Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Charles Schulz - Charlie Brown

“All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed.
For after all, he was only human. He wasn't a dog.” 

- Charles Schulz on Charlie Brown 

Oh Good Grief – I am listening to the sound track of The Boy Named Charlie Brown by Vince Guaraldi  when I am writing this blog.  The music heard here probably introduced millions of kids to jazz and I was one of them, the swinging tune, the piano, the bass and the drums,  Linus and Lucy, Baseball Theme, blue Charlie brown and of course fly me to the moon, the tune which led me to Frank Sinatra when I was seven.

Charlie Brown, Shermy, Patty, and Snoopy was created by Charles Schulz in 1950, which was named Peanuts by the company and appearing on seven newspapers.
We all see little of ourselves in Peanut

Charlie Brown, things always seemed to go wrong for him, and he was often puzzled by the problems in life, dominated by insecurities, he always reminds me of the song “everything happens to me “, someone helpless but full of love.

Lucy van Belt, a crabby and cynical eight-year-old girl, the main bully and the older sister of Linus and Rerun.

Linus, the best friend of Charlie Brown, unusually smart, and he acts as the strip's philosopher and theologian, often quoting the Gospels, believes in the Great Pumpkin and never without the blanket over his shoulder while sucking his thumb.

Schroeder, Charlie Brown's closest friend after Linus and Snoopy, the catcher on Charlie Brown's baseball team, down to earth often escapes reality in front of his favourite toy piano, an avid fan of all things Beethoven.

Sally, the complete pragmatist and devoted to Linus, Charlie brown’s sister.
Marcie, the smart one, horrible at sports, but terrific at friendship.

Peppermint Patty the Tom boy, forthright, loyal, hopelessly in love with Charlie Brown.

Snoopy, a  wildly imaginative, supremely confident Beagle  also a canine master of disguise as ”Joe Cool” or “the World War I Flying Ace”. While pondering life from the top of his doghouse, he writes the great American novel, travels to the moon, and plots revenge on the cat next door, never forgets when it’s time to eat and often celebrates the occasion with a happy dance.

Woodstock, a fluttering, sometimes sputtering, little yellow bird, Snoopy’s second-in-command, helicopter pilot, Chirping in a language only Snoopy understands, never far from Snoopy.

As the strips became more popular, new characters were added, including Rerun, Lucy's brother, Franklin, José Peterson, Pigpen, Snoopy's brother Spike.

One an unseen character in the peanut comic strips is  the little red-haired girl serves as the object of Charlie Brown's desire, was inspirited by  Schulz ‘s former co-worker, Donna Mae Johnson . Donna and Schulz eventually became romantically involved and dated for three years, when Schulz proposed to her, she turned him down, saying she was already engaged to fireman Allan Wold. She married Allan and  Schulz was devastated. Said Schulz of the relationship, "I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is. 

Tracey Claudius, Claimed that she had an affair with Schulz back in 1970, but Schulz was forced to leave her, he was purposed to her twice but she rejected him because she didn’t want to ruin his reputation. The same year Joyce, his then wife divorced him,  recently Claudius’s daughter  are trying to auction the love letters from Schulz , you can see that Schulz written and drawn on the letter “Yesterday I stood in a book store for two hours and no one give me a hug. Tracey . ..Tracey… Tracey…”, even thought Schulz’s family were refused to acknowledge the auction and the affair. 

Having spoken and corresponded with hundreds of Schulz's relatives, friends, neighbors, buddies from his childhood in Minnesota and during his stint as a "foot soldier" in World War II.  “He was a complicated artist who had an inner life and embedded that inner life on the page,”  The writer Mr. Michaelis said in an interview in Charles Schulz’s biography Schulz and Peanuts -“ His anxieties and fears brought him Lucy and the characters in Peanuts. A normal person couldn’t have done it,” he said. “I have this awful feeling of impending doom,” Charles Schulz , said on “60 Minutes” in 1999. “I wake up to a funeral-like atmosphere.”  In Good Grief: The Story of Charles M. Schulz, similarly describes him as depressed and plagued by panic attacks, despite a large family and mammoth financial and critical success.

"I have deep feelings of depression “. “What can I do about it?" said Charlie Brown
"Snap out if it," advised Lucy.

Perhaps  Charlie Brown's frustration and Linus and Lucy were Schulz ‘s melancholy  personalities, perhaps, Schulz was unhappy and never recovered from his mother's tragic death, and the rejection of his first love, he used shyness as an excuse to avoid taking risks, Schulz had dysfunctional relationships with women, or being a poor barber’s son, Schulz never refused to admit that he was Charlie Brown.  he grabs Schroeder's shirt with both hands and screams, "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S LIKE!!".  
There’s always something missing in Schulz’s life no matter how successful he was and how many children he got, the feeling of worthlessness followed him everywhere.  But the same time this is exactly why we are all related to “Peanuts" it was a proof that we were not alone when we failed , when we are in the dark, when we're worry the world had gone crazy, someone understands and speaks for us “ loser”,  Schulz has brought us laughter and taught us something about life thru his comic strips and philosophy  and after all, He was just human.

“I think I'm afraid of being happy because whenever I get too happy something bad always happens.”
― Charlie Brown

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