By Matthew Bitz
As of this last week, "a great light has gone out" in the media, Charles Schulz, the creator of "Peanuts" passed on. His death marked the end of a half-century run of Peanuts and the end of Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and Charlie Brown. Schulz was 77.
Peanuts was first published in 1950 on October fifth and ran until February 13, 2000. Ironically, Mr. Schulz died as the final original strip was being printed. His son, Monte Schulz, was quoted saying, "he had done what he wanted to do and that was it for him."
But Schulz didn't start out wanting to write and draw about little kids and a dog named Snoopy, in fact, he didn't even like the name Peanuts, but little kids were what sold at the time and the syndicate that bought the strip decided that Peanuts was better than "Lil Folks" and for the next 50 years we all laughed at the gentle humor of Snoopy pondering life at his typewriter and hoped that one of those countless times that Charlie Brown would finally manage to kick the football. In the 50 years that he tried, he never quite made it, because, as his creator said, there is nothing funny about the guy who kicks the football.
Perhaps the thing that most endeared Charlie Brown to our hearts was the fact that he was like us, human, and prone to mistakes and riddled with flaws. But unlike so many of us today, he bore it all with a quiet dignity that was beyond his years.
Through all the times that the baseball team lost and all the times he missed the ball, whenever Snoopy insisted on his dish being filled, and every other time the world did him wrong he bore it all. A simple "good grief" was all we'd hear him utter.
But now along with his creator, he is gone, and we once again bid adieu to someone who has shaped our lives a little bit everyday, made it all just a little bit more bearable and who helped us to laugh and who made us smile. Goodbye, Charlie Brown, we hope that wherever you are that maybe now you are kicking that ball as far as it will fly. Goodbye, Snoopy, we wish you the best at your attempts to write the great American novel and we hope your dish gets filled every day as it has for the past half-century. Goodbye, Mr. Schulz, and thank you for 50 wonderful years.