top of page

1985-2 Go Back To the Future Snoopy

Jimmy: Welcome to Unpacking Peanuts, the podcast where three cartoonists take an in depth look at the greatest common strip of all time, Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. we are here in 1985, the 35th anniversary of the comic strip Peanuts, and we're going to be discussing tons of strips in depth with you today. I'll 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 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 first 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, a former vice president of Archie comics, and the creator of the Instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts, Harold Buchholz.

Harold: Hello.

Jimmy: So, listen, before we, get into this, there's actually two things I want to bring up that we haven't brought up. Well, one we should have brought up maybe last week or the week before, and it's sort of sad, and I normally don't talk about this sort of stuff, but Trina Robbins passed away. The great underground cartoonist, Trina Robbins, who we loved. And the reason I'm bringing her up here is because she's a great cartoonist and should be brought up. But she was also a huge fan and supporter of Michael's work, with Strange Attractors. And she just recently had done something for you, didn't she, Michael? Not recently, but in the last few years.

Michael: Well, it was way back, when I was doing Strange Attractors. Yeah. she did a pin up because she was kind of famous for doing little, fashion, pinups in her comics. And so I had an issue of Strange Attractors. I was running some pinups by. By various readers. I asked her for one, and she provided a pirate peg pin up.

Jimmy: Very cute.

Michael: You know, it's a little cutout thing. You can put a. Yeah.

Jimmy: Paper doll.

Michael: Paper doll. Yeah, exactly. And then shortly afterwards, she came out with one of her books on comics history called the Great Women superheroes, and she put a couple of Strange Attractors characters in there,.

Jimmy: as well she should.

Michael: That's incredibly flattering.

Jimmy: That's awesome. So, rest in peace to Trina. We, love you, buddy.

Michael: Really.

Jimmy: And on a happier note, Peanuts, icon and Michael Cohen favorite baseball player, Willie Mays, turned 93 just yesterday.

Michael: Yes. I knew that birthday.

Jimmy: Nice.

Michael: May 6. That's right in my consciousness.

Liz: Let's get him on the show.

Jimmy: Yeah. Oh, that'd be a good get.

Harold: Yeah. And I want to thank everybody for helping make the Robot Monster comic kickstarter.

Liz: What's it up to now, Harold?

Harold: I gosh, last I checked, it was about 22,000. We were asking for 20. So I think we're in good shape, and we'll have a book out. Looks like by the end of the year, I'll get to be writing those ten pages of fumetti. In any case, thank you, everybody, for making it happen. I look forward to writing the, writing my piece in it.

Liz: Congratulations.

Jimmy: That's awesome. So cool. So everybody get one of those books and laugh your head off at Harold's fumetti. So let's, what do you say? Do you guys want to get back to the strips?

Michael: Yes.

Harold: Yes.

Jimmy: All right, so, as we may have told, you last time, we are changing the format up a little bit. we're going to take as many episodes as it takes to get a year done. So that's just the way it's going to be. And the good news for you is you get to hear us talk even more. Amazing. so if you want to do that, and follow along with us, here's how you can do it. Go to our website,, and sign up for the Great Peanuts Reread. That will get you one email, a newsletter a month, and it will let you know both what we're doing, but also what comic strips we're going to be covering in the episodes that are upcoming. So if you just want to read along with, the ones we're going to be talking about, you can do that. Or you could. We encourage you to read all of them just like we are. And if you want to read them for free, you could just go on, go over to, type in the word Peanuts in the search bar, Peanuts will come up, and then you type in the dates, and away you go. So that's what we're going to do. And we hope you follow along with us for the next 15, years of Peanuts. And right now, we're picking up on 

April, 8th. So panel one, Snoopy's atop the doghouse. He's typing away, and he writes “A Sad Story.” Lucy comes up in panel two. And she reads the paper, that Snoopy was typing on, and says, this isn't a sad story. Then she hands the paper back, saying, this is a dumb story. And then Snoopy looks at it and says, that's what makes it so sad.

Michael: I don't know why, but this is actually one of my favorite strips from the whole period. It's funny, something about this which is so perfect. it's the fact that he's not, like, arguing with her or he's not upset about it. He really believes in this story. And the fact. I don't know, the fact that it's dumb, it makes it sad. I guess that's true. It's sad in a different way.

Jimmy: Yeah. It's not exactly this, but it sort of reminds me of Norm MacDonald, the stand up comedian who also did, the news on Saturday Night Live for years. He said his goal as a comedian was to find a joke where the setup and the punchline are the exact same thing. And he said the closest he got was Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel divorced this week. The reason cited is she realized she was Christie Brinkley and he's Billy Joel. And this sort of reminds me of that in the sense that it's a sad story. Yes, of course it's a sad story. It's a dumb story because that's what makes it sad. I just love the economy of the structure of it, and I love that Lucy's kind of mean again, because we love mean Lucy.

Michael: Well, she's just being honest.

Jimmy: She's just being honest. That's true. 

April 12. It's a baseball game. Schroder comes out to the mound, and he says to Charlie Brown, one finger will mean just try to get it over the plate. Two fingers will mean try not to throw it over the backstop. Panel three, he says. And three fingers will mean we'll all be glad when the season's over. And in the last panel, Charlie Brown, concludes it by saying, catchers are weird.

Michael: This is the odd case where the first three panels are funnier than the punchline.

Jimmy: That's another structure that, when I made my little list of things, did not exist. So we could actually add that really funny three jokes and then a non punchline. Not very many cartoonists would be willing, to try something like that. I think it's really funny. I also think, I don't know if you guys played little league, but, like, little league, they were very big. The catcher would always be, one will be a fastball, two is a curve, all this stuff. But in little, you can't throw curves. And little, all you can throw is a straight ball. So it was always very fun, I think, to watch kids, like, giving signals, and it would just go 30 miles an hour right over the plate every time.

Liz: And it's got those clouds with the shadow on top.

Jimmy: What do we call those? The clouds of despair.

Michael: That is a trademark.

Jimmy: I think I do see, we're definitely seeing a general loosening of the line. I think partly due to the tremor, mostly due to the tremor, but also just, you know, just age and familiarity. and whatever. He's definitely. I feel like he's getting more. You're seeing a little more juice in the line, whether it's intentional or not.

Harold: Yeah. Clouds of smog.

Michael: So I have a question.

Jimmy: Great.

Michael: For all you cartoonists there. What? Okay. given that he's doing one a day, what percentage of that workday do you think was done actually drawing the strip? So I have a feeling that 90% of the time was thinking about.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: Coming up with the Idea, and maybe in a half an hour to actually draw it.

Jimmy: Yeah, I think it's. I think most of the time is put, sitting there with his yellow legal pad, working stuff out. And I think it's drawn very quickly.

Harold: Yeah. And don't forget the answering the mail and the deals and the sentence, all the stuff he had to deal with. Outside of that, I bet he spent more time answering mail than drawing the strip.

Jimmy: He has, like, four jobs, four full time jobs every day. Like, I don't understand how it happened. And when you see that he would really answer the mail, it wouldn't just be, thanks.

Harold: That blows my mind. Yeah.

Jimmy: Yes. It blows my mind. 

April 20, Sally's watching tv in her beanbag chair, and she screams to the heavens. I can't believe it. They canceled my favorite program. And she sighs, and in the fourth panel, leans back into the beanbag chair in despair and says, I never knew life was going to be so hard. 

Jimmy: this is me in the -- I watched so much television. It was absolutely. I would have felt this way.

Michael: Oh, yeah. Well, when they canceled Star Trek after three seasons, I think it was three.

Jimmy: I think it was only two. Yeah.

Michael: Nobody could believe it. Like, how can they do that? We like it so much.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: I wonder what her show was in ‘85.

Jimmy: She's, an A team fan, for sure. There's no question she love. Are you kidding? She has a big thing. Mister t. She likes the violence. There's no question that's what it is. Actually. I don't know what would have been canceled in 85. It might have been the A team.

Liz: I pity the fool who watches.

Jimmy: No, I guess that would have been height of the A team.

Harold: Yeah. Well, that's the era of what Kate and Allie and Alf and, yes, Alf.

Jimmy: Which some people believe was, completely stolen from the character of Cerebus. and has the worst finale, apparently, in the history. I didn't watch it, but I guess the series ends on a cliffhanger. With aliens coming down and abducting everybody and ends to be continued. And you never find out what happens.

Harold: Wow. I guess some people would think that's the best.

Jimmy: Maybe it's the best finale. That's true. Yeah, I guess. 

April 27. Snoopy and Woodstock are walking along in the grass. Then they come up, upon a pavement. you can actually see they're kind of on the road. And step onto the pavement. Then in the third panel, Woodstock is standing on the road. With the arrow pointing in the direction opposite of the way he was coming. And then, in the last panel, they continue on their way. With Snoopy rolling his eyes. 

Jimmy: Well, I could talk about this for a half hour. No, I don't understand this at all.

Michael: No, no. Here's here's the case. I think he randomized the panel order. You can read them in any order, and they'll make as little sense.

Jimmy: Okay, so nobody understands this.

Michael: I have no Idea what he's--

Jimmy: Thank God.

Harold: I mean I mean, my only thought is that Woodstock's following Snoopy. And they're going a certain direction. And then Woodstock sees an arrow going the opposite direction, considers it. And Snoopy is kind of thinking, well, how dumb is that? Because we were walking this direction. That's the only thing I can make.

Michael: Is, like, abstract art. Black and white shapes.

Liz: Yes, listeners, please explain.

Jimmy: This would make the, list of strange.

Michael: Oh, yeah. I mean, why would there be an ad, an arrow on, it's clearly a hallway or something. Because there's a step.

Jimmy: Oh, see, no, I don't that's the curb.

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: That's the sidewalk.

Harold: Yeah. Curb. Curb. Yeah.

Michael: Why would there be an it looks like the arrows pointing across the street, not down the street.

Jimmy: Well, no, no, no. that's all. Well, wouldn't it be great if we talked about this strip. That none of us understand for an hour?

Michael: That's rare.

Jimmy: Unpacking Peanuts. Okay, here's what I let's just focus on panel three. All right? So the line at the top, which definitely looks like a baseboard, I believe, is the curb. So. Of the sidewalk. So that does mean the arrow is running the correct way. It's. It's running parallel to the street, because the line on the sidewalk is also parallel to the street. The only place where it's. Where that stuff would be on. Parked on a. Or painted on a street, I think, are in, like, parking lots and drive thrus. I don't think there's many places where you would be walking down the road and see a one way arrow on the road. You would see it on a sign.

Michael: Yeah, but they're not walking down the road. They're working across the road.

Jimmy: Oh, in panel two.

Harold: Okay, well, but he's been walking next to the grass in panel one, so it looks like there's a lot of time in between these panels.

Jimmy: Right? Yeah, but, what Michael is saying is that. But then on panel two, they. They're clearly walking onto the sidewalk.

Harold: Right, because I get that. I'm just saying, if he was ever walking along the grass the first time, the assumption to me is that this is five minutes later. Five minutes later.

Jimmy: Yeah, but then what about between two and. Right. Between one and two? But what about between two and three?

Harold: Well, if it's five minutes later, then they were in a different part, and there was an error.

Michael: And why is that so weird then?

Jimmy: I. It's baffling to me. And actually, when I saw this on the list that people picked, that's. Oh, no. Everybody got to talk about how brilliant this is.

Michael: Quality genius.

Harold: Well, I mean, to me, the oddest thing is Snoopy's reaction. It's like, why would he be rolling his eyes at Woodstock, looking the direction that came of the arrow? it doesn't seem like it's that ridiculous.

Michael: This is fascinating.

Jimmy: Yeah. I think we need to do a new podcast just about this strip.

Harold: Well, if you were to give Snoopy a line at the end to try to make some sense of this, what would you say?

Jimmy: They can't all be winners. I have a deadline.

Michael: This has to be the biggest puzzle.

Jimmy: It's totally baffling.

Michael: Peanuts. Yeah.

Harold: I mean, you know, I would think it would be something like, you know, what Woodstock is, is such a Rules follower or something like that, you know, just to suggest that when he sees an arrow, he's got to consider it, even though it's not then.

Jimmy: But I kind of wish. I kind of. It doesn't matter, but it feels like if it was, that was the case, Woodstock wouldn't be following him in panel four.

Harold: Well, that would, might, that might. That, that would probably be funnier to me if you, if you did that. Yeah.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Michael: Maybe he was just testing the readers, see if they're paying attention.

Jimmy: Paying any attention. Well, that goes back to my tater tot theory. I am fairly certain that whoever was drawing snuffy Smith in the late nineties, early aughts, had Tater tot commit suicide to see if anyone noticed. Because there is a strip where they're like, I wonder where Tater is? And the next strip is him just jumping off a cliff. And then I've never heard anyone ever discuss it again because nobody was reading, even though it was millions of people probably crossed their eyes every day. Made no impact.

Harold: Tater tot.

Jimmy: Tater tot. That's his name, right? Tater tot.

Harold: Tater.

Jimmy: No, no, it's Tater tot.

Harold: But he is a tot.

Jimmy: I love calling him Tater tot because I know it's one thing that will always get a giggle out of Harold.

Harold: Oh, yeah, that's great.

May 5. we start off with one of those, them there symbolic panels. And it's Sally. And she is surrounded by various, punctuation marks, quotations, periods, semicolons, exclamation points, etcetera. Found, too. She's just kind of looking at it because remember, those first two panels on any Sunday strip can be just taken out at the discretion of the editor of the paper. So they don't often, connect directly with the main strip. The main strip starts in the next tier where Sally is drawing, a bunch of commas on a piece of paper. And Charlie Brown is looking at her. She holds up her paper to Charlie Brown and says, these are commas and these are possessives. Commas do all the work, and possessives get all the credit. They hate each other. So then in the next panel, we see, Sally, drawing some quotation marks. As Charlie Brown watches, she holds up the paper again and says, these are quotation marks. They're always together, like pair skaters. Then she whispers to Charlie Brown, they don't ever associate with commas and possessives. Then the last panel, Sally declares, stay tuned for the inside story of what goes on in the glamorous world of punctuation.

Michael: Pretty interesting. I don't understand. Panel five. Are there such a thing as upside down quotation marks?

Harold: uh-huh

Michael: There are. When would you use that?

Harold: I think. Don't some fonts do that for the beginning of a quote and then the end of the quote is the. The upper.

Michael: I've never.

Jimmy: Yeah, I've never noticed that either.

Harold: Maybe it's archaic now for a lot of fonts, but yes, I have seen that before.

Jimmy: There you go.

Harold: it's just maybe out of favor now.

Jimmy: Well, 1985 was a super long time ago, believe it or not. Hard to believe that it's going to be 40 years next year for this back to the future year. It's now further away from 1985 than 1985 was from where Marty went in back to the future.

Harold: Wow, that's an interesting way to look at it.

Jimmy: Further away from the future of back to the future than he was from the past.

Michael: Okay. Yeah. Here's my time warp analysis. Here is when I started collecting comics was or really seriously hunting for comics, by 1963, I was 13. And you find something from 1940, and it's like, oh, God, how can this exist? When I started, Strange Attractors, that that's the equivalent of finding Superman number one. Right when I started doing a comic in 1993. We're talking 30 years ago, like, no one's gonna go, oh my God, a 30 year old comic. I can't believe it.

Jimmy: Yeah, right, exactly. It's so strange.

Harold: I'm looking at the line here. you were talking about how his style is loosening up. And in that second panel, Sally is looking at this paper that she's writing her punctuation marks on, and she's holding it up vertically and examining it. And you can see that rhythmic line where he would start to move down basically a vertical line. And then there's the tremor, and then he moves down a little further and there's a tremor. And it's about eight maybe, of those tremors before he hits the beginning of the top of the page to the bottom of the page. And then I look at, say, the back of Charlie Brown's head, and we all know who, anybody who's ever tried to draw Charlie Brown, how hard it is to draw Charlie Brown and get that perfect arc. He must be zipping through that arc.

Harold: He just, he's able to do that before he hits a tremor. I don't know how he does it, given what we're seeing he's doing when he's trying to manage a, more straight line. But I'm kind of in awe of this. Either that or he's moving so slow because I see, I do see a little bit of move, that he's really taking his time and how he's controlling that I don't know.

Michael: Yeah, but he looks like he's having a lot of tremor on the table edge.

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: which, look.

Michael: Isn't that a brush? You think? Moving left left to right with a brush would not, create a tremor?

Harold: I think that's a pen line that's filled.

Jimmy: Yeah, I think that's exactly what it is. I think he drew the pen line and then filled in. That's what I would do, too. Which now that I, having done it for 35 years and Michael saying, you could just do it with the brush. That never once occurred to me. But 35 years of, drawing comics. All right, write that down. Just use a brush. But, yeah, yeah, you're right. you know, the. I think it has to be on the head that he's going fast, because, like, And all I'm going by is what I have to control my hand when it gets like that. And I'm using a brush pen, which I'm able to, like, basically stab onto the page and make sure it's not going to tremor. And then I can go from whatever that look, that thinnest mark is from the initial stab, and then it can get thick and thin based on that because I'm pressing so hard in the paper. I think if he was doing that with that pen, I don't think you'd be able to successfully do that because I think you would get blobs of ink and, you know, just a mess, trying to do that with a dip pen. So I think he's just whipping through that because he's drawn it so many times, I guess. I mean, I don't know. I can't swear to it.

Harold: Well, I was. I would think that. But then I. Like, in the fifth panel, when you're looking at Charlie Brown, there. There does seem to be a little bit of a waiver, but along a really beautiful arc, and I don't quite get that. And then I go down and look at, like, his arms. He's drawn the arms twice as time. Many times he's drawn that. Right. And those arms are the weirdest little blobby things that, you know, if he has a tremor, he. He's okay with it. And I kind of get that from. Because, you know, the guy's a genius. You know, he's been dealing with this for years now. He's struggling with it. He's trying to find how to make the very best he can with what he's got. And one of the things that I've, noticed the cleaner, the line is, the more your eye, I think, is drawn to it. It's like a designy, iconic thing. The more something looks rough or shaded. It's almost like something being out of focus, you know, when you're looking with your eye. I think he's dealing with that and grasping that and thinking that through, and he's saying, hey, if I can get these classic eyes and nose and head shapes quick and clean, then everything else around it can be more rough and loose and blobby. And it really does direct the eye to the things that he wants you to see anyway.

Jimmy: Yeah, I can definitely see that. We talked about that a long time ago, and that's been something I've been thinking about when I've been working on my new comics, that I'm trying to actually work that in to have a little bit more abstraction and out of focus kind of effect around the edges, but not to do it with a, a filter, you know, you could obviously do it easily, but to do it with just pure drawing. And I think I've accomplished it once out of maybe 50 attempts to try it, but that one's going in the comic. I'm pretty proud of it. Tanner, I'm looking at it right now. Tanner's feet on the ground.

Harold: That's interesting. Yeah, that's really cool. I mean, and you see that he's doing it with how we talked about it before, about how he does the shading, and he's adding things that have texture and roughness to them that he didn't really do before. And it, and it, the roughness of it makes the line that is rougher than it used to be look clean.

Jimmy: Yeah. 

May 19, Sunday page. So we start with the old symbolic panel. This time it's a giant question mark. And Lucy, and Linus on either side of it. Panel two, it starts up with, Lucy saying, you are kidding. And Linus, sitting in his beanbag and reading a, book, says, no, I'm serious. Linus continues in the next panel. You don't care anything about anybody. Then he stands up and is confronting Lucy, saying, you never show any interest in what anyone else is doing. You never ask questions. You never ask me what I'm reading, how I'm doing in school, where I got my new shoes. You never ask me what I think about something or what I believe or what I know or where I'm going or where I've been or anything. Then Linus walks away, saying, if you're going to show interest in other people, you have to ask questions. Then in the next panel, Lucy is alone. She stands there, thinks about it for a few seconds, then approaches Linus from the other side of the bean bag and says, how have you been?

Michael: I don't think this is a great punchline.

Jimmy: Oh, my gosh. Well, you are wrong.

Michael: Really? You guys like this?

Jimmy: Hilarious.

Michael: I think it's a really interesting strip that kind of deflates.

Jimmy: Oh, my God. How have you been? I love that.

Michael: I mean. Cause Lucy could be saying, like, how did you get so stupid.

Jimmy: No, no, no, no. Because she's. Well, I mean, yes, and that could have been funny, too. Yes. I'm not saying that, but this is her. I love the fact that she's actually taking it in and then attempts it. This to me. I'm not saying I've known any narcissists in my life or were raised by anything, but I would just say that this is how a narcissist handles that type of confrontation. And she's like, okay, fine. How have you been? It's meaningless. But I'm doing the thing that you said to me, and now I'll go back to my other way of life. I find it hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.

Harold: I'm kind of halfway between Michael and Jimmy on this one because 

Jimmy: wishy washy, 

Harold: Or correct. No, I think the thing is, I think that was the appropriate response for Lucy, and that's that Linus is like, what is like? He's. She's doing all the things that he said that she doesn't do, and.

Jimmy: Yeah, but she's doing it.

Harold: She makes her first little salvo.

Jimmy: She's doing it immediately after. That's the problem.

Harold: Why is that the problem? Because that should be the solution. Right?

Jimmy: The solution should be. You're right. I'm sorry. And then walk away and then give him some space. And then the next day say, hey, how's school going? And be a different person, not do the thing. The person just criticized you so that you can check off on a list that you're a good person because you did it. I mean, that's the whole.

Harold: Well, she looks very thoughtful in the second, last panel. That's why I thought she actually did take it in and she did what he said that she shouldn't do and that.

Jimmy: Yeah. No, absolutely not. No. I mean, she should get hit with that book. If I.

Michael: Actually. What I'd like to see is very sincere.

Jimmy: Well, you are a sucker.

Michael: I'd like to see the prequel to the strip, because after all these years, something set Linus off to finally, be honest. And what could have that been?

Jimmy: I don't know. And I love it, too, because that's actually an interesting point and an interesting way to, think about this, because it starts in medias res. You know, your kid Linus has already said whatever, you know, like that inciting incident, like you're saying has already happened and just picks up with him reiterating it. That's very interesting.

Harold: Right in the middle or a prelude. Hey, here's an Idea. Someone's got to put out a book of just the symbolic images. That's all it is. Just none of the strips, just the images.

Jimmy: Oh, that would be amazing. I would sign up to pre order that. All right, so while we're contemplating that one a bit further, we're going to take a break now. I'm going to get. I decide this is going to be the finale of my milkshake, thing because you know what? I'm actually getting sick of these milkshakes. So we're going to guess what milkshake I have, and then we're going to do the mail, and then we'll finish these, these strips up. So come back on the other side of the break, and we'll be here. 


I have a big announcement. There's gonna be a new, Ameliaverse comic this summer. July 24 is Tanner Rocks is coming out. It is, it's my first Amelia Rules related comic since 2012. I'm not saying much more about it other than you'll be able to read it on July 24, but I'm really, really excited to share this Tanner comic. It came together really quick, and, I'm really happy with it. So. Tanner Rocks, July 24. Be there. Be square.

Michael: I can't wait.

Jimmy: Okay, we're back. I, hope you guys all got a snack or a beverage. I, of course, have my snack beverage combo. And this will be the grand finale of the What's Jimmy Drinking segment. As always, it can be chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry. I'm going to ask my pals here what they think, and we'll see who wins. And if you're out there, you're allowed to play along, but please, no wagering. All right, Harold, what do you think it is? Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry?

Harold: Well, I think Liz mentioned she thinks it's strawberry. And if this is getting old and you're getting toward the end of the box and you're like, I don't think I want to do this anymore. You had to save some strawberry for the last. So that's my guess.

Jimmy: Strawberry. Liz you're sticking with strawberry?

Liz: I am. I am.

Michael: Wow, Michael, am I supposed to use logic here? I didn't realize there was logic involved. I'm gonna say chocolate, just because odds are. I don't particularly like logic.

Jimmy: Strawberry is the answer.

Michael: Detectives win. Okay, have, I mentioned this before? Does anybody remember flavor straws?

Jimmy: I remember them. I don't know they ever had them, though.

Michael: I think they were only strawberry.

Jimmy: Oh, yeah.

Harold: Really?

Michael: Buy a flavor straw, and you get a glass of milk, and you put the straw in. It flavors the milk as you drink it. Nope.

Harold:  that's got to be some powerful flavor.

Michael: Well, it was strawberry, I seem to recall.

Liz: Never heard of it.

Michael: Really?

Jimmy: And are they then edible straws? Like, are they candy straws or something?

Michael: No, no, no. But because people who don't like milk, I think milk tastes terrible. Suddenly, as strawberry milk, you can.

Harold: Like, game the system. If your school only had regular milk.

Jimmy: Yeah, you pull that out of your pocket? Ha ha.

Liz: Nope. I do Bosco and Nestle's quick but never flavor straws.

Michael: Time for it to come back.

Jimmy: so, Liz, I'm hanging out in the mailbox. Do you got anything?

Liz: We do. We do. Got a message from Puey McCleary, who writes, Mammy Yocum is the best comic strip mom.

Jimmy: Hey, you win.

Liz: And he adds. Anyway, a few days ago at free comic book day, I was sure to pick up the Snoopy and the Beagle scouts free comics for my nieces and nephews. The store had one copy of the actual Beagle scouts book, which I purchased, and I suppose the munchkins will just have to share it. As for the name Snoopy, I'm sure it was mentioned in an earlier podcast how it was a common dog's name among immigrant norwegian families in Schulz's youth. He says, a glance at Wiktionary shows that in current Norwegian, snuppe is a word meaning one's girlfriend, as in chick or babe. So I'm guessing that in Schulz's youth, this word, or a word similar to it, meant something like Lassie when applied to a pet dog.

Harold: Whoa. Wow. Well, it's all. It's all coming together here.

Jimmy: That's pretty good research. I'm not sure if he was thinking about a, norwegian language, tie in, but it could be that. That it's just, a common thing, I guess. I'm not sure.

Michael: You know, the Lassie thing makes sense to me because you just. When you're a kid, you just. You don't think about things so, Lassie, right? A dog. That makes sense. But then you realize, wait a minute. That's what they call girls, right?

Jimmy: Right.

Harold: Yeah. So, yeah. Well, I do like to hear Snoopy pronounced with a norwegian accent. I think it's pretty cool.

Jimmy: All right, so, do we got anything else in the old mailbag?

Liz: Nope, that's it for today. How about you? Did you get anything on the hotline?

Jimmy: Yes. Super listener Jim Meyer wrote in and said, is there a word or phrase from Schulz that has made it into your daily conversations?

Michael: I'm sure there is. I gotta think of it.

Liz: I say Rats all the time.

Michael: Good grief. I don't know.

Jimmy: I actually. I knew this beforehand coming in, and I'm like, oh, I know which one it is. And now that I'm. We're recording it. It has completely. Harold, I know you say things from Peanuts all the time. What are they?

Harold: Well, there's so many things from the Christmas special, because I guess you heard it spoken like you didn't answer me right away. You had to think about it, or, I'll give you a reason.

Michael: Yeah, we should come up with some. But I have to think about it, too, because I know there's a bunch I've been saying for the last 50.

Jimmy: Years, I think I love. Let's not overlook the possibility of genius. And actually, I remember the one I was thinking of that I do say all the time, which is, has that ever occurred to you that you might be wrong? Because for the first 40 some years of my life, that never occurred to me. And I'm. I'd like to go back to that. I think that was the right attitude to have, So I'm going to try to, try to go back to that. But, for right now, that's a big phrase of mine. Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?

Harold: Those are good reasons.

Jimmy: So if you guys want to, you know, hear your, have your question answered, or if you have a comment or anything you want to say to us, you can send, us an email, or you can call us on the hotline or leave a message like Jim did there. And that number is 717 219-4162. And we would love to hear from you. All right, so let's, pick it up. Back to the strips. 

May 26. Snoopy and Woodstock have been out fishing, and they've caught a whole bunch of fish, it seems. and that's at least in the symbolic panel, because in the next panel, it seems like the fishing trip is just starting. So, Snoopy comes over to Woodstock's place and says, you know, implies, I guess. Hey, we're going fishing. And they go out to a dock with Snoopy's homemade fishing, pole. And Woodstock has a can of worms which he's carrying. Of course, the can is as big as he is. Then in the last panel in the second tier, the worms sort of leap out of the can and attack one Woodstock. And there's a giant. There's a giant fight. Snoopy hears it coming from behind him and goes back to see what has happened. And we see Woodstock has been tied up by the worms. And the worms made a break for it because the cans, they're empty. 

Jimmy: That's awesome.

Michael: Schulz is definitely into the weird this year. Yeah, that's a bizarre idea.

Harold: I mean, the little Woodstock can be jumped by some worms and tied up.

Michael: And when you don't have hands, that ain't easy.

Harold: right.

Michael: So Woodstock was like, he loved a worm. He was in love with the worm back in the days.

Jimmy: Yeah. Well, did you reject them?

Michael: Well, Yeah. Now they're fighting.

Harold: Maybe these are relatives. Maybe. Yeah, he jilted her or something. I don't know.

Jimmy: I think they just realized what's happening at the end of that hook. And they're not into it, so they split.

Harold: What do you think of the, Snoopy in his fishing hat? Kind of old, old man Snoopy kind of feel here?

Jimmy: Well, yeah. I mean, Michael said in the seventies he started feeling middle aged Snoopy. And now we have Snoopy in the old man's hat. fishing. Which is like possibly the most retired activity a person could engage in is fishing. I'm assuming neither of you have ever gone fishing.

Liz: I love fishing. I'm quite. I used to be good at it.

Jimmy: Oh, yeah?

Liz: Yep.

Jimmy: I'm terrible at it. I used to go all the time. But I don't think I ever caught a fish legitimately.

Michael: We're gonna torture a poor little animal.

Harold: Yeah. Our family went once and I opted out. I think I hung out in the little lodge area.

June 6. Charlie Brown and Franklin are hanging out at thinking wall. Franklin says to Charlie Brown, you never miss the water till the well runs dry. Then he says to Charlie Brown, that's what my grandfather always used to say. Charlie Brown says, he must have been a very wise man. Franklin says, no, that's all he ever said.

Michael: Now, I thought this was a great punchline.

Jimmy: Great punchline.

Michael: And then it occurred to me that, well, this might be Franklin's first really great punchline.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: Then I realized he's not being funny, he's being literal. That's what makes fun of joke. It'd make a good joke, but it's not a joke.

Jimmy: And that's what makes it doubly funny is that. Yeah. This ends up being something that really becomes part of Franklin's character, where he's talking about his family, particularly his grandfather with Charlie Brown. This one implies that he's past tense. I think later on, Franklin's grandfather might get a revival.

Harold: Oh, okay. Another grandfather, maybe, or.

Jimmy: Yeah, that's right. You're entitled to a couple of them, so.

Harold: Yeah. And, well, here we are in the, the old guy theme here with this fishing and grandfather.

Michael: So, yeah, look at that first panel. Can you tell the difference between those two characters?

Jimmy: Well, one's black Michael.

Michael: Oh, okay.

Liz: one has hair.

Michael: But look at, I mean, look at.

Jimmy: Ya know, it's the same face.

Michael: It's the exact. It is Charlie Brown.

Jimmy: Yes, it is.

Harold: Head shape.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Michael: Difference. I mean, no size distance from the, mouth to the nose.

Jimmy: Yep.

Harold: The fact that Schulz does that in the first panel, do you think that's a conscious thing? He's kind of saying, hey, I don't think so.

Michael: But generally, most of the characters have some.

Jimmy: Yeah, the nose would be a different shape.

Michael: Or instances from the Peppermint Patty, who's always talking about her nose. Does she actually have a bigger nose?

Jimmy: It is slightly bigger than the others, but you're talking about, like a 16th of an inch in Peanuts world, but, yeah, no, that's, it's a good observation.

Harold: It just seems like he's, the way he's drawn the two of them. They're so simpatico in that first panel because they're so alike in their pose, everything about them. It's really interesting.

Jimmy: Yeah. And it's interesting because Franklin, you know, constantly is, is thought of as, you know, maybe an afterthought among the general population. And, Schulz certainly doesn't focus on him. but when he does, it does add a little something like, I feel like I know Franklin, even if he's not the finest, even if he's not the wildest personality or anything like that. I totally feel like I know him.

Harold: That's a. Yeah.

Jimmy: And in some ways, he feels more real than not real in the sense that I can imagine a full life of him, but real in the sense of he seems more like people I would meet than, say, Linus or Lucy. You don't really meet Linus's and Lucy's in the world.

Harold: If. If there was a word you could use to describe Franklin, what is what comes to mind first?

Jimmy: Solid.

Harold: Yeah. dignity is what I think.

Jimmy: Yeah. I feel like, you know what? Like Franklin's the guy. Like, everything's oh, everything's gonna be, oh, Franklin's here. everything's gonna be all right. You know, I don't think he's like an even keel. He seems, you know, together. Yeah. He's a calming presence on the craziness of the rest of the trip. 

June 17. Okay, so this is part of a longer sequence where everybody's at camp again in the summer. And, of course, spoilers. Everybody's miserable this time. Sally in particular is miserable because it has been raining the entire time she's been to camp. So, panel one, she and Eudora are standing there, and Sally says, this is ridiculous. Ever since we got here to camp, it's been raining. Then Eudora and Sally go back inside to their bunkhouse, and Sally says, I've never been so miserable in all my life. And she climbs up on her bunk and says, if I ever get drafted, this should count as time served.

Michael: I find it interesting that, I mean, this sequence goes on for a while, and it turns out they're all at camp. First, I thought maybe just Sally. Yeah, but Schulz really focuses on Sally. He makes her the star of this sequence, and. And he seems to be relying on her a lot more this year.

Harold: Yeah, yeah, she's around a lot here. And it's interesting that Schulz is taking camp. He's already alluded to this before. But the Idea, you know, we know he was in world War two and he had a tough time of it there. And, you know, he's quoting, he's talking about Bill Mauldin just a few days earlier. Linus is referring to Bill Mauldin, during this camp sequence in world war two. So, you know, the connections are pretty obvious here that Schulz is equating summer camp with being forced to go off to war.

Jimmy: Well, that's what I picked, why I picked this one, because we've talked about that every time the summer camp stuff comes up, we go, this seems like it's a real stand in for Schulz and his time in the army. And here it's completely made explicit.

Harold: Yeah, definitely.

Jimmy: By the way, I found a book in my library that is, relevant to this here year because it's called you don't look 35, Charlie Brown. And it's came out, it came out in 1985. And what it is, is a collection of strips, from various points in the strip's history, but mostly stuff close to the eighties. And Schulz, does little essays, throughout the book, talking about the things that he was thinking about while he was writing it and through the course of the history of the strip. And it's really interesting. Like, for example, he has a whole thing where he talks about kids, don't converse. they don't know how to have a conversation. And he talks about the magic of when a kid does learn conversation. And, the example he gives of kids not knowing how to converse is actually the strip we talked about a few minutes ago with Lucy and Linus, where Linus says, Lucy doesn't know how to converse and she doesn't ask him questions and stuff like that. So my point of this is, if you're interested in this era of the strip, this is a great book to pick up. not on the level of Peanuts jubilee, but definitely worth it. I picked it up when it, when it came out, and I've read it over the years and always loved it.

Harold: Yeah, me too.

Jimmy: You don't look 35, Charlie Brown.

Michael: It reminds me of Up Front, and I bet it was influenced by it. I've never seen this book, but Up Front is a collection of Bill Mauldin's strips he did during the war where he's following the troops, but the text is about him and the process of doing it. So he's not talking about the strips in particular, but he's saying, you know, there was time the sergeant did this, blah, blah.

Jimmy: Yep. Oh, I didn't know that, but I guarantee you're right. That had to be a little bit of influence, even if it came. A publisher came to him with the Idea. I'm sure he thought, oh, we could do, like, the Bill Mauldin thing, because that is exactly what he does. And it's, it's really interesting. It's really good.

 June 19, still at camp. Linus comes into Sally and says, it's still raining, so we're supposed to go over to the rec hall for a sing along. Sally says, what's a sing along? Now they're running in the rain to go join this. Linus says, a counselor leads to singing. She'll say, oh, come on, you can sing louder than that. Then she'll want us to clap our hands. They're still running in the rain to get here. And Linus says, then she'll say, come on, boys. Let's see if you can sing louder than the girls. Come on, girls. Show the boys how loud you can sing. And then in the last panel, my hero Sally says, I think I'll just stand out here in the rain.

Michael: I'm totally with Sally on it.

Jimmy: Absolutely.

Michael: I'd rather.

Harold: I can relate. Yeah.

Michael: Being a group of people clapping their hands.

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: The three of us would just hang out there.

Liz: I am a singer, and I'm agreeing with Sally on there.

Jimmy: Great. We would all be out in the rain together. Brilliant. You know what? As we often are, it seems that, you know what? That's a life lesson for me to you kids. If you're going to be standing out in the rain, don't do it alone. Do it with your closest friends.

Harold: Yeah. And if you're going to be standing out in the rain, do it outside of a place where people are singing and clapping.

Jimmy: Exactly. 

June 26, Linus, Charlie Brown and Snoopy are all at the thinking wall. And Linus says, and then this girl said to me, goodbye, Linus. I'll see you somewhen in panel two, Charlie Brown says, somewhen? That's an old country expression. It's very touching. Then Linus says, really? I thought I was the only one who felt that way. Charlie Brown says, not at all. And, he looks over at Snoopy, who is choked up with a lot of it. 

Jimmy: I have a question. I didn't look this up. I'm sure I can. Is it, that's an old country expression or is it. That's an old country expression?

Michael: I read it as old country expression.

Jimmy: Yeah. I don't know. I haven't.

Michael: And it sounds southern, which.

Jimmy: It does sound southern.

Michael: So I've never, I've never heard anyone say that.

Jimmy: I like it, though. It is pretty.

Harold: It struck me the second I read it. And it's interesting. This is, again, one of those strips where Schulz shows his hand as just, you know, whether he really means something. All three characters are like, yeah, that's, there's something special there. And that's kind of cool. I like that. But I never heard of someone, but I love it. I just. I do, too, love with the term somewhat. It does have. Why does it have this kind of.

Jimmy: Automatic nostalgia golden feeling to it? Yeah, yeah.

Harold: Or, yeah. Even like a little ennui or. I don't know. It's.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Because it's. Somewhen it'll. It's in the future, but we have no Idea when, you know, might be next week, it might be ten years from now. But this is not the last time we'll be together.

Michael: It's very.

Jimmy: It's pretty, for sure.

Harold: Yeah. So, yeah. What is. What is the origin? I wonder if there's anybody listening who has that in their vocabulary, or they remember hearing people in their family saying.

Jimmy: It, like, you know, as an REM fan, that song losing my religion came out, and Michael Stipe was like, oh, yeah. It's an old southern expression. It means, I'm at my wit's end. And then after that, I've heard many people say, oh, yeah, that's an old southern expression. But I had never heard it previous to that song.

Michael: I never heard it. Yeah.

Jimmy: Losing my religion could have been said a lot in, like, two counties in Georgia. Right. You know what I mean? And didn't. No one posted it on twitter in 1920. so everybody. Well, like I said, way the far out a few episodes ago, which is a Schuylkill county thing. But, you know, we said that forever, but nobody outside Schuylkill county ever said it. It's interesting, right?

Harold: And I guess, the other alternative for someone is in the fullness of time.

Jimmy: In the fullness of time. My favorite. I always include that in a business plan, usually under the profits section.

Harold: Right.

July 9. Sally is, working on some homework or something, and Charlie Brown's at the table with her. And Sally says, I'm going to be in a debate. These are some notes I'm preparing, so I'll be ready. And she reads her notes, so who cares? Why not? Forget it. Oh, yeah. Drop dead. In the last panel, Charlie Brown says, I think you're ready.

Michael: Sally's really hitting. Hitting it strong this year.

Jimmy: She is.

Harold: Look at that expression on her face in the first panel.

Jimmy: Oh, it's great. So smug, haughty. I like the. The, stern, annoyed face in panel three as well. Also, no, well, there is a tremor on the desk, but it's much lighter than it was on the other one.

Harold: Yeah. Right.

Jimmy: So, I mean, it could very well be a thing that there's good days and bad days as well.

Harold: Yeah. And he's done a business where it's all days, so you're gonna see what. See what it is, you know.

August 6. So this is a sequence of Peppermint Patty and Marcie, living my late eighties teenage days, by hanging out at the mall. Marcie is, looking at some stuff in a shoe store. She said, here's some cute shoes, sir. Peppermint Patty says to her, Mallies don't buy things. Marcie: Mallies just hang around the shopping mall acting cool. And we see a kid in the foreground who's just sitting at the cool at the food court acting cool. And the next panel, Marcie spies him and she yells out, hi, Tim. Peppermint Patty says, and we don't wave to the boys. And she sits down on a mall bench and says, every place I take you, Marcie, you embarrass me. And Marcie says, these are cute shoes, sir. 

Jimmy: well, I'm sure Michael didn't in LA in the sixties and seventies, but, Harold, did you hang out at the mall?

Harold: No, I worked at the mall in around 1990 at a Christian bookstore in Chesapeake, Virginia, called Heaven and Earth. And that was the greatest experience for me of, you know, the mall life, what was surrounding there, who hung out there. But I was not one of the kids who had the car and drove and hung out with my friends.

Jimmy: Oh, that was what we did. I remember the summer of 1987. We would watch, the MTV. It, would be like the top ten videos of the video count. Then I guess we'd watch that, see who was number one. And then every day for an entire summer, we went to the mall and hung out. And later on, they talk about hanging out by the payphones. We would hang out by the pay phones. They would randomly ring. You'd answer them, say who you were, and you'd make up who you were.

Harold: Really?

Jimmy: Oh, all the time.

Harold: Who was calling, who was making the call?

Jimmy: It was just other teenagers calling them all to see who was there.

Harold: Okay, so they, they knew the mall number, and that was just a thing. That's. Hey, let's go. Go down. Call them all.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah. Like, hey, what's going on? Who am I talking to? Dave Carson. that was me, Dave Carson. And they're like, oh, who's up here? Oh, you know, there's a lot of kids from ___ Schuylkill. There's some Shendo Valley kids in the, All right, so. And they'd hang out.

Harold: Wow. Malls are. They had such a brief period of this ascendancy, and now they're. I'm fascinated by where they are now. You know, I guess you have, you must have some dead malls around where you are, Jimmy. Right? Like they're just hanging on with the thread.

Jimmy: Yeah. well, one is being torn down as we speak. One is for sale, like a share of sale.

Harold: I'm most fascinated with the ones they're trying to re, they're trying to convert like into communities where you all of a sudden have apartments and you have this inner. It's almost like being on a cruise ship, you know, got this inner enclosed area, but they're trying to actually mix residential with this old mall.

Jimmy: I saw somebody, online said that they should take the malls, just keep them in business for another ten or 15 years somehow, and then turn them into Gen X, retirement communities.

Harold: And I think it might work.

Jimmy: Oh, I am 100% on board with that. Are you kidding me?

Harold: I'm gonna go hang out the mall with my friends and phone calls. It's all there. Michael and, Liz, is there such a thing as a mall world in Italy?

Michael: Not around here, no.

Liz: They have medieval towns with high fashion stores in them.

Harold: Oh, wow.

Michael: I'm sure there's malls like the big city.

Liz: Oh, yeah, probably so. I remember when the very first mall was opened in South Jersey in Cherry Hill. In 1962.

Harold: Cherry Hill. Yeah. Just outside Philly, huh?

Liz: Yep.

Jimmy: Yeah. I remember when our big mall opened up, that which you could read about in the Dumbest Idea ever, by the way. that mall, Schuylkill Mall. I remember the day I came up, we went up, met, who. They had Spiderman there and Darth Vader. It was very exciting.

Harold: Wow, that's cool. I wonder if. Yeah, in the future, people are going to dress up as Paul Blart cosplay.

Liz: Okay. Michael's friend, who, he used to read Peanuts with every morning at grade school, produced Paul Blart Mall cop.

Harold: Oh, wow.

Jimmy: Oh, Barry Bernardi.

Michael: Yep.

Jimmy: There you go.

Harold: That's cool.

Jimmy: My greatest comic book disappointment. I mean, outside of my own career. Oh, no. My greatest comic book disappointment. I'm happy with my. I'm fine. My, greatest comic book disappointment is Alan Moore and Bill Sienkienwicz in 1990, we're going to do a twelve issue series called Big Numbers about the creation of a mall in England. And I was so in, and only two issues ever came out. It was so disappointing.

Liz: I remember that.

Michael: I've got them.

Jimmy: I got them, too. I got the third one.

Michael: No, the third one somebody had. It was like a sketchbook and somebody published it or something.

Jimmy: it's just photocopies. Yeah, it's photocopies, but it never got made boy.

Michael: I mean, it was a revolutionary comic because it wasn't about anything fantastic. It was about building the mall.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, those two, issues were fantastic. Worth seeking out if you can find them. I doubt they're even very expensive since it never became anything. You know what, guys? Actually, all this mall talk has, me excited. I'm gonna go hang out at the mall right now. so why don't we leave, it there? I'm gonna go to the arcade, discuss the new Def Leppard album, and, we'll come back next week and pick it up here. Sound good?

Michael: Sure.

Jimmy: All right. So if you want to keep this conversation going, there's a few ways you can do it. First off, like I said, you go over to our website,, and you sign up for that Great Peanuts Reread. That'll get you that once a month newsletter. Then you can go onto social media, and you can follow us. We're unpackpeanuts on Instagram and Threads. And we're unpackingpeanuts on Facebook, blue sky, and YouTube. And if you want, to get more information about Tanner rocks, follow me on Twitter @jimmygownley. Otherwise, just come back here next week where we will be picking up more of 1985. So that's it for this week from Michael, Harold, and Liz. This is Jimmy saying, be of good cheer.

MH&L: Yes. Be of good cheer.

Liz: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright Jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen, and Harold Buchholz produced and edited by Liz Sumner Music by Michael Michael Cohen additional voiceover by Aziza Shukralla Clark for more from the show, follow unpacked 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.

Harold: Being too cuckoo for Schuylkill.

Recent Posts

See All

1986-3 I Will Destroy You and All Your Cousins

Jimmy:. Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts. Today. We're finishing up 1986, or at least we think we're finishing up 1986. I'll be, your host for the proceedings. I'm a

1986-2 Woodstock Gets Buzzed

Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts, and we're here in 1986. I'm Jimmy Gownley. I'll be your host for the proceedings. I'm also a cartoonist. I did the Amelia Ru


bottom of page