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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 Rules series and books, like seven good reasons not to grow up and the Dumbest Idea ever. And you can read my new comic book, Tanner Rocks, for free at gvillecomics dot substack.com. Gville comics dot substack.com

Joining me, as always, are, my pals, co hosts, and fellow cartoonists. First, he's a playwright and a composer, both for the band complicated people, as well as for this very podcast. He's the co creator of the original Comic Book Price Guide, the original editor for Amelia Rules, 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, guys, we are here. How are you people enjoying our new format of spreading this, out over. Over more than two episodes? What do you guys think of it so far?

Michael: No, I think it's working. Before we were. By the time we get to the end of the year, we were burned out. So if you go back and you count how many picks are from November and December, you'll find out it was way down because we were just so tired and hungry that we--

Harold: Or we picked. We picked enough to cover, and then we. We had to be really judicious at the end. You know, you're less likely to select something, maybe.

Michael: Yeah. It's just. It's more enjoyable. It's not an exhausting chore. It's actually more of a pleasure.

Harold: Yeah. The Idea was that we might make the episode a little shorter, but, Liz, I don't know if that's actually happening. Cause we always get into these conversations.

Liz: Yeah, I think the last one was an hour and 45 minutes.

Jimmy: Well, okay. But to be fair, 40 of those minutes has to be me griping, like, about just random stuff unrelated. Right. I'm sure a lot of that comes right off the top. I don't think I have, much to rant about. Oh, I do have. Have one little thing. It's not a rant actually. So I decided, I was gonna go ahead and read those Nancy strips, for this episode so we could wrap up the big Nancy controversy. we could do that when we hit the mailbox on the second half of this episode. So that's something to look forward to. And, I think it'll be fun. I'll talk about what I saw, what I felt as I read, the strips, and then I picked one that we can give the unpacking Peanuts, treatment to, today.

Liz: Sounds good.

Harold: Great.

Jimmy: All right, well, with that preamble out of the way, what do you guys say? Should we just get right back into the strips?

Michael: Yep.

Jimmy: Okay. So if you guys out there want to follow along, you can do it this way. You go over to the website unpackingpanuts.com, and you sign up for the Great Peanuts reread. That will give you, one email a month from us where you get our little newsletter, and it'll tell you what strips we're gonna cover that particular month. And the great thing about, the 21st century is no one pays for art anymore. Oh, wait, that's not a great thing, but it is a thing of the 21st century. And because of that, you can go to gocomics.com and read all of this for free, which is really cool. Now, we encourage you to go buy those Fantagraphics books because they're awesome. And, you know, let's give Fantagraphics a little, of our coin to support that. But if you're not bougie, you can just read them for free on gocomics.com. so, with all that said, let's get back to the strips today. We're starting with 

April 11. Charlie Brown and Linus are walking along outside. Charlie Brown says, I was watching this movie, see where these guys are chasing some other guys in a car. Charlie Brown continues as they tear around a corner, they knock over a fruit stand, and oranges fly all over. Then both cars go roaring off down the road. And then two friends sit on a bench, contemplating the scene Charlie Brown has described. And Charlie Brown says, no one ever goes back to help pick up the oranges.

Harold: I love Charlie Brown. Yes, exactly right. You know, I watch these Marvel movies, and I see these buildings crumbling and stuff. Don't you think a little about, like, who's in the buildings? It kind of takes the edge off you peel out of some of these stories where you don't. You don't see anybody die. There's no blood, but you know that at least 700,000 people have died during the course of .

Jimmy: minimum.

Michael: I don't know anything about this, but Marvel did have a comic about the people who go back and clean up the damage afterwards.

Harold: Oh, yeah. What was that?

Jimmy: Damage Control.

Harold: Damage control. Was that.

Jimmy: It was called, yeah, they're. They. They've used them in the movies, though, the, people who really got massive pushback for that. Because if you think the Marvel movies are bad, was that Superman movie from about ten years ago called, man of steel? I mean, I took my kids to see it, and it's. It was. It was a bleak, unrelenting, you know, just. Just violent ordeal. And, like you're saying, like, you're watching it, it's like, there has to be 2 million people that died in this last fight, and it's. And it's a Superman movie. Do you know?

Harold: Wow.

Jimmy: Like, if you could, I can sort of even accept that if it's a Hulk movie, if it's whatever. But, like, superman doesn't even have a.

Michael: Code of some sort.

Jimmy: yeah, used to. Yeah. But, you know. All right, with this. We're ranting already. I wasn't going to have much to rant about. And I'm like, here's another thing  I hate.

Harold: Yeah, well, Charlie Brown started it, so this is true.

Jimmy: That's true.

Michael: I want to point out here, okay. There's a second character in this strip who says nothing, and that's Linus. But I think in this middle of 1986, Schulz is making a serious commitment to bringing Linus more into the strip.

Jimmy: I was waiting to see if you guys said that. Yeah, I think you're right. I really think you're right. And I think he does it with, some real success.

Michael: Oh, I think it's great.

Harold: Yeah. And then just to wrap up, this, it's really beautifully drawn. He's got a lovely rock wall behind the first panel. He really gives this particular strip a lot of time, which I think is kind of cool. And sometimes I feel like there's, when he does that, that means that this was. This one is particularly special to him. That's kind of the feeling I get. And, Yeah. And so my feeling is they should do a comic book about people in craft services. I think I'd get that comic, you.

Jimmy: Know, this tearing around the corner, and the oranges flying everywhere. That really was a trope in those car chase things.

Harold: Yeah, well, the trash cans, too, right? They'd have to.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Harold: Those, later. Later. To be used very effectively in WWE wrestling.

Jimmy: Right. 

April 18. Okay, so this is a little bit of a sequence where we see Snoopy in his foreign legion guise. And, we have seen a giant cannonball has rocketed through, Snoopy's doghouse. And Charlie Brown is inspecting it. And he says to Snoopy, that cannonball blew the whole top off your doghouse. But then where did it go? In the third panel he says, I wonder if it did anything else? And in the last panel, we, see the answer to that question. It has crashed through the top of the psychiatry booth. And Lucy is ducked behind the base of the stand, just looking to see, if the coast is clear.

Michael: This is something he hasn't done before. I don't think he's using. There's three strips in a row with essentially the same punchline set up in punchline. But it uses the three iconic sites. I mean, there aren't a whole lot of iconic sites. but there's the doghouse. There's the psychiatry booth. And there's the piano.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: And so we picked one more just to show that it's. He's like stretching this gag for three days.

Jimmy: And that one is this. 

April 19. Charlie Brown and Snoopy back at the dog house, they're reiterating what has come before. Charlie Brown says, that cannonball destroyed your roof. Then they're at the psychiatric stand. And Charlie Brown says, then it went through the top of Lucy's psychiatric booth. And then they walk along and Charlie Brown says to Snoopy, I wonder where it finally landed? And then we see it. Like Michael says, it has landed right on top of Schroeder's toy piano.

Harold: Crushing it.

Jimmy: They're crushing it.

Michael: Now, if you had to figure a fourth one. Is there. Is there a fourth one?

Liz: Baseball.

Michael: Well, the mound.

Jimmy: Wall.

Michael: The mound.

Jimmy: Maybe the stone wall.

Michael: But that's. That's a generic stone wall. I assume they're everywhere, right?

Jimmy: No, that might be it.

Michael: I don't know if there is a fourth.

Jimmy: Oh, the school desks.

Liz: Mm

Michael: Yeah. Yeah.

Jimmy: There's probably like a hundred that now we're not thinking of right now.

Harold: Sure. And the school wall and the.

Jimmy: Yep. Right.

Harold: And the benches outside the school for lunch.

Michael: In the lunch.

Jimmy: Yeah. Right in the playground. 

April 26. Rerun is sitting with his little, jack in the box. And for two panels, we see him happily cranking, it along until the third panel pop. The little jack in the box pops up. And it's a little girl jack in the box. It's a jill in the box, I guess. And then in the last panel after. In the third panel, giving the little jill in the box a big smile with a harp. Rerun says, I fall in love too easy.

Harold: I fell in love with that little jill in the box. It's so adorable.

Jimmy: It's a great, great little cartoon drawing.

Michael: Or he sings it, 

Liz: but that would be “easily.”

Michael: Oh, is it? Okay. I'm sure this is the song that he was thinking of, this song. So maybe that was the melody.

Jimmy: I don't know what song.

Liz: sings “I fall in love too easily, I fall in love too--”

Michael: From Guys and Dolls

Liz: No I don’t think so

Jimmy: No, I know. Cause I played Sky Masterson in high school. Whatever, whatever. Just the Brando wrote, you know. I got it. Cause I'm just like Brando for my brilliant singing ability.

Michael: Yeah.

Harold: So how can you tell this is. Oh, sorry, go ahead.

Jimmy: I can't. I can't. I'm just going by the. I'm assuming you're gonna ask, how can I tell it's Rerun?

Harold: Yeah. Are there any clues? Are there any hints whatsoever? This is Rerun and not Linus in the. In his.

Jimmy: It might not be. It could be Linus, for all I know, but I just know because of the jack in the box being something that's associated with Rerun. Yeah.

Harold: So the hair isn't just a little bit more kempt or. I'm just. I mean, it's near to me that Schulz would not change something.

Michael: It's a weird decision.

Harold: It just is such a strange choice.

Michael: It's a very strange choice. But he went with the shirt, so if he went with the shirt, he was going all in on this thing.

Harold: Because, I mean, that that that shirt screams Linus to me.

Jimmy: Later, we end up. Rerun has a, different hairstyle. It's like that bird's nest hairstyle.

Harold: Right.

Jimmy: And, overalls. because I think once he got to the point that he was really intrigued with Rerun as a character, he realized it's. It just. I mean, it simply doesn't work to have two characters in a black and white comic strip that look exactly alike.

Harold: Right.

Jimmy: I mean, unless they're always next to each other, and that's the bit.

Michael: Yeah.

Harold: Right. Yeah.

Michael: And you can tell. I mean, judge, you don't know how big this this jack in the box is, so. I mean, size, there'd be a difference.

Harold: Yeah, that's maybe.

Jimmy: Right?

Harold: Yeah, but.

Jimmy: Yeah, but as you say, you can't tell in this one because he's by himself. Right?

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: Anyway, maybe this is an unknown third van Pelt kid. This is happening up in the attic. You know, this is syndication after Rerun.

Harold: And why did Bob goes the weasel become the de rigueur jack in the box song? How did that happen?

Michael: How did you get the worst earworm in the world?

Liz: Really. Thank you, Harold.

Michael: I'm always...

Harold: It does have that beautiful, beautiful. It's kind of like those endearing young charms in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, the Yosemite Sam or whatever, where it's like, oh, yeah, it's got the, you know, and Yosemite Sam's got it wired for the top note, so it's going to blow up the bugs bunny. And he always hits the wrong note at the end. And then Yosemite Sam’s  like, no, no, no. Varmint comes in.

Jimmy: One of the, early south parks did a riff on that where it was singing the high note in loving you and, by John Stamos's brother, who was going to. And he can't hit it. So anyway, it's really funny. So the bomb doesn't go off. Same. Same sitch. 

Okay, so, yeah, we got the Zipatone on there. Michael, what are your thoughts on. I think it works on something like this. Unfortunately, when we look at it on go comics, sometimes, the little halftones that were made from the Zipatone tend to get a little muddy, but they look much better in the phonographics books.

Michael: Yeah, well, it's not. I don't think that it looks bad, but his particular objects, he's decided, are, zipatone. So right now, there's only, like, three objects that get it.

Jimmy: Beanbag chairs. Right. That's a big one.

Harold: Wouldn't have been amazing if he had gotten into a whole. A whole thing with a jack in the box. And there's like, 16 jack in the box strips every year. Incredible.

Jimmy: Well, look, I mean, you know, have no Idea what's going to attract his attention. Spike being an amazing example of something that I think fascinates him more than it fascinated most of his readers. And at this point, that was okay with him.

Harold: Right. But it sounds like he was probably getting some nice spike letters in the mail to keep him going.

Jimmy: Yeah, I'm. I'm. I'm a fan. 

May 13, Snoopy is out with the Beagle scouts, and I will name them in honor of our, listener last week. It is Conrad, Olivier, Woodstock, and the other one.

Liz: Harriet.

Jimmy: Oh, Harriet. Harriet.

Michael: I don't think Harriet's there anymore.

Harold: No more Harriet.

Michael: I don't think so.

Jimmy: I think she comes back.

Michael: Okay.

Jimmy: There's def. I think so. But this also is the area of Peanuts that I am the least familiar with would probably be this decade. I think I'm even more familiar with the nineties than I am of this stuff. Like, here's something that you, a few episodes, I said, boy, lucy's gardening. When I think of the eighties, that's a big thing. And here we are in 1986. And it happened once in my memory. It was like, oh, my God. Every other week was Lucy gardening. so, you know, who knows? so anyway, 

May 13. They're wandering around. Snoopy and the Beagle scouts are wandering around. And Snoopy says, a good outdoors person learns to predict the weather. He then stops and turns to the Beagle scouts and thinks, can anyone tell me what the weather is going to be today? one of the scouts answers, and Snoopy affirms, fair and warmer. Amazing. Tell us how you knew that. And then in the last panel we see, he picked it up from. They had walked by one of those newspaper boxes, put a quarter in and get a paper. so that's where the beagle scouts have got it.

Liz: The Beagle scouts have made a big comeback. And one of our listeners, Rob Boots, who is the, director of the Snoopy show, has just released the Camp Snoopy television show.

Harold: Wow. All beagle scouts all the time.

Jimmy: There you go. It's a great Idea.

Liz: 50th anniversary.

Harold: I was just thinking, the Tulsa daily World, I think, was the. That was the name of the Tulsa morning paper, I believe.

Jimmy: It seems like not. I don't know. It feels like, I guess it has to do with whatever they thought people were going for the paper for. But, like, it seems so not. I think of paper newspapers really being so localized. Maybe it's just cause I grew up in a small town or whatever. It seems like the daily world is promising a lot for a little. For a newspaper.

Harold: Yeah, we gotta have them suspend. There was two cent to get that.

Jimmy: I guess that's true.

Harold: Newspaper burning a hole in your pocket.

May 28. Charlie Brown is standing atop the pitchers, mound in a swimsuit and baseball cap. And he says, I feel ridiculous. Lucy says, hold it, as she snaps a picture of him. Then in panel two, as she's forwarding the film in her camera, she says, this is for our school paper, Charlie Brown. It's our annual swimsuit issue. And in panel three, Charlie Brown is posing with his terrible pitching form. And he says, who'd want to see pictures of baseball players in swimsuits? And then in the last panel, we see Snoopy wearing an old fashioned turn of the 20th century bathing suit, thinking to himself, it'll be a sellout.

Michael: I was glad to see Lucy back in her role as a school reporter.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: And she's, We haven't seen that in a long time. I always thought that would have been a great Idea.

Jimmy: Oh, a great Idea.

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: There is something funny about Charlie Brown, especially that third panel where he's, like, clearly posing as a pitcher. It's. It's just funny and ridiculous.

Michael: I think the little crease in the stomach.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: Is what's weird. It kind of implies he's got a little potbelly or something.

Jimmy: Exactly.

Harold: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, and it's funny, I mean, for those really younger listeners, this was a big deal. It's still, I guess a minor deal that the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue would come out. It used to be a weekly magazine, and this was the thing. It started in 1964 and was hugely. They say, they say. They claim that it helped make the bikini a legitimate, apparel on the beach.

Michael: In the nineties, when we were self publishing, a lot of comics were doing swimsuit issues.

Jimmy: Oh, that's right. That was a big, Amazing Heroes used to do one every year.

Michael: Yeah.

Harold: So then firemen and policemen got in on things and everywhere.

Jimmy: I always felt there was a deep sadness connected to those comic book swimsuit issues like that. Do you know what I mean? No judgment. Yeah, yeah.

Harold: Probably one of the quick, quickest, easiest comics to put out is everybody draw. Drawing you can sell for $700. At the next convention you go to, turn it in, we got a comic book. But, yes, Snoopy's, old fashioned striped, over the shoulders swimsuit is great.

Jimmy: You know, it's really weird. you know how I didn't know it was Olivier? For 40 years, I thought it was Oliver. I actually remember this, and I remember this punchline, and I thought I just read it wrong. I thought it was. I'll be a sellout. Just read it wrong.

Harold: Interesting.

Jimmy: I kind of like it my way. Yeah, I'll be a sellout.

Harold: That last panel was a Rorschach test for you, Jimmy.

Jimmy: Yeah, exactly. 

May 31, Linus is nestled down in his beanbag, watching some tv, and Lucy comes in with a plate of cookies and says, care for a cookie? Linus freaks out in panel two, yelling, it's coconut, isn't it? It's coconut. Then he really freaks out in panel three, ducking back into the, beanbag chair, yelling, take it away. Take it away. And then he peeks up in the fourth panel saying, I can tell right away if I'm in the same room with a coconut cookie. Good to see. Schulz's hatred of coconut is continuing well.

Michael: Into the callback from the fifties, where the slightest bit of coconut and, candy, people would, like, flip out.

Harold: Yeah. You could smell it, right? You just smell it from far away.

Liz: Like you with white truffles.

Michael: Yeah.

Harold: It's not, it's not like those oatmeal raisin cookies that try to pass themselves off as chocolate chip cookies.

Jimmy: All right. That is, though, a challenge. I have the recipe for the best oatmeal raisin cookies in the world. There are my nanas. They're so good. They are so good that when I make them, they're good, you know?

Harold: Wow.

Jimmy: Right? That's how foolproof this recipe.

Harold: So are they crunchy? Are they soft or what? Chewy.

Jimmy: they're. I would say chewy. They're chewy, but. But they hold together when you dunk. they're so good that I once accident, I made them and left out the flour. Right. Which, in a cookie, kind of a big component. They were still good.

Harold: Wow.

Jimmy: It was like more of a. Like a candy, a crackle, but it was still good.

Harold: Wow.

June 6. It's the end of the school year. Peppermint Patty is, leaving the building, and, Marcy's waiting for her at the bottom of the steps. Marcie says, how did you do on your final report card, sir? And Peppermint Patty says, I squeak through in math, I squeak through in reading, and I squeak through in spelling. Then with pure joy in panel three, she says, I can't believe it. And then she walks home, hands raised in triumph, saying, squeak, squeak, squeak. 

Jimmy: There is no, joy greater, I think, than that first day of summer vacation, because then you're like, all that stress, all the stuff you're worried for, even if you just squeaked by, at least it's over for months. Oh, that pure bliss.

Harold: That was an amazing feeling. Yeah. Knowing you've got months away from this. And you. And you, what you're coming back to is usually different than what you left. So you get a fresh start, you know? How often do you get that everything seems to just have continuity? These things that are big parts of our lives, you just. Just keeps going and going and going and going.

Michael: Ah, these kids get shipped off to camp, so that, screws everything.

Jimmy: Well, yeah. Right?

Harold: Oh, well, yeah.

Jimmy: Great feeling. it's very strange because I was thinking about it. It's like my kids only have one summer vacation left after this one in their whole life. I don't say that out loud because.

Michael: Unless they become teachers and they get summer.

Jimmy: That's true. That's not happening with either of them though, I assure you. really good. And I feel like he is more interested in the drawing just in general than even he was maybe in the seventies. It feels like, you know, he's putting a little extra effort to put that chain link fence in. You know, then we see that little like dog fence or whatever it is. And I'm not just in this one, but I'm seeing it throughout, like seeing those, those bricks in the first one. yeah, I just, I just feel like whether he's into it more or whether he's just taking more of his time because he has to. I think it's a good looking year.

June 9, it's lunchtime at school. Wait, how could it be lunchtime at school? Peppemint Patty just got out of school.

Michael: No, we don't.

Jimmy: So you know what? Well, we. Absolutely, no, we don't have. Here's what we're going to say it is. This is how the Girardville summer started. They would do free lunch for kids like anyone under 13 or 14 or whatever it was, could go, to the playground, and they would have free lunch, for kids every day. And so we would meet there and get our bologna sandwich and juice and I think string cheese or apple slices or something. And then that's how we would start our day. We would like them then play for the rest of the day. So that's what I'm assuming is happening here. They're just going for a little community free lunch.

Michael: Or it could be summer school, or.

Jimmy: It could be summer school. Could be a, ah, it could be a class, could be all kinds of options, here. 

But anyway, a little girl, a very cute little girl is sitting on a bench and Linus comes up to her and they're both holding their lunches in paper sacks. And Linus says, hi, my name is Linus. May I sit with you and eat lunch? And the little girl says, I don't know. When were you born? Linus says, I was born in October. Little girl says, I was born in December. And then she looks at Linus in the last panel and says, are you kind of old for me?

Michael: I love this whole sequence.

Jimmy: Oh, that's so great.

Michael: Yeah, it gives Linus something to do, you know, being the older man. Anyway, it's funny. And this character never gets named.

Jimmy: Yes, it does.

Michael: She's got a whole week. She is.

Jimmy: This is Lydia.

Michael: All right. Does she appear later?

Jimmy: Oh, yes. Yes. I also think she might possibly be a genius because, she has now made Linus utterly fascinated, even though Linus has really just asked to sit down and eat lunch.

Harold: Right.

Jimmy: She has implied all this stuff by just saying, kind of old for me. And that works. And Linus then does become obsessed with proving that he is not old for her.

Harold: Old.

Jimmy: I think it's very funny.

Harold: She's figured this guy out. Just the first look. Yeah.

Jimmy: As both a young male growing up in the eighties and as a cartoonist to this day. I love the good hair band.

Harold: Yeah, it looks really, really nice. I like the design. I like the way he's, he's shading her hair. just slightly different. You know how Lucy has her kind of black with, not filled out all the way to the edges? He's doing something similar here with her. And it looks really nice.

Jimmy: And, you know, it's interesting because he's done characters with like a bob before. I guess this is kind of like a long bob, but it's a different. It's definitely a different look. He has a lot of variation in these character designs, which are all essentially very, very similar.

Harold: Yeah.

Jimmy: And this continues 

June 17. Charlie Brown intervenes on his friends behalf and says to Lydia, may I speak to you about my friend here? I think you're wrong about his being too old for you in many ways. Charlie Brown continues, he's still quite young. And then in the last panel, he says, I mean, you should see him with his blanket. To which Linus says, ugh. As he yells to the heavens. And Lydia makes a very. She just touches her chin in surprise.

Harold: a considering pose, right?

Jimmy: Yes. That's a great way to say it, a considering pose. I love this strip because I love that it brings up the blanket. It'll continue. We'll talk a little bit more about that later. I love Charlie Brown coming in and trying to help out his friend, being a wingman here. Real cute.

Harold: Yeah, looks, it looks really nice. And again, he's got a character with black hair, and there's a lot more blacks. And this year he's really trying to add some variety to the line art that he's got. And it works really well.

Jimmy: I think we'll probably have, one of these examples coming up. But, in one of our recent episodes, we were talking about how those dark, poolish shadows sort of indicate the kids walking around their house at night, which he hadn't done in, like, for 30 years, like. And then suddenly he discovered that technique, and he uses it a bunch this year. And it really does convey atmosphere. It's an interesting thing because it's just a complete abstract smudge.

Harold: Yeah. And that his line art is, is a little thicker. Now, of course, we're looking at the go comics, which are, for whatever reason, reproductions that thicken the line. But, yeah, it just, the strip is designed to be read smaller than the older strips, which were, even though they were the space saving comic, were still much bigger back in the day than they are now in these 1986 newspapers. So hes making the most of it. And this strip particularly, looks really nice.

Jimmy: Yeah, really does.

Liz: She's tall.

Harold: Yeah. Tall for her age. So young and all.

Jimmy: I like the little, plaid pants. You can almost tell that they're made of polyester. So the story continues 

June 14. So Charlie Brown and Linus are hanging out at the thinking wall, and Linus says, so I ordered mint m chocolate chip just like she did. And she said she was surprised. She says most older people order vanilla. What she really meant was she thinks I'm dull and boring. Charlie Brown and Linus, think about this. In the third panel, Linus looking very annoyed. Charlie Brown just contemplating it. And in the last panel, Charlie Brown says, I've always liked vanilla, which makes Linus roll his eyes. 

Jimmy: I love vanilla. I have, I have no shame. I think that's your baseline. If you can do vanilla. Right. That's a good ice cream company.

Harold: Absolutely. So, I mean, this is, again, I mentioned this year, Schulz is talking a lot about bodily, pain and, you know, aging and Snoopy talking about internal bleeding and stuff. And, here we are, you know, too old. Too old. So that's a, that's a continuing theme, I think, in the, in the work, you know, he's dealing, dealing with issues of being a little older and then say, on the newspaper strip, imagine all these younger people coming up. Right?

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: And, and he probably has heard a person or two saying, oh, Peanuts. Oh, that's dull. That's boring. That's so old. I like Bloom county. I like, you know, like Kathy or whatever is going on at the time.

Jimmy: Yeah. Oh, I think there's a lot of that. I totally agree that he is. What's interesting is I feel like, in some ways, the characters this year are more than ever, as you say, reflecting his genuine feelings on the thing. But what's interesting and cool about it, I think, is they're also still very much themselves yeah. You know, you feel like these are real, fully fleshed out characters, but also a part of him. You really get that sense.

Harold: He's got a really rich world that he's. He's playing in right now. Yeah.

Jimmy: And you know what? All this talking about ice cream, though, makes, me think I, want to get a snack. So we're going to take a break here. You guys, can go, go get your own little snack, and then we'll come back in a few and, and do some more comic strips, and we'll talk about Nancy. All right? We'll be back.

BREAK

VO: Hi, everyone. You've heard us rave about the estabroup radio 914. And what episode would be complete without mention of the fab four? Now you can wear our obsessions proudly with unpacking Peanuts t shirts. We have a be of good cheer pen nib design, along with the four of us crossing Abbey Road, and, of course, Michael, Jimmy, and Harold at the thinkin wall. Collect them all. Trade them with your friends. Order your t shirts today@unpackingpanuts.com. store.

Jimmy: And we're back. so, Liz, I'm hanging out in the mailbox. Do we got anything?

Liz: Yes, Harold got a message from Fernando Ruiz, pro cartoonist and instructor at the Joe Kubert school. He says, I've recently started binging unpacking Peanuts, and I've been loving it. I'm a lifelong Peanuts fan, a collector of the Fawcett paperbacks and the Fantagraphics books. I've been enjoying revisiting these strips and historical commentary. Great job.

Jimmy: Well, thank you for that. We are loving doing it. So, so glad. I love hearing the people binge it. That's very satisfying. You know, the thought of that.

Harold: Yeah. Huh? Yeah. But, yeah. Fernando is a super, super talented artist. his last name is Ruiz. R u I z. Check his stuff out, guys. It's really. He's done a variety of work for a number of different publishers, and, yeah, now he's teaching the next generation, so it's pretty cool.

Jimmy: That is very, very cool. We got a voicemail from super listener Shaylee Robson.

Shaylee: Hey, guys, I just want to say thank you for having me. Come check out the behind the scenes footage for the Unpacking Peanuts podcast. And, also, for any of you guys who want to give the gang a call, cause jimmy obviously worries, please give him a call at 717-219-4162 again. That is 717-219-4162 

Jimmy: so thank you for writing Shaylee. you're welcome. We're happy to have you back. listen to us. And if you guys want to be able to listen to us, talk live, and in person, we do quarterly events about. Is that right, Liz? Every couple months, for our Patreon supporters. So if you want to go to our website, unpackingpeanuts.com, you could kick in a couple bucks or whatever, and you'll be invited to our next one. we did a few hangouts, and this week we had done not this week, but last week we had some guests just listen to us while we recorded an episode. And that was fun. I like the hangouts more than just them listening, because that makes me very nervous knowing that they're. I mean, I know people will be listening later, but that's after Liz fixes it.

Liz: Yeah, that's what I liked. They wrote back and said, I can't believe how much editing Liz has to do.

Harold: We know, right? so true.

Jimmy: So, okay, so that's that. If you want to reach out to us, you can, just shoot us an email. We're unpackingpanutsmail.com. we would absolutely love to hear from you. And, you can also give us a call, and that's, available 24/7 just leave a message. Make sure you identify yourself and you can hear yourself on this podcast. And please call, because like Shaylee says, if I don't hear, I worry. 

Okay, so that wraps up the mailbag, but I just want to now say I have done my homework. I spent about an hour reading Nancy strips. For those of you who aren't, who might not remember from last week, Unpacking, Peanuts friend, of the podcast, guest of the podcast, Todd Webb was at an event at the Billy Ireland museum out there in Columbus, Ohio, and it was called Nancy Fest, where, it was the first one ever. They celebrated the work of Ernie Bushmiller's famous comic strip, Nancy, which I, have gone on record a lot as disparaging. And by the way, I thought it was mostly me, but Michael has disparaged a little bit, so it's not just me, right? 

Michael: The anti Peanuts. 

Jimmy: So Todd Webb, took it upon himself. He went around to the convention people at Nancy Fest and had them call the hotline, and it was great people. Bill Griffith, creator of zippy the pinhead. Dennis Kitchen, legendary indie comics publisher, who else? John Porcellino, a zine publisher for 30 years now. All kinds of great people. All kinds of people that we dig so they called defending Nancy. 

So I decided, all right, in deference to the love people have of this, I will read some Nancy, and I will read it with the eyes of thinking, this is going to be great. I'm going to go in with my eyes and heart open to the genius of Ernie Bushmiller. I read about an hour's worth of them, and, they were okay. I did enjoy them. Here's my book report on it. And then I chose one that we will read, and give the unpacking Peanuts treatment, together. And you guys feel free to jump in and tell me if any of this is resonating with you or not having read these Nancy's.

My problem that I had previously going into. It has a lot to do with the surface level, look of Nancy. I personally don't vibe with the character design, so I think that is something that kept it at arm's length for me. So I ignored that. And, ah, here's sort of what my takeaway is. If you want to enjoy Nancy, the vibe that you have to have going into it. He is not really concerned with characters at all. The characters, are. They have defined character traits, but they're not like real people. They are doing the thing in the strip to facilitate the gag. Much more like chess pieces on a board than, say, the, Peanuts characters. It feels like there is a version of Sluggo and there's a version of Nancy and all the. And, and they exist to facilitate the gag. The gag is the most important thing. So I would. So I would also go in and say, okay, well, Nancy is behaving in a way that I think is ridiculous or, you know, I mean, this is silly to say, non naturalistic or whatever, but that, you know, something that seemed forced or whatever, but when you go into it and think, oh, no, he knows it's forced. He knows she's behaving in a weird way that no one would do. That's part of the appeal. Once you sort of. Once I, anyway, had that little bit of, insight or whatever, you would say that angle on looking at the strips, I enjoyed them a lot more. And I understand, too, the formal aspects of it. The fact that it is cartooning reduced almost to a diagram, which something like, you know, which obviously would have influenced people like Chris ware or whatever. So, yeah, I understand the appeal. I really understand why all those people who called, in, I understand definitely why they like it, and I have much more respect for it now. But I'm also going to pick on it because it's just fun punching up. I mean, the guy has a whole convention after a Nancy fest. It's fun to punch up. There's no fun giving, the finger to some random person on the street. There's a lot of fun giving the finger to Gene Simmons at comic Con. You know, that's just sort of where I live. But, I will tone it down in terms of Nancy because, I just, I appreciate it more than I did. So, guys, do you have any, any Nancy thoughts before we look at the one strip I chose? 

Michael: Okay. I've been reading comics. It was part of my life since the mid fifties, and I never liked Nancy. It was just flat out not funny. I didn't have to think about it. You know, I read little Abner, and there'd be these vibrant characters, and I'd read Nancy. And, yeah, it's a set up for a joke. That's all it is, right. And so I haven't really given it much thought. I was just like, this is terrible. I never laughed once. Now, it's possible, I mean, strip's been running a long time. There might have been large periods, which were great. And actually probably the, you know, it started out as Nancy was just a side character, and then so, you know, going back to the thirties. So maybe that stuff was great. I don't know. It's just my experience with Nancy is this is not for me. He's writing for, you know, Red Skelton's audience, maybe.

Jimmy: Harold, what about you?

Harold: Well, it's interesting in terms of appeal. We talked about having polls for comic strips, really starting in the eighties, and we got to see who liked what. And there were a lot of surprises, I think, for, say, people who were cartoonists, which strips really were. We kind of knew which ones were in the most newspapers. And sometimes we'd scratch our heads over certain strips. And Nancy was in a lot of newspapers. But I think the biggest indicator of the appeal of Nancy, not just to artists, but to the general public, was that she was on the cover of, comic books. I mean, and often these were collections of multiple strips. But Nancy was the one they chose, say, for tip top comics. She would be the character on the front, Nancy and Sluggo, because she was going to sell the comic book. And so this would be back in the 1940s, 1950s. There were Nancy comics into the 1960s that were selling, including the Peanuts comic. that's right, that's right, was in the comics. And there was also one called Sparkler. It was actually two different books. I believe that had Nancy in them and featured in them, if I'm remembering correctly. And Schulz, Peanuts in its early years was the backup strip to Nancy. And that gives you some sense of how Nancy appealed to the average American reader, and particularly children. And so there's obviously something there that Bushmiller was doing, in the world of children's strips that was resonating and it was working. I mean, for you to spend your, you can read it in the paper and, okay, it's there. You spend your dime as a little kid, and you bought a Nancy comic. You like Nancy. You like, maybe you like to see children that look like you in the comics, or whatever it was, or you liked the design. 

Jimmy: Whoa, whoa, wait. What? Who, what kids look like that? Wait, I have, those kids need to see a doctor. Big problems.

Harold: Anyway, the appeal of Nancy was, unquestionably there all during its period. It wasn't like it was just got into a newspaper and didn't ever went away. Because we know there's strips that are like that, that once it's in there, even if very few people are actually following it and enjoying it, you know. And the fact that it was appealing mostly to children actually made it, I think, vulnerable in the comics page because they weren't, they weren't vocal enough to be able to say, hey, if you pull this, I'm going to, end my subscription. Because they didn't have that clout, you know?

Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely. okay, so here's what we're going to do. We're going to look at this one, one strip, and, and we'll discuss it. Have to figure, I have no Idea when this was. It doesn't matter. It was January 14 of some year, 62. All right? January 14, 1962.

Michael: This is the heart of Peanuts greatness.

Jimmy: Yes. Okay, so, all right, so picture this was in the newspaper at the same time as well, actually, like a few years after things like weed, claustrophobia, right? So Peanuts, you know, Snoopy's already on top of the doghouse. He's not a flying ace yet, but that's where we are. And in Nancy, 

Nancy is in her living room, and she sees, she has a miserable look on her face. And, she comes over to the, to the corner where she sees a little case, containing an, the musical instrument, and it is a violin panel two. She starts, practicing the violin, and we see some really, ah, ragged and, you know, dissonant looking notes coming from the violin. And Nancy's scraping away on it with again with this just look of pure anger on her face. And then in the next panel, she says, boy, how I hate to practice. And we see her aunt, Fritzi Ritz, behind her, reading the newspaper. And for the next several panels, Nancy is just hacking away, just sawing away at that violin with a, real look of just misery on her face. Later that night, she's in bed, also still looking miserable. This seems like it could be hours later. But then the next panel, she wakes up. And she doesn't wake up, but she's startled because she hears something. I hear a noise downstairs, she says. And then she goes down to see what the noise is. And it is, in fact, a birdhouse burglar who is sneaking out the window. And Nancy approaches him with the violin and bow and says, psst. Take it. And the burglar says, no, I don't want it. And then in the last panel, we see Fritzy Ritz coming out of her room and saying to the burglar, please.

Michael: Yep. So well read.

Jimmy: Yeah. So what I'm talking about is, like, that middle tiere I would, with the wrong set of eyes, I would just find, like, annoying because it doesn't seem like any kind of reasonable thing, a person would do. But then I realized, well, that is the joke is that no one is even making her practice. No one even wants her to practice, but she does it for, like, an ungodly amount of time. So if you think about, that's very cute, and that's very funny. And I think it's funny that the ant comes out at the end and says, no, take it.

Michael: And the aunt doesn't seem all that concerned that this guy just stole everything in the house.

Harold: Right. It's worth it. Just get rid of the violin.

Michael: For my memory of Nancy is all. It's all a setup for a joke, but all the characters that are needed to facilitate the joke are, just the clearest stereotypes.

Jimmy: Right.

Michael: If it's gonna be a druggist, it's gonna be the stereotype of a druggist, so it's gonna be a policeman. And this is a burglar. So if this is for little kids, that's what a burglar's always looked like in cartoons and comics for 40 years.

Jimmy: Yeah, the Beagle boys, 

Harold: The raccoon mask around his eye.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: So, yeah, the joke doesn't make sense because basically, nobody seems to care that the burglars in the house stealing all their stuff.

Harold: Isn't that what makes the joke funny?

Michael:. They're not even surprised there's a burglar in the house.

Jimmy: Yeah. What Harold says, I think, is the thing, you have to, you have to switch your brain to Nancy mode to, if you want to, if you don't have to choose to go, oh, that, the absurdity of all of it, combined with the fact that it looks like a diagram and is emotionless is the joke. And you're either going to. That's the other problem with talking about just not just Nancy, but peanuts. Any kind of humor. You either laugh at her or you don't.

Michael: Yeah, no, Peanuts gets absurd. And, you know, we've pointed out when it gets way absurd, but the absurdity comes out of the characters.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Michael: You wouldn't see, well, you wouldn't see an adult in Peanuts, but in. I don't know how we deal with this joke if presented with that Idea.

Jimmy: Well, the one it makes me think of is Peppermint Patty in the waterbed when her, you know, when she, her house is getting robbed. And the reaction of that is, first off, it's the opposite of this kind of cartooning because it's so lively and, you know, expressive. And it is totally. The jokes are coming out of Peppermint Patty's personality, Marcie's personality, Snoopy's. Yeah.

Michael: Yeah. And you wouldn't expect Nancy to be able to play music because she's a person who doesn't have any feelings.

Jimmy: Yeah. Yeah.

Harold: Well, looking at this from a design standpoint, this is 1962. The Nancy logo in the upper left hand corner looks like, Best way to describe it for me is, it would be a car emblem, you know?

Jimmy: Yes, yes.

Harold: Chevy Bel Air or something.

Jimmy: Yep.

Harold: It's pretty cool looking, actually.

Jimmy: Yeah, it is cool looking.

Harold: And then by Ernie Bushmiller on the bottom is done in a style that I think very much of the twenties, late twenties.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: Kind of art deco-y, which is kind of cool. And the by even that is, is kind of this little weird serif-y thing that's also its own thing. And then he draws a little 90 degree turned letter p, which is like just a little, again, like a little chevron or something that he's put in there. That's a nice design. I like that.

Jimmy: Oh, yeah.

Harold: And then you look at the house, everything is very clean lines. You see the baseboards, you see the cleanly defined wall. There's a little frame that has a picture that you can't see because of the reflection of the glass. You've got these remarkable pillows, that are some neat colors of green and orange and black. And the other one, it looks like it's just this black stripe, and it's not a fully rounded pillow on the left. He's put some little angle on the pillow as if that's the edge where I don't know if there's a zipper or whatever. But he's not. Just, he's thinking about stuff as he's designing. And the thing that I like the most in that panel is the case for this violin. He's got a black violin case, and then he has a distinct white line going from curving from the top of the, where, the top of the violin would be, down to the double curve of the violin case. That's a really nice piece of art and design there. So, yeah, then, I mean, and everything is like you say, it's clean, it's iconic. And I think that's a big part of the appreciation, like you were saying, the, formalist nature of this, boiling down the essence of what a comic strip can be, because it's all icons. This is a strip loaded with icons and icons that are uniquely Ernie Bushmiller's, but also, like you say, taking off on things that everybody gets because comics have been around for a while, so you know what the burglar looks like, and he's living into this. And then Fritzi Ritz, you know, she was the star of this comic initially when it came out, I guess, was it in the thirties? I don't know what the first year of it was or if it even went back to the twenties.

Jimmy: But no, I think it's the twenties even. Right. Cause wasn't she like a flapper?

Michael: Yeah.

Harold: And she's, and she's wearing a hairstyle that I would say was early forties that she hasn't changed in.

Jimmy: And, like, Lois Lane almost looking.

Harold: Yeah. Which is, it's a cool look, you know, but it's, it's out of time. You know, at this point, the strip is out of time. Now, maybe it wasn't originally. Maybe it seemed like it was of its time, but now you got this super iconic, out of time, designy artwork with these characters. And then he's doing something where he's telling a joke in the most clear, simple, elemental way. Now, to a lot of people, particularly probably people that read a lot of comics, some of them are going to read that as, you're not going to surprise me, because the way you're doing this is so formalist. It's not going to be funny. And that's usually, I think, the way I would read the comic, even when I was little, is I wouldn't expect to laugh, but I would understand, I would comprehend, and that sometimes was just enough. I'm comprehending a story that I didn't know before. And what really strikes me about this particular strip that you picked, Jimmy, is I find the last two panels, after all the formalism, there are a couple little surprises in here that are actually kind of funny. The fact that Nancy is giving. Offering her violin to this burglar, risking herself in doing so, is she's doing something a little bit surprising. Right. I wouldn't have thought that this is what Nancy was going to do, given that she's this domestic kid in the household and she's going to come up to write a cup to a burglar and she's going to offer her violin. Problem is, she should have offered it with the case, then he might have taken.

Jimmy: Yeah. You know, you can't resell it if you don't have the case. Come on.

Harold: The bow might not. The cat gut's not going to get all the way across town when he's jumping fences and stuff. But that's true anyway. And the strangest artwork in here, design wise, is his bag, because it looks like he stole a bunch of grapefruits. and.

Liz: He picked up all those oranges

Harold: That's right. He had picked up the oranges in the street. He really wasn't stealing at that point. He just likes to break into people's houses.

Jimmy: Maybe he was leaving some oranges.

Michael: Maybe. Unfortunately, there's no glass in the window.

Harold: Yeah, right. He's. That's the world's tallest window. And we got some twelve foot ceilings here. But, yeah, it's. It's so iconic. But that bag in particular does not look like the typical bag. If you're talking about iconic iconography, this is kind of an unusually, maybe not particularly well drawn piece of it when everything else was pretty much on the nose for what you might expect. You, know, a hand address, an arm, a hair bow would look. But that's kind of the odd piece, which is a new piece, which is interesting. He's adding something that he probably doesn't normally draw, and he's struggling, which gives me some sense of what kind of an artist he was. He had to work together, get to these icons. That's the sense I get. And he would get better and better at it because he maybe wasn't a natural artist in the sense that you would expect a gesture drawing artist to be in the last panel with Fritzi Ritz. I mean, it's brilliantly done on the color side because we have this light blue for darkness on the inside, when it's nighttime with the burglar and the last two panels, and everybody is blue except for the beam of the flashlight, which is in the last panel shining on Fritzi Ritz with a yellow and she's full color. That's a really arresting, wonderful last panel that I think is brilliant from a design perspective. And I like Fritzi Ritz's expression. There's some, there's some real personality in that expression that she looks, she looks annoyed and she looks insistent in a way that could, have been with much less, I don't know, explanation of what she's feeling. So kudos to Bernie Bushmiller for that.

Michael: Maybe it's possible that he wanted to draw a strip about a flapper and get into like, twenties society and culture, and then all of a sudden, all the readers are, writing in, like, we want to see more of Nancy.

Harold: Yeah, I think so.

Michael: He, wanted a flapper strip. Maybe he was a good artist in those days. And they answered in 50 years of this ugly character.

Harold: Well, it does seem like over the years, more and more and more and more, even with Nancy's design, it becomes more and more pristinely iconic. And I think that's part of the, just a part of the appeal to some of the people who are into comics from a design standpoint and what makes them so unique. And there is some distinctly unique things about Nancy that are like the quintessential this or the quintessential that, that I think must send some artists over the moon. Say, this guy's amazing.

Michael: You know, I've got to compare it. not to Peanuts, but, Little Lulu, which was a great strip.

Jimmy: Okay.

Harold: And it's very similar.

Michael: It seemed to have, it's similar in some ways, but it had this anarchic quality to it where these kids are going wild and having weird fantasies about witches and I getting into trouble. They had a lot of personality. And to me, that's. Yeah, what a kid strip could be.

Harold: Yeah. Because that was originally a Saturday evening post. I think single panel, usually comic with maybe two colors would be like black and red. And by, done by Marjorie Henderson Buell. And then it was popular enough just appearing in one magazine that, that Dell comics licensed it, and they started to create their own little Lulu comics. And then John Stanley, the artist and writer, a lot of people really like him as well. Very similar. He was very good at creating simple, clean, iconic characters with little Lulu. so I think it's a really interesting mix. But, yeah, from the story side, he does go into some slightly crazier places with this. With this than you say, you see with Nancy, for sure.

Jimmy: All right, so that's, Nancy, guys. Thank you so much, everybody. Raina Telgemeier called Raina's dad. I hope, you're no longer mad at me for not liking Nancy.

Michael: You could be mad at me if you want.

Jimmy: There you go. Be mad at Michael. Here's what you know, because I think, because I didn't grow up with it, I'll never love it. I appreciate it. I appreciate that you guys love it. And here's something I do love. The one thing I do love is the fact that there is a convention in these United States of America that is dedicated to one cartoonist, Nancy Fest. that is awesome. If I have one goal in what's left of my life, is I would like to recenter the cartoonist, in this entire medium, take it away from the Idea of intellectual properties and corporate icons, and really center it to the men and women who actually created this art that we love so much. So shout out to the Billy Ireland for doing Nancy festival. Shout out to Todd Webb for facilitating this conversation and getting all those great people, to write in, or, call in, rather, and tell us about their love for Nancy. So now shut up about it.

Liz: I'm going to put this strip in the obscurities so that people can take a look at it.

Jimmy: Fantastic. All right, let's get back to Peanuts. 

June 19. Snoopy is doing some aerobics in front of the tv. Man, is it the eighties? He's got his little sweatband on and everything. And the tv is saying, right leg, left leg, right leg, left leg. Swing your arms, lift your knees. Snoopy's doing exactly that in the next panel. In the third panel, he's, continuing exercises. The tv says, now, just relax your breathing and let all the tension go out of your body, which he does. And in panel four, he is reduced to just a few squiggly lines on the floor that barely register as Snoopy.

Michael: Yeah, I picked this because that's just great cartooning. I mean, it's that, you can't think of that as realistic. It's like he was a balloon and you let all the air out.

Jimmy: Yeah, exactly.

Harold: Yeah. But it also looks so rumpled and rough. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, this is, this goes along with that theme of bodily pain and suffering that's all through this year.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: I noticed in June that the lettering on some of the, some of the strips was, like, the most torturous I've ever seen in Peanuts. I was like, oh, man, he's really suffering here.

Jimmy: is there an example in this, in this particular strip or just,

Harold: No, not in this strip. you know, if you go back to June 5, if anybody's following along, take a look at the lettering of Linus and Snoopy the lawyer, and it says, excuse me. And I was like, oh, my gosh, he is struggling.

Jimmy: You know, the fact that he stuck with the dip lettering pen, like, I'm crazy. You know, I'll sit and actually hand letter stuff, but I won't sit and hand letter with a dip pen. I mean, it adds an entire, another level of struggle to it. Obviously, it's what he learned, what he, started out as a letter. So, I mean, he's not going to change, but well, into the eighties, he certainly could have found something. I think that would have maybe not. I mean, I don't know. I don't know. It probably is.

Harold: Probably wasn't a better tool in the eighties than that.

Jimmy: Yeah. You know, I mean, Watterson was using a, rapidograph, but, like, that's a very different line. it works great in Calvin and Hobbes, but you would notice it in Peanuts. 

Here's something I want to say. I think last episode, Harold, you were talking about going to the Steve Geppi museum, and you'd see all the products. I'm looking at the tv here. It is a bummer. I know. He used to just draw rectangular tvs, but all the stuff, the mid century, 20th century design stuff, televisions, aims chairs. It's interesting stuff to draw. The closer we get to modernity, the less interesting things. Like, you ever have to draw an iPhone. Can't be done. Cannot be done. It's nothing. It's a black, you know, rectangle. It's, it's terrible.

Harold: Yeah, yeah, it's, it's true. I mean, I'm just going back to that Nancy strip. You know, we, that was stuck in.

Jimmy: Don't go back to the Nancy.

Harold: Early forties. it has.

Jimmy: That's okay. All right. We can move on to 

June 20. Linus is sitting in the beanbag chair watching tv, and the tv says, fear can take control of our very lives. Linus, is in the beanbag throughout this one. As the tv continues, fear of poverty, fear of illness. If you were to ask me what my greatest fear is, do you know what I'd say? And then Linus says, cancellation. 

Jimmy: Zing.

Michael: He's talking to the tv. This is not a good.

Harold: He's being snarky there.

Jimmy: Yeah, yeah.

Harold: And I think he's maybe seeing 40% of the screen with that beanbag set up.

Jimmy: That's all you need. His feet are, you know, fear mongering on television, though, in 1986. Boy, how little you know. That's, it seemed bad, I think, to Schulz at this point that he points out the guy on tv is only really afraid of being canceled. But, 40 years later, it's worse.

June 21. Snoopy and Woodstock are atop the doghouse. And Snoopy says to Woodstock, long hair is out. You know, short hair is in. Woodstock contemplates this. And then the third panel, he flies away. And in the fourth panel, Woodstock comes back with a buzz cut. And a very distraught Snoopy says, on the other hand, maybe I was wrong.

Michael: That's a great look.

Jimmy: That is a great look.

Liz: That's my tattoo.

Harold: Michael, what do you think about this? Alternating Zipatone panels with the doghouse?

Michael: it's weird, but you know, it doesn't interfere with anything.

Jimmy: I didn't notice that.

Michael: You just accept, you accept it.

Jimmy: What do you think, Harold?

Harold: Yeah, I just think of shoe again. The, the comic strip shoe with, with its really broad brushy lines for trees and backgrounds and things.

Harold: But yeah, it's true. The eighties, you know, long hair was in, in the seventies and into the early eighties. And yeah, when I was in college, my freshman year, I was 85. No, 84. It was 84. And short hair was not a thing. But the barber in Greencastle, Indiana that I went to, certainly thought long hair was an abomination. You know, he'd been living in this small town for years and fighting the hippies. And boy, when I came in and I was shaggy because I had waited. I'm away at college, I'm responsible for my own hygiene. And I'm finally, I've got to get my hair cut. So I go to the local barber and he's a, puts me in the chair, puts the thing around my neck apron. And he doesn't ask any questions. He just starts on the back of the neck with a razor. And I hid in my room for about a day, come to terms with what had just happened. But I was just maybe a hair ahead of, vice. I guess that's part of the pun of what was actually going to happen in the culture when short hair finally came back? It was really interesting.

Jimmy: Yeah. You know, although it leads to the wishy washy of the eighties. And by that, I'm also, including me, tend, up with a mullet.

Harold: You know, you can't make up your mind, right?

Jimmy: You can't quite decide.

Harold: We had the best of both worlds.

Jimmy: We're the worst.

Liz: Michael didn't have a haircut for, like, 35 years. I, mean, he cut his own hair, because somebody destroyed his hair when you were, what, 14?

Michael: No, well, no, I had a similar experience to Harold. It was just like I was in LA. Yeah, I hadn't cut my hair in, like, five years. And I went to a barber, and, yeah, he just, like, scalped me just like that. And I was, like, humiliated. Hid in my room for a while, but I didn't realize I was trendy. It would have been around mid eighties.

Jimmy: Then in 1993, I went for my college, it was my college yearbook picture, and I went and got a haircut beforehand. And the haircut I came out with was. I don't know if anyone remembers the episode of Seinfeld where he gets the little boy haircut from the barber and is humiliated by it. It was the exact haircut. So bad. So bad. I.

Harold: Do we have pictures. It was just like, something to go into the Peanuts obscurities.

Jimmy: I actually had to get my, hair. No, because I got the picture taken and, like, absolutely not. And then they did reshoots, like, three weeks later, and I went back for reshoots. I'm like, no way.

Harold: Oh, wow.

Jimmy: I looked like a cub scout.

July 1, Sally is on the phone, and she says, hello. No, I can't, not tomorrow. And in panel three, she's, settled in for the conversation and says, yeah, the dentist. In the last panel, she says, I have to go have my teeth criticized. 

Jimmy: I just picked this because that punchline made me laugh.

Michael: It's great.

Jimmy: And it makes me laugh because I really think Sally would think of it that way.

Harold: Yeah, yeah.

Michael: No, it's true. Most people will kind of mask things a little bit if they're going to say something bad.

Jimmy: Right.

Michael: Dentists won't. I got to pull them all out.

Jimmy: Right.

Harold: The worst teeth I've ever seen. Yeah. What was those little pink tablets it would give you would be the worst. You know, this will show everything you are not doing, right, if any, any.

Jimmy: Red shows up, and it would always look like a blood bath.

Harold: Right, right. I forgot about brushing with a qtip.

Jimmy: now looking at these black, shadows in those first two panels, that's what I was talking about earlier, that it makes it feel like, you know, this might be an evening at home, some. Some harsh shadows illuminated by, like, a lamp on a table or something.

Harold: I think he's getting really comfortable with this new, this new shading,

Michael: the frank Miller look. 

Harold: Yeah, I love the telephone cord, too. Yeah, it's a really interesting line. It's nothing what you would typically expect you would draw. And it looks fantastic.

Jimmy: You know, thinking about Shoe. Is it actually possibly Bill Mauldin that he's pulling some of that editorial style? Because that looked. That brush. That looks like a brush to do the phone cord.

Harold: Yeah. I'm not. I don't know what he's using. The only reason, I think, even though he loves Mauldin and thinks he's the bee's knees, Schulz seems to be very trying to stay current in the moment. And now Mauldin is an editorial cartoonist, and this. And so was Jeff McNelly, who did Shoe. So they're from that same world, and. But Shoe was the one that made it to the newspaper strips that were side by side with Schulz. So that's why I was thinking he might be eyeing that, you know, looking at the page going, how do I compete in this page? Because he, as we know, he was a very competitive artist all the way.

Jimmy: Through his life, and the needs for how to compete now are different than they were at the beginning because.

Harold: Yeah, absolutely.

Jimmy: Yeah.

Harold: Like we said before, he influenced so much stuff that all of a sudden, maybe half the strips or a third of the strips in the newspaper were emulating him.

Jimmy: Right.

Harold: And he was trying to stand out with really spare lines and a lot of white space, and then all of a sudden, there's a lot of spare lines with white space all around him, and he's like, M maybe I should start putting those blacks in.

Jimmy: Yep. 

July 3. Linus is, in the living room watching some tv in the famous beanbag chair. Lucy comes in and says, mom says to turn off the tv and go to bed. In panel three, we see Linus has hoisted up the beanbag chair over his shoulder. And in panel four, we see he has gone to bed, and he is asleep in the beanbag chair with the beanbag chair in his bed.

Michael: This is totally Linus. I mean, it's. The beanbag chair is incredibly comfortable. Just put it in the bed. It's original thinking.

Jimmy: I love that last panel drawing. wise, I think that's a great boy that's like japanese. It's like the wave. You know the composition of this, right? It's a perfect composition.

Harold: It's really nice. He's probably just dreaming of prime time.

Jimmy: Probably. All right, so, yeah, it looks like we're going to be doing maybe four episodes of 1986 because I think we're going to have to call it right here. You guys okay with that?

Michael: Sure.

Harold: Sure.

Jimmy: Yep. All right. You know, I've been really enjoying this, so I hope you guys out there are enjoying following along. I think, we're on a real upswing here in 1986, and some of the best stuff of, this year is coming up next episode. So come back then. In the meantime, if you want to keep the old conversation going, there's a few ways you can do it. The first thing you can do is you can, send us an email. And that email address is unpackingpeanuts@gmail.com. you can also follow us on social media, on Instagram and Threads. We're unpackpeanuts and on Facebook, Bluesky and YouTube. We're unpackingpeanuts. Also, if you want to read my new comic, Tanner rocks gvillecomics dot substack.com. it's free. I'd love to see you there.

Michael: Is that g-ville?

Jimmy: Nope. It is G. V I l l E. Gvillecomics dot substack.com. it's a free monthly comic, so check that out. You guys have anything else you want to say here at the end that want to plug?

Harold: Yeah, I just wanted to remind anybody who might be in the Pennsylvania area that blobfest. if you read listening to this before Saturday, July 13, I will be with my wares in my tent in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania at the Blobfest, selling my goods. And then on Sunday, something that I riffed mystery science theater style. But where the blob is playing in the afternoon as part of the celebration of the classic 1958 blob movie, where it was shot in Phoenixville, including the movie theater in which it was featured. So it's a great event. It's a load of fun come out. There's a lot of good reasons to be there.

Jimmy: Do they still do the thing where they, reshoot the scene of people running out of the theater with people there from that day incorporated?

Harold: Yes. For years. On Friday night, they will get, everybody to dress up. They try to get them to dress up in period 1958 costume. and, you can sign up to be the run outs. One of the first thing that sells out at the blobfest is to be, one of the people that gets to run out while they shoot the image. So they've got pictures from every year of blobfest people doing the run out.

Liz: That is very cool.

Harold: And I think they've added a second run out on Saturday. I might be wrong about that for the first time. Yeah. If you like that stuff, come out. It's a lot of fun.

Jimmy: It's a great little Pennsylvania town you'll enjoy as well. So that is it for this week. I had so much fun. Can't wait for next week. Please come back then. Right. In the meantime, because if I don't hear, I worry. Other than that, for Michael, Harold, and Liz, this is Jimmy saying, be of good cheer.

MH&L: Yes, Be of good cheer

VO: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright write Jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen, and Harold Buchholz produced and edited by Liz Sumner Music by Michael Cohen additional voiceover by Aziza Shukrala 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 unpackingpeanuts.com dot. Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening.

Jimmy: I'll be a sellout.

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