Sunday, March 4, 2012

Last Words: Charles M Schulz

 

“Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy...how can I ever forget them...”

-          Charles M Schulz

Charles Monroe Schulz (1922 –2000), was the author of the comic strip Peanuts.  A shy timid youth, possibly from being the youngest in his class, he had his drawings rejected for his high school year book.  Sixty years later the school erected a 5 foot statue of Snoopy.  Following war service he took a job as an art teacher.

In 1947 his cartoon strip Li’l Folks was syndicated in various newspapers but was dropped in 1950, whereupon Schulz published some of the best strips from Li’l Folks, the origin for Peanuts.

Peanuts ran from 1950 to 2000, with reprints and reruns continuing to the present day.  The strip is considered to be the most popular and influential in the history of the comic strip, amongst other influences having cemented the four-panel gag strip.  At its peak Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries.
Schulz continued to write the strip until forced to retire for health reasons.  At his retirement there were still 5 original Sunday Peanuts strips to be published.  The last was due to be published on 13 February 2000 and was drawn to announce his retirement.  Sadly, Charles Schulz died the night before, aged 77, of a fatal heart attack.  He had also been suffering from cancer.

The last original Penauts strip, which ran on 13 February 2000, shows Charlie Brown telling a person on the telephone that Snoopy is unable to come to the phone in that he is writing.  The rest of the strip shows Snoopy sitting at his typewriter, thinking, with a note from Charles Schulz which reads:

Dear Friends,

I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost fifty years. It has been the fulfilment of my childhood ambition. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip, My family does not wish "Peanuts" to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement. I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy...how can I ever forget them...

Charles M Schulz

(Click on the image to enlarge).


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