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Annotations of The Complete Peanuts/1950 to 1952

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Annotations to The Complete Peanuts: 1950 to 1952 by Charles M. Schulz (Fantagraphics Books, 2004. ISBN 156097589X)

  • p. 9 (October 31, 1950). One of the games of marbles involves shooting one marble out of a ring with another.
  • p. 11 (November 17, 1950). Although Peanuts is famous for its complete absence of adults, they were occasionally seen and heard in the earliest years of the strip (see June 3, 1952).
  • p. 24 (December 21, 1950). First appearance of Charlie Brown's famous zig-zag striped shirt. (See p. 278, December 8 1952, for the "negative" of this shirt.)
  • p. 30 (January 11, 1951). A filibuster is an attempt to delay the proceedings of a legislature. Shermy is stalling for time to get his homework done.
  • p. 46 (March 8, 1951). Patty is using a typewriter.
  • p. 49 (March 21, 1951). "Mad dog" refers to a dog with rabies. Rabid dogs are usually killed by local authorities (c.f. To Kill a Mockingbird).
  • p. 67 (May 23, 1951). "Second childhood" refers to mental impairment as a result of old age. It was a euphemism for such things as what we now know to be Alzheimer's disease.
  • p. 71 (June 4, 1951). In the early 20th century, people unhappy with the squalor and crime of big cities went "back to the soil" and became farmers. It was an attempt to re-connect with nature and enjoy "the simple life." What Charlie Brown was referring to was playing in his sandbox.
  • p. 79 (July 4, 1951). It is generally thought that the convention of a man walking nearest the curb is so that he and not the lady would be splashed by passing carriages or by someone above emptying a chamber pot.
  • p. 84 (July 21, 1951). In the early part of the 20th century, when a young lady went out on a date, she didn't need to bring any money since the man would pay for everything. But it was recommended that she carry some "mad money", in case the man did something that angered her (made her mad), so she could end the date and have her own money to take a street car or taxi home.
  • p. 91 (August 13, 1951). "Comic magazine" and "comic book" are used interchangeably throughout the early days of the strip, with the former eventually dropping out of use. (See p. 17, November 29, 1950 for the first use of "comic book".)
  • p. 93 (August 21, 1951). Neptune is the ancient Roman god of the seas.
  • p. 105 (October 2, 1951). Schroeder is playing the slow movement (Grave) from Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 op. 13, "Pathetique."
  • p. 108 (October 13, 1951). In a less politically sensitive time (white) children would play "Cowboys and Indians," a game in which they would chase and pretend to shoot each other, with either imaginary guns—a child's index finger being the gun's barrel and the thumb the hammer (See Volume 2's August 7 1954, p. 250, for Lucy's clever take on this "hand gun") -- or using toy weapons. (See p. 148, February 10 1952, for a full-scale production of the game.)
  • p. 114 (November 1, 1951). Children in the United States used to ask for money or candy on Halloween. In the 21st century, it's become almost exclusively candy.
  • p. 124 (December 6, 1951). The proper technique for ice fishing is to cut a hole in the ice—which is what Charlie Brown does six days later in the December 13, 1951 strip, p. 126.
  • p. 125 (December 10, 1951). Someone else has drawn a picture of Charlie Brown on the sidewalk. He adds the legend "Don't Tread on Me" so that people won't scuff up his picture (scuffing him in effigy). The phrase "Don't Tread on Me" along with the image of a rattlesnake became popular during the American Revolution and is seen on the Gadsden flag. It remains a symbol of defiance against oppression.
  • p. 135 (January 12, 1952). Charlie Brown is "driving" a soapbox car, a car made of wooden boxes, with no motor, that only goes downhill due to gravity.
  • p. 136 (January 13, 1952). Alexander Graham Bell is generally credited with the invention of the telephone.
  • p. 137 (January 15, 1952). The expression "Born on the wrong side of the (railroad) tracks" means to be poor, but Charlie Brown is using it here to mean unlucky. The snow man was unlucky enough to be born where it's sunny (because it's melted him).
  • p. 140 (January 23, 1952). This musical piece is more commonly referred to as Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 29 in B flat major. This is also the music for March 25 and April 14. A Hammer-Klavier (in correct German, Hammerklavier) is simply the German word for piano. Schulz lettered those German words in blackletter script, which was still in use in Germany at the time. (See also p. 206, June 24, 1952, below).
  • p. 146 (February 4, 1952). Albert Payson Terhune was the author of many stories and novels about dogs, most notably Lad, a Dog.
  • p. 148 (February 10, 1952). Charlie Brown is mis-singing Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home" (More commonly know by its first line, "Way down upon the Swanee River"). "Old Chisel Home Trail" is the Chisholm Trail, a cattle drive route from Texas to Kansas in the 19th Century.
  • p. 159 (March 7, 1952). Charlie Brown and Snoopy are playing William Tell, the legendary Swiss hero who shot an apple from his son's head with an arrow.
  • p. 160 (March 9, 1952). The joke is that in the three hours they played (a common length of time for a round of golf), they only made it as far as the 1st (of 18) holes.
  • p. 171 (April 3, 1952). Charlie Brown is delivering the traditional whistle of appreciation for feminine beauty (though it usually has two notes: WEEEET-WOOO), and Patty takes offense. Schroeder, being more musical, delivers a mini-concert to Violet and gets to walk off with her. It is the melody to "Traumerei" from Schumann's "Scenes from Childhood" for piano.
  • p. 179 (April 21, 1952). "Rubbers" is another term for galoshes.
  • p. 182 (April 29, 1952). Charlie Brown thinks they need him to play the card game bridge, which requires four people. (Six months later, p. 257, October 22 1952, that is what he's needed for.)
  • p. 194 (May 27, 1952). Snoopy's first words in the strip, as opposed to "Smack Smack" (see p. 2,1 December 11, 1950, 2nd panel) and other animal noises.
  • p. 197 (June 3, 1952). The first time that adults (except for Beethoven) are seen in the strip, even if only on TV. (See Volume 2, pp. 215, 218, and 221 for whole crowds of adults as Lucy plays in a golf tournament.)
  • p. 201 (June 14, 1952). "Sweetmeats" is just another term for confectionery products, including candy.
  • p. 202 (June 15, 1952). Patty is misquoting William Congreve's line from his 1697 play The Mourning Bride: "Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast. . ."
  • p. 203 (June 17, 1952). "The Gay Nineties" refers to the economic expansion and rapid wealth gains experienced in parts of America in the 1890s. Likewise, "The Roaring Twenties" refers to American in the 1920s, a period of rapid social change and economic prosperity that only ended with The Great Depression.
  • p. 206 (June 25, 1952). Both 33 and 20 are terrible scores for any hole in golf.
  • p. 218 (July 21, 1952). Because he wrote about collies, these are almost certainly Albert Payson Terhune books again (see p. 146 above).
  • p. 225 (August 7, 1952). Schroeder is playing the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 op. 27 No. 2, "Moonlight."
  • p. 228 (August 15, 1952). A shutout is a game in which one team wins without allowing the opposing team to score at all. So, yes, their opponents having scored 63 runs, Charlie Brown's team has no chance of shutting them out.
  • p. 231 (August 22, 1952). Lucy is confusing checkers with the card game bridge, where a coup and grand coup are various sophisticated card plays. Charlie Brown doesn't appear to know the difference either. But he soon learns to play (See p. 257, below).
  • p. 243 (September 19, 1952). Linus's first appearance (although his name wouldn't be mentioned until September 22). Schulz: "[O]ne day I was doodling on a piece of paper and I drew this little character with some wild hair straggling down from the top of his head and I showed it to a friend of mine... whose name was Linus Maurer. For no reason at all I had written his name under it... [t]hen I thought, why not put this character in the strip and make him Lucy's brother?"[1]
  • p. 246 (September 25, 1952). Vasco Núñez de Balboa was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from the New World. Daniel Boone was an 18th century American frontiersman and Indian-fighter.
  • p. 248 (October 1, 1952). Perfect pitch (also called absolute pitch) is ability to sing any individual note on command and/or recognize any individual note upon hearing it played. It is often thought to be a sign of musical genius. Charlie Brown is confusing it the pitching in baseball. Also the first instance of fourth-wall breakage in Peanuts.
  • p. 264 (November 7, 1952). The strip's first use of "fuss-budget", a term seldom seen outside of Peanuts. It means one who fusses over insignificant matters; a complainer.
  • p. 267 (November 15, 1952). Note the use of "deep focus" on both Lucy and the telephone. Quite dramatic. Right out of Citizen Kane, which the strip would refer to frequently in later years.
  • p. 268 (November 16, 1952). The first time Lucy pulls the football away from Charlie Brown.
  • p. 278 (December 9, 1952). Schroeder is playing the Prelude in C major from Book One of J. S. Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier."
  • p. 282 (December 18, 1952). Carnegie Hall is one of the finest American venues for the performance of classical music. In the 1950s and 60s especially it was considered the height of musical accomplishment to perform there.
  1. Wilson, Kenneth (September 1967). "A Visit with Charles Schulz". Christian Herald.