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It Takes Two, Snoopy

Jimmy: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. This is Unpacking Peanuts. We are back from our summer break. I hope you guys have had a good couple weeks off. We, got to do some fun stuff. but now we get back to doing the really fun stuff, which is, hanging out once a week and talking comics with our pals.


I'm Jimmy Gownley. I'm going to be your host for the proceedings. I'm also the cartoonist behind Amelia Rules, The Dumbest Idea Ever, and Seven Good Reasons Not to Grow Up. Joining me, as always, are my pals, co hosts and fellow cartoonists.


He's a playwright, he's 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 of 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 current creator of Instagram sensation Sweetest Beasts, Harold Buchholz.


Harold: Hello.


Jimmy: So, guys, we, are doing a special season because-- the real reason for you listeners out there is because we're already coming up on the back half of Peanuts, which is unthinkable. So, I didn't want to race to it. I just wanted to, savor it a little bit more. So we're taking a season here where we're just going to slow things down and, look at some of our favorite aspects of the strip. and today we're talking about duos, twosomes comedy teams. like your Abbot and Costellos. Like your Laurel and Hardy's like your give me another one, Harold.


Michael: Simon and Garfunkel.


Jimmy: Like your Simon and Garfunkel.


Harold: Clark and McCullough. Let's go deep.


Liz: Nichols and May


Jimmy: Nichols and May. That is a good one. Yeah. So we're looking for those in the Peanuts world. Guys, what do you think about this? This does seem to be something that really drives Peanuts, these little twosomes that spark off each other in interesting ways. What are your thoughts about this as a topic?


Michael: Well, we started discussing this early on I recall. Just what made the strip so great was that the characters were three dimensional enough that they actually had different aspects depending on who they were with. So I think a lot of comic strips, the character acts the same. I guess Bugs Bunny is going to act the same no matter who he's with. But we find that Charlie Brown, when he's with Linus is different than when he's with Lucy. And it seems like all the characters have their own little personality traits that conflict or go along with other characters. So that makes it very interesting. And, it seems like all the combinations you can come up with, which is quite a lot, seem to have some different flavor depending on who the characters are in the strip.


Jimmy: Yeah, it really does. That is so true, what we did today. I got to pick these particular strips because it, was a little gift from the guys because I haven't picked them, early on picked any of my favorites, really. So it was fun for me to kind of go through and see which ones I wanted to highlight. But this is by no means, when we go through these strips, a definitive list of possible Peanuts groupings. This is just my first attempt. but we'll get more as we go along. Harold, what do you think?


Harold: I'm just obsessing over what Michael said about Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny is a pretty, of those characters. He's about as three dimensional as you can get. I was just thinking about that. Like he's hanging out with a little penguin or Yosemite Sam or Pete Puma. There is a little nuance there, I guess.


Michael: Okay, well, you're the Bugs expert. By the way, how high is the plane right now? 30,000 feet?


Harold: Yes, we'll be coming in. The weather is going to be about 62 degrees in Memphis.

Jimmy: Harold is, still on his tour, and there were some unforeseen, circumstances, some force majeure, if you will. But you know what? That doesn't stop us here at Unpacking Peanuts.


Harold: Yeah, so I've got a little backup mic here that I'm using because my podcast equipment happens to be in Columbus, Ohio, right now with my broken down car. So we'll get that all taken care of. And I hopefully, will not be, taking on any flights in future podcasts.


Jimmy: Well, I wouldn't want to fly the friendly skies with anyone but you, Harold. Yeah, what's funny that you say that about other cartoon characters when you work for Disney. I don't know if it's well, I guess it's not true for all of the characters, but it's true for the Big Five, as they call, know, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Minnie. they, have little bibles for each of the characters. And the first one starts with a little inspirational quote from Walt himself. And then it goes through and it says, so let's say it's Donald Duck. It's like Donald Duck by himself can be heroic in these ways. If, however, he is paired with Mickey Mouse, he reverts to this type of Donald Duck that has this type of consequences. If, however, he's paired with so and so, it's really interesting. And it's like, the one I'm most familiar with is Donald Duck, because I've written almost 2000 pages of Donald Duck, which is insane. Yeah, it's like 120 pages. It's nuts. It's nuts. I mean, nuts in a loving way. Thank you for paying for my livelihood way, but it's a lot of stuff that I'm not sure does come across in the finished art. Like, Michael is all does it all jibe for you? No. It's crazy. How much do some of you scratch your heads?


Harold: Like that's. Not the Donald I remember. Or that's like, oh, yeah, that's him. Totally. They nailed it.


Jimmy: Yeah, they nailed it. There's no yeah, there's no question. It feels like they totally nailed it. Really, really strange. But it keeps it, I guess, consistent across their brand, however. But it's weird because I don't think they do stuff like that with, for instance, Marvel Comics. They didn't even do it with me when I worked with, Rapunzel or, Zootopia, or stuff.

Harold: Well, do they go into stuff like well, Donald enjoys orange juice, but if cranberry juice is available, he won't say no.


Jimmy: There is a whole juice section. There is a lot-- no, there's nothing quite like that. But there are rules about what things they can eat, because they're--


Michael: no duck


Right. Exactly.


Harold: No, paté.


Jimmy: Yeah. Like, there are certain animals you can't use because the sentience has not exactly been developed throughout the history of the Disneyverse. We're getting off topic here.


Michael: But anyway, what does, Goofy eat? Does he eat dog food?


Jimmy: You know what? I've never looked at the Goofy all, cards on the table. I looked at Mickey and Donald, and I figured, I got the rest. Don't tell anybody.


Yeah. So I just picked a few. But I also put out on our social media, who do you think are the best duos in Peanuts. And we got some interesting answers. You guys want to hear?


Michael: Sure.


Harold: Yeah.


Jimmy: All right. Well, first things first. Let's go to the Peanuts hotline, where we got a call from good old Troy, famous from listening on Mondays. Let's hear from Troy.


Harold: Yes, hi there.


Troy: this is, Troy Wilson. Certainly, Snoopy and Woodstock are an obvious choice. I also like, Lucy and Charlie Brown because you have the football pairing as well as the psychiatry booth pairing. And why does Charlie Brown trust Lucy with either of those things? Who knows? Just because, he never gives up and he's so endearing in that fashion. But my, number one choice is Charlie Brown and the Sack, as in what resulted with the Mr. Sack sequence of strips which is really surreal just to see Charlie Brown, wearing that paper bag or sack all the time, seeing him actually win, actually being revered for quite some time. Just really, surreal, really different, to see. And obviously, hey, I'm in good company because obviously, Mr. Charles Schulz himself, liked that sequence of strips, quite a bit. So I will ultimately have to go with Charlie Brown and the Sack.


Jimmy: Thanks so much.


Troy: And be of, good cheer, as always. Thanks, guys.


Michael: Okay, be of good cheer.


Jimmy: Be of good cheer, Troy.


Harold: All right.


Jimmy: Charlie Brown and the sack. First off, does that count? Because we also got one, a text message to the hotline from super listener Rich out in San Jose, California, because he asks if Spike and the cactus count. And I think these count. The sack may be a little more borderline, but I think the cactus--


Michael: Not when you don't know what it is.


Harold: Well, you will.


Michael: I'm blissfully ignorant.


Jimmy: It's a cactus.


Michael: I know. I've seen some. I would personally say, the Charlie Brown and Sally stuff is some of my favorites.


Jimmy: Oh, I would absolutely add that. So when we do part two, that'll be another one, along with, I think, Linus and Sally What do you think, Harold? You give it to Mr. Sack and Charlie Brown? Are we calling that a fair pick? I think we do.


Harold: It's interesting. That is a duo. Charlie Brown plus sack equals amazing things happen, right? So why know the sack? Maybe we can't say much about its personality, but it does change Charlie Brown. And so, yeah, why not? That's a duo that makes, we said duos dynamic.


Jimmy: So we heard from good old Joshua Stauffer in Lancaster, PA. Super listener Joshua, who has helped us out with some research. His favorite Peanuts duo, as we may have guessed, is Peppermint Patty and Marcie. He loves their moments together in the strips and specials. They have a perfect balance between silly and serious. And, most importantly, he agrees with Jimmy that this duo really set the tone for the world of YA graphic novels. Well, anyone who agrees with Jimmy, I, agree back with.


Liz: You’re so right.


Harold: You're So Right, Jimmy


Jimmy: I'm so right. I truly, do enjoy Marcie and Peppermint Patty as well. which is why I selected them as part of my team ups today. I should actually say the ones we're going to be discussing are, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Linus and Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Marcie and Snoopy and Woodstock. but I want you guys to continue to shout us out on social media. We're at UnpackPeanuts on Instagram, Threads and Twitter. And you could shoot us an email, at our website@unpackingpeanuts.com, and we would love to hear what you want us to cover, in duos part deux.


Harold: Yeah, I like what Joshua said about the mixture of serious and silly, between the two of them. We've already seen that in these early strips. And, that's kind of true for so many of the relationships. And it shows the depths of it that he can get into stuff that's deeper with some of these characters. And those two definitely have a lot of interesting moments together that are all over the board.


Jimmy: Well, this is a question for either of you. Do you think that's, the ingredients you have to have when you put two characters together, one automatically becomes maybe more of a straight man, and that allows you to drift into more serious topics. Some become more silly or not. Or am I just making that up?


Michael: It sounds reasonable. I don't think you want two wacky characters.


Jimmy: Right.


Michael: Because there's nothing to play off.


Jimmy: Or right if it's just two people being mean. Because Snoopy and Woodstock are both, you wouldn't call them wacky. Certainly they're both humorous.


Harold: But there's Woodstock tends to be very kind of deadpan right most of the time. Not always. But because we can't hear any dialogue coming out of Woodstock directly, I kind of think the Woodstock that I'm used to seeing can be awfully stoic.


Michael: Yes.


Jimmy: And then when you see those flashes of emotion, which, I picked one of those strips, for us to look at. It's delightful.


Harold: Yeah.


Jimmy: Because he is stoic so much.


Michael: Birds have no expression.


Jimmy: Oh, and we also got this one, since we were talking about from the 540 area code, we have no idea-- that's Virginia, in some part, someone from that general area code sent us a text that said Marcie and Peppermint Patty. So shout out to them. All right, so guys, what do you think? Should we start looking at some of, these duos and going into it? Get granular with this?


Harold: Sure. Yeah.


Jimmy: All right, well, that sounds great. So here we go. If you're going to want to do this, see, this is going to be tricky. So all the smart kids, all the cool kids, they signed up for our newsletter at unpackingpeanuts.com Great Peanuts Reread. Sign up for it. Once a month you will get an email from us that tells you what strips we're going to cover. So especially helpful in instances like this where we're going to be jumping around all over the map. So, if you haven't done that, what you can do right now is pause the podcast, go to

unpackingpeanuts.com, sign up for the newsletter, and all the old newsletters are archived. So you can find this one Peanuts duos. Click on it, and then you'll be able to read along with us. Hit pause. Do that. Come right back. And we'll be talking about, strip one, which is Charlie Brown and Snoopy.


April 17, 1962. Charlie Brown is sitting on his floor reading what looks like a very well loved comic book. And Snoopy is sitting next to him. A much more doglike Snoopy than we have seen in recent strips. Charlie Brown looks annoyed and says, “no, not tonight.” In panel two, Charlie Brown rolls his eyes as a very distraught Snoopy holds, back tears. Sniff. Charlie Brown stands up, tosses his comic aside, and says, “oh, all right. But it's so ridiculous.” This makes Snoopy very happy. And then in panel four, we see Snoopy clinging to the back of Charlie Brown's head, sitting on his shoulders. As Charlie Brown gives him a piggyback ride to the top of his doghouse, Charlie Brown says, “other dogs go to bed without having a piggyback ride.”


Michael: Yeah, it's definitely a case of wacky and straight man.


Jimmy: Yeah, that's true.


Michael: Charlie Brown's, like, really annoyed, and I think this probably runs throughout the strip. His Snoopy's antics do not amuse him that much.


Jimmy: Right.


Michael: He's just usually, like, frustrated with it.


Harold: Yeah. I was just thinking of all of the comic book collectors who are like, oh, man, that's why none of these things from 1962 were in good shape. Charlie Brown is tossing the comic aside. All the CGC graders are like, no.


Michael: I think it's Hulk number one.


Jimmy: It might be, you're right. 1962. Oh, man, I love the drawings of Snoopy's expressions throughout all of these the last three panels especially. But that one with him hanging on Charlie Brown's head as he gets a piggyback ride.


Harold: he's got how would you describe that little face that he's got there in that last panel?


Jimmy: No, it's the pure contentment of a child. You know you're not going to feel that. I remember getting piggybacks from my dad on Saturday mornings to go down to watch cartoons. You're not going to feel more secure than that in your life.


Harold: Right.


Jimmy: That's what I think good old Snoopy's feeling right there.


Harold: Yeah. And like you said, that panel two of Snoopy when he's kind of getting overwhelmed with sadness and he's got those raised eyebrows that float above his head and that really interesting mouth. He's kind of got a droopy snout, and he's got this Schulz does this. And I haven't seen this a lot with other artists. There's this look of it's sadness mixed with I don't know what you call it. He kind of raises the mouth at the end, just a hair. So you would sometimes read it as a mixture of sadness and happiness. But it's just a unique emotion that I don't often see in comics that he's somehow capturing. That is pretty cool.


Jimmy: Well, as someone who has attempted to rip that expression off, countless times, I don't know how well you can do it if you don't have his exact line quality. There's just something about the emotion seems to come out of his being down the pen and onto the paper, in a way that you can't translate just by making those marks and hoping for the same effect.


Harold: It's like you're trying to hold back sadness.


Jimmy: Maybe that's what it yeah, that's a great yeah, yeah.


Harold: You're trying to put on that little straight face or with a little tinch of a smile, but you're obviously.


Jimmy: The other thing we have to think about when talking about Charlie Brown and Snoopy as a duo is how long it took for it even to be established that Charlie Brown owned Snoopy, or vice versa. Years when we were going back to those early strips. And yet now it's like I mean, it's unthinkable. Right. It's the corner. I think it has to be the cornerstone of the strip. I mean, if you don't have that, you don't have anything anymore.


Michael: Yeah.


Harold: And we're experiencing a little bit of choppiness right now, but it should clear up 10 miles or so.


Michael: I've been looking at a lot of strips, including ones that we haven't got to yet. And this discussion, of Snoopy's expressions, leads me to want to bring up something that's going to be coming at some point in the future.


Jimmy: Okay, hang on. Before you say something.


Michael: Yeah.


Jimmy: I was looking ahead. I will be on the floor if it's the same thing.


Michael: It is.


Jimmy: I noticed an upcoming Snoopy expression that I've never seen, never noticed in my life. And I was like, oh my God, what's going on here? Go ahead.


Michael: All right. Well, my observation is Snoopy at some point, probably in the next ten years, he's going to have this serious transformation and look completely different. And the Snoopys that I've been seeing have almost rarely has a mouth. And the eyes are two black dots and don't really have a whole lot of expression. It looks more like a stuffed animal than a cartoon character. so I'm going to keep my eye open for the transition. I mean, this is still not too far off from well, this one's, 1962. Yeah, this is kind of the classic Snoopy. But he hasn't changed that much between here and where we are now in the Strip, which is 74. But there's big changes coming, so I've got my eye out for them.


Jimmy: Well, you'll have to, add that to Snoopy watch. yeah, that is all true. there's a weird thing that comes up that when Snoopy is communicating somehow with Woodstock, he starts opening his mouth. It's still a thought balloon, but he's opening his mouth and it looks super weird once you notice it.


Michael: Little like oval mouth.


Jimmy: Yeah, it's very odd. But anyway, so there you go. That's in depth, Snoopy Woodstock stuff coming up.


March 19, 1970. Snoopy's atop his dog house, typing away ferociously. and we see what he's typing is. “Although my early years were good, gray clouds soon appeared in my sky.” Panel two, we see that he has continued typing. “My life has been one of many hardships.” At this point, though, Charlie Brown has entered and is reading this manuscript and says, “Hardships?” Charlie Brown is outraged and he yells at Snoopy. “What do you mean hardships? I've taken good care of you. You've never had a hardship in your life.” Snoopy says, “I haven't?” and then thinks to himself, “this could ruin my autobiography.”


Michael: Yeah, again, it's pure frustration. I mean, there's even, like, little sweat drops flying off his head.


Harold: It's like it's an affront to Charlie Brown.


Jimmy: It is, because it's specifically saying, like, early everything was fine, but then I got with the roundheaded kid and I started having hardships. And as we know, he does not have any hardships.


Michael: What do you mean? You try flying with a propeller on your head.


Jimmy: You know it's true. You never judge someone till you've flown a mile on their Sopwith Camel. Speaking of, when's time for the beverage service, Harold?


Harold: Well, we'll be serving your choice of cocktails and soft drinks. You can ask your steward or stewardess for your favorite drinks. It will be $5 for the small bourbons.


Jimmy: No, you could also have Pringles. They will, however, be pressurized, and if you open them, they will kill you.


Harold: One pop and you drop. So, Michael, I wanted to ask you, we are talking about

Snoopy foreheads in this March 19, 1971. That first panel looks super funky to me.


Michael: Still got a reasonable forehead at this point. Yeah, it is a little that's crazy back far.


Harold: It's like the ear is like, halfway the eye is halfway down the ear in the first panel, and it's at the top and the other it's above them or at the top of the ears and the other.


Michael: yeah, that's definitely the brainiac Snoopy.


Harold: Right. You have the author. That's a smart, wise author.


Jimmy: Yeah. So when you're trying to pick three strips to summarize a 40- year-long fictional relationship, it's hard to do. But I think this is a key part in that it is an affront to Charlie Brown. Snoopy really doesn't I mean, on some level, he does appreciate it, but on his day to day life, he does not get what Charlie Brown does for him. Would you say that's right? Yeah.


Michael: Especially, when it comes to dinner.


Jimmy: Yeah. Just has it appear so he could do his little dance. And if it's not there on time, it's always a problem.


September 18, 1970. This is the middle of a sequence where Charlie Brown, in his role of dutiful pet owner, he has had to bring Snoopy into the vet for a little shot. And here we have him picking up the dog at the vet. Charlie Brown comes in and says, “yes, ma'am, I've come to pick up my dog now.” Snoopy walks out. A kind of dazed prisoner look is on his face. Charlie Brown says “Hi Snoopy. How did it go? How are you feeling?” Snoopy walks away disheveled and distraught. “Here's the World War I flying ace being released from prison camp.” Charlie Brown speaks to the receptionist, “a cortisone shot. I see.” Then Snoopy grabs his arm and with a look of grim determination, says, “although tortured beyond endurance, he refused to give the enemy any information.” Charlie Brown says, “yes, ma'am. He's kind of a strange dog, but we like him.”


Michael: Those lines on panel three, he adds these lines to Snoopy's head, which really makes him look distraught, but I can't tell if it's supposed to be eyebrows or even maybe, like, furrows in his brow.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Harold: Maybe it's like a double purpose of disheveled fur, and giving you that sense of again, a unique character emotion that Schulz just knows how to capture it using lines that often have double meanings in them. It's masterful, really.


Jimmy: Is this time for true Cartoonist Confessions. Yes. Well, probably you could find it. I'm not going to tell you where, but one time, I guess maybe, I don't know what the situation was, but I was working hard on my book and I was trying to get a particularly complex, expression on the character's face. And years later I looked in the book and they have four eyebrows.


Michael: Wow.


Jimmy: But the way the bottom ones go into the eyes, it could conceivably look like they're eyelids, the furrowed brow. Right. And then they go up on the other eye. No one's ever noticed. So I let it go.


Harold: Yeah. It's just artistic license. Right?


Jimmy: It's a lot of artistic license.


Harold: Yeah, what you've just been saying about Charlie Brown and Snoopy, this strip seems to kind of epitomize the idea that Charlie Brown has made the Snoopy we know possible. Right. Because he's given Snoopy this lovely little bubble to live. And then Snoopy is able to kind of add his own drama and add his own space because he's not dealing with hardships like we were talking about. Charlie Brown has made this space for Snoopy to be Snoopy. And that just gives me a new respect and appreciation for Charlie Brown. looking at it through that lens, at 30,000ft.


Jimmy: It really is an aspect of Charlie Brown that comes across again and again, though, because he is the one that's the responsible one in some ways. I mean, he's a terrible manager, but he is the manager.


Harold: Right.


Jimmy: He makes sure everybody goes to practice, he makes sure everybody gets to the game. Then they, you know, that's him. He's the big brother figure to yeah, he takes care of Snoopy. He just seems like there is a part of him that is just this really solid, decent guy and then there's just this other stuff that gets in the way and makes his life so miserable.

Harold: Yeah. You think of Charlie Brown as somebody who's in this strip. I'm trying to think, is there anybody else who has a day to day responsibility that we see in this strip, other than Charlie Brown and that he has to come through because he's the one that feeds in.

Jimmy: Yeah. No, because even when Rerun is around, Rerun’s on the back of his mom's bike you know, not being like tagging after Linus or Lucy or anything like that all day, even Charlie Brown with Sally isn't exactly the but yeah. No, no. Charlie Brown is a parental figure to Snoopy.


Harold: and Snoopy is a little bit to Woodstock, I guess.


Jimmy: Yeah, that's true. Woodstock's got his own, you know, that's true.


Harold: But he's a good employer and does some steady work, looks out for him when there's trouble.


Jimmy: Now, our next duo, I'm going to need the expertise of you two younger brothers, because I'm an only child, but I love these characters together. This is as classic Peanuts as you can get. I mean, these characters gave name to the Peanuts theme song, for goodness sake. It's Linus and Lucy. All right, talk to me, Michael. Talk to me about, your feelings about Linus and Lucy from the early days up to where we are.


Michael: Okay, well, it hasn't evolved. That mean. I think Lucy's not as--, she's still pretty nasty. Maybe slightly less nasty to Linus than she used to be, but, yeah, it evolved. The strip started with her as a baby, and Linus wasn't there. So the first four took maybe by year five, it was getting established. But, having grown up with an older sister, I definitely identified with these Linus strips. However, his being probably smarter, that was not the case in my family.


Jimmy: Oh, well, I think you're selling yourself short.


Michael: Anyway, I love these.


Jimmy: How about you, Harold?


Harold: Yeah, I was, two years younger, growing up, and actually, I still am. My sister incredibly smart. Again, smarter than me, but she was more of the big sister looking out for you kind of sister. But still, there were those dynamics of, I'm the littler one. So that's a dynamic when you feel like you have the least influence in your own family. You're used to kind of having to go along with what not only your sister, but your parents are deciding to do, and you're used to not directing what the family does. That's the feeling that I get here. And with the older sister, she's more dominant when they're together, and she can tend, to get her way when she wants it. And in Lucy's case, she wants it a lot.


Michael: But at least Lucy didn't try to kill Linus by pushing him downstairs, which seems to be the case for me.


Jimmy: Wait, okay, hold on. I think we just turned this into a true crime podcast.


Michael: yeah, it almost was. Luckily, I bounced.


Harold: Oh, my goodness.


Michael: What happened?


Jimmy: You bounced?


Michael: I don't know if that actually happened or she threatened, but she definitely wanted to kill me.


Jimmy: Well, we have that in common. That's nice. Oh, man, I can't it's so sad thinking of little baby Michael bouncing down the stairs in Los Angeles.


Harold: I do think Schulz captures that sibling relationship better than anything I've ever read or seen on television or movies or whatever. I've never seen it so well captured that I just resonate with so many of these strips and I did as a child.


Jimmy: Right.


Harold: He's capturing the inner life, of Linus. Lucy is often more on the exterior. She almost forces you to take her on the exterior, and it's really hard to get in underneath her. And in those rare moments when they do, when, say, Linus gets under Lucy's skin, and, her more vulnerable, side comes out. Those are magical because it's so rare.


Michael: Yeah, especially when she punches him after he gets a good one in. So we haven't read the strip yet.


December 25, 1966. Good old Linus is writing on a piece of paper, and he's doing so thoughtfully. He writes, “Dear Grandpa and Grandma.” Lucy comes up and says, what are you doing? Linus continues writing “thank you for the Christmas present.” Lucy. “Are, you trying to make me look bad?” Linus is writing, “I was real happy to get the dollar.” Lucy says, “you're writing a thank you note right away just to make me look bad, aren't you.” Linus: “It was very thoughtful of you.” Lucy. “Your kind drive me crazy. Why do you have to be so efficient? Why do you have to--” Linus. “Lucy enjoyed her gift, too, and says to thank you very much.” This surprises Lucy. Linus concludes “love, Linus.” Lucy says, “if you'll wait a minute, I'll run and get you an stamp.”


Jimmy: Very nice on a Sunday to come up with a little Christmas strip. That's always nice. There's been a couple of good Sunday Christmas strips over the years. Yeah, I think this is a good one.


Harold: This is one as a little brother, where it's like, oh-- The funny thing is, Linus never even acknowledges that she's there.


Jimmy: Yes. Right.


Harold: He's got the classic tongue sticking, up out of his mouth while he's writing, which I love, but that ultimately he finds this way to placate his or maybe this is what he would have done even if she wasn't there. You don't know. It's like this master Linus getting through this hard time with his sister. I just love that and those little moments. I was like, oh, yeah, isn't that cool? That's a great way to live your life in the family. Wow. There's a lesson here somewhere, if I can just figure it out.


Jimmy: Who said, was it Truman Capote? The dogs howl, but the caravan rolls on. No, it was Norman Mailer. The dogs howl, but the caravan rolls on. That's Linus there.


Harold: See? We keep bringing up mail.


November 1, 1970. Linus is asleep in the pumpkin patch, and it's morning. Lucy sees the clock. Linus, wakes up, disappointed, as always, saying “Halloween is over.” Then he walks into his house looking sad and disheveled. Lucy greets him, saying, “have you been sitting out in that pumpkin patch all night again?” Linus says, “I was waiting for the Great Pumpkin. He didn't come.” Lucy says, “Why didn't you just curse the Great Pumpkin and forget the whole thing?” Then Linus says, “you sound like Job's wife.” Lucy, shakes her fist and yells, “shake your fist in the air and say, curse you, Great Pumpkin. I know you don't exist. Then you'd be free. You can do it.” Lucy's still ranting, holding her fist in the air, saying, “Just say, curse you Great Pumpkin. I know you don't exist. I don't need you. I'm free. I'm free.” Now Lucy is begging on her knees. “Come on, you can do it. Just say it.” Now she's shaking Linus by his shirt. “Come on, say it.” Of course, Linus shouts to the heavens, “just wait till next year!” Lucy. “Oh, good grief.”


Jimmy: I feel bad for poor Lucy. I have, in many instances, so badly wanted to be told I was right or proven right, and someone just doesn't give it to you. It's very frustrating.


Michael: But she is trying to be helpful. We see that occasionally, especially around this period of time. She actually wants to help Charlie Brown for five cents. Five cents worth of help.


Jimmy: Right. Yeah. And she gives about $0.05 worth. and here, clearly, you can't look at panel one and go, yeah, Linus, things are working out okay for you.


Harold: Well, he'll have stories to tell. Just to take the other side of that for a second, could you say that Lucy is inconvenienced by Linus's believing in the Great Pumpkin and possibly embarrassing her, and she's doing this as much as for herself or more than Linus?


Jimmy: I don't think, in this instance, open question, but I think if we picked a different strip, I would think you could see that, certainly, because, I mean, obviously Lucy has selfish interests nine times out of ten. But for some reason, because Lucy's at home, doesn't seem anyone else seems to care. It's 08:00, she's already dressed in her dress for the day. So this isn't about the rest of the world. This is like, it's eight in the morning and my dumb brother is out in this stupid pumpkin patch. but like you say, I think there's many times that is the case. Patting birds on the head, for example. That's another one where it is the kind of thing that he does that causes no harm, but that bothers for her, for her social aspect.


Harold: Yeah. she's a pragmatist.


Jimmy: She is.


Harold: And I sure like that 1970 flowery decor.


Jimmy: Yeah. Great drawing on the pattern on the chair, and of course, the classic pattern on the drapes. The other thing I love is Lucy going from begging and they're talking about bottom tier here, middle panels there, begging to standing up and threatening him in, like, two.


Harold: You, don't you rarely see angry begging, but that's definitely what's going on.

Jimmy: You do. and here's a classic


January 8, 1967. A happy young Lucy is making toast. It has popped up out of the toaster, and now she is walking, holding it in her hand, a serene smile upon her face. She brings it to her brother Linus and says, “here, I brought you a piece of toast.” Linus is just watching television. He says, “well, thank you.” Lucy takes the toast back, holding it just out of reach, and says, in quotes, “thank you, dear sister.” Linus says, “thank you, dear sister.” Lucy continues, “thank you, dear sister, greatest of all sisters.” Linus hands out, imploring, wanting the toast, says, “thank you, dear sister, greatest of all sisters.” Lucy “thank you, dear sister, greatest of all sisters without whom I'd never survive.” Linus, pleading, “thank you, dear sister, greatest of all sisters, without whom I'd never survive.” Lucy forks over the toast, then walks away saying, “you're very welcome.” Linus sitting there holding the toast in front of the TV, sticks his tongue out and says, “how can I eat when I feel nauseated?”


Harold: Such a classic one. I remember this. And this is one that we would quote, often I've quoted over the years, many, many times. Yeah, this is just great dynamic between these two characters. And, yeah, it's just unique. I mean, these two characters, this strip is uniquely them again, as a little kid, totally relate to this kind of stuff and thinks we would mess with each other's mind sometimes. He complies all the way through is just fascinating.


Jimmy: Well, he wants the toast, which, by the way, doesn't even looks like Lucy buttered it. I see no evidence.


Harold: No, I don't think there's any buttering going on.


Jimmy: This is all for a dry piece of toast.


Harold: Yeah, that's right. Well, but it does appear know, with the little smile on her face that, she did make it for him. She didn't look at it and go, this was too dark.


Jimmy: Yeah. No.


Harold: I'm doing a good thing for Linus today. But it has to be recognized and acknowledged for it to be a valid exchange.


Jimmy: Exactly. Now, Michael, did your sister ever do anything nice like that for you? Perhaps as an effort to lure you into a trap or get you teetering on top of those steps?


Michael: I do not think so.


Jimmy: No.


Michael: But toast just toast. No, that's an insult.


Harold: Well, maybe it was cinnamon toast, right?


Michael: yes, I’d snivel for that.


Harold: So what was the age difference between you and your sister?


Michael: two and a half years.


Harold: Two and a half.


Michael: Kind of similar to these guys.


Jimmy: Well, what I would say, as an only child, this shows what a good writer he was, because this is not something he experienced. This is obviously something he probably saw. I'm not saying this specific strip, but I mean this dynamic within the kids he's raising and then around his house. But these are not his direct know-- but he's, observant and has great empathy and is obviously one of the funniest people in the world. And that's how you get that.


Harold: So that's how he does it.


Jimmy: Yeah. It's easy, really. It's a trick, as Michael would say. Okay, so we're going to take a break here, get some water and a snack, and then we're going to come back, we're going to talk about our last couple duos, and we're going to do, some listener mail. So come on back.

VO: Hi, everyone. You've heard us rave about the Esterbrook 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 at unpackingpeanuts.com/store.


Jimmy: And we're back. Hey, guys, before we get, to our last couple duos, how about we, hit some listener mail?


Michael: Sure.


Jimmy: All right. This is from Drew Guertin. Sorry, Drew, if I mangled your name, no one has ever pronounced Gownley right, so I feel your pain Groundley. Gornley. Anyway, this is from Drew, who says, I'd like to take a moment to thank you for the quality content. I am currently a New England listener and currently am trying to read the Peanuts strips in order. I'm up to 1972, and in terms of the podcast, I'm up to 1970, part two. It's nice to have this podcast while I work so I can listen and review the strips that I have to read. It was hard to find a comprehensive podcast that systematically is reviewing the whole strip. And so far, this is my favorite production. Currently, when watching only the specials, Schroeder is my favorite. But in the strips, Sally is emerging as the best character. Hopefully, y'all keep up the amazing work. Thank you once again for being a component of keeping the Peanuts community alive. Have a great day. Best, Drew.


Harold: Thanks.


Jimmy: Well, thank you, Drew. Yeah, feels very nice to, be thought of as being part of the Peanuts community.


Harold: Yeah, that's very nice. And it's interesting to see that he's saying that, when you have, I guess, the musical component where you actually can hear what Schroeder is playing, that he really stands out in the animated specials.


Jimmy: that is an interesting thought. True. Boy, just saying that alone. It is kind of amazing to make a character's musicianship be their main identifying feature in a totally visual medium of comic strips. But, that might be the only time that's ever worked. Yeah, I mean, there's musicians in comics.


Harold: They had the opportunity then to actually integrate the music.


Michael: Pogo did pretty amazing. There are all those songs in Pogo.


Harold: Yeah. I wish there had been more animated Pogo, and I don't think they ever quite nailed that. But, man, wouldn't that have been amazing if Walt Kelly's beautiful art was able to be translated into animation? really well, yeah.


Jimmy: Do you ever see the, strange claymation one?


Harold: Well, I've got the little characters, some of the little characters that they made. They're very inexpensive. but have you ever seen the little Plastic? yeah, those are adorable.


Jimmy: no, but there's an actual animated--


Harold: I have not seen it. I've not heard the best things about it, but what did you think?

Jimmy: No, but here's the thing. These days we are spoiled because we expect things to be good. Back then, hey, it's a Pogo thing. Wow. Cool. I remember, like, waiting all summer for the stupid Spirit TV movie, which was just a pilot that wasn't getting picked up.


Harold: When was that?


Jimmy: 1988? Something like that. It's abysmal, but I loved it.


Michael: It's probably better than the Frank Miller one.


Jimmy: Oh, it is. Well, yes. The only movie I bought, the Blu ray of the day. It came out just for the commentary so I could figure out what went wrong.


We heard from Joe Hilliard, who wrote: just catching up with this week's treasury episode. That was a classic. I enjoyed that one. As someone born in 1971 quintessential 70s grungy strips I couldn't get enough of when I was young. All right, here's the list. Herman, Frank and Ernest, Shoe and yes, Croc. I don't know Croc.


Harold: Croc was a very BC-ish, wizard of ID-ish, comic. I think it was like Foreign Legion was the theme of Croc.


Jimmy: No, we didn't get that one. But yes, those are all classic 70 strips. with that slightly dirt bag look. I think Shoe was really beautifully drawn.


Harold: Yeah, we've been trying to, describe that. Liz was asking us, what do you mean when you say 70s were brown and kind of grungy? And those strips are if anyone's familiar with those strips, that kind of encompasses that world. And I don't know who started it. I mean, I saw it in greeting cards and, maybe somebody listening knows who the artist was who was doing these greeting cards in the I think it was like the late sixties. And then they sold into probably the 90s. They were around for years and years. Well, it's funny, it's kind of the art style that Schulz open with the waiver in his hand. He kind of goes in that direction and loosens his style up a lot. He's an influence. But certainly, I think of BC. Being in that style, one of the first ones that had that really loose art style and that Wizard of Id and all that stuff. Yeah, but the line tends to waver, and the line itself seems like, I don't know, it's controlled, but there's usually sticks. It's crazy, that style. In my mind, that epitomizes the 70s when it comes to comics.


Jimmy: Well, he continues saying, he never realized I never realized how dirt encrusted my youthful reading was. Peanuts may be the most bathed of all the strips at the time. Be of good cheer, Joe.


Harold: Thanks, Joe.


Jimmy: Be of good cheer, Joe. Thank you for writing. Yeah, I think Shoe is a good looking strip and, not in the grungy 70s, but I'm still on my crusade to get the Bud Blake Tiger revival going.


Harold: Yeah, whatever happened to good old Tiger. Is he still running?


Jimmy: It's happening. I'm bringing it back.


Harold: Did they stop doing Tiger at some point? Because I know I don't know if it lived beyond Bud Blake or has.


Jimmy: Anyone figured out if, Tater Tot died? That's the big question.


Harold: Yeah. Please call or, write to us if you know what happened to Tater-- Tater Tot.

Jimmy: We heard from Simon Lunt, who said, not sure how many listeners you have in the UK. But I'm one. And based in the northeast England in Teesside. Peanuts shows were very much a Christmas affair in the UK. In the same way that the long Marvin the Martian cartoons were. I love their pace and how unhectic they were compared with most of their peers. The strip, as far as I'm aware, were only in a paper called the Daily Mail, which makes Mein Kampf look left wing at times. So your podcast is a real treat for those of us who didn't get the opportunity to read them as they were printed. Thank you. Well, you're welcome. I'm a big baseball fan. Baltimore Orioles. Wow. And wondered if you were able to shed any light on why it's featured so much in Peanuts? Or is it simply a reflection of the popularity of the sport in the USA? Keep up the great work, Simon in Teesside.


Well, thanks, Simon. Simon well, I think the baseball thing, in part, yes. when Schulz started, baseball was far and away the most popular sport in America. And it's something that everybody plays.


Harold: And we know he played it a lot. Right. He was saying that they he certainly played it a lot.


Jimmy: Yeah. And it's like the kind of thing I mean, there was Little League, that had started by the think, or maybe even the 50s.


Harold: Right. And he was saying that, he had unorganized, baseball games in the empty lots. But I think in that Peanuts jubilee, he actually did talk about how was it one season there was a guy that got the kids together and that it was just a great experience. They formed teams and got to play against each other.


Jimmy: hey, well, I am from Pennsylvania, home of, Little League baseball.


Harold: Really?


Jimmy: Yeah, yeah. Williamsport oh, right. Actually, just last night, last night before we were recording this, the Philadelphia Phillies played, I think, maybe the Yankees. Every year a, Major League team goes and they play at the Little League, World Series in williamsport in the Little League field.


Harold: I thought you were going to say that the Philadelphia Phillies played a Little League team.


Jimmy: Played a Little League team. Yeah. And they beat the hell out of.


Harold: Kind of like the Harlem GlobeTrotters experience for you.


Jimmy: Right. But it's to demoralize kids. But I think the other thing, aside from just the popularity of baseball, is Peanuts is contemplative. And baseball is contemplative.


Harold: Yes.


Jimmy: I have a few times wanted to do-- because I loved basketball. I mean, I played basketball all through my youth, through high school. so it was important there's a couple of times I've done basketball scenes. I think the one in Dumbest Idea works. But basketball is action, and football is action. It's not the same. I think there's something about the stillness of baseball.


Michael: Baseball is standing around doing nothing, and Peanuts is standing around doing nothing.


Jimmy: Right. You could just replace the thinking wall with the mound. Right. And it's the same thing. So thank you for that, Simon. I appreciate it. All right, so that's the Peanuts mailbag. how about we get back to the duos?


Harold: Yeah, sure.


Jimmy: Now, I decided that, we focused a little bit on the first half, of our 1st 25 years with those first couple. And now we'll, bring us up to date with some latter day duos, starting with Peppermint Patty and Marcie. What do you guys think of Peppermint Patty and Marcie so far?


Michael: Marcie is interesting to me because she seems to want to be a minion. Like I don't think she knows how to guide her way through society and so she needs somebody to tell her what to do.


Jimmy: I think it's weird in the sense that I think in some ways she's super capable when left entirely-- But it ends just like you're saying, once it becomes societal, once she has to deal with the friends and stuff, that's where there's awkwardness because she's violent. She hits a couple people, which is shocking.


Harold: Yeah, Marcie is a really interesting character. I, think of her as somebody yeah, she's got a very rich interior, but she doesn't know how to live in the exterior. And so she finds the friend that kind of, will go places that she won't go. And she lives vicariously through that other person and is learning. She seems like somebody who studies and learns in this kind of methodical way. I think being around Peppermint Patty, maybe somehow she gets to live a life through her that she wouldn't be living herself because she doesn't quite know how to do it. But at the same time, she brings this kind of deep, this deep inner well of thought that maybe hasn't lived out into the world yet. And that's what makes her so fascinating. Yeah, she's very thoughtful, but she hasn't really engaged with the world as much as maybe some of these other characters.


Jimmy: Yeah, I think, one of the things that adds to her sort of opaqueness, if you will, is the opaqueness of the glasses.


Harold: Yeah, it's like the classic Little Orphan Annie. You don't get to see the eyes or the Beetle Bailey. I'm amazed that you can make a character. The eyes are so expressive, and you take that away from a character, and yet there are so many characters that don't have that that did incredibly well as comic strip characters.


Jimmy: When I used to do my school presentations before the world ended, and I would go hither and yon, talking to youngsters and whatnot. one of the things I talked about is creating Pajama Man and giving him giant glasses that were opaque and then being dumb enough to decide also, he doesn't talk.


Harold: Yeah, that's a challenge.


Jimmy: That's a challenge.


Harold: But you use that to make a mystery, right? You kind of create a mystery around him, a mystique around him and how everybody responds to him in unique ways. And that's a really cool way to do that. It's like, here's a character that is interpreted multiple ways by multiple people because they are a mistake.


Jimmy: Well, it's interesting. I was listening to unsurprisingly Beatles YouTube channel, called Beatles Bible. Their slogan slightly less popular than Jesus. And they have interviews about them talking about whatever songs, and they put them together. John was talking about I Am the Walrus, and he said something about the fact that more interesting stuff and thoughts have been written about Dylan's lyrics and his lyrics than are actually in the lyrics, because somehow that intent is behind it. You know, that it's not actually baloney, that it is an expression. But you're just going to have to tease it out for yourself. And that's why it's worth doing, because people do podcasts about it 60 years after these.


Michael: In the case of I Am the Walrus, that is baloney.


Jimmy: Well, is it?


Michael: Yeah. I remember going to the dictionary, like semolina, pilchard and thinking about it and trying to figure out what it was telling me to do.


Jimmy: You know what, actually, this is great, and I don't know how relevant this is. But you love John.


Michael: Yeah.


Jimmy: You love. I Am the Walrus.


Michael: Yeah.


Jimmy: You don't think it's baloney?


Michael: Yeah, it is baloney.


Harold: You love baloney.


Jimmy: This, actually. Okay. Because, I can tie this back to-- Pittsburgh?


Harold: We're approaching Pittsburgh right now.


Jimmy: I was looking at my Pirates hat. I could tie this back to Peanuts because you said something once, on the podcast where oh, back in the early days when Peanuts was depressing, and somehow this is tying to I Am the Walrus and it's being baloney. Was it, because you are a very logical person, but, you're not necessarily a literalist. Did you find those early Peanuts literally depressing? Or was it just a funny thing about depressing things?


Michael: It was funny because it was depressing.


Harold: Did you walk away? It was more depressed than before you read it, I guess.


Michael: No, but you laugh because it's so true.


Jimmy: Because the characters in the world yeah.


Michael: You go like, this is hilarious because that's exactly what's happening around me.


Jimmy: Got it.


Harold: Yeah. And taking it also back to comics. the first comic book I ever wrote and drew was called Apathy Cat. And it was a cat, who basically wasn't showing much emotion. His eyes are closed almost all the time. And going back to this eye thing in comics. Yeah. Every character was viewing that apathy cat in a different way. He had a teacher who thought he was representative of everything that was wrong with youth today. He had one character who thought he was, like, the epitome of cool, and one of them thought he was complex and mysterious. The other one thought he was straightforward and simple. So everybody had this they were projecting themselves onto the character more because the character wasn't giving them a direct thing to interpret. And, yeah, those kinds of characters really can be fascinating, for sure.


Jimmy: Absolutely. Back to the song lyric thing, where you have a little bit of noise, a little bit of maybe fudged meaning or ambiguous meaning. That's the room for a person to come in and bring a little of themselves.


Michael: Yeah, but you don't want to be analyzing Jabberwocky too much, which is kind of the influence of that song, I think.


Jimmy: Yeah.


Michael: Ah, I mean, it's like nonsense.


Jimmy: All right, so here we go. Marcie and Peppermint Patty, our first duo on the back half of, the first nine. I think that makes sense. Listen to it again.


May 21, 1973. Peppermint Patty comes outside to greet Marcie. She, says, “guess what, Marcie? Our team is going to play Chuck's team in a charity baseball game.” Marcie says to Peppermint Patty, “but I'm not on your team, sir. I don't play baseball.” Peppermint Patty ignores this and says, “we don't want you to play, Marcie. We want you to sell tickets.” Marcie says, “you mean go from door to door?” Peppermint Patty-- “Sure.” Marcie. “What if I get mugged.”


Michael: You know, one of my problems with watching the specials is hearing the kids voices. I hear Marcie's voice as absolutely flat. No expression whatsoever. I am not on your team, sir. yeah, I don't know. What do you think?


Jimmy: No, that makes sense to me. I can totally get that.


Harold: Maybe not like a robot that kind of got a kind of low monotone kind of or whatever.


Jimmy: It seems like she's very even-keeled until she's not there's not like a range. It seems like it's flat and then a blow up. Flat, then a blow up, right.


Harold: Yeah. She's got a lot going underneath the surface, but she tries to keep it, mean, I told she and Linus are the two most concerned in Peanuts about getting mugged. And, I totally relate to know when I had to go door to door selling the Boy Scouts catalog of items. And we talked about it before, but, man, the Girl Scouts had such a better product than we did. It's when you're trying to sell the spreadable cheese that's in the plastic, barrel and soap on a rope and oh, my gosh, it was terrible going around trying to sell this. Just just the worst.

Jimmy: I actually do remember yeah, I remember the Cub Scouts or Boy scouts coming by. It was like a big cardboard box of crap. And they opened it up and you could look at it and go, I'll take one of those and they'd write, Mark it down. And, actually, one of the things I think I got was one of the, was the Happiness is a Warm Puppy book from the Boy Scouts. And I also remember a big, giant plastic sheet with Superman on it that you could color.


Harold: Wow.


Jimmy: I don't know what you did.


Harold: Ah, this whole door to door thing as a little kid, it just seemed, like, slightly illegal.


Jimmy: You shouldn't be totally dodgy. hey, go up to strangers houses, knock on the door, ask them to invite you inside, and then say, do I have anything that you would like?


Harold: Yeah. At least usually the people would come to the Girl Scouts. They'd be outside the local grocery store and set up their table, and they're moving a lot of cookies. But here, you're just inserting yourself into their world. And boy, I really feel for Marcie here. this is going to be a tough assignment. and the fact that she's the one that Peppermint Patty thinks is going to be the success in selling them is pretty great.


May 22, 1973. The very next day, this, continues. Peppermint Patty says to Marcie, “okay, Marcie, here are the tickets. Get out there and sell them.” Marcie says, “These tickets cost $0.50, sir. Who's going to pay fifty cents to watch Chuck's team play ball?” Peppermint Patty says “yours is not to reason why, Marcie. Yours is to sell tickets. This is for charity.” Marcie. “I'm sorry, sir. I guess I'm always reasoning why.” Peppermint Patty. “stop calling me sir.”

Jimmy: Harold, you probably relate to that one.


Harold: Yeah, I totally relate to Marcie in this moment. And again, it's just fascinating to see that she's hanging out with a friend who is pushing her limits. And I think even though she pushes back, she enjoys being in that environment around Peppermint Patty. And, I relate to that.


Jimmy: I kind of relate to Peppermint Patty. Maybe this is a Harold and Jimmy strip. Maybe I'm Peppermint Patty.


Harold: I think there's something to yeah, you've instigated a lot of stuff that I absolutely enjoyed going along with it's. One of the joys of my life is finding things along with you to become partners in crime on.


Michael: We're just minions.


Jimmy: No, but the downside of this, though, is,


March 21, 1974, because Peppermint Patty is also, unfortunately, nuts, which I also relate to. We see the destroyed remnants of Snoopy's dog house. His feet are sticking up. Peppermint Patty's disheveled. Marcie's disheveled. The whole house has been destroyed because Peppermint Patty has decided to drop out of society and just boop Snoopy on the nose. Marcie is having none of it, trying to pull her back to reality. Marcie says, “wow.” And then Peppermint Patty says, “allright, Marcie, I hope you're satisfied. You've destroyed Chuck's guest cottage.” Marcie, finally having had enough of her friend, said, “it's not a guest cottage, sir, it's a doghouse. And Snoopy is not a funny looking kid with a big nose. He's a beagle. When are you going to face up to reality?” Peppermint Patty turns her head, looks at Snoopy's back paws sticking up out of the rubble and says, “a beagle?” Snoopy. “Woof.”


Jimmy: So yeah, I mean, Peppermint Patty is a go getter and a force in nature. But she's also just a little bit askew.


Harold: And I think that's what really makes, I mean, it was really smart of Schulz to, to give that little sir thing to Marcie because otherwise Marcie could come across as, I think a little too together and even high handed in some of the stuff that she does. But because she's looking at the world askew as a regular thing, I don't know. It just seems to add a bit of vulnerability to her that you tend to like her more because she also has got her own perception issues.


Jimmy: Absolutely. And that's the quirk that makes all of these characters so lovable is that you're never like unless it's like, an outsider, like the kid that says shut up and leave me alone people or something like that. You're never looking at them as you're, you're invited to be like Marcie, you understand and empathize with Marcie and Peppermint Patty.


Harold: That's absolute genius that he does that. And that really is the heart of Schulz I think is this idea of being understood. I think his whole 50 years of making Peanuts in a way, was a way of being understood. And he struggled with that when he was younger and I think even into adulthood. And he found this way to be understood and making an argument for why we should be understood in the strip itself. It just speaks to the heart of who he was and just makes you really love him and the strip.


Jimmy: Absolutely. So now we come up, to our final duo. This is one of the great triumphs of my life. This duo is Snoopy and Woodstock. And if this podcast did nothing else, it got Michael to like Woodstock. And that may be on my tombstone. I got Michael Cohen to like Woodstock. So Michael, tell us now that you've become a Woodstock devotee, what is it about him and his relationship with Snoopy that you dig?


Michael: He's a complex character for basically an expressionless jumble of lines. Yeah, at first I just kind of resented the popularity of the Red Baron and Woodstock. And it was roughly the same time that I stopped reading. And so I kind of lumped it all together and, it's sort of when I stopped reading, it's just, it's this tiny little thing that's just got guts. It never quits. It's not like he's going to win in the end. He can't, he's too small. But he falls on his head 50 times a year and doesn't seem to phase him. So that's actually an admirable character. A lot of these characters I don't think are actually.


Jimmy: Right. What do you think, Harold?


Harold: Yeah, that's really cool to hear your take on. I, this was like prime reading time for me when I was a little kid, is when Woodstock got introduced. And I was one of those kids, I think, on the commercial side of Woodstock. I had the little stuffed Woodstocks and I had little stuffed Snoopys. There was no sweeter friendship in popular culture than Woodstock and Snoopy. But it did have those layers of complexity as well. it wasn't just straight, you know, commercial saccharine. That's not what it's like at all. It's just this real sweet friendship that has its bad moments as well. I really leaned into that as a kid. I think that gave me a sense of warmth, and hope. Just because here are two very different characters who have bonded in a way that you get to experience viscerally. And then I wanted to have that little physical representation of that, in having these little plush toys.


Jimmy: I had the no, I didn't-- I got Snoopy snow cone machine as a gift when I was in college. But I had the, Snoopy electric toothbrush and the little thing that would wind up the toothpaste to make sure he got every little bit out. That was a little Woodstock. It was very adorable. And by the end it looked like he was wrapped up. It was very cute. It was a good product.


All right, so let's take a look. And we're going to start with


January 27, 1971. Snoopy has received a letter. He thinks to himself, Woodstock writes a very nice letter. And the letter from Woodstock reads, “everyone here at Worm school is quite friendly. The food is only fair, and we have to get up too early. But I'm not complaining. Tomorrow we are going on our first field trip. As we birds say, it should be a lark. I will write more later. P. S. They have some cute chicks here.” Then in the last panel, Snoopy with a goofy grin on his face, rolls his eyes and says, “that Woodstock.”


Jimmy: Now I know we had talked about this one before, but the genius idea of giving Woodstock a voice after a couple of years before he was named just being the little chirp marks. And then it's been a while now what is it? January 1971. So it's been six or seven months since he's been Woodstock and now we're finally hearing his actual words.


Harold: Yeah, I love that. And I think you think about risks that somebody makes when you haven't done it yet. And all of a sudden, nobody knew what he was saying except through Snoopy's interpretations of things. This is a big risk, as a cartoonist to let Woodstock's voice be heard. And I love that Schulz sets Snoopy up so that we are going to be endeared by what's in there as well. Because Snoopy's telling us this is going to be very nice in the very first panel, he sets us up to then look with expectation into what's then, you know, from the last panel, it's bookended with Snoopy really enjoying the letter and having read a bunch of, you know, to people all throughout the years. There's a wonderful book called it's very hard to find. I think they called him Sparky, which is basically a lot of correspondence between him and his friends dating back to the church in Minneapolis St, Paul area, all the way through his life. And Schulz is very much like what you're seeing here in these little Woodstock notes. He would write these kind of often, silly endearing things in his letters to people he was close to. And that was kind of you got the sense that that's somebody who's at ease when Schulz is at ease, he's being playful and he doesn't mind making the bad pun. And I love that he gives that to Woodstock in the strip.


Jimmy: Yeah. well, the risk is definitely that Woodstock comes off as not charming. Right. I mean, if you don't pull that off, then it's a bad call to do it. So you really have to know that you're going to write something super cute, which of course he does and nails it. It's just great.


Harold: And that Snoopy is embracing that silly know and inviting us to as well, I think is delightful.


Jimmy: Now Michael, you told us, you were looking around on the Go Comics. Tell us what you noticed about, the coloring that they've been doing for.


Michael: Several years before Woodstock was actually named Woodstock and became an actual character. There was lots of bird characters and there was birds who would be playing poker in the dog house and doing all kinds of things. And a couple of them looked very Woodstocky. But I noticed when I was flipping around trying to find some of these duo strips, I came across a lot of the colored reprints on the dailies and, yeah, they're calling all the birds blue, all the non Woodstock birds blue. And I thought that looked really strange.


Jimmy: Now I wonder, do you have any idea what era you were looking at? Was this the 60s stuff?


Michael: Yeah.


Jimmy: Like the pre Woodstock.


Michael: Yeah.


Jimmy: I wonder what they do later. Because once Woodstock is well established, he starts having tons of friends and there's like a bird scout troop almost. I wonder what they color if they do that for those as well.


Harold: Because Schulz would have colored those himself in the yellow. I mean, the funny thing is, weren't there Sundays that would have set the tone for that, that Schulz would have.


Jimmy: There must have been, right?


Harold: At least those later ones. But the earlier ones, maybe they were all dailies, but I can't imagine there wasn't at least one where he colored them himself.


Jimmy: That's wild. Yeah. I mean, clearly, there had to be a meeting, right?


Harold: Yeah, right. Maybe there was a problem with it because there were all these questions. People are saying, hey, why are all these Woodstocks this and that? Okay, we got to solve this.


Michael: I might have been wrong because I just had a small sample. But, the early birds were bigger than Woodstock. But then there was a kind of it could have been Woodstock, it just didn't have a name in the late 60s.


Jimmy: Right


Harold: Yeah, like the ones that Linus are patting on the head. I wonder there were some Sundays for that, right?


Michael: So those might have been colored differently. I don't know.


Jimmy: very interesting, though, because it's just strange. you're keeping this thing going as an ongoing concern, but you're repurposing things that are decades old. You're trying to make it interesting, relevant, or just maybe in this instance, not confusing for a new audience. it's a challenge, no question.


Okay, here's another. I love this one. This one cracked me up. this goes to the heart of, I think, cartooning.


February 26, 1970. Snoopy is dictating a letter to his secretary, Woodstock, who is typing on the world's smallest typewriter. Woodstock types a very shaky, not, very neat. “Dear sir,” then turns and flashes to Snoopy the biggest cheesiest grin the little bird could possibly manage. Snoopy then pats him on the head twice. Pat, pat, and says, “that's very nice.” They both have big smiles on their face. Then they go back to work. Snoopy thinking “all secretaries need a little compliment now and then.” And then we see Woodstock continuing to type “P l x ? g.”


Michael: So he's just learning at this point.


Jimmy: He's just learning.


Harold: But how did he get the dear sir in the first and then the PLX, question mark G?


Jimmy: We don't know how many panels were before that of him just trying to get dear sir.


Harold: That's the monkeys at the typewriter thing. We just think he may have nailed it.


Liz: Maybe he was hired for his looks rather than his--


Harold: Well, I can see that he's got the cutest thing. I tell you.


Jimmy: Come on. That smile in panel two. That's why I picked the whole thing. That while and the PLX thing at the end, both of those.


Harold: This is very bizarre, but you know, what cartoonist I think of when I see that drawing of Woodstock?


Jimmy: let me think.


Michael: Mr. Mom.


Jimmy: Jules Feiffer.


Harold: I was thinking Gilbert Shelton, I wonder what warthog-- now Schulz apparently was reading underground comics.


Jimmy: Wait, hang on. Where the Woodstock drawing makes you think of Gilbert Shelton?

Harold: Yeah, the way that little beak is where it kind of kind of goes in and then it drops down to the mouth. It makes me think of Wonder Warthog, I don't know. But not that I'm a huge Gilbert Shelton expert by any means, but that's what I think of when I see that. And this is the era of underground comics. And I think Schulz is reading them.


Jimmy: Well, and the heart of underground comics is San Francisco. And Schulz is just north of San Francisco.


Harold: Right. So he's aware of what's going on. And the other thing yeah, there's the first panel of just the intense Woodstock. And then the cheesy grin Woodstock. And panel two. Panel three, the classic contented Woodstock, which I think was the version I had in my stuffed animal. And then the last panel where the little smile of the beak is actually before you even get to the eye. It's in front of the eye, which is just this little satisfied, adorable drawing. It's great.


Jimmy: Very cute. And then maybe the heart of Woodstock and his humor appeal.


April 3, 1970, Snoopy hits a high fly ball. Panel two, we see Woodstock in the outfield. A tiny little Woodstock surrounded by white space. Panel three, of course, with a little baseball cap. Wherever you got that, wherever you got the typewriter, I guess. “Bonk” hits him right on the head, and Snoopy yells, “two hands.”


Jimmy: Which cracks me up because that is the classic little league coach admonition. Two hands. But it just hits him clean on the head.


Harold: Yeah, he does have the little, does have the little mitt, too.


Jimmy: He does have a tiny little baseball mitt.


Harold: oh, my gosh how big was that?


Michael: Not going to help a whole lot with that ball. Yeah, the ball is ten times bigger than the mitt.


Jimmy: but he's out there trying, right?


Michael: Yeah.


Jimmy: There is something about the slapstick aspect, and I think Michael pointed out a couple of episodes ago where it's not a part really, of, the traditional or the rest of, let's say, the Peanuts stuff, or it's very rarely just mixed in. But it works so well with Woodstock because it has that sadness you're talking about, because it's so tragic that this tiny little bird is getting beaned on the head by this giant baseball that it's hilarious.


Harold: I love those stars, those little rounded edge instead of a pointed five point star.


Jimmy: that's 70s.


Harold: It's so Dating Game.


Jimmy: Yeah, right. It's so 70s. Or they would be sticker things you'd put on your shower.

Right.


Well, there you go. Guys, that, is our first crack at Peanuts duos. We are going to do more, obviously. And what we would love for you is tell us who we should cover. Who did we miss? This was not by any means the definitive only guide to Peanuts duos. So write us and tell us who we missed. Who would you guys want us to, cover? Harold and, Michael in the next time we do this.


Michael: I did mention, the Charlie Brown Sally.


Jimmy: Charlie Brown and Sally. I would say Linus and Sally.


Michael: There aren't a lot of those, but yeah, definitely.


Jimmy: Yeah, those are more there'll be more coming out.


Harold: Of course, we have to do Schroeder Lucy.


Jimmy: Have to do Schroeder Lucy. That was the toughest one I had, choosing ones, this week that I decided to cut.


Michael: Well, there might be more of those than just about anything.


Jimmy: Maybe we could do a whole episode of just them,


Harold: because it is a huge part of the strip. Then Lucy and Charlie Brown is certainly a good one. They just play off each other so well. And I wouldn't mind the Violet Patty combo.


Michael: Yeah, you need a third person there for them to attack.


Jimmy: Well, it'll always just be Charlie Brown, right?


Michael: He'll always be yeah, the two of them together is one person, so it's Viley, one of those things.


Jimmy: Yeah. Well, you know, I grew up with a woman named Violey Schmolock. Right.


Harold: Really?


Jimmy: Violey Schmolock. Yeah, that's true. And people would say things like, don't upset Viley Schmolock. And it's like, I certainly won't.


Harold: Wow, she must have quite the reputation.


Jimmy: So Violey. If you're out there, we'd love to hear from you. You could write to us at unpackingpeanuts.com. You could follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We're at Unpack Peanuts, and we're also Unpack Peanuts on Threads. Anyway, so then, come back next week where I think we're going to be talking about unrequited love.


Liz: Yes, that's right.


Jimmy: Okay. Unrequited love. So don't let our love for you be unrequited. Come back next week, talk about this great strip one more time. Until then, for Michael and Harold. This is Jimmy. Be of good cheer.


Harold: Yes, be of good cheer.


Michael: Be of good cheer and have a safe landing, captain.


VO: Unpacking Peanuts is copyright Jimmy Gownley, Michael Cohen and Harold Buchholz. Produced and edited by Liz Sumner. Music by Michael Cohen. Additional voiceover by Aziza Shukralla Clark. For more from the show, follow UnpackPeanuts on Instagram and Twitter. Unpacking Peanuts. Facebook and YouTube. For more about Jimmy, Michael and Harold, visit unpackingpeanuts.com. Have a wonderful day and thanks for listening.


Michael: Ah, yes, I'd snivel for that.


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