Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Charles Schulz

Tomorrow is Charles Schulz' 87th birthday.

Ted Dawson, one of the Three Men in a Tub blog, shares the photo below. It's an ice sculpture, that was created in Schulz's hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota almost ten years ago, to commemorate the very last PEANUTS Sunday strip on February 13, 2000.

As you may remember, Mr. Schulz passed away the day before his last strip was to run. It was on the news that morning, just as the Sunday papers were delivered.

The sculpture became not just a tribute to the newspaper comic strip, but also the focal point for fans to stop and honor this great cartoonist. People heaped cards and flowers in remembrance of the man and his Charlie Brown and Snoopy and all of those moments that have stuck with us.

Like so many people I know, I grew up with the newspaper strip, the CBS specials and the collections. It was so cool that the libraries in the small towns I grew up in (Iowa City, Lawrence, KS) stocked those PEANUTS paperbacks. I learned words from Lucy, like "psychological" and "real estate." I tried to copy the drawings when I was a kid, too. Schulz's simple style was deceptively hard to reproduce!

Happy Birthday, Charles Schulz: an American original.

1 comment:

Cartoon Image Licensing Database said...

Your post brought back some vivid memories...I had those paperbacks of Peanuts collections and would meticulously copy how they were drawn, and create my own actual strips (on ruled paper, with those blue lines) and draw them trying to get as many pages created as possible and give them to my pal Stevo who lived down the street. We had those huge Peanuts Anthologies at or local library and I would go down and ask the librarian to get them off the shelf when I was a kid, I recall going in a corner and reading them at those big old oak tables. I'd open those books like a little kid (I was then!)in a candy store and read strip after strip and see the progression of Sparky's drawing style getting more cleaner, more refined and up-to-date.
The smell of the pages as I'd leaf through, had that "musty" old library inkish odor. Funny how those thoughts stick in your mind....and then to see all of those "specials" on TV ....especially the Christmas one which was my favorite. And as you wrote how his last strip came out the day he passed away was so ironic, it seemed it was in the stars and meant to be. I heard it on the news that day (I knew he was sick for quite a while prior) and I simply smiled because it was a fitting farewell to the guy who set the bar that no one else has yet or ever will jump over. To this day I rarely read those old re-hashed stips in the paper, believing they were meant to be read and enjoyed only during his time on this planet. It's a very good set of memories involving a very cool strip and creator.