PEANUTS IS 65 YEARS OLD
To the younger generation, who may be confused about Peanuts. For those of you relating it to a healthy nutty snack, rather than a beloved cartoon classic. This is because Peanuts is a pretty old franchise. The Peanuts first comic strip was on Oct. 2nd, 1950. The comic strip continued its run until Feb. 13th, 2000. In that time there have been multiple specials and movies featuring iconic Peanuts characters, such as, It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! and A Charlie Brown Christmas. The latest installment in the Peanuts Franchise is the newest movie, The Peanuts Movie.
SCHULZ HATES THE NAME “PEANUTS”
A time before Peanuts, Charles M. Schulz, the author of the series, created a comic named Li’l Folks for his hometown publisher St. Paul Pioneer Press that ran from 1947 to 1950. When the comic strip was dropped, Schulz went looking for a new publisher to publish his work. Sadly for Schulz, when he went to the United Feature Syndicate for publication, they asked him to change the name because it was too similar to existing titles. The Syndicate renamed the comic Peanuts despite Schulz’s distaste for the name. In a 1987 interview, he talked about his disliking with the title, “It’s totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity—and I think my humor has dignity.” Schulz might not have liked the name, but plenty of his fans do.
THE FRANKLIN CONTROVERSY
Peanuts has always been known to stir up some controversial topics, such as social satire, religion, and politics. One of these early controversies came from the character Franklin. Franklin, an African-American character, made his debut in the Peanuts comics in 1968. Various people from publications and local communities advised Schulz not to go ahead with the debut of this character. A southern school teacher told Schulz that going with the character might create the possibility of “antagonizing the African-American community”. In the South, newspapers went so far as threatening to stop publication of the comic entirely. Despite warnings and threats, Schulz continued drawing the character. He reasoned with those that disapproved of the idea that it would “help normalize relationships between different ethnicities.”
THE IMPACT PEANUTS MADE
Peanuts is seen as one of the greatest comic strips ever made, due to its creative narrative and well written features. It has received multiple awards in the past. In 1962 Schulz received the Humor Comic Strip award from the National Cartoonist Society, the Reuben award both in 1955 and 1964, and the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement award in 1999. Not only that but the TV specials have earned multiple Emmys and two Peabody awards. Schulz left behind such an impact that he has an airport named after him in Sonoma County, Calif. named The Charles M.Schulz airport, featuring Snoopy as the logo for the airport.
THE LEGACY CONTINUES
The most recent Peanuts movie is written by Charles Schulz’s son and grandson, Craig and Bryan Schulz. Back in 2006, Craig had come up with an idea for a movie that had more structure to it than any other Peanuts movie, but still retained the nature of the original Peanuts. In 2012, it was announced that both the Schulz’s, Blue Sky Studios, and director Steve Martino had begun work on a new Peanuts movie. In multiple articles, Craig stated that Steve Martino was a perfect choice. Craig says he is quite protective of the comic strip and chose Martino to direct it due to his faith in his earlier work Horton Hears a Who!. Which, he said, had more of a structural narrative than the original, yet still retained faithfulness to the source material.