Celebrate 70th anniversary of Peanuts comic strip

Celebrate+70th+anniversary+of+Peanuts+comic+strip

National Museum of American History & Smithsonian Institution Archives

The “Peanuts” comic strip turned 70 years old on Oct. 2 after seven decades of print publication.

The first comic strip featuring Charlie Brown and his friends was published on Oc. 2, 1950. The late Charles M. Schulz first debuted his weekly comic strip series in seven American newspapers after publishing them in his weekly comic “Li’l Folks,” which ran for three years in his hometown’s newspaper. 65 years later, the “Peanuts” franchise has five movies and over 45 prime-time specials.

“I started reading the ‘Peanuts’ comics probably when I was four years old,” science teacher Peter Sacks said. “I read them in the newspaper sometimes, but mostly in comic books, since one cartoon per day wasn’t enough.”

In the very first comic strip drawn by Schulz, Charlie Brown’s yellow shirt was missing his signature black zig-zag. Over the five decades that Schulz drew the comics, the character’s appearances and personalities evolved, representing how the comic strip’s weekly readers grew up and changed alongside the characters.  

“The ‘Peanuts’ comics stopped evolving after the cartoonist, Charles Schultz, died in 2000,” Sacks said. “Unlike in other cartoons, no one took over the strip after his death. But, he did introduce new characters and adventures over the years.” 

Schulz died on Feb. 12, 2000, the night before his final “Peanuts” cartoon was published. The syndicated daily and Sunday American comic strip has continued appearing in newspapers as reruns after his death. Schulz and his 17, 897 “Peanuts” comic strips won five awards over its time and is commonly known as one of the most popular comic strips in the United States. 

“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is a television special centered around the “Peanuts” characters on Halloween. The 30 minute film is ranked as the 3rd best “Peanuts” special, according to IMDb, and brings in millions of viewers each time it airs around the holiday.