News Column

Humor and Controversy in Peanuts

April 30, 2014

SANTA ROSA, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/30/14 -- "I feel that Peanutsreflects certain attitudes of life in our country today and perhaps some basic fears."- Charles M. Schulz

Health care, gun control, the environment, and racial equality were all topics broached by Charles M. Schulz in the fifty years he created the Peanuts comic strip. His beloved Peanuts characters raised issues of the day; Lucy embraced feminist philosophies, Linus panicked when he mistook snow for nuclear fallout, and Sally whispered about praying in school. Schulz also introduced Franklin, a black Peanuts character, into the predominately white cast July 31, 1968, just months after Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center'sSocial Commentary exhibition, which runs May 3 through November 2, 2014, re-examines Peanuts in the context of the social and political climate of the latter half of the twentieth century. In addition to original Peanuts comic strips, the exhibition features original Wee Pals, Gordo, Pogo, and Little Orphan Annie strips. It also highlights reaction letters from the Museum's archives, and contextual artifacts.

Schulz gently communicated the issues of the changing world around him through the unique pathos of his characters and his quick wit. And by remaining universally centrist, he gave readers the opportunity to interpret his comic strips according to their own personal dictates. Exceptions were rare and marked a moment of passionate appeal for causes he deemed personally significant, such as environmental concerns and civil rights advancement for women in sports.


Peanuts © 1993 Peanuts Worldwide LLC.

Peanuts © 1968 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

The summer of 1968 marked the introduction of Franklin into the Peanuts comic strip. At the time, black characters in newspaper comics mainly appeared in supporting and often subservient roles, as typified by Tarzan and The Phantom. Morrie Turner's nationally syndicated Wee Pals featured a racially diverse cast of social equals, but only realized wider success in the weeks and months following Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s untimely passing. While most letters to Schulz and his syndicate expressed support and appreciation for this new character, several newspapers chose not to run the series. Despite these early protests, Franklin became a regular personality in Peanuts comics and animated specials.


The October 20, 1963Peanuts comic strip on school prayer elicited strong reader reaction. "Oddly enough," Schulz noted, "requests began to pour into United Feature Syndicate in New York to use reprints of the page to promote both the fight to reestablish prayer in school, and the fight to eliminate prayer in school. The simplest solution was to deny everyone the right to reprint the strip."


Saturday, June 21, 5:00-9:00 pm

FREE Evening

Enjoy free evening hours and a special showing of the new documentary, Stripped, which explores the state of newspapers and comic strips today and their future. Following the movie will be a Q & A with directors DaveKellett and Fred Schroeder. Stripped brings together the world's best cartoonists to talk about the art form they love, and what happens to it as newspapers die. Over 90 interviews were conducted, including the first-ever audio interview with Bill Waterson of Calvin & Hobbes.

Thursday, August 14, 5:00-8:00 pm

FREE Evening

Enjoy free Museum admission and the multi-media one-man comedy show I Ink Alone. Comedian and cartoonist Mike Capozzola (MAD, McSweeney's) shines a ray gun on Sci-fi, superheroes, action movies, zombies, and his love of drawing in this live performance. Also, enjoy free ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery of Sonoma County (while supplies last).

Saturday, September 6

Meet Dav Pilkey, creator of
Captain Underpants

Spend an afternoon with Dav Pilkey, award-winning creator of Captain Underpants, The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot, Dogzilla, and Super Diaper Baby.

Saturday, October 18

Social Commentary in
The Simpsons

Writers and Producers of The Simpsons will take you behind-the-scenes with clips and stories of the popular, long-running, animated television show.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by:

Media Sponsor KZST and Planetaria Media


Peanuts © 1970 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

Peanuts © 1957 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

Peanuts © 1972 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

Peanuts © 1954 Peanuts Worldwide LLC


The Charles M. Schulz Museum opened in August 2002 to fulfill its mission of preserving, displaying, and interpreting the art of Charles M. Schulz. The museum carries out this mission through changing exhibitions and programming that: build an understanding of cartoonists and cartoon art; illustrate the scope of Schulz's multi-faceted career; communicate the stories, inspirations and influences of Charles Schulz; and celebrate the life of Charles Schulz and the Peanuts characters.


The Charles M. Schulz Museum is located 50 minutes north of San Francisco by car on Highway 101. The Museum is located at 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, California, 95403.


Weekdays Monday thru Friday (except Tuesdays*) 11am-5pm

Saturday & Sunday 10am-5pm

Closed Tuesdays*

*Open every day throughout the summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day)


Free - Museum Members, Children 3 and under

$5.00 - Children 4-18, college students with valid I.D. card, and Seniors 62+

$10.00 - Adults

For more information consult the Museum web site:

Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center

Follow us on Twitter: @schulzmuseum

The following files are available for download:

pe19700720pe19631020pe19570311720824 Communist-LR-200930118 MLK-LR700pe19720824631020 WePrayedInSchool-LR3pe19540618pe19680801

Gina HuntsingerMarketing DirectorCharles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95403(707) 579 4452 ext.

Source: Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center

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Source: Marketwire

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