Fans say 'Peanuts' has been part of their lives

Comics: Readers speak of a half-century's joy derived from Charles Schulz's homey comic strip.

January 03, 2000

After nearly half a century of entertaining and inspiring generations of cartoon connoisseurs, "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz announced last month that he had decided to end his popular comic strip.

The final original daily "Peanuts" strip runs today (See Page 6E), and the final original Sunday strip will appear Feb. 13. The Sun will begin running classic "Peanuts" strips tomorrow.

In recent e-mails, faxes and letters to The Sun, devoted readers of the "Peanuts" strip shared their recollections of the cartoon and told how, for many, a daily helping of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the "Peanuts" gang became a way of life.

Here's what some of The Sun's readers had to say:

"I love Lucy, and the Sunday panel in the '70s about the `Crab Sandwich' is a favorite of mine. I was getting complaining letters from our daughter who was abroad, and the `Crab Sandwich' panel was the nicest way I had to ask her to lighten up!"

-- Terese Blatt, Columbia

"I am a BIG `Peanuts'/Snoopy fan. I have been collecting `Peanuts' items since I was about two. I have an extensive book collection as well as other items. I looked at the strip before I could even read.

"Today, I am a social studies teacher at Westminster High School and use `Peanuts' strips whenever I can in my classroom. Schulz was a World War II veteran. I have used some of his war sketches -- WWII envelope sketches sent back to the homefront and his annual commemorative D-Day strips -- in my United States history class. Schulz also used actual D-Day footage, which has been `colorized'and incorporated into his video, `What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?' Students can relate to the concepts of unrequited love, adventures gone wrong, and anxiety. Therefore, they can relate to `Peanuts'!"

-- Christina Dougherty, Westminster

"My father has the following strip hanging in his office: Snoopy is atop his doghouse, typing his novel. Panel one, he writes: `Edith had refused to marry him because he was too fat.' Panel two: `Why don't you go on a diet?, suggested a friend. You can't have your cake and Edith too.' Panel three: `Mmmm!' thinks, Snoopy, turning from the typewriter and joyfully kicking his dog feet in the air. Last panel: `It's exciting when you've written something that you know is good!'

"If you write, you strive for that moment Snoopy is describing. If you write and you read `Peanuts,' you've seen a cartoon provide these moments on a regular basis."

-- Dan Harvey, Baltimore

"Throughout the years, my fridge has displayed funny strips and poignant strips, strips that seemed to speak to me personally, and others that seemed to tell me just to laugh at myself and be done with it!

"Now, framed upon my fridge is an eloquent daily strip featuring Sally and Charlie Brown. Sally asks Charlie,`What are the words you most hate to hear?' Across the table, looking forlorn and wistful, Snoopy thinks, `You stay home now and be a good dog.'

"This clip of everyday life not only depicts a dog lover's worst fears, but our fears of leaving one another and the ensuing loneliness."

-- Donna M. Felschow, Owings Mills

"I always liked when Snoopy was given human traits -- fancying himself as a lawyer, a pirate, a helicopter (whirlydog), a vulture. Being a hockey fan, I liked the hockey strips. I also enjoyed the philosophical moments -- Charlie Brown (and others) leaning on the wall making observations about life, Linus and (sometimes) Schroeder expressing their thoughts on philosophy and religion in a manner beyond their years, Snoopy dancing with wild joy, but feeling guilty when Lucy admonishes him to take things more seriously, calling him stupid. And after she leaves, he dances off."

-- David Rothenberg, Pikesville

"I have wonderful memories of my two brothers and I piling onto my parents' bed on Christmas morning with `Peanuts' paperbacks in hand -- which we received in our Christmas stockings -- and reading the best strips out loud to my father, who was and still is a big Snoopy fan.

"Like most kids, we really were hooked by the annual Christmas and `Great Pumpkin' shows, which were classics, and we thereafter followed the Sunday strips from the late '60s on. Through the '70s, my favorite character was Snoopy as Joe Cool. It was such a simple shtick, to put dark sunglasses on a beagle to effectively transform him into a hip, James Dean-type character (at least in his own mind). I think that's what I appreciated most about the characters, text and `messages' of the strips -- they were beautiful in their simplicity."

-- Ann Baer Cogan, Havre de Grace

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