The first Peanut comic strip, most famous for its main character, Charlie Brown, ran on October 2, 1950, which, incidentally, fell on a Sunday, like today, October 2, 2011.
The final Peanuts comic strip was published on February 13, 2000, the day after Charles M. Schultz, mastermind and author of Charlie Brown’s world, passed away. Schultz had prepared the strip ahead of time, in January of the same year, to be published posthumously.
During the lifetime of the comic, and even afterwards, through reruns, Charlie Brown became a friend to many Americans. Probably most of us can thank him for helping us on various occasions:
He sympathizes with us on bleak days.
He wishes us happy holidays, and spreads a warm, fuzzy feeling each December.
He empathizes with those of us who have a hard time with our studies.
He relates with us when we feel alone or rejected.
He proves to us that, no matter how discouraged we get, someone is more pessimistic than us.
After the widespread success of the Charlie Brown, or “Peanuts” comic strip, it might be hard to believe that the successful cartoonist, Charles Schulz, modeled Charlie Brown off of his own character and experience. He shared his own inner turmoil, weaknesses, pessimism, determination and love for others with the world in the figure of Charlie Brown, in order to empathize, encourage, and instill hope in the rest of us, who all share a common human experience, with its ups and downs.
Whether or not Charlie Brown will go down as one of your favorite comic characters, we can all take a moment to say a prayer of gratitude for Charles Schultz and the many writers, artists and other individuals that make the world a better place by sharing their talents to help all of us enjoy humor, cheer, beauty, knowledge, and the many other good things in life.
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson