Charles Monroe Schulz

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nicknamed Sparky, was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Peanuts (which featured the characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown, among others).

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JeanSchulz1805 karma

Yes, he could be cranky particularly if he had person after person after person interrupting him from things. It seems to me that I've read this story somewhere too, and obviously this would have been back in 1969, and I'm not sure whether this made it into something but it does sound familiar, the boy on the way to school wanting to shake hands and the no I will probably get sick, it all sounds like there was a period when we had ice shows in December and we would both have colds. We would be greeting people ALL DAY LONG. two shows a day, for two weeks, and we would always get sick. So Sparky said I am not going to shake hands, or hug, at the ice show because I always get a cold. But that was different, and a different thing, just no don't shake hands because I have a cold. But was he as bitter as that? No, that was a very bad day, poor kid and I can see why he would remember it. You would feel really rebuffed by that. But he was overall a pleasant person. If he had come off the golf course and had a lousy round, he would not want to talk to anybody. However, he loved to laugh, and when he was visiting his friends, or when he was on the golf course, they would laugh and joke and tease. So he was probably was LESS cranky than a lot of people because he truly liked people. He was interested in people and in observing them and what they were like.

Thank you also for your earlier comment because I am delighted to know that we are doing a good job. We do try.

JeanSchulz1545 karma

Well I think I have to say that he was SO complimentary and so loving to me. it didn't matter what I did - if I found him at the office, that evening he would say "I just loved hearing your voice on the telephone today" and then he would say "every time you walk into the room I fall in love with you again." I'd cook an ordinary dinner and he would say "Thank you so much."

In the back of my mind I would think "Did he learn that somewhere? Is he just saying that because he read somewhere to compliment your wife once a day to have a happy marriage?"

But he was so sweet. And it was so wonderful to feel that adored.

And I can still feel that from him.

He also helps me find things. I would always lose things, and would think "Sparky will help me find it." And he has. So he's still taking care of me.

JeanSchulz1174 karma

You know, I'm going to clip that out and send that to the people at Mall of America because it was not a decision in their favor. But these are business deals that it's just difficult to even describe. And I've actually forgotten what happened, but typical american business deals. It had nothing to do with him passing, it really had to do more with contractual terms and my husband never owned the copyright to his comic strip, it was owned through United Media, but there was a contract for X number of years with Camp Snoopy and it's so convoluted I can't even remember. So they probably were unhappy that they did let it go, but it's big American business these days.

JeanSchulz1142 karma

Thank you for that image because whenever I think of Woodstock and Snoopy now I will think of that. It's lovely.

JeanSchulz1015 karma

You know, I have to say that I really appreciate your perspective and sensibility because obviously we have the same feelings. And that is one reason that it's taken so long before we did a movie. After my husband passed away, we just felt that nobody else could do it. There were several half hour specials taken mostly from the strip and kept very close to the strip without Charles Schulz individually inputting on them, but the team that is working on it, you couldn't have said it better because they are very sensitive to the tradition they are working in and believe me, they want to make this as close to Charles Schulz' sensibility as possible. We can't imagine what he would have thought or inputted or created for it, but I am very hopeful that it is going to be a movie that fans will truly enjoy and feel that we have put our 110% best effort into keeping it in the tradition. But it's a risk, I think we all knew that there was a certain risk to doing something new. Yet we eventually (it took a long time) wanted to do this. The original script and idea came from Sparky's son Craig Schulz who's in his 50s and his son Bryan who is a scriptwriter and his writing partner Neil Uliano, and they've written and sold several scripts, so the 3 of these family members did the script. And the BlueSky team that is working on it is very very sensitive. But the director, Steve Martino, is very very sensitive. I cannot speak more highly about his sensitivity to the material he is dealing with, and I think that's the best we can hope for, so I am certainly feeling that the question is right on and they are working their hardest. And it's more than just working hard, you also have to open up your heart and mind to let the right stuff come in.

JeanSchulz908 karma

They're based on Sparky's (my husband's) observations of the world and of children in the world. But the names of the characters come from real people. There was a Charlie Brown in art instruction schools in Minneapolis when he worked there (he worked there as an instructor that looked at the lessons that came in through the mail - it was a correspondence course. He took the course when he was about 18 and then he went back to work for them when he came out of the army. This friend of Sparky's said that people never called him Charlie, they always called him Charlie Brown.) There was another fellow named Linus, and Lucy had her name early on, but she got her last name about a year later when Sparky and his wife Joyce moved to Colorado SPrings and he ran into a fellow who rented an office in the same building walking up the stairs and this fellow was called "Van Pelt" and he was someone that Sparky had been in the army with, so he used that name, but at first Linus and Lucy did not have a last name.

Shermy was there a lot in the early part of the strip, but sort of faded away and you see Shermy appear when they need a lot of characters. He sort of has a brush cut. Sometimes it's hard to identify the characters when there are a bunch of them... anyways Shermy was a friend of Sparky's and they knew each other from 12 on, played a lot of baseball together, and Shermy was a violinist and went on to have a career there and his mom taught piano. Sparky said he used to sit on the back porch waiting for Shermy to finish his piano lesson so he could come out and play, and he heard Beethoven in her house, which was probably (because he didn't come from a cultured family) quite a big discovery, that there are people who have this higher culture.

Schroeder who ends up playing Beethoven was a caddy - I've forgotten at the moment whether it was his last name or his first name, but they called him Schroeder. He was a caddy at the golf course when Sparky was a teenager who also caddied. He said they got 25 cents a bag. Not a lot for carrying a bag all day.

JeanSchulz888 karma

Well I love the whole theme, and then some of the scenes around it of Snoopy decorating his dog house, and then Charlie Brown saying "my dog's gone commercial!"

It's just because it's such a funny juxtaposition with the kids and the school play and the Christmas tree and then you have a sidestory where even your dog is disappointing you.

JeanSchulz717 karma

Oh boy! That's a good question. You know, it's funny but there is a play, I may go down and see it in June, I think it's called "Utterly Filthy", where the hero of the play is Pigpen, which is a great title. It's 40 years later and all the characters have grown up. But I haven't seen it yet, so I can't tell you what the playwright is imagining.

But you sort of think Linus is probably teaching at some level. Lucy is probably running a software company (I'm making this all up, I have no idea) and Schroeder might be a conductor. I'm anxious to see this play and see what he proposed, though, because Pigpen is his favorite character.

And Charlie Brown? He's such a soft, easy, guy that he'd be doing something like being an oceanographer or studying marine mammals or something? He has so much compassion. He might run the Humane Society. That would be perfect because one of the people Sparky truly loved was the person who ran the Humane Society in Santa Rosa. He would take in all the spray pets that nobody would want, and Sparky admired him so much because of his level of compassion for the animals. We live out in the country and we have rattlesnakes, and I would ask him to get rid of them and he would say "that rattlesnake isn't hurting anybody". So yes, Charlie Brown is going to run the Humane Society.

JeanSchulz559 karma

Well that is sweet, and thank you, and you know what I have to say too is that I hope that all of these people who have cared enough to write in will have an opportunity sometime to come to the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. Because I love the exhibition in Japan, but when you're in our museum next to the ice arena where he skated and the studio where he worked, you get a sense of him. There is a spirit here that we have, so I hope that all of you get to come sometime. And I hang around here a lot! Sometimes you run into people and they never expected to see me, like I happened to be in the ice arena and 2 couples were having lunch and one came up to me and said "I'm Judy" - she was the 2nd wife of someone I knew in San Francisco in 1957-1958 and I had COMPLETELY lost track of her. So we just happened to get re-acquainted!

JeanSchulz512 karma

I think that he was a deeply thoughtful and spiritual man. Sparky was not the sort of person who would say "oh that's God's will" or "God will take care of it." I think to him that was an easy statement, and he thought that God was much more complicated.

When he came back from the army he was very lonely. His mother had died and he was invited to church by a pastor who had prepared his mother's service from the Church of God. Sparky's father was worried about him and was talking to the pastor and so the pastor invited sparky to come to church. So Sparky went to church, joined the youth group and for a good 4-5 years he went to Bible study and went to church 3 times a week (2 bible studies, 1 service). He said he had read the bible through three times and taught sunday school. He was always looking for what those passages REALLY Might have meant. Some of his discussions with priests and ministers were so interesting because he wanted to find out what these people (who he thought were more educated than he) thought.

When he taught Sunday school, he would never tell people what to believe. God was very important to him, but in a very deep way, in a very mysterious way.