Monday, July 11, 2011

Week of June 7-12, 1954: Requiem for Miss Frances

June 7

Besides some cute drawings of Snoopy and the very dense hatching of early Peanuts rain, not really a lot of interest here. We do see a character involved in a paper route for the first time, I guess that's notable.

June 8

The abuse from Violet gets harsher as time goes by, but at least it's direct. Lucy is more a get-under-your-skin kind of tormentor.

I looked up Miss Frances; she was the host of a then-famous TV program for children called Ding Dong School. The Wikipedia page for her says that she was mentioned in exactly four Peanuts strips, this being the first. It is something of a shame that she's so obscure today, a relic from the early days of TV. She died in 2003. You can watch an episode of her show if you have access to that relic of the early days of the Web, RealPlayer. Or, here's an episode from YouTube, in three parts, starting here. Part 2. Part 3. There seems to be at least one more episode on YouTube. Dig that organ music!

It's a bit shocking how short-lived memory of TV programming can be. Romper Room and Captain Kangaroo, both deceased shows that date back to the early days of TV, are also receding into obscurity, and I've actually seen those while they were airing.

June 9

Being right means more to Charlie Brown than being in pain. Notice the use of the parenthesis around his eyes. This is evolving into a standard way to express focus. Of course Lucy and Linus have those parenthesis as part of their neutral expression.

June 10

Snoopy has the advantage of having a lot more face over which to stretch his mouth. (His smile may not look too much bigger than Charlie Brown's here, but you're forgetting he has a whole other side to his head over which to pull that grin.)

June 11

Most of the time (eventually) Charlie Brown reacts to Lucy's naive approach to astronomy with a sigh, a headache, or a weary "I can't stand it." Here, he participates.

June 12

A fairly clever strip, and one that relies on the visual nature of the medium. I suppose kids today would wonder why he spells "for" here as "four" instead of the obviously correct rendering, "4". Ha ha, but I kid kids today.


  1. Dark hair suggests Shermy's delivering papers in the first strip.

  2. Re. the 6/8 post referencing Miss Frances: "Ding Dong School" was a bit before my time, but the show was famous (and controversial) because it largely featured children playing in a kindergarten-like setting, and Miss Frances insisted on integrating the "school" and including black children on the show playing with white kids (bear in mind this was right after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that desegregated schools). This caused an uproar in the South, where many TV stations banned the show. Unfortunately the online references to Miss Frances and "Ding Dong School" are sketchy, but this aspect of the show is often considered a milestone in the civil rights movement. The fact that Schultz referenced her not once but several times suggests that the show must have been quite influential, even among adults. That's your history lesson for the day...

  3. Poor Charlie Brown, even smiling makes his face ache!