Sixty-three years ago on this day, the first Peanuts comic strip was published. Peanuts is, of course, the hugely popular comic strip that was written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz.
Schulz first wrote about Charlie Brown in his unsuccessful comic strip, L’il Folks. However, when the United Features Syndicate bought the series from Schulz, they renamed it Peanuts. The above comic strip was printed on October 2, 1950 in seven newspapers. By the end of the 1950s,however, Peanuts was syndicated in over 100 newspapers.
Peanuts had a fantastic run: there were 17,897 comic strips published, not to mention the numerous popular TV shows, specials, and books that were produced. In Peanuts‘ nearly 50-year run, Charlie Brown and his friends lived through historical events such as segregation and the Cold War.
The series came to a close in early 2000 because of Schulz’s declining health. He announced his retirement in December 1999, and died from complications from his colon cancer on February 12, one day away from seeing the his last Sunday cartoon in print.
Many newspapers still print “Classic Peanuts“, and you will no doubt find Peanuts specials on major networks this holiday season. However, there will be no new Peanuts cartoons, because no one can ever match Schulz’s humor or heart.