ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Charles M. Schulz: Creator of the Peanuts Comic Strip

Updated on November 1, 2019
Readmikenow profile image

Readmikenow enjoys writing about unique and interesting people. He likes to learn about individuals who live or have lived unusual lives.

Charles Schulz
Charles Schulz

Charles Schulz was a well-known cartoonist. He is the creator of the famous comic strip Peanuts. Schulz was the genius behind such memorable characters as Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Linus, and others. Many consider Schulz to be one of the most influential cartoonists to ever practice the craft. His Peanuts comic strip is still popular around the world. It was expanded into books, television shows as well as other types of merchandise and more.

Young Charles Schulz
Young Charles Schulz

Early Life

Charles Monore Schultz was born on November 26, 1922, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the only child of Dena Halverson and Carl Schulz. There was a horse named Sparky Plug in a comic strip done by Billy DeBeck. Schulz's uncle started calling him Sparky and the nickname would be with him the rest of his life. Schulz loved drawing starting when he old enough to hold a pencil. One of his favorite subjects was Spike, the family dog. Their dog would eat unusual things like tacks and pins. When Schulz was 15 years old, he drew a picture of Spike. He sent it to Ripley's Believe It or Not! The drawing was published in the syndicated panel of Robert Ripley. The caption below it had “A hunting dog that eats pins, tacks, and razor blades is owned by C. F. Schulz, St. Paul, Minn.” It was added the picture was drawn by Sparky. Schulz was a student at Gordon Elementary School. He was a gifted student and was able to skip two grades. This resulted in Schulz being a timid and shy teenager. He was also the youngest in his Central High School class. Schulz knew he wanted to be a cartoonist at an early age. He took a course from the Federal School of Applied Cartooning in Minneapolis. During this time, he would regularly submit his cartoons to publications around the country.

Charles Schulz in the U.S. Army
Charles Schulz in the U.S. Army

Military Service

In 1942, the United States Army drafted Schulz. During World War II, he was a staff sergeant and squad leader attached to the 20th Armored Division in Europe. Schulz was on a .50 caliber machine gun team. His unit only saw combat toward the very end of the war. During the one opportunity Schulz had to fire his .50 caliber machine gun, he had forgotten to load it. Unable to fire his machine gun facing enemy soldiers, Schulz admits he was lucky. The German soldiers he would have shot at were anxious to surrender. Charles Schulz was discharged from the Army on January 6, 1946.

Cartooning Career

Before being discharged from the Army, Schulz continued drawing cartoons. Upon returning home, he started working as an instructor at his old school, the Federal School of Applied Cartooning. This job made it possible for him to work for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He created a series of weekly four one-paneled drawings known as Li'l folks. This was published from 1947 to 1950. When Schulz was drawing Li'l folks, it was the first time he referred to one of his comic strip characters as Charlie Brown. The name was used for three different boys. The panel drawings also had a dog that resembled Snoopy. In 1948, Schulz sold one of his one paneled drawings to The Saturday Evening Post. During the next two years, the magazine published over 16 of Schulz's untitled drawings. He did this while still working for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Schulz attempted to have Li'l Folks syndicated. He approached the Newspaper Enterprise Association with the idea. Initially, the newspaper syndicate was interested, but a deal never materialized. The Pioneer Press stopped publishing Li'l Folks during January 1950.

Li'l Folks comic
Li'l Folks comic

Creation Of Peanuts

Toward the end of 1950, Schulz approached the newspaper syndicate United Features Syndicate. He showed them his one-panel series Li'l Folks. At this time, Schulz had worked on developing a comic strip. It consisted of four panels instead of one. United Features Syndicate preferred the four-panel comic strip. On October 2, 1950, Peanuts first appeared in seven newspapers. The first time the Peanuts comic strip was seen in Sunday newspapers was on January 6, 1952. It had a slow start but soon became popular. Peanuts went on to become one of the most influential as well as the popular comic strips in newspaper history.

Charles Schulz drawing Peanuts comic
Charles Schulz drawing Peanuts comic

Success

When Peanuts was at its highest level of success, it was published in over 2,500 newspapers in more than 74 countries. It was translated into over 21 languages. The Peanuts comic strip was published for over 50 years. Nearly 18,000 comic strips were drawn by Schulz. The comic strips, merchandise as well as the endorsement of products generate over $1 billion a year. During his entire career, Schulz took only one vacation. In 1997, he took a break for five weeks to celebrate his 75th birthday.

Ad for Charlie Brown Christmas
Ad for Charlie Brown Christmas

Movies

Schulz was visited by a television producer in the early 1960s. His name was Lee Mendelson. He wanted to film a documentary about Schulz. The documentary was never televised, but Mendelson and Schulz worked together to produce the television special called A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was televised in 1965. The program won a Peabody Award and an Emmy in 1966. This was also the year the television special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was first televised.

Charles Schulz with family
Charles Schulz with family

Family Life

Charles Schulz married Joyce Halverson in April 1951. Haverson had a daughter from a previous marriage and Schulz adopted her. Later in the year, the family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. The family had their son Monte in February. The family then returned to Minneapolis, Minnesota and had three more children. They stayed there until 1958 and then moved to Sebastopol, California. There Schulz built a studio for his work. Before this, he worked in a small rented office. Schulz and his family moved again in 1969 to Santa Rosa, California. Schulz divorced his wife in 1972. In 1973, he married Jean Forsyth Clyde.

Retirement

Schulz had heart bypass surgery in July 1981. When he was in the hospital recovering, President Ronald Reagan phoned him and wished him a speedy recovery. A few years after this, Schulz started complaining about his one hand shaking so badly he was forced to hold his wrist to draw. This condition was treated with beta-blockers. Schulz was still determined to draw his comic strip without help. Schulz suffered several small strokes in November 1999. It was determined he had a blocked aorta. Schulz was also found to be suffering from metastasized colon cancer. He had trouble seeing, and it had to deal with chemotherapy. This led to Schulz announcing he was retiring effective December 14, 1999.

Newspaper announcing death of Charles Schulz
Newspaper announcing death of Charles Schulz

Death

On February 12, 2000, Charles Schulz passed away at his home from colon cancer. He was 77 years old. The final original Peanuts comic strip was published the following day. Schultz was buried at Pleasant Hills Cemetery in Sebastopol, California. In his contract with United Features, no other artist was permitted to draw the Peanuts comic strip. The newspaper has honored that agreement.

Charles Schulz star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Charles Schulz star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Honors

In 1962, Schulz was given the National Cartoonists Society's Humor Comic Strip Award. In 1980, he was given the Elzie Segar Award. Schulz was the first person to win the Reuben Award twice, in 1955 and again in 1964. In 1999, he was given the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. A recognized fan of hockey, Schulz was given the Lester Patrick Trophy. This was for his outstanding contribution to the sport of hockey. In 1993, Schulz was also inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was given to Schulz on June 28, 1996. In September 2015, Schulz was inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center

Peanuts Lives

The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center opened in 2002 and is located in Santa Rosa, California. It features displays of original artwork, photographs, letters, and other Schulz memorabilia. The Peanuts characters are still seen in daily newspapers, television specials, anniversary books as well as commercials and more. A new Peanuts 3D movie was in theaters in 2015.

© 2019 Readmikenow

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR

      Readmikenow 

      4 months ago

      Eric, thanks for sharing.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Yes, I called my elder sister and she recalled. Met him in someplace "Santa" of course I was too young too remember specifics. Thanks.

    • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR

      Readmikenow 

      4 months ago

      Umesh, thanks for the comment. I enjoyed doing this article. There is so much more to this man than I think people realize.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      4 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Very detailed write up on the legendary cartoonist. Well narrated. Thanks.

    • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR

      Readmikenow 

      5 months ago

      Eric, thanks. You're welcome. I bet some of those may be some best memories.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We get so cool and up in our selves these days. Sometimes we forget to give a blessing to those who deserve it Thanks. Hanging out with the men who did the Jolly Green Giant and John Wayne. Dad had it going on as he grew up with them. My fav though that Black man and I cannot remember his name. He only had one eye.

      Thanks again for bringing back some silly kid memories.

    • Readmikenow profile imageAUTHOR

      Readmikenow 

      5 months ago

      Eric, thanks. Wow, what a special memory. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      My recollection is too vague. My dad knew him and I at around 6 got to shake his hand -- Maybe 1963. Mom made me read Snoopy.

      Thank you for this fine work.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)