The Peanuts history in a nutshell:
“The Peanuts” began as a syndicated comic strip that ran daily, with a special color extended strip every Sunday. It was written and illustrated by the late, great, Charles M. Schultz. It ran from October 2, 1950 until February 13, 2000, with reruns continuing on afterwards. It is one of the most popular and influential comic strips of all time, with 17,897 strips published in all. At its peak, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was translated into 21 languages.
But to me, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The Peanuts influence is massive. It reaches into every facet of our society. To understand this completely, I think we should acknowledge that what began as a small black and white comic in a small local newspaper, blew up to be a worldwide, billion dollar franchise. The newspaper strips were just a part of that, and a small part of it at that. There have been books, television productions, feature films, plays, recordings, t-shirts, toys, peanut butter, underwear, a shaved ice machine, waffle maker, Hallmark cards, Christmas ornaments, ties, lunch boxes, skate boards, figurines, candy, coin banks, puzzles, corn on the cob holders, and on and on. In 2011, Forbes Magazine listed Peanuts as number 9 on its’ list of the 20 best-selling entertainment products in the world.
Let’s face it, it’s a brand that is recognized the world over, by many generations. And even 15 years after Schultz death, it’s as strong as ever. There’s even a new movie coming out as I write this. And I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited about taking my kids to go see it!
So I have to ask, what makes Peanuts so great! Is it the relatable loser Charlie Brown, who can’t seem to win? (Has he ever kicked the football?) Or is it his lovable dog Snoopy? Lucy? Linus? Peppermint Patty? Woodstock? Pig-pen? Franklin? Schroeder? Sally? Marcie? Did I miss anyone? I wrote that list without looking. That’s how ingrained these characters are to me. I remember their television specials and movies. I remember their bed sheets. There would be no Thanksgiving Day Parade without the Snoopy balloon. He also has his own blimp. How cool is that? How many characters can say that?
I love The Peanuts and you love The Peanuts (come on, you know you do). The world loves The Peanuts. We love the strips, the television specials, and so forth. We love all of it. And evidently, we can’t get enough of it. Why?
Well, let’s see. It’s funny. It’s heartwarming. It’s sad at times. It’s relatable. It’s got complex characters. It’s got intriguing story lines. It has no adults. And it’s wholesome. I found countless articles on the internet about the enduring timeless messages in the Peanuts content. The proof is there. I think there is something for everyone. I believe there’s a Charlie Brown and Snoopy in all of us.
Top 10 Charles M. Schultz films according to Flickchart.com: