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1980 Part 2 - The End of the World As We Know It

Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts. I'm going to be your host for the proceedings. My name is Jimmy Gownley. I'm also the cartoonist of Amelia Rules. Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up, and The Dumbest Idea ever. Joining me, as always, are my pals, co hosts, and fellow cartoonists. He's a playwright, he's a composer, both for the band Complicated People, as well as for this very podcast. He's the 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's the executive producer and writer of Mystery Science Theater 3000, a former vice president of Archie comics, and the creator of the Instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts, Harold Buchholz.

Harold: Hello.

Jimmy: So we got a lot to talk about here in the second half of 1980, so I think, we should probably get to it, ASAP. 

M&H: Sure. 

Jimmy: So we're going to start off here, folks, with a long story, but what you're going to need to do before we get to it is if you want to follow along, there's a couple of ways you can do it. You can, first of all, go to our website,, sign up for the great Peanuts Reread, and then once a month, you will get a little newsletter sent to you by my pal Harold that will detail what we're talking about in the upcoming month. You could do that, or you could just go on over to, type in 1980, and when I call out a date, type it in, and away you'll go. 

So that's what we're going to do. We're going to start off with a longish story that's kind of important. It's where the kids go to a very strange summer camp, and some of our listeners has asked for us to cover this kind of in depth. So that's what we're going to do. And then we're going to talk about all the other great strips of 1980, which, spoiler alert, I really loved. So if you guys are ready, how about we get to it?

Michael: Sure enough.

Harold: Sure.

June 4, Lucy is sitting in a beanbag chair watching some tv as Linus appears, reading a brochure. He says to her, “this new camp we're all going to looks kind of interesting. They have guest speakers and discussion groups.” Lucy, looking annoyed, looks back at the tv and says, “I don't know about those discussion groups. I like talking, but I hate listening.”

Michael: Fairly common, I would think.

Jimmy: No one wants to listen. It's just so much more fun to just pontificate. Trust me, I know. Here's one of the things I want to focus on in this story that I'm not sure what you guys will think of. but it's about Linus. And I really like the way Linus is used in this story. And it ties back to me a little bit-- more than a little bit. It ties back to me the Charlie Brown Christmas special. And, you know, Linus, the Idea of Linus being able to speak some sort of higher truth or sort of understand what's going on a little bit better than the others. And I was wondering, why does it work when it. So I watched just the famous “lights, please” scene in Charlie Brown Christmas, and it dawned on me, maybe for the first time, and this is like, super obvious. So, like, I, may be a moron, but dawned on me the first time that the reason it works in a Charlie Brown Christmas is. Charlie Brown asks, right? Charlie Brown says--

Harold: At the very beginning, it's set up, but where Charlie Brown is like, he, can't make sense of Christmas. And Linus replies, that's the Charlie Browniest line. Where of all the Charlie Brown's people, he doesn't answer the question, but at the very. And as a person who I went to film school, that was something that struck me as I was trying to understand what does it take for people to accept your world? And one of them is, if something is going to be particularly strong or powerful or even divisive, if you plug it in at the very beginning, it's the whole concept of suspension of disbelief. Everybody is listening to a fictional story. It didn't happen and you made it up. And so you're setting the Rules at the beginning. And if you drop something in, an hour into the story or the film and you didn't introduce it, you have a chance of losing the portion of your audience that doesn't want to accept it because it didn't follow the Rules that they agreed to at the beginning. That's the thing that I learned. And I don't know if that resonates with what you were saying. Like, for mean, I love the movie It's A Wonderful life. It's my favorite movie. And Clarence the angel just pops up in this guy's life, who's living his life halfway through the movie. If we didn't have the opening scene up in heaven with these angels saying, hey, we need to do something for this guy named George Bailey, half the audience would go, what the heck? And turn it off, right? Because that's not the movie that they were watching, but because it starts that way, then you can't blame the storyteller for fulfilling the promise of the movie, right? And that's kind of, I think, whoever was pulling this together, who knows if that was baked in at the beginning? But at some point they figured, you know, if this is really what this is, is someone please tell me what a Charlie Brown Christmas is? All know, you really do have to introduce it somehow in the beginning so that it's a fulfillment of the promise of the story. That's the way I look at it.

Jimmy: Right. Well, now, this is a slightly off topic, but I'm interested to see, as we have mentioned in earlier episodes, I talked Michael into reading Infinite Jest. And there is a moment about 600 and some pages into the book where something strange happens. On reflection, you realize, oh, this has been baked in the whole time, but it's so baked in so minorly that you don't notice it until it's there. And you sort of have to think about it. 

June 5. So the gang is getting on, the old school bus off to summer camp. Sally, who is having none of it, is yelling, “this is ridiculous. Why do we let them do this to us every summer?” She's ranting now to Eudora on the bus. “As soon as school is out, they ship us off to some stupid camp. We don't even know where the camp is.” That's a bad sign. “I'll bet there isn't a soul who has any idea where we're going.” And then in the last panel, we see Snoopy as the world War I flying ace aboard the bus, saying, “here's the world War I flying ace riding across northern France on a troop train.”

Jimmy:  Well, this, to me, just also seems to call back the war experience and the Idea of him off the camp. I think so much of his anti camp stuff feels like it's secretly anti going off to the army stuff.

Harold: Yeah, could be.

Michael: But it's not like anyone has a choice in these matters, right?

Jimmy: When you actually think about how little choice you have in all of these matters of life as a kid or as a conscript into the army, you have very little choice.

Harold: Yeah, that's baked into being a kid, right.

Michael: I did not have parents who were determined to ship me off to camp.

Jimmy: Right.

Michael: Thank god.

Harold: Me neither.

Jimmy: Yeah, me neither.

Harold: But it is interesting when you think about people sending their kids off to camp, or school for that matter, and there's no way you can know what those kids are going to experience. You got a sense of it and maybe, you know, people who are teaching and you get some of the stuff come back. But it's a pretty modern concept that the child goes off and has an independent education essentially, wherever they go. Right? That is an independent experience. It just didn't really happen until 100 years or so ago. Generally you were living with your family and you didn't have public education where everybody's going off.

Michael: that’s Not quite true.  In England with boarding schools. I think they shipped the kids off as soon as they could.

Jimmy: Oh that's true. 

Harold: to some really bad effect.

Jimmy: Right.

Harold: For some kids right? But that's still certainly an exception to the rule. And it's interesting to think about. It's like, yeah, parents in the household are generally super involved in where things go and there are boundaries, but when you send them off for others to educate them, there's a wide range of stuff that can happen, right?

Jimmy: That's a very diplomatic way to put it. You have no Idea what's going to happen, right? No Idea. Here's another thing I thought that is related to this sort of thing. There's going to be lecturers and there's discussion groups at this camp, right? Anybody who stands up in front of a group and starts talking has automatic authority. And when you're a kid in a situation like this, you have even more respect for that authority or whatever. And a lot of times it's completely unwarranted. 

Can I tell a goofy story about me, on the YouTube? One of my favorite things to do on YouTube is listen to dead people give lectures. So I find some, semi famous or famous figure from the past who's done lectures and I listen to all their lectures and I was listening to this one guy and I'm like, this guy gets it. It seemed like anything he talked about, he knew the ancient Aztecs. I'm like, wow, how he knows that. And the indigenous people. He knows everything, right? And then it pops up. Recommended for me, jimmy, the guy you like, talks about Finnegan's Wake by James Joyce. I'm like, the mothership is calling me home. The, first line he goes, well, Finnegan's Wake is of course the great British writer James Joyce's magnum-- The great what did you say? Unsubscribe, thumbs down, angry comment. But I listened to, like, 8 hours of this guy, and now I'm thinking maybe he knows nothing about anything. It could be like listening to dozens of hours of a podcast and finding out that three hosts don't know what a Fleuron is, and you're like, why am I listening to this? So it continues.

 June 9. Sally is lying in her bunk reading a comic book, and Eudora comes up and says, “you better put that away, Sally. They don't allow comic books in this camp.” Sally bolts right upright in her bunk and says, “you're kidding.” Eudora goes, “no. They say, it's not suitable reading.” Sally puts it away in a little box and says, “that's ridiculous. Half the fun of going to camp is lying on your bunk reading comic books.” Eudora says, what's the other half? And Sally says, “sitting under a tree reading comic books.”

Harold: Well, there's really no argument there.

Jimmy: No, Sally gets it. Sally totally gets it. Yeah.

Michael: Unfortunately, her education is not going very well. She's, she's not doing very well in school.

Jimmy: Oh, I see what you're saying. Yes.

Michael: So comic books cannot teach you everything. Most things.

Jimmy: oh. I don't know about that. I learned all about quantum physics from Stan Lee and stuff, so I think I'm pretty much grounded in that. Oh, my gosh. I love Sally sitting there reading her little comic book, and I love that Schulz calls out comics in 1980 even, because it's not like comic books were a big thing at that particular time. That was probably, like, the nadir.

Michael: Kids were not reading comics, because she's probably reading, like, an Alan Moore comic or something in 1980.

Jimmy: I guess she could be reading Daredevil by Frank Miller.

Harold: Yeah. Comics were such a big part of the culture when Schulz was growing up. He was, like, right in the sweet spot, I think, of when comic books kind of became a big part of American culture, and certainly they were big for me, and I'm guessing for you guys, but maybe not so much for most people by 1980.

Michael: Probably reading Lady Death or something like that.

Jimmy: That's later, I hope.

Harold: or a reprint of a Bugs Bunny cartoon, that comic that had been published in 1957, and they're just kind of yumping along.

Jimmy: I remember I got a Gold Key comic once, and then, like, a few months later, or someone bought me a Gold Key comic, and it was a different issue, different cover, same comic inside, I was like, wait a second. What is going on here GoldKey?

Harold: We actually had a real brouhaha at Archie Comics. when I was there. I was there from 2010 to 2016, and we were turning out, like, these digests. You used to see them. They still are around at the supermarket checkouts, and they were generally collections of stories. You might have a new story at the beginning, and then everything else is reprints. And we had this huge library of 70 years of reprints, and they pretty judiciously put stuff in from wherever, and we didn't curate it per se. so you would just have a collection of Archie. So there wasn't a whole lot to define each of those digests. And by some mistake, that they were trying to forensically figure out how on earth it happened. Two issues in a row had the same cover. 

Jimmy: Oh My God.

Harold: And it was like the alarm bells went off.

Jimmy: How did this happen?

Harold: Because there's obviously nothing to identify the contents by the cover right? And somehow, the same cover was assigned to two consecutive issues, and we heard not a peep. The marketplace, it was all internal. When we realized that, we came in and we're like, what? Yeah, we're going nuts. And it's like, not a blip, not a comment, not a mention online. We didn't see anybody going, hey, I saw. You're saying this is the flip of that, where it's like, the same cover in two different interiors. Nobody noticed.

June 11. All right, things are starting to get serious here. It's night, Eudora, Lucy, and Sally are all tucked in their bunks. Well, Eudora and Lucy are tucked in. Sally is sitting upright, ranting. She goes, “bed check. What in the world is a bed check?”  It's trouble, Sally. That's what it is. Then Lucy says to her, “the counselors have to come around and see that we're all tucked in.” Then Eudora says, “maybe they think we're all going to run away or something.” Sally rolls over. You could just tell that she rolled over angrily and says, “I think it's just another one of their penny annoyances.”

Michael: What is with Penny? It's petty, isn't it?

Jimmy: Is that the joke? I was wondering that, I thought it was petty annoyances. I must be wrong. But now that you say it, that must be part of the joke, right?

Michael: I just sort of read petty, right? Is that like a typo? What is that?

Jimmy: I don't know. Harold, thoughts?

Harold: I would think that's Schulz's joke. That's the joke.

Jimmy: She gets it wrong because she always gets things wrong. Like my question, my other question is, check out Lucy in bed in panel two. That looks like a lot of brushstrokes to me. Or maybe not. Maybe it's like a really thick pen line or something. But those marks that are indicating the folds in the bed, well, actually, all the way through panel two, three and four. When you contrast them the way the bed clothes are drawn in panel one, he's definitely either using a different tool or using his radio 914 in a completely different way.

Harold: Yeah, those really are some dark strokes. Now, he's been filling in some heavy blacks as well, so I'm guessing maybe he does have a brush around to speed up his process. And he went ahead and added a little bit to the bed spreads. I mean, that's complete guess, but he's got lots of black backgrounds for, like, four days in a row, which is, not typical.

Jimmy: Right. All right, now, here's where things get really weird. 

June 12 Now, in between, we see that Marcie and Peppermint Patty have also arrived at this camp. So it's the whole gang. And, now they're sitting out around the campfire at night, and they have either their guest speaker or a speaker for the camp. And here's where the meat of the thing comes in. Peppermint Patty looks truly terrified with that hair. Says, “did you hear what that speaker said, Marcie? He said, the world is coming to an end. He said, we're in the last days.” Peppermint Patty looks absolutely horrified by this. They walk away,

Peppermint Patty's hair standing straight up. “I'm not sure we can believe everything we hear, sir,” says, Marcie. Snoopy is walking along behind them now in his world war I flying ace garb. And he says, “I've heard talk around headquarters about a big enemy push in Belleau Wood.

Jimmy: So this is where it becomes what it's about. So, the gist of the thing is here, the camp is telling the kids that it is the end of the world. And, for years, I wondered what this was about. I thought it was about, something else. There was a thing in the 70s called Stay Alive ‘til 75 because there was a prophecy that, the world would end in 1975.

Harold: Well, there's something else going on here in Schulz's life that I think maybe he's processing some things. I'm not saying this is the only thing that he's processing, but his daughter Amy is 24 years old this year, and she joined the LDS church, the Latter-Day Saints church two years prior. And I believe it was this year or maybe the end of the previous year or the beginning of this year that she had committed to go on a mission to England. And so there were aspects of Schulz's faith that he now shared with somebody who took her faith seriously within the family. But there were also aspects that were at odds with his more traditional Christian faith. And I'm guessing he was processing that, at least in part here. And he would talk with her about this a lot from what.

Jimmy: You know, it's really, you know, this goes back to talking about the Stephen Lind book, which I think is a beautiful book. And it talks a little bit, especially towards the end, about what you're talking about and his relationship with his daughter and how that did bring them closer together in some ways. But I grew up in a town and like I've probably mentioned before, I was raised catholic and my town when I lived there was 2400 people and there were two catholic churches, huge, beautiful catholic churches with stained glass windows and the bells and everything. And the reason--

Harold:  two of them?

Jimmy:  well, yeah, you're ready why?

Michael: Why?

Jimmy: Because you can't expect Lithuanian people to sit in the same church as Irish people.

Michael: So this is like West Side Story.

Jimmy: Yeah, but with, stupider differences. The point I'm making, there's no are these are people who believe the same thing and they can't just hang out. Schulz is a model of being able to just have an actual conversation and treat everybody with respect, it seems, in his life. But you certainly see it in his characters. He never, someone else, it's very rarely anyway, is someone just a one note straw man or something like that.

Harold: Yeah. And part of that is certainly his demeanor. I think it's also part of his sense of duty within the strip. It's strange. He's a mixture of personal conviction that he's not going to compromise, mixed, with a sense of obligation to those who don't believe the things that he believes when it comes to being in this public platform. And this really was a thing, I think, in these kind of mid century art forms. Like one of the big arguments going back to the concept of film was half the people, or more than half the people, I think, saw that this was a town square experience. You come down to the square and you go into the movie theater and it's kind of a community event. And so therefore there should be some sort of a community spirit to what's on the screen.

Harold: Which is what led to something like the Hayes code in the lasted through the 50s, really for any major impact where people look back on it today and say, my gosh, why would they want to censor movies? And certainly there's lots of reasons for that, but one of them is this concept that I don't think we have so much now that this is a community town square thing and it should kind of represent the standards. It's like the standards and practices in TV as well, but certainly in newspapers as well. It was the sense that often these papers were for a single paper, represented the whole community. Schulz didn't feel like it was right to put a very specific point on something and say, this is the way it is, because he realized that there has to be some kind of community agreement as to what we speak of and what we don't speak of, depending on our role. And as a cartoonist and a comic strip, he honored that. And so it's an interesting mix for him. he's trying to be true to who he is and the things that he's interested in speaking of, but he's not interested in trying know, beat somebody over the head with an opinion.

Jimmy: Right. The other thing I think he might be processing is this prediction by a guy named Leland Jensen, who was, according. Now this is all from Wikipedia, so take it with a grain of salt, but he was the leader of a small apocalyptic cult called the Baha’i under the provisions of the covenant, which is not-- He was actually excommunicated from the larger Baha'I faith. And he had a follower. He had about 150-200 followers. And he predicted the world would end on April 29. So when would Schulz have been writing these then, Harold?

Harold: So I think for the dailies, it was typically he had to have them in like four weeks before. So that lines up with what you're talking about.

Jimmy: Yeah, but I wonder if this is one of the things he was talking about. And I think what's interesting, if it is or if it's partly this and partly what Harold's saying, or both or whatever, he's smart to not say it directly because, I've been reading, a fair amount of Doonesbury lately, which I really do love. I think it's a wonderful comic strip. But you're reading something that feels just unbelievably dated because it's all about stuff that's really happening in the now. And it's a great record of. Could this just, this is a parable. This is not a fairy tale, but some sort of fable or story that you can listen to or read at any point, and it'll still have relevance. So I admire that he was able to do that, too. I think that's a smart way to attack this kind of thing.

Michael: I don't know if there's necessarily a triggering event here. I mean, there probably hasn't been a year in history where someone, there wasn't a doomsday cult.

Jimmy: Well, there are 1500 predictions, on Wikipedia, or not. Wherever I looked, there was 1500 named predictions for the end of the world starting in 60 CE.

Harold: I do get the sense that Schulz, again, is processing, given how

long this sequence goes. He's got a lot of thoughts to go through in this, and he includes the whole cast. And it's not like just a one off because he read a newspaper article necessarily. It's like, oh, right. There's something, I think, that he's deeply processing.

Michael: Yeah. But then again, I think it's pretty gentle because he doesn't parody the speaker. You don't even know who the speaker is.

Jimmy: Yes.

Harold: It's all the kids responses to being exposed...

Michael: Whereas Pogo would have a character out there preaching.

Jimmy: Right?

Harold: Yes. Right.

Jimmy: Yeah. And it would be a caricature of the guy, but he'd be a muskrat or whatever.

Michael: So, yeah. Reading this, because you guys were talking about this sequence, and I found it pretty tame.

Harold: I did, too. It's a weird mixture of being tame, but also talking about a very weighty matter. Yeah, no, kid gloves. But he's not stepping away from it. He didn't have to bring this up at all. He obviously wanted to, and he wanted to spend quite a bit of time on it and how it impacts children.

Jimmy: Yes.

Harold: I mean, that's, to me, what this is all about.

Michael: Yeah. But having lived through the Cuban missile crisis, even though that was a political thing and not a religious thing, it was the same thing. Pretty much thought the world was going to end.

Harold: Right? Yeah.

Jimmy: You know what this makes me think of in, my own life? I remember when I was working on the Iraq war issue of Amelia, The Things I Cannot Change. I mean, just the Iraq war was huge. It was just the cultural. It was just going on. It was never ending. Everybody was thinking about, know, and everybody had really intense opinions, and I had really intense opinions, but there was no point in me putting my intense opinion in a comic about whether the Iraq war was right or wrong or what it was. The world did not need that from me. But what I did notice while I was thinking about it is, you know, whether or not it's right or wrong, my buddy's going, and his kids have no say in it, and that sucks for them. And that doesn't suck because of my friend. My friend made a commitment, to this country, and then we rightly or wrongly said, this is what you need to do. It has nothing to do with the person who's in his position. But the fact is, the kids have nothing to say about it, and that really sucks.

Harold: And that makes it a timeless story. Right? Because children who are in the sway of a larger history that they can't control.

Jimmy: Right.

Harold: And that is happening all the time. And so that does make a story much more timeless because it's a universal experience.

Jimmy: So I'm interested, Michael, you hadn't read this, but you heard us talking about it, and you thought it would, so it was different than what you expected it to be.

Michael: It's not something I would pull out as an in notable Peanuts segment. I mean, it's not a bad one, but it doesn't really wrap up.

Jimmy: Oh, are you kidding me?

Michael: Doesn't wrap up in a satisfying. Well, one of your favorite strips wraps it up nicely.

Jimmy: Yes. Well, two of them. Two of them. Well, we'll get there. We'll get there.

Michael: Okay.

Jimmy: All right. So it's June 13

Peppermint Patty is still freaking out. So she's in bed. She's staring at the ceiling, wide eyed. Marcie's, listening to her. Peppermint Patty says, “I can't sleep for worrying about what that speaker said. Marcie, I'm scared.” Peppermint Patty sits up. “What if the world comes to an end tonight, Marcie?” Marcie sits up and goes, “I promise there'll be a tomorrow, sir. In fact, it's already tomorrow in Australia.” Peppermint Patty rolls over and said. “He said, we're in the last days, Marcie.” Marcie very calmly says, “go to sleep, sir. The sun is shining in Australia.”

Jimmy: This reminds me of Y2K.

Harold: The odds are on Marcie's side here.

Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely. if you're playing the odds, go with Marcie. I remember Y2K, though, when it happened, right? And the first ABC reporter was like, first thing, they went to an ATM and goes, oh, it still works. The world is still here. And it's like, that's who you're worried about, withdrawing money from your checking account?

Harold: Well, it reminds me of that earlier strip when I can't remember who was watching tv, and they were watching, I think it was a football game. And this announcer goes, there's no tomorrow.

Jimmy: Oh, yes.

Harold: Freaked out.

Jimmy: There's no tomorrow.

Harold: They just said it on very, very much similar to Schulz. And, Schulz is a guy we know who lived with anxieties. Right. That's no secret. This was a man who thought deeply about a lot of things, and that, in his case, led to quite a bit of anxiety, staying up late at night, just like we're seeing Peppermint Patty. And you do get this sense, like, there's kind of this protective fatherly sense in the strip here, where it's like he's trying to show the impact that words can have, particularly on children. That, to me, is the core of this strip sequence, is if you're going to be talking about things that are this heavy and this extreme, just take note. Are you giving the child something that child can process, or are you just laying something on them that you're not getting them to the other side of whatever you're trying to get them to and they're falling short. Schulz is. There's definitely a feeling that Schulz is saying, hey, you got to be careful about this, because you're putting something on a child that a child maybe can't...

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: First of all, we've kind of agreed this strip is not being read by children. Not being read by five year olds.

Jimmy: Yeah, but I think he's still talking about kids. 

Michael: Yeah he’s talking about kids. But come on. The New Yorker has been running cartoons for 50 years with a guy standing on the corner saying the end is nigh. It was just such a cliche that some crazy guy thinks the world's going to end.

Jimmy: Yeah, but I think the difference with this is that it is kids that are processing it.

Harold: and it is authorities speaking to them. Like you were saying, jimmy, it's someone who stands up in front of them.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: This is the reason they're there.

Jimmy: Yeah. And they were put there, and apparently.

Harold: By parents don't have any Idea what they.

Michael: What's with the parents? Let's talk about why the parents send them to this crazy camp.

Jimmy: I think that is outside his interest, and it just doesn't deal with it.

Harold: I don't know, except to make a parent think twice about, where are you sending your kids? What are you having them be taught? And are they in a position to benefit or possibly be damaged by what they learn?

Jimmy: And I don't mean this to be like an anti camp screed. I went to basketball camp, but it wasn't a sleepover. It was just a few hours a day, so that was fine. But I know people that went to sleepover basketball camps, and they sounded like complete horror shows to me. And the parents had no Idea. I don't even think the kids would tell their parents what happened afterwards. It was just, like, great.

Harold: Talking about boarding schools. Oh, my gosh. There are so many horror stories of boarding schools and the wall, these structures where you're there for weeks on end, and there are these rules that are set up by the school, but then there are the rules within where the kids are hanging out, and there are these hierarchies that get set up, and you don't have parents there.

Liz: Okay, wait a second. I went to five years of summer camp and four years of boarding school, and it really is not the horror show that you're describing.

Harold: but there are horror shows. I mean, you would agree that there are people--

Liz: It's also a really wonderful place for some people.

Jimmy: I'm sure that is true.

Harold: Sure.

Jimmy: Okay.

Harold: Yes, absolutely. And thank you for saying that. We're not saying that.

Jimmy: No. Here's another thing that's wrong with them.

Harold: I have heard so many stories of people who, as children, are away from family for extended periods of time, and, it's, incredibly hard on them, and it expects them for the rest of their life in a negative way as well as a positive way.

Jimmy: I feel like when people ask about catholic school, did you like it? Was it good? I don't know. It was like anything else. There were great parts of it, and there were terrible parts of it. And I'm sure that's true of any type of this situation.

Liz: And there's some families that it's good to get away from.

Jimmy: Well, that's true.

Harold: Yeah, Liz, you're absolutely right. There's certain people who I think have been saved their lives were saved by having a chance to get to perspective outside of a home that was really difficult.

June 14. It's the whole gang sitting in their little director's chairs or folding chairs, listening to another speaker. But this time, Linus pipes up and he says, “yes, sir. Jeremiah was a prophet. You might also call him our first political cartoonist.” He continues, what I like about this next panel, though, is the blank stare on Peppermint Patty's face. Linus continues, “he didn't draw pictures, but his actions pointed out certain political truths for that time. The linen waist cloth business, for instance, and the yoke he wore and the book that he threw into the water.” And Sally, sitting next to Linus, beams and says, “my sweet Babboo knows a lot.” And Linus says, “I'm not her sweet Babboo.”

Jimmy:  Now, you guys both said that you felt over the last several years, Schulz, had lost a little focus with Linus. I'm going to pose a counterpoint to that and see if you guys listen to it. I think this goes back to my knuckleball Idea. He's doling this stuff out, and he has a lot of different things he can use. He still has his fastball, but he can't use it all the time, because actually, if you use a fastball all the time, it doesn't even look fast anymore. And I think that was what was happening in those early years after A Charlie Brown Christmas, where he would try to repeat that thing that everyone loved in the Sunday pages for the next, like, two years or three years. And it always felt, know. Yeah, I feel like by holding back on that, it gives this stuff more power when he does do it. Yes. No. Am I way off base?

Michael: It's a little bit of a flashback because I think he sort of lost Linus. Linus depended a lot on the blanket and the jokes, you know, Snoopy trying to get the blanket and grandma trying to throw out the blanket. And I think when we hit the 70s, it's sort of like he didn't want to do that anymore and didn't know what to do with Linus. So to me, this is kind of a flashback. Linus has not been doing this kind of stuff for the last ten years.

Jimmy: Yeah. And I think it makes it more effective when he does it now. I think if this is what he was doing all the time, it would be a drag.

Michael: well, I just don't think he was planning that. It's fastball and it's knuckle balls. I think he was more of a spontaneous cartoonist, where “I kind of feel like this today.”

Harold: I’m kind of with Michael on that. He had had this portion of processing biblical stories and this sort of thing for every single week as a Sunday school teacher for years and years. And that overlaps with when he does the Charlie Brown Christmas, and then, he stopped doing it and he stopped having that public discourse of faith. I think that dropped way off, because of that. And so it became less a part of his life. And so, spontaneously, there are fewer times when Linus is sharing, because you imagine if you're preparing for and then moderating a class every week, that's a big part of your life, right?

Jimmy: Yeah, sure.

Harold: If part of this has to do with what he's now processing, where he has a daughter now who's talking about those things with him. It's now back in his life. And so it comes back up in the strip, like Michael says, is a little more spontaneous, maybe, in terms of how he bubbles up to the top of what he's putting in the strip.

Jimmy: Well, I agree with what both of you are saying.

Michael: You’re both right. Wishy washy

Jimmy: No, no. You're both saying the same thing. I agree with both of what you're saying about that. But I guess what I'm saying is whether or not he planned. I'm going to use Linus less or. I'm going to use Linus in a different way. The net effect is he has used him in a different way. And  I feel that because of that, using him this way now is more powerful. That's all I'm saying. I mean, I don't know what his process was of. I'm going to put Linus, in 20% less strips. I don't think it's anything like that. I'm just saying, if Linus was going on and on and on about nothing but philosophical things, nothing but spiritual things, it would have less power when he does it in this. And I think that makes this stronger.

Michael: Yeah. I mean, I'm glad to see Linus back in the action here, because, he was my favorite character by far, and now he's kind of-- a bird who can't speak is a lot funnier in general, and this isn't really funny.

Harold: That's true. Yeah.

Michael: Except I want to know about this linen waist cloth business. I mean, can you make a lot of money selling linen?

June 16. Peppermint Patty's freaking out on the end of the dock there, and Charlie Brown comes up behind her. She says to him, “you heard what that speaker said, Chuck. He said, we're in the last days.” Charlie Brown says, “I know. I heard him say, the world is coming to an end.” So he sits down next to her. Peppermint Patty says to Charlie Brown, “Marcie said, the world can't end today because it's already tomorrow in Australia.” Charlie Brown turns to her and says, “maybe we should go to Australia.” Peppermint Patty says, don't make jokes, Chuck.”

Jimmy:  I just think that one's funny.

 June 20. Linus, Charlie Brown, and Eudora are sitting on the little folding chairs, obviously at another one of these talks. And Linus raises his hand, which gets the other two's attention, certainly. And he says, “may I ask a question, sir? I don't really wish to interrupt.” In panel two, Charlie Brown gets up and says, “I think I'll leave.” Linus says, “I also don't wish to be rude. Just as a matter of curiosity, sir.”  And then we see Linus in the last panel. Everyone else has left. And Linus says, “has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?”

Jimmy:  And that's what I think is great about Linus in this instance, because that's a fastball, and no one else in the strip could have delivered it, used this punchline, even, but it still wouldn't be appropriate for anyone else in this instance.

Michael: Yeah.

Harold: And it feels the most like Schulz.

Michael: But carrying on to the rest of the year, does Linus revert back to this?

Jimmy: No, and I don't think it's because, look, I think this goes back to your original premise, which is, he's a complex character. Sometimes complex people withdraw. it all works for me. Maggie and Hopey in Love and Rockets are apart for most of it, but you only really remember the times powerfully where they're together. And I think that it's the parts where they're far apart that make the other parts work. That's what I think.

Michael: Yeah, there was, like, three years of Love and Rockets where they were on different coasts, essentially. 

Jimmy: Right Yeah, yeah.

Michael: Kind of forget that. yeah.

Harold: But I do think that because Schulz had already used this exact same punchline with Snoopy on the doghouse typing out the title to his new book about on theology, and then he gives it to Linus in this, it's obviously, Linus is dropping the bomb and the kids are getting out of the way. This is the most, like, okay, this is Schulz speaking. He said it before and he said it again in two momentous strips that are well remembered. And so this, to me, is like, this is like the climax in terms of Schulz having any say, other know, look out for the kids. When you're dealing with really difficult, intense.

Jimmy: And I've talked about, it does bother me that people who write for kids don't think about the kids as much as they should. I mean, it bothers me in a big way.

Harold: So could you give an example of where does that manifest itself for you usually? What do you see in stuff for kids that you like? Really? Why did you do that?

Jimmy: It seems like it's, to me, when it is obviously an attempt at making something popular or a franchise, basically the opposite of something like Smile, by Raina Telgemeier resonated because she wasn't thinking about becoming a superstar cartoonist with this. She was telling a story that mattered. It's not just the story. It's the story. The way the story is told the drawings all of those things in any. It has to go together to make something that the kid feel you're giving something to the kid. The kid has to feel better or be smarter or stronger or whatever it is, or more empathetic. Story as a gift is a gift. Yeah.

Harold: Versus a story as a way to make money.

Jimmy: Advertisement yeah.

Harold: Be the cool new thing.

Michael: I don't know. I mean, do people write for children in order to teach them, to order to give them lessons, show them?

Jimmy: It's not just about teaching them, though. I'm not saying that I don't want to do that. I'm just saying treat them as if you were. Okay, here's, we're talking about David Foster Wallace. David Foster Wallace thinks a lot of his readers, and he asks a lot of his readers, but you're going to be better at the end of it somehow. You're not going to be a more moral person necessarily. You're not necessarily going to be a smarter person, but you're going to be changed, and you're going to be given something that's going to stick with you for the rest of your life and influence you and affect you. That's what I think any good art should do. And that, honest to God, I know it's hokey and stupid, but, that is what I tried to do for years and years and years.

Harold: That's what attracted me to your work, Jimmy. That's why we're friends now. No, I saw you putting that in your work.

Michael: but you clearly weren't doing that. You were, not teaching moral lessons. You were just saying, this is the way it is.

Jimmy: But I never said teach moral lessons.

Michael: Yeah, well, but that's what children's books used to be.

Jimmy: Oh, I see what you're saying.

Harold: Yeah. And there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. I have a problem when people delineate what is art and what isn't art, and they say it's bad art if you do this or that, or it's propaganda if you do this or that. And I think there's a broader range of what art can genuinely be and good art can genuinely be. And I feel like we constricted.

Michael: We agreed early on that he was not writing for kids, he's writing for adults.

Harold: He said that. And I've kind of.

Jimmy: How old were you when you read it? When you started reading Peanuts, how old were you? 46? 48. No, but Schulz is wrong. He clearly wrote for children. He's totally wrong.

Michael: No, he was writing about kids.

Harold: No, as of 1966. He's highly aware that millions of kids are reading his strip, if not earlier. So, yeah, he said, I wouldn't even begin to know how to write for children. And he said that, ah, at a later date, which is absolutely fascinating and backs up what you're saying, Michael. But he had to be aware that kids were reading and how it affected him.

Jimmy: It’s absurd to think he's not. I mean, was the secretary of state taking the Peanuts lunchbox to work that day?

Michael: Merchandising.

Jimmy: Okay, so anyway, 

June 21, we'll wrap this thing up, okay? Peppermint Patty and Marcie are at the principal's desk, and Peppermint Patty says, “yes, ma'am, I'd like to use the telephone. My dad hasn't heard about the end of the world.” 

Jimmy: This part actually moves me profoundly. Peppermint Patty worried about her dad. There's a couple of these sequences where that's what she's worried about. Her dad doesn't know the world is ending. That's amazing. I absolutely love that. 

So anyway, she says, “yes, ma'am, I'd like to use a telephone. My dad hasn't heard about the end of the world.” Marcie looks at something on the wall behind her and says, “look at this, sir. It's a drawing of the new camp they're trying to raise money for.” And then she continues, “it should be very beautiful. They're asking everyone to help raise $8 million,” which sends Peppermint Patty's hair a fluster. Not quite as bad as it was earlier, but it shocks her. And then she turns back to the secretary, or whoever it is at the camp and says, “forget the phone, ma'am. Maybe the world will end tomorrow. But I wasn't born yesterday.

Michael: Yeah, now that's politically smart to realize that people are trying to make money off of this stuff.

Harold: Well, it's interesting to see that Peppermint Patty has a savviness to her that sometimes kind of gets minimized, in the strip, because supposedly she's not good at school and this and that, but she's got. And certainly thinking that she was getting her degree from an obedience school, she's, an interesting mix, right? She sees the world from a different perspective, and sometimes that makes her look really stupid in the eyes of the world, at least in her eyes, as the world sees her. And her teacher doesn't seem to think much of what she's doing. But there is this. Like, Sally has her own street smarts kind of way of seeing things Peppermint Patty does, too.

Jimmy: Oh, I agree. And the other thing I think is great about these two strips back to back. Who else has the characters to do this? He has Linus, who can take it on a spiritual level. And he has Peppermint Patty, who has the street smarts, like you guys are saying. And yeah, yeah, right. Nice try. You're just trying to bilk me for money. Those are hard characters to have in the same cast and be able to. For the times I've said he hasn't stuck to landing. I don't, think this is one. I really like these last two strips. 

Well, that was great. I'm glad we got to-- I love going through the long stories and giving them the old once over with the fine tooth comb. it's really fun. I hope you guys enjoyed it, too. We're going to take a know, collect ourselves, make sure the world hasn't ended while we're talking, and, we'll be back in a few. Stay tuned.


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. Peanuts 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. Check it all out at

Jimmy: And we're back. The world didn't end, so we're going to continue with 

July 19. Snoopy, lying atop his dog house, wakes up. He lifts his head and says, “it's morning.” In panel two, he's really excited. Ears shoot skyward, and he says, “I'm awake.” Big grin on his face. Panel three, even a larger grin. arms spread wide open. And he thinks to himself, “the sun is shining, it's a brand new day, and I'm alive.” Then he lies back down and says, “so?” 

Michael: yeah, right. That sums things up.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: I mean, it's all the cliches coming out of the 70s where you have to be happy and singing a song in the morning and dancing around.

Harold: Although I'd argue So is also a cliche. It's just a surprise.

Michael: Yeah, but then, really, does that actually change anything?

Jimmy: I would be doomed if I had to sing a song in the morning. I hate that I have to get up for 11:00 a.m. to record these podcasts.

Harold: Boy, there's an artist talking.

Jimmy: It's brutal. What am I, a farmer, you want to record at eleven? I didn’t  get into this game to get up at 10:45.

Harold: Yeah. We have to make, Michael and Liz stay up until the wee hours of the morning in Italy so that we can record at our morning.

Michael: Yeah. I could not do this in the morning.

August 19, Snoopy and Woodstock are sitting on the ground outside, and Snoopy says to Woodstock, “no, our kind doesn't get to vote. We don't have anything to say about what goes on in the world.” Woodstock, with no reaction, just walks away. And in panel three, we see him climbing back in a cracked eggshell. And in the last panel, he, encloses himself back up in an egg and just sighs.

Michael: Didn't this inspire a Paul McCartney album?

Jimmy: back to the egg?

Michael: What year was that?

Jimmy: 79. So maybe it went the other way.

Michael: It was inspired by a Paul McCartney album.

Harold: That is one sad little moment there. It's like, totally stoic Woodstock in the first three panels, all the way into climbing into the eggshell.

Jimmy: And then the little great symbolic representation of depression, too.

Harold: Just like, oh, my gosh. Yeah. And again, who else would have done this strip? Even at this time, Schulz is still, I think, going to places as influential as he is on other people. He's just got such a unique way.

Michael: it's an election year, Ronald Reagan's about to become president, 

Liz: and it's probably during the convention.

Jimmy: Oh, yeah, that probably would be a convention thing. Yeah. 

September 16, Linus and Lucy are hanging out at the good old thinking wall. And Lucy says, “look, do you think I enjoy bossing you around? Do you honestly think that just because I'm your older sister, I actually enjoy telling you what to do?” She's semi ranting in panel three and says, “do you really think I enjoy it?” Linus says, “yes.” And in panel four, Lucy turns to him and says, “how did you know?” 

Jimmy: Does that resonate with you, younger brothers? Well.

Michael: Lucy obviously, obviously enjoys it. 

Jimmy: Obviously, yeah.

Harold: I can't say my sister enjoyed it. It was more because I think in the case of my situation with my sister, there was, a lot more on my side that would have caused any trouble for her. It would have been much more balanced than maybe Linus and Lucy. 

Jimmy: The truth comes out.

Harold: My gosh. Absolutely. We were. I, think we shared that pretty evenly, which in the end, maybe worked in our favor because there wasn't, like some lopsided relationship where one person was.

Jimmy: Just it feels alien to me. I can't imagine what it's like to have siblings.

Harold: The classic thing that I absolutely fell into as a kid, that we were on long, long trips. We would travel from New York to Missouri and back twice a year. Long road trips. And, of course, we're in the back seat, right? And you've got the line. Anybody who's two kids in a family knows what the line in the back of the seat is, at least most of you will, where you don't cross that line, which, of course, now is the reason why you want to cross the line. 

Jimmy: Sure. Of course. 

Harold: ____  the other person, and go as far as you can without getting in trouble with your parents who are driving. Yeah, that was definitely something I was guilty of, for sure.

Jimmy: I remember my one friend who would torture his sister. They're still great friends in their 50s. They're still probably torturing each other. I remember he got a sampling keyboard, and he just pulled her hair so she could go, ow, Frankie. So he could play like, ow, ow, ow, Frankie.

Harold: Oh, no. Oh, my gosh. 

Jimmy: And I was like, I'm going home. None of this happens. And you could just read your Peanuts books. 

September 19. Snoopy and Charlie Brown are standing in front of a television set for some reason. And Charlie Brown says to Snoopy, “you know what you need to do? You need to learn to obey commands.” Charlie Brown says, “sit.” Panel three, Snoopy walks away. And in panel four, we see him sitting in a little lounge chair, which looks, basically Snoopy-sized.

Harold: And this is Schulz just knowing what to do in a strip. You said for some reason, there's a tv. Well, they're indoors. He doesn't want to introduce a chair yet, which was often the beanbag chair or whatever. So what does he do? He shows us angle of the tv set we don't normally see to show us that we're indoors. And when you see a tv set, what do you think of? Think of the chair they're sitting in.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: Got to have a comfy seat.

Michael: I see this strip as almost a model sheet for the new Snoopy.

VO: It's Snoopy. Watch. 

Jimmy: Oh, interesting.

Harold: Yeah.

Michael: And I think the main, first of all, expressionless, no mouth. The main drawing difference, I think, is that line from the nose to the neck, where before he'd sort of make it peanut shaped in a way.

Jimmy: Right, right.

Michael: And now it just goes down, which makes him look kind of middle aged.

Jimmy: The middle aged Snoopy thing has blown my mind. I think you're, like, dead on about middle aged Snoopy.

Harold: Yes. I think that's a great insight.

Jimmy: I have to say, every time I see, though, like, a new, in quotes version of Snoopy, I go, oh, yeah, I love this one the most. I really do. I like every one of them. It's crazy. Except for 1961. That was a debacle. 

September 20. Charlie Brown and Linus are, walking around, and they're talking about what just happened. Charlie Brown says to Linus, “my dog never obeys commands. Other dogs will sit or heel.” Charlie Brown continues, “my dog has only obeyed one command in his life.” And in this panel, they walk past Snoopy on the dog house, and Charlie Brown says, “I once told him to stay, and he never went home.” This shocks Snoopy, who in the fourth panel, sits up and goes, “how embarrassing. I've always thought it was an invitation.”

Jimmy:  All these years later, we find out how he ended up being Charlie Brown's dog.

Harold: Yeah, that's why I picked this. Also, you know, reading this a second time, there's a little bit of sadness here where it's like all of a sudden you realize this thing that you assumed all along was this magnanimous, loving gesture toward you. Wasn't that? But, yeah. So he wasn't Charlie Brown's dog. He was the neighborhood dog, I guess, is what Schulz said for a while. And then he becomes Charlie Brown's, and I'm I'm glad he did become Charlie Brown's dog.

September 27. This is a weird one. Interesting. Three panels that are kids on a bench playing some sort of game. Three panels with kids and also Snoopy. And they're screaming as they sort of rock back and forth. In panel one, it's “squeeze.”  And in panel two, they're yelling, “squash.” In panel three, they're swaying the other way, and they yell, “applesauce.” And Charlie Brown goes flying off the bench. And Snoopy walks away from this scene and says, “when you're feeling low, nothing cheers you up like a few rounds of squeeze. Squash. Applesauce.”

Michael: Did he make this up?

Jimmy: Never heard of it, but I assume he didn't. But I've never heard of it.

Harold: I had never heard of it either.

Michael: Seems like something kids would do, but I sure never heard it does.

Harold: Now, there is somebody on Reddit, which is always a wonderful place to go if you want to get eyebrows tinged. I said, I remember playing this singing game with my siblings where there were three people sitting together. The two outside people would squish the person in the middle repeatedly while singing, squish, squash, applesauce. And someone else remembers it as crisscross applesauce. So it sounds like it was a thing and it was a, crisscross applesauce spider is crawling up your back. Cool breeze, tight squeeze. Now you've got the shiveries. Weird.

Jimmy: Now, I've heard of crisscross applesauce with my kids because that's how they would tell the kids to sit when they're sitting on the floor. Because it's not good for a kid to sit with their legs like a w. Like kneeling on their calves and having them out and behind them. So they tell them, sit crisscross applesauce. But I've never seen this.

Harold: Yeah, this was totally new to me. Yeah. I guess this maybe was something that Schulz experienced as a kid or he saw.

Michael: It might have been from the 20s or something. Who knows?

Jimmy: That's true. Yes. Who knows? If you're out there and you've ever played a few rounds of squeeze squash applesauce or any variation, why don't you write and let us know. Right. To us at

Liz: He could have grandchildren at this point.

Harold: That's true.

Liz: Meredith was married in 1969.

Harold: Yeah, right. Yeah. He could be having a whole new round of kid experiences. Apparently, there was this whole range of adaptations that were in different areas of the country, I guess, but never one that just took over, like jingle bells, Batman smells, or whatever. It seemed to be definitive. Everyone knew the exact lyrics.

Jimmy: Well, that's a masterpiece. You can't quibble with that one.

Harold: That's true. Yeah.

October 27. Snoopy is, surveying his, little scout troop of birds, and they do not look good. One has a busted beak, one has a black eye, and one might have a skull fracture because their head's entirely wrapped in bandages. Snoopy, in scoutmaster mode, says, “good grief, what happened to you guys? I knew I shouldn't have let you go into town. You all look terrible.” And they do, but also adorable. Then in panel three, we see Snoopy asking Woodstock, “how about you, Woodstock? Didn't you get into it?” And panel four, Snoopy rolls his eyes because Woodstock is grinning with several missing teeth.

Michael: which for a bird is a trick because they don't have teeth. But it's worth it because there were two times this year where I laughed out loud, and this was one I went, I'll forgive him the tooth error. Unless he's an archaeopterix, which might be.

Liz: that's what our super listener, Jesse Fuchs, thinks.

Jimmy: He's an archaeopteryx 

Liz: that he's a cryptid

Michael: Yeah birds had teeth anyway. great.

Harold: I think it's a beautiful.

Michael: The fact that he's smiling is great.

Jimmy: So cute.

Harold: Yeah. I've got a little bandaged beak. You've got a black eye and a little head bandage. On the three.

Jimmy: The three wounded birds killed me. I mean, it's so funny. It's just funny drawing.

Harold: Woodstock looks just fine until, he opens his mouth.

Michael: That's another band name, by the way.

Jimmy: What was it? I missed it. 

Michael: Three wounded birds. 

October 30. Charlie Brown is on the phone, and he says, “yes, sir, I understand.” Then in the next panel, we see him putting on his coat and talking to Sally. He says, “one of Snoopy's beagle scouts got thrown in jail. I have to go down and get her out.” “That stupid dog is more trouble than he's worth.” Charlie Brown walks away, saying, “most of us are.” And Sally is not pleased with that. She yells from inside the house, “speak for yourself.”

Harold: Yeah, this is taking it pretty far, right? He's getting a phone call.

Jimmy: There's a bird down in jail.

Harold: It's almost as if the person on the other end of the line is like, well, I've got some beagle scouts here. Because he modifies it a little. I think later it's like he's at the humane society.

Jimmy: But still, yeah, I love the guy. How am I going to fill out the paperwork on this one. 

November 8. Charlie Brown has picked up Harriet. And he says-- they're walking around out in what looks like, I don't know, the appalachian trail or something. And he says, “this is embarrassing. I'm supposed to be leading this bird back to Snoopy and her friends. And now we're lost.” Charlie Brown, as he gives the side eye, to Harriet, trying not to panic her, says, “I hope she doesn't panic. I'll bet she's getting nervous.” But then he says, “then again, maybe she isn't.” And we see Harriet skipping along, singing, I guess, take me back to Tulsa.

Michael: That's an odd choice of song.

Jimmy: I don't know this song. What is it?

Michael: It's Bob Wills and the Texas playboys from the 1930s.

Harold: Wow. Came out in 1940. I did it as a obscurity. Yeah. But, yeah, it's a western swing dance, apparently super catchy. And, I guess he was playing an old, old school song that he had maybe jazzed up a little bit. 1940 became super popular, and so they were always getting requests to play it. And so he decided to add some lyrics, which was what it became the next year. Take me back.

Michael: Yeah, I think it's square dance.

Liz: I'm too young to marry or something.

Michael: Yeah, that's like the lyric.

Harold: Yeah. There's kind of some silly lyrics in there.

Michael: Yeah, I've played that song many times, but, how, Harriet would know it, I have no idea.

Harold: Well, in 70, Merle Haggard did a cover, and Asleep at the Wheel did a cover, 73. So I don't know. I don't know if he had access to that or he was going back I think.

Jimmy: I mean, just look at her.

Harold: Yeah, I could see that. Right? She's hanging out the window.

Michael: They just got in a bar fight. They might have heard it at the bar.

Jimmy: There you go

Harold: That's it. You got it, Michael.

Jimmy: That's got to be it, right?

Harold: these little birds at a roadhouse. The imagery. Talk about turning this into an extended story and fleshing it out. Oh, that would be a blast.

November 16. Lucy is holding the football, and she says, “Ecclesiastes. Third chapter.” Next panel. Charlie Brown walks up and she says, “ah, just the person I wanted to see.” And then she just begins quoting “to everything tere is a season Charlie Brown. A time to be born and a time to die.” With this, Charlie Brown walks away. Lucy continues, and this time, now, she's holding the football, preparing for Charlie Brown to kick it. And she says, “a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which was planted.” She continues, “a time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.” Charlie Brown has marked off his paces, and he looks determined to kick this football. Next panel, he comes running towards it, and Lucy says, “a time to love and time to hate. A time of war and a time of peace.” And the next panel is the inevitable AUGH, followed by wham. And then Lucy, holding the football, which she has just pulled away, says, “and a time to pull away the football.”

Harold: Boy, you can see that coming. Except for Charlie Brown.

Michael: Yeah. Why did he think-- Did he think she was so distracted by quoting this that she wasn't going to notice?

Jimmy: I think he just is resigned to his fate. And just like, 

Harold: maybe if it's a season and the season has been the opposite all this time, maybe she's going to let him kick the football.

Jimmy: That's right. Actually, that's a good point

Harold: But he doesn't really seem to be paying much attention.

Michael: this is actually probably my favorite football strip.

Jimmy: Really?

Michael: Yeah.

Jimmy: Interesting.

Michael: It's a nice little rhythm here.

Jimmy: What do you think about modern, Lucy without her dress?

Michael: Oh, I never would have noticed.

Harold: Really? I like sweatshirt, Lucy.

Jimmy: I do too. 

November 30. Snoopy is standing on a scale, and the scale reads fair. In, the next panel, this is a Sunday. He is awoken by something. He's atop his doghouse, and he says to himself, “I hear footsteps. Is there no peace?” And in the next panel, we see Lucy arrive at the doghouse saying, “you dogs think you're smart, don't you?” Snoopy, lying on the doghouse, says, “spare me.” Lucy continues, “well, you know who's really smart? A pig?” Snoopy. “a who?” Now Snoopy is down from the doghouse. And Lucy continues, “people are always talking about how smart their dogs are. Well, just remember,” she says to Snoopy, “when you're talking about smart animals, pigs are really smart.” Then she walks away, leaving a stoic Snoopy to contemplate it. And then in the next panel, he's back atop the doghouse, thinking to himself, “if they're so smart, why are they pigs?”

Michael: great punchline. That's got to be the title of the show. No, this is another laugh out loud for me. I mean, it makes sense.

Harold: And this is Lucy kind of looking for trouble. We haven't seen a lot of Lucy just coming out looking for trouble like this. And she's definitely wanting to poke Snoopy here. She went to the trouble of stopping by.

Michael: Are the pants a thing now? Is that what she always wears, pants from now on?

Jimmy: No, not always, but she will be, wearing it frequently. And, I think it's smart because that 50s dress was dated by the 50s really, Right? And it's such a subtle change.

Harold: Yeah, I appreciated it.

Jimmy: It'll never fully go away. The dress, though.

Harold: Yeah. She's looking a little stern. You think you're so smart, right? Well, we're so close to the end. I haven't brought up the anger and happiness index.

Jimmy: Oh, no, that's right.

Harold: Throw it in here and just get a sense. What do you guys think? How did this, year feel to you? Last year, we had 72 strips, which was, I think, near the all time low of anger. How did it feel in 1980?

Jimmy: I think it's real low still, because I think, like Michael said, we're seeing a lot of the stoic.

Harold: Like stoic Snoopy.

Jimmy: You see the stoic Woodstock. You see Marcie as a very stoic character. I'm going to say it's about the same in anger and maybe slightly down in happiness just for the sake of the stoicness factor.

Harold: Makes sense.

Jimmy: What about you, Michael?

Michael: Yeah, I mean, I really don't know. I'm just making it up. But I think the anger and happiness are probably going to be pretty close.

Jimmy: Okay.

Harold: So we had 106 strips that were happy in 79, which I think is down from 78. So for the anger, it's an all time low. Only 64 strips showed a character with expressing any sort of anger down to 17%. This is a new era of Peanuts, I think. And I don't know what's going to happen into the 80s, but, yeah, it is getting a little more stoic. I think his humor is lending and leaning into being a little more stoic with the characters. He always was a guy who talked about downplaying reactions, and now, it just seems like even instigations are less violent or less intense than they had been in the past. That's just where he is right now. The, happiness, which had been 106 and 79, did climb up to 117 this year. So it's like, about a third of the strips are showing happiness. So that's also been a thing. I think we've been over 100 for the last six years. And again, we said this kind of coincides with Jeannie, him being with Jeannie, and he's got a new life, and maybe that somehow reflects, I don't know.

Jimmy: Yeah, speaking of Jeannie, we had her, if you haven't listened to that episode, go back and listen. It was amazing to have Mrs. Schulz on the podcast and get to talk to her.

Harold: Just so great.

Jimmy: She was talking about one of the things he loved, was, drawing the character. She specifically said Lucy with a big, wide open, black mouth. And, if you just go back to September 27, Boy, that's a feast for the eyes of the big, wide open, black mouths. Yeah. Anyway, we're going to wrap it up here on-- 

December 8. Linus and Sally are, walking to school, and Sally, says to Linus, “I would have made a good evangelist.” Linus says nothing, but Sally continues, “you know that kid who sits behind me in school?” She stops, turns around, and says to Linus, “I convinced him that my religion is better than his religion.” Linus says, “how'd you do that?” Sally says, “I hit him with my lunchbox.

Jimmy: That's just good stuff.

Harold: Again, it's interesting this year how many different characters had dealt with some aspect of religion due to that storyline that we were looking at, that Lucy is quoting Ecclesiastes, and now you've got Sally bringing it up. So that's unusual this year. And again, just my theory, but I think it's because he's talking with somebody in his own family about issues of faith when he was kind of on his own. I think it's a good theory.

Jimmy: You know what else I think would be real good? If you characters would, continue to interact with us in between episodes. The first thing you can do is you could go over there to, sign up for the Great Peanuts Reread, and get that newsletter telling you what strips we're going to cover. But, you could just email us at You can find us on Threads and Instagram where we're unpack Peanuts. And over on Facebook and Blue Sky, where we're unpacking Peanuts. And we would love to hear from you. Did you have a favorite strip this year? Do you have something else, that you're excited about coming up here in the 80s? let us know. we just love hearing from you guys. And if I don't hear from you, I worry. 

So with that. Guys, I want your MVP and your strip of the year. Harold, why don't you go.

Harold: MVP for this year. this is the most well rounded year I think I've seen in a long time. I don't have anybody who particularly stands out this year.

Jimmy: Well, you gotta Harold. It's a feature.

Harold: I'm stalling for time here, but boy, I think I'm going to default back to Snoopy just because I think Snoopy is way down in terms of his overall impact this year, which was kind of nice to see everybody. But I think Snoopy, seems to still be a lynchpin with all of this, thanks to his relationship, with Woodstock and the kids.

Jimmy: You can never go wrong with Snoopy. And what about your strip of the year?

Harold: Why don't you go to Michael and ask for his character?

Jimmy: What is your favorite character? Your MVP and your strip of the year?

Michael: Well, like Harold. Yeah, it seems pretty balanced. I'm kind of floundering around trying to figure out who it could be. I mean, I picked Woodstock the last bunch of years. Woodstock didn't have too much great stuff to do this year. I really don't know. I guess I'll give it to Lucy because she seems to have a lot of the punchlines this year.

Jimmy: It's a good pick. And how about your strip of the year?

Michael: My strip of the year, I mean, this is not profound or anything. I just love that line, If they're so smart, why are they pigs. I got to give it to that because I love that line. If you think about it, why do pigs muck about if they're so damn smart, lying on top of dog houses or anything?

Jimmy: Hey, if you guys have an answer to why pigs muck about, you could also shoot us an email for. Right, Harold? That's that. You've gotten time.

Harold: I've gotten my time. And at first I was thinking I might go in the spirit of the broadened cast of this year, the scene where pigpen is back in, and gives Peppermint Patty a kiss at the dance. But like Michael, I just so enjoyed the writing on the strip very early on, on January 13, when Charlie Brown receives, a contract to shovel the walk. I think the writing on that is absolutely hilarious. He would never have written it in any other year. He's just at that place in this year. And it is older guy stuff, but older guy funny stuff here. This is like the dad joke of Peanuts with a contract. And I enjoyed it very much.

Jimmy: I'm going to go with, for my MVP. I'm going to go with Linus because I think this was Linus at peak form and my strip of the year. I picked the, one earlier with, Charlie Brown almost being the world record holder for most depressed person, like most days in a row. And then blowing it throughout this episode, I was like, oh, maybe I'll change it to that. Maybe I'll change it to that. But you know what? First thought, best thought, I'm going to stick with that one.

Harold: It's a great one.

Michael: Good.

Jimmy: So that is it. That is 1980. Another fun year, another great time talking with my pals about my favorite thing, in the world, which is cartooning, and my favorite comic in the world, which is Peanuts. And, I'm so grateful that you guys keep tuning in to listen to us. We're coming back next week and we have special guest Gary Groth, publisher of Fantagraphics and publisher of the Complete Peanuts. So be there. So until then, for Michael, Harold, and Liz, this is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.

HLM: 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 Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening.

Jimmy: We gotta get way the far out of here.

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