The Peanuts comic strip is now 65 years old! This calls for a special post! So, I’ve decided to celebrate with my top 10 favorite moments in both the strip and the cartoons.
10. Snoopy stands up to the cat next door. Charlie Brown’s next-door neighbor has one freaky cat. This cat is actually capable of knocking down Snoopy’s doghouse with one mighty swipe of its paw. In one story, Linus runs to Snoopy screaming that the cat next door has caught Woodstock. In one shining moment of courage, Snoopy leaps off his doghouse and fights the cat, winning what looks like a hard fight. In the end, he discovers that the cat was only playing with a yellow sock puppet. But as Linus points out, Woodstock would’ve been honored to know Snoopy went through for his little buddy.
9. In one strip, Peppermint Patty was sleeping through math class, causing her z’s to become math problems.
8. “He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown”–all of it, but particularly the ending where instead of punishing Snoopy for running away from home, Charlie Brown forgives him. It’s basically the Peanuts version of Jesus’s parable of the prodigal son. I’m not sure if it’s on DVD, but I’d say watch it. It’s one of the best specials.
7. The strip above, where Lucy learns just how important it is to count your blessings.
6. In a Sunday strip, Peppermint Patty’s dad gives her roses just because he knows that when she gets older, lots of boys will try to woo her with flowers. He wanted to be the first boy to ever give her flowers. Aw! And what makes this even better? Schultz himself did the exact same thing to his oldest daughter.
5. For the entire history of the strip, Charlie Brown’s baseball team infamously never won a game, except by forfeit because the other team couldn’t show or by rain cancelling the game before it could finish. (neither of those count, of course) But in a 1993 strip, they actually won a game! In fact, he even scored the winning run!
4. A running gag in the strip is for Lucy to prank Charlie Brown by promising to hold a football and let him kick it. This gag has always bothered me. Especially in the Valentine’s Day special, where Charlie Brown tried to impress the Little Red-Haired Girl (who was called Heather in the cartoon, the only time she actually had a name) by playing in the homecoming game. Picture this, the home team is depending on him. You’d think just once, Lucy would finally let him kick the football. But no, she has to humiliate him! Grr! Well, in “It’s Magic, Charlie Brown”, Charlie Brown FINALLY gets the last laugh. He finds a way to make himself invisible and sneaks right past Lucy and kicks the football. That was so satisfying.
3. In one special, the gang explored the different kinds of magic popularized by America. At the end of the special, Linus asks Charlie Brown what his favorite song is. The answer? “Linus and Lucy”, the same piece of music we hear at least once in every Peanuts special!
2. “Why, Charlie Brown, Why?” This has to be one of the saddest moments in the history of the franchise. In this special, Linus has a friend named Janice, who gets leukemia. There are two scenes I love in this special. The first is the scene where Lucy thinks Linus should stop playing with Janice for fear that he’ll get leukemia too. He responds by saying “I’d better stop hanging around you. I don’t want to catch your crabbiness.” The second scene is where she wears a baseball cap to hide her bald head, caused by chemotherapy treatments for her leukemia. Then a bully comes along and pesters her when the wind blows her cap off. Linus chews him out big time! Sally, I think someone else has claim to Linus as a “sweet baboo”.
1. The Christmas special, which still plays every year. Atheists may gripe about Christmas, but this special will still air, and I hope that never changes. It’s the only Christmas special that actually mentions Jesus. I just love the scene where Charlie Brown cries out “Doesn’t anyone know what Christmas is really about?”, and then Linus answers by reciting the mystery of the Nativity. Charles Schultz actually had to fight to have this scene stay in the special, and he won.
So, happy 65th birthday, Charlie Brown. May your misadventures continue to entertain children for years to come.