Portrait by Pete McDonnell for The Petaluma Argus Courier
Cartoonist Charles Schulz died in February 2000, the night before his final comic strip ran in the Sunday paper.
But the characters he created and developed over the course of five decades still endure, in the form of reruns, beloved TV specials, a movie and a museum dedicated to Schulz’s work. So too does the comfort they provide.
That’s according to Schulz’s widow, Jeannie Schulz, and Gina Huntsinger, the director of the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif. They spoke to Morning Edition about Schulz’s life and legacy, which Huntsinger calls “pervasive.”
As a kid, I was fortunate to realize the value in sadness, and Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, born 100 years ago Nov. 26, was a big reason why.
… consider how well-versed Charlie Brown is in the realities of unrequited love and just-out-of-reach goals. The kicking of a football, for instance, ripped away by his best friend’s sister.
The strip and the animated features extol a form of wisdom we encounter in both the blues and the writings of Henry David Thoreau. All is not lost, despite how things most seem, because of what Peanuts is most about: faith.
Jeannie Schulz, widow of the cartoonist and president of the Charles M. Schulz Museum’s board of directors, puts it concisely: “Sparky tapped into a universal humanity, and translated it into simple lines with a subtle humor.”
Those elegant, poignant, slyly simple lines curled and curved their way into religion and sports and war and mental health and love unrequited. To mark the centennial, The Washington Post asked celebrities from various areas of achievement what Schulz’s creation has meant to them.
Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang may be recognized around the world, but to the people of Sonoma County, they are simply our nieghbors.
You would think that I would’ve had a blog post ready to go for this monumentous day, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Charles M. Schulz. But no, I am sitting here on the day, chewing on leftover turkey and putting together my thoughts. And certainly, Schulz has had a major impact on my life, from helping to cause my early love of the comics form to being a core part of my career.