Today, I am singing loudly the praises of the wonderful Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, Charlie Brown, and the beloved Snoopy!
As a kid, I was always a big fan of Peanuts and Snoopy especially, but it’s only as an adult that I am starting to appreciate the genius behind these simple and yet deeply complex characters.
I had several Snoopy toys growing up ranging from a musical bell with Snoopy printed onto it (which played a lullaby at the pull of a string) to my prized Snoopy socks! These gave me a real feeling of joy just to look at and I somehow felt close to Snoopy when I had donned them! Having these as a child, I thought that Snoopy was special to me alone and didn’t grasp the enormity of his actual fame! It’s only as I became aware of the world around me that I accepted that maybe Snoopy was loved by others too!
I’ve recently finished listening to the audio version of the biography of Mr. Schulz called, ‘Schulz and Peanuts’ by David Michaelis. It really is a superb read. I get the idea that Charles Schulz struggled with attachment issues throughout his life and the early death of his mother to cancer affected him deeply. He named his dog character ‘Snoopy’, as towards the end of her life his mother had commented that should they ever get another dog, they would call him ‘Snoopy’. What a lovely way of honouring that wish.
Charles Schulz is portrayed as a quiet, possibly even mild sort of a person, who admits that Charlie Brown’s character is based mainly on his own. However, behind that façade, you can see a very determined spirit to whom securing a place in history as a top cartoonist was everything.
For the whole of his life, Charles Schulz drew each cartoon strip by himself, never requesting help from anyone even to draw out the boxes on the paper. He was a stickler for perfection and held himself to very high standards. Clearly, it paid off as Peanuts is as well-loved today as it was during Mr. Schulz’s lifetime.
I’m personally grateful for the happiness his characters brought to me as a child and for the hard yet very real questions about life they would raise.
I tip my hat to you, Mr. Schulz!
With a muffled sneeze into an oversized blue spotted handkerchief,