Monday, December 19, 2011

Since when do the adults speak in 'Peanuts'?


I have a Peanuts day calendar on my desk and I was surprised that today's strip included dialogue from Lucy’s mother. I’ve been reading Peanuts for decades and I don’t ever recall an adult “speaking” in any of the strips. I always thought that this was intentional on Schulz’s part?

Sorry for the blurry photo, here's the dialogue,

Panel 1: Lucy: "Hey Mom!!! I lost a tooth! It just fell out!"

Panel 2: Lucy's mom: "That's fine..Put it under your pillow and maybe a good fairy will take it and leave you a dime."

Panel 3: [silence]

Panel 4: Lucy: "It fell in the wastebasket and I can't find it!"

12 comments:

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Blasphemy! It should have read:

Panel 1: Lucy: "Hey Mom!!! I lost a tooth! It just fell out!"

Panel 2: Lucy's mom: "Wah, wawa wah wah. Wawawa."

Panel 3: [silence]

Panel 4: Lucy: "It fell in the wastebasket and I can't find it!"

Jordan said...

It happened more than once, and there was even a sequence where you saw adults (they were drawn at an exaggerated large scale, like giants, so you mostly only saw their legs walking around; Schultz allegedly always regretted that sequence).

Reading the entire series from the beginning (as I've done) you can see a lot of stuff early on that doesn't correspond to the later format he stuck with for most of the series' run.

The standard "adult voice" trick in later Peanuts is to simply skip the part where the adult (usually Miss Othmar) says something. Linus just speaks, and then reacts in the next panel and we can interpolate what the adult said (kind of like watching a television or movie character talk on the phone and needlessly repeat what he/she was just told, so that we may follow the conversation).

JPX said...

This strip seems more recent, which is why it surprised me. I want to read the ones with the adults in them, what year was that sequence?

Jordan said...

The strip you posted is from the late '50s, judging by the style.

I'll find that other strip

JPX said...

Oh wow, I thought it was more recent. My day calendar is random so it's difficult to tell at times. Cool, I want to read the adult strips.

Jordan said...

The style shifts and morphs until about 1967, at which point he "freezes" the design and it doesn't change again until his aging causes the "wavy line" style that extends from the 1990s until the end. Unlike nearly every other major cartoonist, Schultz did ALL his inking (even the night sky over the pumpkin patch) right up until the end.

JPX said...

I read a very interesting biography on Schulz a few years ago. He was a fascinating individual.

Octopunk said...

There's a pair of strips in which Linus claims to "understand the adult mind" and correctly predicts what his and Lucy's grandmother will say in a given situation ("Every day is children's day" and "I like both of your drawings the same!"). Her responses are from off-panel, but they're coherent.

Jordan said...

The "Wob wobop wopob wob wob" adult voices are solely a feature of the (overrated) cartoon versions, as are Snoopy's weird alien noises.

JPX said...

Octo, isn't the punchline to those strips that Linus claims to have the "gift of prophecy"?

Jordan said...

JPX, correct. He says that he has "the gift of prophecy." When Lucy expresses her dubiousness he refines the point: he can predict what any adult will say "in a given situation." Linus is at his most infuriatingly bland and smug throughout, as he always is when he knows he's got the goods.

JPX said...

I agree that the animated stories are over-rated and I read that Schulz hated the Christmas special. There was a new one this year and it was terrible.