the first time I ever heard it was when Marvel released that comic book, the ‘Nam. I thought that was an excellent comic book with Michael Golden.


Michael: It has an apostrophe, though, before the N, I believe.


Michael: Yeah, Michael Golden Art. I bought number one.


Jimmy: I actually visited my daughter at her college and went to a used bookstore. This is a few months ago. And sure enough, they had, like, the whole complete run of Michael Golden ‘Nam comics for, a dollar apiece. And it was a 50% off day, so I got them all. But the conceit behind it was that the writer, Doug Murray, I think his name is, forgive me if I'm wrong, but it's based primarily on his experiences in the war. And since it was a monthly comic book, a month passed in the story. Just, the way the a month passed in real life.


Harold: Wow.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: So they're following the newspaper tradition like Little Orphan Annie.


Jimmy: Yes, very much so.


Harold: Different day every time.


Jimmy: Yeah. Then, of course, Golden leaves and they bring someone else in, and of course, editorial gets involved and messes it up. But for that first twelve years or so beautiful. great. Twelve years, first twelve issues or so. Very good.


Harold: Wow.


Liz: And then we have another message from a new listener.


Jimmy: All right.


Liz: El Garfold. She writes, I have only just discovered your podcast a few weeks ago, but it's become one of my favorites in that short time. And then, she says she and one of her online friend groups love Peanuts as well. And one of the favorite topics of discussion is Schrucy, which they the relationship name for Schroeder and Lucy, and analyzing them through all the media that feature them. And then she says, I think it would be a treat for all of us if you did the Idea someone suggested in the 1976 episode and do a whole episode about the Beethoven Day strips this or next year. It would really be neat to see your in depth analysis on them.


Jimmy: All right, let's do it. All right. We're sold. Do it. We'll figure it out.


Michael: Schrucy. I like that.


Jimmy: Thank you so much for writing. Yeah. I mean, Michael, you have gone on record as saying you really enjoy the Lucy Schroeder relationship. what do you like about it? Actually, Michael, do you like the immaculate consistency of?


Michael: The setup's virtually the same, and then the punchline's usually pretty good and different.


Jimmy: which you really can't ask for more in a comic strip.


Michael: Yeah, I mean, there's strips that would just do that.


Jimmy: Yes.


Harold: And I don't know if anybody saw this. It popped up in my feed. The Atlantic has an article on Snoopy that came out on October 26. I think you have to have a subscription to read the entire article, but it's, by Elise Hanum. It's called The Hero Gen. Z needs-- Snoopy. You can't help but feel overwhelmed in a tumultuous world. Sound familiar? So I thought that was interesting that they're seeing relevance in this character for a generation that really wasn't around to see it the first time.


Jimmy: Wasn't around. Wow, that's great. Well, boy, if that isn't the definition of art something that is going to continue.


Michael: Where were they?


Jimmy: They were hanging out with Linus, having a good time before they were born.

Harold: But it's interesting the Idea that Snoopy often feels overwhelmed in a tumultuous world and is dealing with it with imagination.


Jimmy: Yeah. I mean, it's a brilliant character. It's been a joy to watch him grow and change from that little tiny dog in those early strips to becoming this icon that strides across the world. Yeah.


Harold: You guys have heard of Q scores or Q ratings?


Jimmy: Our weatherman at the TV station I worked with had the highest Q rating on the East Coast back then, of any market.


Harold: Wow.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: So a Q rating is put out by a specific company. They do this where they interview people on a regular basis, and they ask them about celebrities, like you said, weather forecast, personalities, characters. And they ask people, number one, have you heard of this person or character? And then, do you like this person or character? And then they use a formula between those two. I think they maybe multiply one by the other to get the Q rating. Obviously, Snoopy's awareness level is through the roof, and I must imagine that the likability of Snoopy is also through the roof. It's hard to imagine a person or character who would be higher rated than Snoopy. Right. He's just pretty irresistible as a character. I've never heard anybody say, I hate Snoopy.


Jimmy: All right, well, thank you for writing. I love to hear from you. what do you guys say we get back to the strips?


Harold and Michael: Yeah, sure.


August 20. Linus is standing there and he's hearing someone bark off, in in the distance, some puppy. And he contemplates to himself, “why do dogs sit in cars and bark?” Then he walks over to Sally, who's playing in a sandbox, and he says to her, “I was just over in the parking lot by the supermarket. There was this dog in the back of a station wagon, and he was barking and barking and barking.” Linus continues, “the windows were down a little, so he had enough air. But I wonder why he was barking. Was he mad? Was he afraid? Was he lonely?” Then the two walk over to Snoopy, who is lying on top of his doghouse. And Linus says, “If Snoopy could talk, maybe he could tell us.” Snoopy sits up, looks after them as they walk away, and he thinks, “I wouldn't even try. There are some things you can never explain to a layman.”


Michael: Yep, Snoopy's a professional dog.


Harold: But isn't that interesting that sometimes they know exactly whatever strange thing Snoopy is thinking, but he can't talk, so they can never find this question.


Jimmy: It would be very difficult to live in the Peanuts world. There's a lot of confusion happening, I think.


September 5, 1978. Lucy and Charlie Brown are outside at night, looking up at the stars. Lucy says, “do you think you have a lucky star, Charlie Brown?” Charlie Brown says, “I don't know.” Lucy says, “I think you do, Charlie Brown.” We see one shooting star streak across the sky. Well, fall to earth, actually. And Lucy says, “and there it went.”


William: This one cracks me up


Jimmy: Poor Charlie Brown


William: Every time I read it. Poor Charlie Brown. This is a brutal strip. It's Lucy doing what Lucy does, which is crush Charlie Brown, basically. I think, throughout not just the strip, but throughout Lucy and Charlie Brown's relationship. I think she does actually have his interests at heart. She just really can't help herself from putting her thumb down on what she perceives as a weaker person


Jimmy: I invite you to ponder like what the Van Pelt parents must be like.

William: Oh yeah,


Jimmy: I don't want to hang out at Linus and Lucy. I'll take Charlie Brown barber dad any day of the week than whatever is going on in that house.


William: Agreed

Michael: Schulz says that later on in his career, he tried to make the characters less nasty. And this strip is beyond my purview. This is 1978, so I've never seen this one. But it seems to me Lucy is not trying to put him down. She's just saying he's unlucky.

Jimmy: Right.


William: Yeah.


Jimmy: I do think that's true. Lucy feels like she's just speaking truth.

Harold: Which makes it all the more brutal, in a way. She's not just being snide and saying, hey, I'm going to point out something makes you feel bad. I think that's how you are. It comes across, and in a way that's even tougher.

I'm fascinated by what you're saying, William, about how you think that Lucy ultimately has Charlie Brown's best interest at heart based on who she is. I think that's a really fascinating insight, because Lucy, obviously, we get over 17,000 trips, we're going to get all sorts of different aspects of characters. But there is a strange through line that Lucy feels like she knows best. She knows better, not only for herself, but for others. And she's got the psychiatrist booth, and there's a lot and she engages with Charlie Brown so much, and with Schroeder, she's infatuated. But with Charlie Brown, sometimes he looks like a little bit of a project for her.


Jimmy: Right.

Harold: Maybe in some ways even more so than Linus, on a deeper level.

Jimmy: Well, and if you assume that and I have never thought about it that way, but if you assume that what William saying is true, that accounts for why she's likable and Patty and Violet aren't, right?

Michael: I like Patty and Violet


September 8. Sally is giving a report, at the front of class, and she says, King Tiglath Pileser


Jimmy: Oh, good. You know what?


Michael: Skip this one.


Jimmy: I have big issues with this school. No wonder everyone's always getting Ds. Is it Tiglath Pileser? That sounds good.


“King Tiglath Pileser of Assyria conquered many nations and carried off their booty. This meant that none of the little babies had any booties.” Then the classroom just erupts in laughter, and Sally yells, “if it had happened to you, maybe you wouldn't be laughing.”


Harold: Oh, my. Yeah. These are some in depth reports.


Jimmy: What do you guys think about the subtle changing of certain characters, particularly the girls clothes, as we get, closer to the 80s.


Michael: I did notice that we just had her in a sandbox.


Jimmy: Yeah. She's wearing regular 70s clothes, as opposed to her little blue polka dot dress that, she wore through the first few decades. Yeah.


Harold: That's interesting. So Lucy pretty much stayed in her classic, dress with the tie back.


Jimmy: She changes, too. yeah. See, though, if we look to April 23, we see Lucy in more modern clothes,


Harold: just swaps out occasionally.


Jimmy: Looks like a turtleneck,


Harold: and yet she's wearing her dress to play baseball.


Jimmy: Well, I remember at one point reading somewhere or seeing an interview with one of the Schulz kids who said that he was really just drawing his childhood, and people didn't dress like that was I think it might have been one of the girls who suggested he maybe update at least the girl's clothing. You can always go back.


Harold: you could mix it up a little bit sometimes have them something else.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: Because to me the most archaic looking one is Lucy.


Jimmy: Yes.


Harold: She's got the ruffle collar and the puffy sleeves and the saddle shoes and the little dress tie in the back. Yeah. And that's so iconic, I could see why he it makes sense. You mix it up a little bit, right, and see if people never if people go ballistic. Why is she wearing a sweatshirt? Stop it.


Harold: You're ruining my life.


September 12. Snoopy is atop his dog house with Woodstock and Charlie Brown comes up and he sees that there are two notches that have been cut out of the side of Snoopy's dog house. And Charlie Brown says “two notches. I'd give anything to know what you're keeping track of. One notch yesterday, two notches today. Where do you go from here?” Well, Charlie Brown probably three notches is my guess. But anyway, Snoopy starts singing “from notches to Mobile” and Woodstock finds that hilarious,


Jimmy: but I'm going to need someone to, explain it to me. I don’t get it


Harold: This is obscurity. Yeah.


Michael: I don't know this song, but it's correct--. It's got to be Natchez to Mobile.


Harold: It's actually a 1941 Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer song from the film Blues in the Night. And, the most famous line that really makes my mama, done told me.


Michael: oh, from Natchez to Mobile,


Harold: from Memphis to. St. Joe


Michael: Harold Arlen never stepped foot out of New York.


Harold: I think the song is called Blues in the Night. And yeah, it was from this film and it became a standard and standard enough for Charles Schulz to include it as a punchline in 1978.


Michael: 30 years later.


October 9, John Lennon's birthday. For our designated Beatle reference, Eudora and Sally are watching as Linus walks by carrying his blanket. Eudora says, “who's the kid with the blanket?” and Sally says “that's Linus He's my sweet Babboo.” And then from off panel, Linus yells, “I'm not your sweet Babboo.” Sally says to Eudora,”he is, but he isn't. But he is.”


Michael: This, might be the first blanket appearance this year.


Jimmy: Definitely more of a rarity.


Harold: Okay. And then this leads into a sequence, right? Yeah. This is not just a one off. It flows into a storyline. Is that after yeah. So Eudora starts to ask Linus about the blanket because it's all new to her.


Michael: So that's coming up? Oh, yeah, it's coming up. The next one.


Jimmy: Well, we could read it


October 10, Eudora comes up to Linus and asks him, “why do you carry that blanket around?” And Linus says “it's hard to explain.” Eudora says, “may I try it?” And Linus says, “I guess so” and hands it to Eudora, who says, “it feels nice.” She then holds it up to her cheek, just like Linus does, and she says, “how do I look?”


Michael: She'd look better if she was sucking your thumb.


Harold: Does Eudora feel like a grunge character to you? Like she's ahead of her time with her knit cap?


Michael: Yeah, but it's not grunge time.


Jimmy: But it is total a grunge character. 13 years ahead of it. Very much the beanie. Everything looks a little baggy.


Harold: Yeah. Schulz ahead of his time once more. It's probably what inspired the look. Everyone was remembering Eudora.


Jimmy: Well, do you remember there was a T shirt, original grunge that was Pig Pen. I mean, it was very popular then


October 11. Charlie Brown and Linus are at the thinking wall. And Charlie Brown says “you did what?” Linus says, “I gave my blanket to Eudora. What could I do? She smiled at me.” Charlie Brown says, “I'm surprised at you. You usually don't do dumb things like that.” Then Linus, with head in his hand, says, “it was a cute smile.”


Michael: does Linus just totally forget the other?


Jimmy: Well, you know, if you can't be with the Truffle, you love, love the--


Michael: You that's an obscurity.


Harold: So it's interesting, this is the second time we've seen Linus other than Miss Othmar, I guess be, kind of taken by, so Eudora has worked, her way into his heart. All it took was a cute smile.


Jimmy: And right in front of Sally. No less.


Harold: Well, Sally's yeah, Sally's around a lot when these things happen.


Jimmy: Come on, Linus, get it together.


Harold: It's a sucker for a cute smile.


Michael: Eudorable.


Jimmy: Oh, who isn't? Linus, we get it. All right, so now at this point, this spins off into a longer story where ultimately the cat next door has Linus's blanket.


Harold: Right? Yeah. it takes some weird turns. We get disco Snoopy.


Jimmy: Oh, yeah.


Michael: Oh, God.


Harold: Oh my gosh. Yeah. Not what I was expecting in this storyline. And next thing you know, the cat somehow has gotten Linus's blanket. But I think it's pretty random. I think Eudora just hands it over to the cat. We don't know any motivation other than she chose to give it to the cat. But yeah, I think Linus recruits Snoopy to get Eudora to give him the blanket. And that's why he decides he should become disco Snoopy, because what would be more irresistible than Disco Snoopy? In 1978, we wind up with a fight once again with Snoopy and the cat trying to get the blanket back for Linus.


Jimmy: That brings us to


November 1. Charlie Brown is witnessing the carnage and he says, “It's over. The fight is over.” He walks back and we see a completely disheveled Linus and Snoopy. And Charlie Brown says, “hey, you guys, the fight is over.” And then Charlie Brown looks off panel in panel three, and we see who won the fight. It's our hero Woodstock, emerging victorious with the blanket.


Michael: That's a great moment for Woodstock. He's the hero of the day.


Jimmy: He looks yes, that smile is great.


Harold: Yeah. Little smile on Woodstock.


Jimmy: He looks a little disheveled, but he's mostly okay. He survived it.


Harold: Well, yeah, it wasn't without a tussle, it looks like. But good old Woodstock comes through.


Jimmy: That brings us to


November 2, where Woodstock and Snoopy are atop the dog house. And Snoopy says, “I can't believe you survived the fight with the cat next door. You not only won the fight, but you rescued that kid's stupid blanket. I'd love to hear how you did it,” says Snoopy to Woodstock. And then in panel four, we see a word balloon filled with little chirp marks. And Snoopy rolls his eyes and thinks, “but not in detail.”


Jimmy: I think the little check mark scratch marks for the chirping is one of his best inventions.


Harold: Yeah, I totally buy it from the very first time I see it. you know what it is, to my knowledge, was never done before. It's perfect.


Jimmy: It is perfect. And you know what, Woodstock? Like Michael said, it's a big moment for him. He deserves to be able to forth a little bit, maybe even, burnish the story a little bit.


Michael: Yeah. Then I gives him the right--


Harold: He swoops to his left. What they should have done is gone in as the Snoopy copter and swooped in and they could have just grabbed it.


Jimmy: It's a whole action movie


Harold: Yeah, yeah, I could see that as.


Jimmy: An animated oh, see, that's our pitch. Okay? That's the pitch this week.


Harold: Where's your blanket, Linus?


Jimmy: It's a heist movie where someone has the blanket and they have to stage an elaborate Oceans Eleven style rescue to get the blanket back.


Michael: So is this the last we see of the blanket?


Jimmy: You will see the blanket forever.


Harold: That'd be a shame if they went through all that to get it back.


Jimmy: And Woodstock keeps it. That would be great.


November 8. Snoopy's playing football with Peppermint Patty and she says to him, “let's try something different for the kickoff.” Snoopy is wearing a helmet, by the way, which I don't know, just makes me laugh. Peppermint Patty continues, “instead of having someone hold the ball with his finger, let's use a kicking tee.” Snoopy goes “a kicking tee. Right.” And then in panel four, we see poor Woodstock is what's being used.


Harold: Yeah, with this little stoic, confused look on his face. Well, if Charlie Brown is going to try to kick it, I guess you wouldn't.


Jimmy: Yeah, we don't know. Well, not yet anyway.


Harold: I guess he's a good kicker if someone doesn't take it away from him, but yeah, look, everyone's kind of stoic in this strip, which leads to maybe doing the Anger and Happiness Index this year. How does this year feel compared to last year? Last year?


Jimmy: I believe that this year is slightly up on anger and slightly down on happiness.


Harold: Slightly up on anger and slightly down on happiness. Okay. What do you think?

Michael?


Michael: I take the fifth.


Harold: Okay.


Jimmy: All right.


Harold: It won't incriminate a civil podcast, though.


Jimmy: So we can draw a negative influence on that.


Harold: Well, you're right about slightly, but it's flipped the opposite. So we had 77 Angry strips was not much. In 1977, we had 77 in 77, and this year we have 70. That's low. And then for the happy we went from 111 to 107. So I guess they're both down. So you got it half right or three quarters right, because you said slightly. All right. So that stoic nature of the strip, I think, is a real thing. We had that years ago. I think there was a time when there was a little bit more of this kind of snow humor. And he's going back to it. It's interesting. And he's good at not overplaying expressions. We said that before, and we know the characters really well now. And he's finding humor in the moments where the other characters aren't finding something funny, but we are because of the situations he's thinking up. So it's interesting to see that that's where his style is going 28 years in.


Jimmy: He has talked about in interviews later in his life where he talked about being a believer in mild cartooning, meaning that you don't oversell the emotion, don't oversell the punchline or the reaction to the punchline. But, boy, that's hard to resist, especially if you're not 100% maybe confident or convinced in just the quality of the joke.


Harold: Well, yeah, that shows a real confidence right, in your work, that you don't have to oversell it. And he knows that people normally would just be glancing through these strips in the newspaper. And certainly he is a fan of the bigfoot old style cartooning. We know that. But it is interesting that it took him 27 years before we had a fourth panel where someone's feet were up in the air in response to a character's crazy action. That's good restraint. You wait 27 years when Marcie fell backward into her desk, when Peppermint Patty gives her book report on the cereal box, that was the one that sent Schulz over the edge.


Jimmy: Well, talking about mild in reaction shots, that brings us to


November 29. Lucy and Charlie Brown are walking around outside, and Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “I don't understand your question, Charlie Brown. Why should I have self doubts?” Charlie Brown says, “why not? After all, you're not really perfect, you know?” And in panel three, we see Lucy's reaction, which is just wide eyed and pure shock. And Charlie Brown then, in panel four, looks out to us and says, “I've never seen anyone so offended.”


Jimmy: It registers as that. But what has made Lucy offended is a 16th of an inch more ink on the eye and a 16th of an inch more ink on the little parentheses around her eye. And the disappearance of her mouth.


Michael: Yeah, it's great.


Harold: And yet it looks almost like someone else drew it because it is such an extreme.

Michael: You never see but of all the Lucy Charlie Brown strips, I think this is one of the best over the years. It really nails her personality.


Jimmy: Yeah, I love when you look at that panel three, those two poses, the way Lucy is leaning back just five degrees or whatever, if you drew the line of her spine, it would curve just a little bit to the left. And as she recoils at the thought of not being perfect brilliantly done.


Harold: Yeah. And the way he achieves it is he kind of just moves her legs forward under the dress because it's a fairly stiff design. Right. But it works.


Jimmy: Oh, it totally works.


December 17, Woodstock, and a variety of Woodstocks. Actually, it's just one Woodstock shaking around with the number 5.1 underneath him. And then in panel two, we see Snoopy is reading some sort of pamphlet and he says to Woodstock, “this is kind of interesting. An earthquake is a shaking movement of the Earth's surface.” He continues reading to Woodstock throughout these panels. “They are most commonly caused by the jar given the Earth's surface when a fault occurs. Study of earthquakes helps us to learn more about the nature of the Earth's interior. Everyone should know what to do if an earthquake occurs.” And Snoopy continues. But we do not see Woodstock sitting on top of the doghouse anymore. “The safest place to stand during an earthquake is in a doorway.” And then in the last panel, we see a good old three quarters view shot of the doghouse with Woodstock standing right into the arch and Snoopy looking down with his ears forward.


Harold: Yeah, I love that drawing. I mean, that to me, has that shown up on a T shirt or a mug?


Jimmy: It would be a good one, certainly.


Harold: I mean, we haven't seen that angle. This almost feels like a drawing he had made in like the late fifties or that's what it feels like to me because there's a little more detail. And there's the shading of the dark in Snoopy's doghouse opening and with a kind of a halo of light around Woodstock. It's really beautifully done. Makes me long for a couple more three quarter views here and there in the strip because he sure knows how to do it.


And I did want to mention surprise. surprise. On August 13 of this year, there was a 5.1 earthquake in Santa Barbara, just north of Los Angeles. So once again, Schulz's life enters into the strip in a way we can--


Jimmy: I figured there had to have been an earthquake around that time.


Harold: And once again, it gives you a sense of how far he is in his strips. So if he did this not too long after that, when it's top of mind, that's four months out. He's got a good backlog of strips for the Sundays.


December 22. Sally is very upset with Charlie Brown over something that happened in class. And she's yelling at him, “a fine brother you are. You let me make a fool out of myself. It isn't rain gear, it's reindeer. Why didn't you tell me? They all laughed at me. Even the teacher laughed at me. I'll never be able to go to that school again.” Then Sally sits down and sniffs a sad tear and Charlie Brown comforts her with his arm around his sister's shoulder and says, “poor sweet baby.”


Jimmy: Which we know is that Jeannie would say.


Michael: Interesting. It's not a punchline.


Jimmy: It's yeah, not at all. Just a moment of comfort between a brother and a sister.

Harold: And it's interesting. Once again, we were just talking about Sally's personality and here's one where we do see the aftermath that this really got to her, right. She did say something that was wrong and it did really matter to her. She did care that she didn't get it right. And it's so funny that we've seen this year Charlie Brown correcting, Sally, and getting just raked over the coals for it. And, he's never rewarded for telling her something that she's done wrong. And now he can't get it right because he didn't tell her that she was getting it wrong. It's like, you got to feel for Charlie Brown there and you got to love him all the more that he's not thinking about that at the moment. He's just trying to comfort his.


Jimmy: Yeah, it's a very sweet comic. I enjoyed it a lot. And it's weird. As someone who is an only child, I get very emotional seeing sweet brother, sister, sweet sibling moments for some reason.


Michael: It’s all a fantasy.


Harold: I got the gamut just like everybody does. But I did have those moments with my sister. And for the same reason, Jimmy, when I would see the occasional moment when something broke through between the butting of heads, it was meaningful. And I think it was also instructive to know when I was reading, I said, this is possible, and if you can get there, it will be a special moment. And I don't think Schulz is trying necessarily to teach that. It's not didactic, but in my case, it was instructive. It said, this can happen. And when it happens, it can be know, look for those moments. That's a great thing.


Jimmy: And it's such a great function of art. And it's amazing that Schulz really is able to dish that stuff out over decades. And we know who he is, we know what he's about, we know what matters to him. But he's never didactic. It's quite an achievement. Someone should do a podcast about how good this strip is. He is all right.


Harold: Yeah. He has tremendous restraint. And he doesn't, like we've said, all day long, he doesn't mind going to the dark places and staying there, right, for long periods of time. And then he'll occasionally have these little breakthrough moments and they're just that much more powerful to me when they get there. Because we've lived with these characters and we know how they struggle with each other and how they are not satisfied with their relationship.


Jimmy: Even something like the Linus giving up his blanket to Eudora thing, that's because we've read all of those hundreds of comic strips before that, that it has any weight at all.


Harold: Right. and the fact that he gave it away because she smiled at him and he thought she was cute has weight even though it seems frivolous what he's doing, because it's Linus, you're know, that had that power over this character who we know how much he cares about. That it. And the only way you can get there is to let us into these characters lives over and over again and make us care about them. And I'm still continually in awe of how he did that. And I can't see enough of this just to learn a little bit more from him every time we go.


Jimmy: Absolutely. And, we're going to be back here next week learning even more from his work. So if you want to do that, well, you know where we are. So come on back. But if you want to hang out with the gang in between now and then, you can do that all kinds of ways. You could go to our website, Unpackingpeanuts.com. You can email us Unpackingpeanuts@gmail.com over there on our website. You can find the obscurities page. You could buy us a mud pie. You could support, us on Patreon. All of those things would be helpful. Buy a t shirt or one of our books. You can follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Threads at unpack Peanuts. And on Facebook and Blue Sky. We're Unpacking Peanuts. So we would love to hear from you then.


Oh, and actually, I have a personal request if you guys could do me a solid. We are doing great. We are so happy with the amount of downloads we're getting with all the new listeners, and new listeners are hopping on every week. It's so cool. But could you do me a favor? We have a sorry dearth of Apple podcast reviews, and it's only because I look at it, it bugs me. So if you guys could give us some, five star Apple podcast reviews, that'd be awesome.


Harold: And we have something coming up on the 30 December, is that right? That we want to let people know about?


Liz: Yes, it's our special Q and A look behind the scenes with the hosts for our Patreon subscribers and all of people who've been supporting us financially over the years. So that's December 30 at noon Eastern time. And there's details about how you can participate on the website.


Jimmy: Right? Exactly.


Harold: We could tentatively call it the Peanuts Patreon Party. We'll all get together into the holiday and looking into the new year and just kind of just hang out with each other.


Jimmy: Absolutely. It's going to be great. We want you to be there. If you haven't contributed at all, that's okay. But, if you want to to be a part of this, you can still have time to do that. So we would love to see you there.


So all I want from you guys now, before we go, is your MVP and your strip of the year. So, Harold, why don't you go first?


Harold: Well, my favorite is the strip from June 11. It's a Sunday strip with Sally and Charlie Brown. And Sally writes out deer. Deer. And that leads to the conflagration with him. I think that's just a classic strip, and I think that's my favorite.


Jimmy: All right. And how about for your MVP?


Harold: Thanks to Charlie Brown coming around for Sally at the very end, that strip we just did. I'm going to give this year to Charlie Brown. He's a rock this year. He's holding it all together.


Jimmy: All right, Michael, how about you?


Michael: Well, for me, the obvious pick is April 5, and that's where Lucy hates when we don't win a moral victory.


Jimmy: Darn it.


Harold: That's great. Yeah.


Michael: I thought that might be Jimmy's, too. Sorry. You can pick it too.


Jimmy: I have time. You pick an MVP, and I'll come up with something else.


Michael: Okay, well, I'm probably in a rut here, but due to, Woodstock's sparkling description of the fight I've got to give it to him again. I think I've done it, like, three times in a row.


Harold: Yeah. Woodstock is on a roll.


Jimmy: I am going to go with for my strip of the year, I'm going to go with November 1, which is Woodstock winning the fight just because of that last panel. Woodstock carrying the blanket with his little note of victory, whistling above him. So I'm going to go with that. And I'm going to give it to Linus this year because I thought that was a really great sequence, and a great moment of him giving his blanket just because he had a cute smile. So there you go.


Harold: So I do have one thing I would like to throw in here as a little bonus or a shameless plug, depending on how you look at it. I've been working on a book for a number of months, and it's a parody, essentially, of Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Seymour. It's the 200th anniversary of that poem, which blows my mind that this poem has lived on in American culture and our collective thoughts. and I don't know how well it's known outside of United States, but there have been specials and things based on it and all that. But I thought with my mystery science theater background and my love of children's entertainment and pop culture, I thought, what could I do to kind of hopefully honor that but also have some fun with the original poem. And so I have a book that is coming out that will be available for this holiday. It's called the Neat Before Christmas or how Santa soiled my home. And I just wanted to read some verses to you from the book to give you a sense of what you would be getting into if you did order this book for me, for Christmas. If that's all right with you guys?


Jimmy: Go for it.


Harold: Okay. This is kind of in the middle of the poem. I will just start reading, and you'll get what I'm so basically, there's this guy who's essentially a neat freak who is the narrator in the poem. So I'm essentially adding my own rhymes on top of the rhymes to give you an extra line that tells you a little bit more of this guy who seems to be very judgmental toward, St. Nick. So here we go.


And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

the prancing and pawing of each little hoof

and I feared for our shingles that were not hoof proof.

As I drew in my head and was turning around

down the chimney. St. Nicholas came with a bound.

I gasped at the mess he'd just made and I frowned.

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot

and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

He was filthy. I can't say how out I was put.

A bundle of toys was flung on his back

and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack

with his gnarly old fingers all grimy and black.

His eyes, how they twinkled. His dimples. How merry.

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry,

his mustache as soiled as the blackest blackberry.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow

and the beard of his chin was as white as the snow

that's been piled by the street where they plowed weeks ago.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth

and the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath

way too near that alarm that he stood just beneath

he had a broad face and a little round belly

that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly

when I mentioned his pipe was offensively smelly.

Harold: There you go. That's a little preview of The Neat Before Christmas.


Liz: And where can people get that?


Harold: So I will be making it available through, my website, Haroldbuchholz.com. It, should be up by the time you guys hear this. And, you can also, of course, find things that are linking to what Michael and Jimmy have created. It's all be available through the Unpackingpeanuts.com website. If you want to find us and see what we're up to and if you want to support us by purchasing some of the work we've done.


Jimmy: We would really love that. That would be great. Well, thank you, Harold. Thank you. Guys. Thanks to everybody who listening. another fun year, another fun episode. Can't wait to see you next week. So until then, for 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 Unpack Peanuts on Instagram and Threads. Unpacking Peanuts on Facebook, Blue Sky, and YouTube. For more about Jimmy, Michael and Harold, visit UnpackingPeanuts.com. Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening.


Harold: You're ruining my life.


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