Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy birthday, Sparky Schulz

Today would have been Charles Monroe “Sparky” Schulz's 90th birthday. He was born November 26, 1922.

Who needs to be reminded that Schulz created the characters of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and the rest of the cast of characters for the Peanuts comic strip? The strip led to licensing and TV specials, a Broadway play, animated movies...Schulz's characters are familiar to everyone in the world. Even 13 years after his death we are still reading his newspaper strips, and we are still seeing his characters everywhere we go.

I collect a lot of Peanuts comics; I’m not into the merchandising of the characters, but I love the comic strip, which I consider the greatest of the second half of the Twentieth Century.

Here is an early publicity picture, which I got from the 1989 book, Good Grief, The Story of Charles M. Schulz by Rheta Grimsley Johnson.

The first of the Peanuts books, which reprinted his work and kept it in circulation while his fan base grew to circle the globe. Thanks to Dave Miller, who, some years ago made a gift of this book to me. It is one of my most valued books.

TV Guide had a short article on Schulz in their March 11, 2000 issue after his death. The Charlie Brown television specials not only made viewing records, but also promoted his comic strip to its pre-eminent position for the rest of the Twentieth Century.

When Schulz died his daughter, (Amy I believe), had the syndicate place obituaries in newspapers. I have never seen that done for a public figure, before or since. It was her way of personalizing his death by creating a personalized obituary, not the public tributes or obits that had been pouring in since he died. I clipped it from my newspaper and have reproduced it here.


DEMiller said...

Nice memorial to a great cartoonist. Glad you enjoy the book I gave you. When can I have it back? (jes' kiddin')

Kirk said...

Now you're talking about one of my childhood (as well as adult) heroes. Had Schulz lived and stayed in reasonable health, I firmly believe he'd still be doing that strip at 90. People would've carped that the strip wasn't what it use to be, but it would still be better that 95% of what's on the comics page.

I wonder if Snoopy would have eventually traded in that typewriter for a laptop.

Postino said...

Kirk, if you get a chance someday visit the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Looking at his original art is inspiring, even when his hands were shaking and he had the nervous line. The humor was always there, even when he was ill.

I agree with you that he would probably still have been drawing today if he was able to sit at his drawing board and hold a pen.

Postino said...

Dave, you know that book is safe with me and has a happy home.