Sunday, April 24, 2011

January 16 & Sunday, January 17, 1954: Trials of a Baby

January 16, 1954:

Sunday, January 17, 1954:

Surprisingly many of Peanuts characters have a special talent, one that overrides the limitations of real life.  Snoopy has many such "powers."  The force of Lucy's anger (later on) is terrifying to behold.  Charlie Brown's ability to lose has already been been demonstrated while playing checkers.  And Linus has a way of making or doing things that doesn't seem quite "right."  Stacking the blocks like he does in the first strip is an example.  He's also great at blowing up balloons halfway, and other unlikely feats of what I'm going to call, for lack of a better term, dexterity.

The second strip is the first time we get something akin to a stream of dialogue from Linus.  Until now his words have been things like "dottie dottie" or loud laughs of derision in the face of Lucy's selfishness, but here are several full sentences.  Noteworthy, however, is that although his words are in speech bubbles so generally are Snoopy's, and neither character has been shown using full sentences to communicate with the other characters.

I like how big kids are represented as running in herds that clean the floor of toys in their wake, like cattle devouring whole fields of grass.


  1. The phrase "big kids" just doesn't work for me. I'm not sure why, but it's really really irritating. But here's an interesting thing: if you mentally delete every word balloon that includes the words "big kids" the strip actually becomes funnier because the slim gag hasn't been so relentlessly overexplained.

    (The fundamental problem Schulz seems to have had as a writer in the early days was that his lack of confidence in his own ideas led him to write too many words.)

  2. @Richard: I agree that "big kid" is a bit of an oxymoron, but I think that's part of the joke. Anyway, something about this strip bothered me, and I couldn't put my finger on it until your comment about the wordiness. I think it would have worked much better if it had started on panel 3 and contained no dialogue at all. Schulz may have done this strip to test out Linus' "voice."

  3. That's my favorite Linus Sunday strip,he had a lot of them back then and I didn't like them but I loved this one