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Another holiday tradition - the new Peanuts Movie is coming this holiday season 2015

Updated on November 1, 2015

The Peanuts gang

Top:  Woodstock, Snoopy, Charlie Brown Bottom:  Franklin, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Peppermint Patty, Sally Brown
Top: Woodstock, Snoopy, Charlie Brown Bottom: Franklin, Lucy van Pelt, Linus van Pelt, Peppermint Patty, Sally Brown | Source

The Peanuts Movie - 2015 Holiday Season

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Another holiday tradition I love, as do many others, is watching the TV Peanuts special, A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Until I see the meek, insecure, shy, introverted Charlie Brown find his Christmas tree and decorate it, the season is not complete for me. The TV special is taken from the famous and popular comic strip, Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz, and features his characters made famous by the comic strip. Schulz himself was a genius, not much different from Walt Disney, and he created a legendary newspaper comic strip and characters that are living and thriving far after his own death on February 12, 2000.

This year, The Peanuts Movie, is coming out November 6, just in time for this year's 2015 holiday season. It is an adventure/comedy with the story by Charles M. Schultz, who created the funny and lovable Peanuts gang.

This new movie is about our lovable blockhead, Charlie Brown, smitten by the Little Red-Haired Girl who moves into his neighborhood. We see Charlie Brown, the worlds most famous and beloved underdog, overcome the obstacles of Lucy and his own shy self, to kick up the courage to ask out the Little Red-Haired girl.

But, don't forget about Snoopy, Charlie Brown's lovable dog, who is busy himself this Christmas. He pursues and tries to take out his arch-rival, the Red Baron as they fight together over the skies in France. He also tries to win the heart of the beautiful female pilot named Fifi.

Both Charlie Brown and Snoopy go after their loves this Christmas. Will they both be successful or both fail? Find out by going to the nearest movie theater this November/December.

Who can forget Charlie Brown, the most unsuccessful person to live in the Peanuts comic strip? He couldn't kick a football, win a baseball game, or fly a kite. His perennial pursuit of the "little red-headed girl" was always funny, yet heart-breakingly unrequited. The "little red-headed girl" was based on a real person in Schulz's life, Donna Mae Johnson, whom he fell in love with, he proposed to her, but she turned him down and married another man. So much of Charlie Brown was the nemisis of Charles Schulz, who was a shy, timid child and teenager, who also had a dog as a boy, just like Charlie Brown.

In fact, the original characters in the comic strip, Peanuts, were named after people in Charles Schulz's life. Charlie Brown, the main character of the strip, was named after a co-worker of Schulz's at the Art Instruction school where he worked after WWII. Linus and Shermy were both named for good friends of his. And, Patty, was named after Patricia Swanson, a maternal cousin. Peppermint was added years later and came from the candy.

Peanuts comic strip made its debut on October 2, 1950 at United Feature Syndicate. It originally ran in eight Amerian newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune and The Boston Globe. It became the most popular comic strip of its time and still remains so today, more than 50 years later. Peanuts comic strip ran for 50 years almost without interruption. It has appeared in more than 2600 newspapers in 75 countries. The last original Peanuts strip was published the day after Schulz's death on February 13, 2000. The strip continues in syndicated re-runs today. There were 17,897 Peanuts comic strips published in all. And, A Charlie Brown Christmas, was the first television special of the comic strip characters which aired in 1965. I have been watching it every Christmas since then.

The original characters, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Patty and Shermy, appeared from the first comic strip, but the other characters appeared later:

  • Violet -- 1951
  • Schroeder -- 1951
  • Lucy -- 1952
  • Linus -- 1952
  • Pigpen -- 1954
  • Sally -- 1959
  • Frieda -- 1961
  • "Peppermint" Patty -- 1966
  • Woodstock -- 1967
  • Franklin -- 1968
  • Marcie -- 1971
  • Rerun -- 1973


Which is your favorite Peanuts character?

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Peanuts as social commentary

The Peanuts characters are all children ranging in ages from five to nine, but they are not defined by their literal ages. David Michaelis of Time magazine has described the characters as "fusing adult ideas in a world of small children." He continued, "Through his characters, Schulz brought . . . humor to taboo themes such as faith, intolerance, depression, loneliness, cruelty and despair. The characters were contemplative. They spoke with simplicity and force. They made smart observations about literature, art, classical music, theology, medicine, psychiatry, sports and law." The Peanuts characters were timeless, universal, transcended age and were more broadly human than some adults.

The comic strip was known for its remarkable social commentary especially during the 1960s and 1970s. The comic strip was at its peak of popularity during these decades and commented, sometimes satirically, on such topics as the Vietnam War, school dress codes, "new math", Little Leagues and "organized" play dates, and Sputnik when Snoopy tossed Linus in the air and claimed to be the "first dog to launch a human." Schulz did not specifically preach on racial and gender equality issues through his comic strip as he assumed them to be self-evident.

Peppermint Patty shakes up Charlie Brown's world by calling him "Chuck" and openly flirting with him. She has definite athletic skills and is a self-confident and assertive girl. Franklin is present in the comic strip in a racially integrated school and neighborhood. And, Charlie Brown's baseball team had three girls and one dog as players. This comic strip was in the vanguard on these social issues.

Also, during these decades, Schulz focused more on the character Snoopy, creating alter-egos for him. Remember Snoopy as the WWI flying ace, and as a best-selling suspense novelist? And who can forget, "Joe Cool", the college student? Snoopy always lived in his own world hardly aware of the other characters. Of all the Peanuts comic strip characters, Snoopy was probably the happiest character.

And, there was Woodstock, Snoopy's friend, whose chirping, represented by hash marks, was only understood by Snoopy and was named after the famous 1969 music festival in Woodstock, NY. Frieda, was the character who was always proud of her "naturally curly hair"; Linus never went anywhere without his security blanket; Schroeder always was playing the piano and teaching us about classical music as he warded off the advances of Lucy; and, of course, Lucy, who annoyed Charlie Brown to no end and was always on hand to see that he was unsuccessful in whatever he endeavored, especially at kicking the football, when she would pull the ball away at the last minute.

When Charles M. Schulz died, he had requested in his will that the Peanuts characters remain as authentic as possible and no new comic strips based on them be drawn. United Features, who has legal ownership of the comic strip, has fulfilled Schulz's request and today only runs syndicated re-runs of the original strips in the newspaper under the name, Classic Peanuts.

So, start your own Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition by watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas, and introduce your children to the most lovable comic strip characters ever invented and drawn. Oh, and you will laugh, learn and enjoy them all over again!

More on Peanuts and Charles M. Schulz


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