Peanuts Celebrates 60 Years
Yearlong Tribute Culminates on October 2, the "Birth Date" of the Beloved Comic Strip, with Momentous Events
NEW YORK, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Saturday, October 2 marks the 60th anniversary of PEANUTS by Charles M. Schulz. First launched in only seven papers, the comic strip now appears in over 2,200 newspapers, in 75 countries and 21 languages. PEANUTS animated specials have become a seasonal tradition and thousands of consumer products are available in virtually all retail channels. Charlie Brown kicking the football, Linus and his blanket and Lucy leaning over Schroeder's piano are images that live in everyone's memory. Phrases such as "Security Blanket" and "Good Grief" have become a part of the global vernacular.
To honor the 60th anniversary of PEANUTS and the impact of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz on millions of people worldwide, celebrations have been held across the globe. The yearlong tribute culminates on October 2, the "birth date" of the beloved world of PEANUTS, with some noteworthy events that will be enjoyed by family, friends and fans nationwide.
- A photograph of PEANUTS creator Charles Schulz (1922–2000) will be presented to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in a ceremony for invited guests on October 1. The 1986 photograph, created by acclaimed portraitist Yousuf Karsh, is the Portrait Gallery's first image of the famed cartoonist. In the image, Schulz is at his drawing board with pen in hand. Before him is a partially completed PEANUTS full-page comic featuring the perennially popular story line in which Lucy snatches the football away from Charlie Brown and sends him hurtling through the air. The photograph, with the accompanying original comic strip, will be on view to the public immediately following the ceremony in the museum's "New Arrivals" exhibition.
- On October 2, the National Portrait Gallery will host a family-and-friends day with events for all ages: cartooning workshops; a screening of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; and guest appearances from Snoopy and Schulz friend Lee Mendelson, executive producer of all the classic PEANUTS specials.
- The Smithsonian's National Museum of American History will also mark the 60th anniversary of the PEANUTS strip with a case that will feature objects from Schulz, including drawing utensils, an animation cell from the television special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and two comic panels that show the cartoon's progression from rough pencil sketches to finished ink strips beginning October 1.
- Also this month, PEANUTS fans are celebrating the 60th anniversary of their favorite comic strip via the "Countdown to the Great Pumpkin" (www.greatpumpkincountdown.com) game. This online social media game invites Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare and YouTube users to join the Anniversary fun by completing a series of daily PEANUTS-themed "to-dos" from early September through Halloween. Players earn points for each task completed—such as sharing a PEANUTS quote with their friends or followers, or changing their profile picture to that of a PEANUTS character—and the winner will take home a special PEANUTS-loaded iPad and have a shot at an extra $25,000. Weekly winners receive prizes throughout the contest and members of the Schulz family—including Charles Schulz's son Craig, daughter Jill, and widow, Jeannie—are playing along, offering their own PEANUTS memories and suggesting some of the daily to-dos.
PEANUTS fans can purchase a variety of 60th anniversary merchandise including plush, photo albums, frames, coffee cups and cards from Hallmark Gold Crown stores; DVDs from Warner Home Video; The Peanuts Collection from Little Brown and Company, a compendium of rare materials from the Charles Schulz museum and family archives; and a variety of high end apparel and other items from designers such as LaCoste, Longchamps, and Converse available at New York's upscale mini-department store Jeffrey.
"I know that Sparky would be humbled but also delighted to see the scope of events celebrating the 60th Anniversary of PEANUTS," says Schulz's widow, Jeanne Schulz. "Most of all he would be so moved to see the tremendous enthusiasm and affection that people of all ages and nationalities continue to feel for his beloved characters."
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About Charles Schulz
Charles Schulz once described himself as "born to draw comic strips." A Minneapolis native, he was just two days old when an uncle nicknamed him "Sparky," after the horse Spark Plug from the "Barney Google" comic strip. Throughout his youth, he and his father shared a Sunday-morning ritual of reading the funnies. After serving in the army during World War II, Schulz got his first big break in 1947 when he sold a cartoon feature called "Li'l Folks" to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 1950, Schulz met with United Feature Syndicate, and on Oct. 2 of that year, "Peanuts," so named by the syndicate, debuted in seven newspapers. Schulz died in Santa Rosa, Calif., Feb. 12, 2000—just hours before his last original strip was to appear in Sunday papers.
The PEANUTS characters and related intellectual property are owned by Peanuts Worldwide LLC, a joint venture owned 80% by Iconix Brand Group, Inc. and 20% by members of the Charles M. Schulz family. Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: ICON) owns, licenses and markets a growing portfolio of consumer brands including CANDIE'S (R), BONGO (R), BADGLEY MISCHKA (R), JOE BOXER (R), RAMPAGE (R), MUDD (R), LONDON FOG (R), MOSSIMO (R), OCEAN PACIFIC(R), DANSKIN (R), ROCA WEAR(R), CANNON (R), ROYAL VELVET (R), FIELDCREST (R), CHARISMA (R), STARTER (R) and WAVERLY (R). In addition, Iconix owns an interest in the ARTFUL DODGER (R), ED HARDY (R), ECKO (R), MARC ECKO (R), ZOO YORK (R), MATERIAL GIRL(TM), and PEANUTS brands. The Company licenses its brands to a network of leading retailers and manufacturers that touch every major segment of retail distribution from the luxury market to the mass market in both the U.S. and worldwide. Through its in-house business development, merchandising, advertising and public relations departments Iconix manages its brands to drive greater consumer awareness and equity.
SOURCE Iconix Brand Group, Inc.