Charles Shults


PEANUTS
The comic strip PEANUTS has always been a favorite of mine, and most of America?s. It?s been a hit ever since the first PEANUTS comic strip was printed on October 2nd 1950 in seven U.S. daily newspapers. Charles Shultz, the inventor of this imaginative comic strip, still comes up with every PEANUTS strip for the Sunday papers. He leaped from job to job after completing his art?s program, he was even an art teacher for a while, but finally made it to the top. His original comic strip was called "Lil? Folks" but because of political issues he was forced to change it to PEANUTS. It is now the longest running and most popular of all comics. It was also one of the first comics ever to have more than a few characters. In fact in Shultz?s strip there were about twelve actual reoccurring characters, of which I am about to share with you along with a brief description of each.
First off, of course, is Charlie Brown. He wins your heart with his losing ways. It always rains on his parade, his baseball game, and his life. He?s an stong willed boy who is afraid of arguments. Although he is concerned with the true meaning of life, his friends sometimes call him "blockhead." Other than his knack for putting himself down, there are few sharp edges of wit in that head of his; usually he?s the butt of a joke, not the joker. He can be spotted a mile away in his sweater with the zig zag trim, head down, hands in pockets, headed for Lucy?s psychiatric booth. He is considerate, friendly and polite and we love him knowing that he?ll never win a baseball game, or the heart of the the little red-haired girl, kick the football Lucy is holding or fly a kite successfully. His friends call him "wishy-washy," but his spirit will never give up in his quest to be all that he can be.
Next on the list of introductions should be none other that Lucy Van Pelt, since I mentioned her once before. Lucy works hard at being bossy, crabby and selfish. She is loud and yells a lot. Her smiles and motives are rarely pure. She?s a know-it-all who gives out advice whether you want it or not--and for Charlie Brown, there?s a charge. She?s a real grouch, with only one or two soft spots, and both of them may be Schroeder, who prefers Beethoven. As she sees it, hers is the only way. The absence of logic in her arguments is a strong part of her character. When it comes down to compliments, Lucy only likes the receiving end of the line. If she?s paying one--or even smiling--she?s probably up to something devious.
Being it that I earlier spoke of Schroeder, I might as well analyze him now. Schroeder, who idolizes Beethoven, brought classical music to the PEANUTS strip. Reserved and usually unbothered, Schoeder reacts only when Woodstock tries to make his grand piano into a playground, or Lucy seeks to make it her courting grounds. The latter can lead to minor disputes.
Woodstock is the smallest of the PEANUTS gang but has a big presence for a little bird. He?s a little inept, his flying and logic are a little questionable at times, but he can type and take shorthand and usually is game for anything Snoopy wants to do. Although he?s the butt of many of Snoopy?s practical jokes, he?s the beagle?s closest friend and confidant and has made attempts at retaliation. Because of his size and the company he?s with, Woodstock is an accident waiting to happen. Being a bird and tiny, he gets a little insecure around Thanksgiving and big moving objects. He?s the only baseball player who gets an automatic walk if the ball rolls over him. Woodstock only talks a kind of birdspeak, and find an alphabet make up entirely of exclamation points. Quite adequate to express such emotions as distress, frustration and a real temper. His flocking friends are Bill, Harriet, Olivier, and Conrad.
Now for my all time favorite, Snoopy, also known as: Joe Cool, World War I Flying Ace, Literary Ace, Flashbeagle, Vulture, Foreign Legionnaire, etc. Snoopy is the life of every adventure-at least in his daydreams atop his doghouse. He regards his master, Charlie Brown, as "that round-headed kid" who brings him his supper dish.