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My Life with Charlie Brown

Charles M. Schulz, M. Thomas Inge

Publication Year: 2010

While best known as the creator of Peanuts Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) was also a thoughtful and precise prose writer who knew how to explain his craft in clear and engaging ways. My Life with Charlie Brown brings together his major prose writings, many published here for the first time.Schulz's autobiographical articles, book introductions, magazine pieces, lectures, and commentary elucidate his life and his art, and clarify themes of modern life, philosophy, and religion that are interwoven into his beloved, groundbreaking comic strip. Edited and with an introduction by comics scholar M. Thomas Inge, this volume will serve as the touchstone for Schulz's thoughts and convictions and as a wide-ranging, unique autobiography in the absence of a traditional, extended memoir Inge and the Schulz estate have chosen a number of illustrations to include. With the approval and cooperation of the Schulz family, Inge draws on the cartoonist's entire archives, papers, and correspondence to allow Schulz full voice to speak his mind. The project includes his comics criticism, his introductions to Peanuts volumes, his essays about philanthropy, his commentary on Christianity, his newspaper articles about the creation of his characters, and more. My Life with Charlie Brown will reveal new dimensions of this legendary cartoonist

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. ix-xiv

Charles Monroe Schulz, better known as “Sparky” among his family and friends, was twentieth-century America’s favorite and most highly respected cartoonist. His comic strip, Peanuts, appeared daily in over two thousand newspapers in the United States and abroad in a multiplicity of languages. ...

Chronology

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pp. xv-xxii

MY LIFE

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My Life and Art with Charlie Brown and Others

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pp. 3-19

And so, 25 years have gone by. At one strip per day, that comes to almost 10,000 comic strips. Actually, this is not so much when you consider the longevity of many other comic features. Employees receive wristwatches if they have put in this much time with a company, but a comic-strip artist just keeps on drawing. ...

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Peanuts as Profession of Faith

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pp. 20-25

An interviewer once wrote that one of my characters, Charlie Brown, mirrors some of my own childhood troubles. That may be true, but he is also a reflection of the troubles of millions of others—or so I gather from those who write me. I think Charlie is a reflection of something in all of us ...

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Commencement Address at Saint Mary’s College

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pp. 26-31

I would like to use a text from Romans 8:26 as a basis for my thought this morning. “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” ...

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Charles Schulz and Peanuts

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pp. 32-36

In all the articles that have been written about Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the other things we have been doing, none of the writers has ever mentioned that the one cartoonist who helped most was Walt Ditzen. When he was working for one of the syndicates in Chicago, I dropped in with a batch of samples and he went far out of his way that day ...

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The Christmas That Almost Got Stolen

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pp. 37-40

It is probably impossible to discuss holidays and children without talking about school. No matter how much meaning we try to put into holiday ceremonies, children will always look to these times primarily as a reprieve from schoolwork. ...

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Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament

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pp. 41-45

1935 was a good sports year for me. That summer I saw my first professional baseball game, and that winter I saw the St. Paul hockey team play Wichita in what was then the United States Hockey League. The hockey we played as kids in our neighborhood was on either a ridiculously small rink that my dad made for us in our backyard or else out in the snow-covered street. ...

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I’ll Be Back in Time for Lunch

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pp. 46-50

Sometimes it takes me a long time to come to certain conclusions. I have been drawing the Peanuts strip for almost 35 years now and, of course, have had many strangers visit my studio. They look at all the books in my room and at a beautiful glass-top desk, given to me by my wife as a wedding present, ...

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The Fan: Baseball Is Life, I’m Afraid

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pp. 51-56

Baseball is life, I’m afraid. Well, I love baseball. I suppose I love it so much because I love standing on the mound where I can look over the whole game and field and feel I’m in control. What a beautiful feeling that is, wow! ...

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Comic Inspiration

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pp. 57-59

I’m not often asked where I get my ideas for drawing Peanuts, like that little French café where Snoopy sits and passes the time talking to the waitress. I don’t know exactly where that idea came from—drawing a comic strip is sort of a mysterious process— but I have been to Paris a few times over the years. ...

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Don’t Grow Up

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pp. 60-66

An astounding thing has been happening to me the last couple of years. People come up to me and say: “Are you still drawing the strip?” I want to say to them, “Good grief—who else in the world do you think is drawing it?” I would never let anybody take over. And I have it in my contract that if I die, then my strip dies. ...

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My Shot: Good Grief!

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pp. 67-68

Golf has always been a big part of my life, ever since I was eight years old, watching the Bobby Jones films at Saturday matinees, caddying at Highland Park in St. Paul, and eventually playing in what we still like to call the Crosby. I’m still sad that last week, for the first time in 37 years, I wasn’t invited to play. ...

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A Morning Routine

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pp. 69-70

I usually drive to our ice arena in the morning, where I have an English muffin and some grape jelly and a small cup of coffee. I love to read the morning paper at that time of day. As soon as I get out of the car, there are two dogs who realize that it is me. They live in a rented house on the corner, and as soon as I begin to walk toward them, they come running to the fence. ...

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Questions about Reading That Children Frequently Ask

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pp. 71-74

It is difficult for me to single out one favorite book, as I have read and enjoyed many over the years. As I think back to some that I read as a young boy, one that comes to mind is Hans Brinker by Mary M. Doge. I have always been fascinated by ice skating and I think that it must have been a thrill for the kids in Holland to skate down the dikes. ...

MY PROFESSION

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Developing a Comic Strip

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pp. 77-84

One of the hardest things for a beginner to do is merely to get started on his first set of comic strips. It is strange that most people who have ambitions in the cartoon field are not willing to put in the great amount of work that many other people do in comparable fields. ...

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Peanuts—How It All Began

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pp. 85-88

When I was growing up, the three main forms of entertainment were the Saturday afternoon serials at the movie houses, the late afternoon radio programs, and the comic strips. My dad was always a great comic strip reader, and he and I made sure that we always bought all four of the Sunday newspapers published in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. ...

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Creativity

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pp. 89-103

Surroundings play a definite role in my kind of creativity. I have found from experience that it is best to work in one single place and have a regular routine. The beauty of the surroundings is not necessarily important. In fact, I feel more comfortable in a small, plain room than I do in a fancy studio. ...

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A Career in Cartooning

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pp. 104-110

There is no form of entertainment that comes close to the sustaining power of the comic strip. Some of our most successful features have been running for as long as thirty to fifty years. This means that generations of people have grown up with the characters in the comic strip, and have learned to know them as well as their own friends. ...

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Why 100 Million of Us (GASP!) Read the Comics

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pp. 111-115

There is no field of entertainment that has such a large following, and yet has so little written about it as the comic strip. The daily and Sunday page comic strip artists get no reviews from discerning critics, and have only letters from readers and monthly statements from their various syndicates to tell them how they are doing. ...

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Happiness Is a Lot of Assignments

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pp. 116-122

When Kirk Polking called to ask me to do this article, I was very pleased for several reasons. Ever since I was a teen-ager, I have been an avid reader of Writer’s Yearbook, buying it each season, and devouring every word as I dreamed of the day when I would be drawing my own comic strip. ...

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On Staying Power

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pp. 123-125

A cartoonist is someone who has to draw the same thing day after day after day without repeating himself. Sometimes there are days when ideas come very rapidly, but unfortunately, there are also days when nothing comes at all, and no matter how hard I try to draw something philosophical and meaningful, something to touch the hearts of everyone, I find it impossible. ...

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Address to the National Cartoonists Society Convention

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pp. 126-140

I’d like to welcome all of you to the first of two wonderful seminars this morning. It’s my hope that the seminars become a regular feature of this convention. I know that we all come here to socialize, but we are all resources for one another, and I think we ought to start taking advantage of that. ...

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Pleasures of the Chalk-Talk

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pp. 141-144

As a general rule, I must admit that I am not overly fond of giving chalk-talks. I always enjoy myself while I am actually performing, but after it is all over, and I have loaded my equipment back into my car, I suddenly find myself with that long lonesome drive home, and I wonder to myself, “Why in the world did I do this?” ...

MY ART

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The Theme of Peanuts

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pp. 147-163

The initial theme of Peanuts was based on the cruelty that exists among children. I recall all too vividly the struggle that takes place out on the playground. This is a struggle that adults grow away from and seem to forget about. Adults learn to protect themselves. ...

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But a Comic Strip Has to Grow

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pp. 164-170

Drawing a daily comic strip is not unlike having an English theme hanging over your head every day for the rest of your life. I was never very good at writing those English themes in high school, and I usually put them off until the last minute. The only thing that saves me in trying to keep up with a comic strip schedule is the fact that it is quite a bit more enjoyable. ...

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What Do You Do with a Dog That Doesn’t Talk?

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pp. 171-178

Comic-strip characters, I have noticed after 30 years of drawing Peanuts, come and go quickly. Some work better than others. Some don’t work at all. Some, like Snoopy, are so strong that they tend, if you let them, to take over the strip. Others, like Frieda, with the naturally curly hair, drop by the wayside, ...

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Appendix

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pp. 179-188

Seven young men took part in the assassination plot that destroyed the life of the Archduke Ferdinand, and hurled the nations into the monstrous conflict we call World War I. All seven of these young men were ill with tuberculosis. It has been said that fever has a way of coloring one’s view, and in their case it helped drive them toward what they believed to be an heroic end. ...

Index

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pp. 189-193


E-ISBN-13: 9781604734485
E-ISBN-10: 1604734485
Print-ISBN-13: 9781604734478
Print-ISBN-10: 1604734477

Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2010