This vintage Sopwith Camel is part of the permanent collection at the Evergreen
Aviation & Space Museum, in McMinnville, Oregon
These articles are arranged from the most recent down, so you'll always find the newest news about Charlie Brown and his friends toward the top; older articles will be located further down, or on previous pages.
Snoopy Flies in for a Visit to Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
New exhibit Opens Jan. 30 in McMinnville, Oregon
January 31, 2008
Evergreen press release
In the 1950s, when comics were dominated by action and adventure, slapstick and gags, Minnesota cartoonist Charles M. Schulz dared to confront a lifelong sense
of alienation and insecurity by drawing the real feelings of his life and times. His Peanuts characters insights on life's struggles and disappointment have
resonated with readers for more than 50 years. Snoopy (who was based on Schulz's childhood black-and-white dog, Spike) possesses a unique view of the world that
stands out to readers, even in the quirky Peanuts cast.
The traveling exhibit, Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace, opening on January 30, 2008, at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, presents Charles M. Schulz's
lovable beagle, Snoopy, as his alter ego, the Flying Ace. The exhibit showcases 40 of Snoopy's most exciting adventures in his transformed doghouse -- now a Sopwith Camel
airplane -- from the time he faced a deadly bout of influenza to sparring with the Flying Ace's archenemy, the Red Baron. Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace
is toured by ExhibitsUSA, the national touring division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a non-profit regional arts organization based in Kansas City, Missouri.
Schulz served as a sergeant in the Army and had always wanted to draw adventure comic strips but had been told to stick with what he did best -- funny kids.
However, after 15 years as a cartoonist, on Sun., Oct. 10, 1965, he finally had the opportunity to create his hero: Snoopy, the World War I Flying Ace. Visitors
to this exhibit can follow Snoopy on his imaginary adventures through the skies of Europe. Forty digital prints from the original drawings done by Schulz are on
display, along with accompanying photographs of the artist.
The Snoopy exhibit will be on display until March 10. Children's activities will be featured on Saturdays. See the museum Web site for more information.
The first children's cartoon activity is Feb. 2. Regular visitor admission prices are required to view the exhibit.
Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace is organized by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center and toured by ExhibitsUSA. The purpose of ExhibitsUSA
is to create access to an array of arts and humanities exhibitions, nurture the development and understanding of diverse art forms and cultures, and encourage
the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. ExhibitsUSA is a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance, a private, nonprofit
organization founded in 1972. For more information on ExhibitsUSA please refer to: http://www.maaa.org/exhi_usa/faq.html.
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum is best known as the home of the world's largest wooden airplane, the Spruce Goose, SR-71 Blackbird, the Titan II SLV
Missile and the Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat. In addition, there are more than 80 historic aircraft and exhibits on display, along with artwork, traveling displays,
the Spruce Goose Cafe, the Rotors, Wings & Things store and Oregon's largest 3D IMAX Theater. A world-class Space Museum is scheduled to open June 2008.
The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museums hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, daily except when it is closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Easter.
The IMAX Theater hours vary and can be found on the Web site. The Museum campus is located at 500 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, across the highway
from the McMinnville Airport and about three miles southeast of McMinnville, Ore., on Highway 18. Regular visitor admission is required.
Call (503) 434-4180 for more information, and visit www.sprucegoose.org.
From Snoopy to trains, collectors are passionate about their favorite things
January 12, 2008
By Judith W. Winne
The Courier-Post [New Jersey]
Cheryl Reineck of Pennsauken collects all things Snoopy.
In her Snoopitorium, a spare bedroom stuffed to the rafters, she has Snoopy Elvis, Snoopy the hippie, Snoopy with Barbie, Snoopy on velvet, Snoopy as Joe Cool,
Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace.
There are ornamental pins, bed sheets, chair, curtains, lamps, a cookie jar, an ice-cone maker, tissues, games, books, blankets, pajamas,
slipper socks, galoshes, a fishing pole, life preservers and enough figurines and stuffed animals to fill a dozen curio cabinets.
"I just always liked Snoopy," says the 52-year-old Reineck, by way of explanation. "I like his silly laugh, the funny things he does."
Happiness is a warm puppy -- and a collection tailored to one person's favorites.
By its nature, collecting is idiosyncratic. One man's treasure is another fellow's junk.
It seems nothing is too odd to collect. How odd? The Web site, encarta.msn.com, takes note of folks who collect barbed wire, swizzle sticks, airsickness bags,
cheese labels, bug sprayers and decorated jelly jar glasses.
In one Internet forum on hobbies, a poster noted that people collect what attracts them, even when that object seems uninteresting to others. The poster's
mom hoarded maybe 1,000 pewter animals, and a grandmother crowded nearly every windowsill with china figurines.
So what's worthy of collecting? Not surprisingly, the very same poster cited his or her own collection -- an assemblage of cut gems.
Collectibles tend to be newer items, antiques older -- typically a century old. Ebay lists nearly four dozen categories under the heading of collectible -- and
hundreds of subcategories.
When it comes to popularity, some items fade. Can anyone say, Cabbage Patch dolls?
Kathy DiGirolamo of Medford collects faux frogs. The 57-year-old Medford woman says it all began a quarter-century ago. She was a single mom, out for an evening
at a singles event, and a friend remarked that the men were all frogs.
A collection was born. DiGirolamo now has so much frog-abilia, including frog lawn ornaments and a frog tattoo on her right shoulder blade, she offers this
advice to others thinking about starting a collection: "Dont," she says. "It never ends."
Angelic Suarez of Clementon finds room for her Winnie the Pooh collection by leaving much of the stuff in her old bedroom at her parents' Camden home.
She has Winnie emblazoned on everything from jewelry to baby shoes. For the 26-year-old, the interest in the honey-loving bear began in 1999 on a senior class
trip to Disney World. As for why she continues to collect Winnie, Suarez expresses the uncertainty of some other collectors.
"I dont know," she says. "'Cause he's real cute." It started off with a teddy bear.
Mary Ellen Mauro of Washington Township has 50 nativity sets. She especially treasures those from foreign lands.
"To me, it's representative of the universality of the message of the Christmas story, that Jesus came for all of us," says the 56-year-old.
Her collection is a trip around the globe, with nativity sets from the Philippines to France.
"They are made from soapstone, ceramics, wood, corn husks, gourds, crystal, glass, cement, silver, cloth and seed pods," Mauro says. "The figures range in size
from 1.5 centimeters to 20 inches, although most are less than 6 inches."
Richard Inzana of Haddon Township is putting together a space in his basement for his trains, including some 1945-era Lionel O-gauge trains.
His wife, Christine, says the trains are something their children will enjoy.
"My son, Ryan, who will be 8 in March, cant wait for Dad to finish the train room," Christine Inzana wrote in an e-mail."I have a feeling that this will be
an ongoing process but I am glad he is able to share his pastime with our children."
More uncommon than trains are Jeffrey Auchter's pamphlets.
"I (voraciously) collect housing subdivision brochures," Auchter wrote in a recent e-mail. Although he lives in South Florida, Auchter grew up in South Jersey.
"Over the last 40 years, I have amassed between 10 and 15,000 pieces," he wrote. "The oldest piece is from the 1890s, and the collection includes the entire United States
as well as several hundred brochures from foreign countries."
He is especially interested in tract housing in South Jersey, and travels back here regularly to add to this collection.
For Pennsauken's Reineck, Snoopy is one cool dude -- a confident critter on four legs, a counterpoint to the timid Charlie Brown.
Among her funnier items is one she bought through QVC, the shopping channel. When you press Snoopy's belly, his teeth are bared in a devilish, almost demonic, grin.
Reineck figures she has collected thousands of Snoopy items (she also has other members of the Peanuts gang, especially Woodstock), and no, she isn't getting rid of any.
And her favorite? It's like asking a mother to name her favorite child.
"It's kinda hard to say," says Reineck, "because I like everything."
George Winston will tickle ivories in Everett
January 11, 2008
By Andy Rathbun
The Herald [Everett, Washington]
George Winston, the multi-platinum pianist, has long drawn inspiration from the music of New Orleans.
In 1991, he played a show in New York City, and recommended the albums of Louisiana keyboardists James Booker, Dr. John and Professor Longhair to the audience.
So when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city, he wanted to help. He pledged all of his proceeds from "Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions," his 2006 album, to relief efforts, raising more than $50,000 to date.
"I'm not a carpenter, so I figured this was the best way I could contribute," he said. "It all helps."
Winston, a Santa Cruz, California-based pianist who has sold more than 7 million albums, will put on a show Saturday night at Everett Theater, and may mix in some of his New Orleans-inspired concoctions with better-known fare from hit albums like "December" and "Winter Into Spring."
Given Winston's diverse tastes, he has a fairly deep collection of songs to draw from. Along with his own contemporary piano pieces, he plays 1950s and 1960s pop, at times trotting out a Beatles or Sam Cooke cover. He's even recorded an album of Doors songs, "Night Divides the Day."
"Every song I play is my favorite song, or I just wouldn't be playing it," Winston said. "There's so much great music."
During a telephone interview in late December, Winston sounded like a colorful and happy fellow, not shying away from the occasional digression.
For instance, he was asked how his live show has changed since he began playing almost 30 years ago. He said he now feels more accomplished behind the keys, then mentioned the difference between jazz and R&B, and concluded that people can't split up genres of music any better than they can pick apart a rainbow.
"Is there really a blue and a green. Or is it just this thing?" he asked.
Rainbow metaphors might not surprise fans; his music is known for a New Age bent. And while many of his albums draw inspiration from nature, he plans to return to the world of Charlie Brown -- of Vince Guaraldi and Charles Schulz -- for his next release, a follow-up to "Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi."
"There are certain teams in history: Lennon and McCartney, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen," Winston said. "Vince Guaraldi and Charles Schulz are certainly one of them. They complemented each other."
Winston still recalls watching the Peanuts Christmas special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," in 1965, when it first aired. The next day, he went to the store to buy Guaraldi's soundtrack. Decades later, in 1988, Winston would walk in his hero's footsteps, recording the soundtrack to "This Is America, Charlie Brown: The Birth of the Constitution."
Winston plans to split his upcoming album about 60-40 between Peanuts-inspired songs and other Guaraldi compositions. Tentatively titled "Love Will Come," the album may come out this year or in 2009 ... whenever it's ready.
"The tomatoes are ripe when they're ripe," he said.
He could celebrate a personal milestone with the release; he turns 60 in 2009.
Despite his age, he has no plans to slow down. He still plays as many as 120 shows a year, he said.
"I'm really about 19 in my mind," Winston said. "It took 40 years to get from 18 to 19. So it's like, all right, let's get to it."
A city with some ups and downs
January 8, 2008
By Steve Harvey
The Los Angeles Times
In his entertaining biography, "Schulz and Peanuts," David Michaelis mentions that Minnesota-born Charles Schulz briefly lived in Needles, California, as a boy while a relative recuperated from a lung ailment.
And I recalled how I once dragged Schulz into a controversy involving the Colorado River desert town and a scruffy bird named Woodstock.
In a March 1981 Peanuts strip, around the time the swallows were returning to San Juan Capistrano, Schulz drew Woodstock returning to Needles: "Elevation 550 feet."
However, a reader wrote The Times to say that the city sign actually put the elevation at 484 feet. I was assigned to look into it, big-time investigative writer that I was.
I contacted Schulz, who did not find the matter funny.
"I can assure you I don't make up facts," he said. "As I recall, I took the figure from some information the Chamber of Commerce sent me a few years ago."
Adding to the confusion, the chamber told me that the elevation was actually 482 feet.
"Well, what's a couple of feet?" a spokesman said.
The other day I phoned a library in Needles, to see if the issue had been resolved.
A librarian told me the elevation is exactly 450 feet. Good grief.
Families Rule at Cedar Point!
Planet Snoopy Highlights New Attractions for 2008 Season
Cedar Point Publicity
SANDUSKY, Ohio -- Family fun will be out of this world at Cedar Point amusement park/resort in Sandusky, Ohio, when Planet Snoopy debuts this summer as the park's
newest children's area. Featuring a Peanuts-themed environment, Planet Snoopy will spin into orbit at the former Peanuts Playground.
Planet Snoopy will feature seven rides, including a mini-tea cup-style ride, miniature train, 4 x 4 trucks, a bouncing tower, spinning balloons,
rocket ships and a crazy sub ride. Planet Snoopy will also feature games, themed decor showcasing Snoopy's worldly travels and special live appearances
by the Peanuts characters. Planet Snoopy's 1.25 acres will also feature a family center with changing stations and private areas to feed children in a quiet atmosphere.
"This is the tenth year of Snoopy here at Cedar Point and we're extremely excited to offer our fourth children's area for those who aren't yet ready to ride
the park's bigger rides and coasters," said John Hildebrandt, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. "We're known around the world for our roller
coasters -- but we're also a destination for families looking for a wide range of thrills. Planet Snoopy will be a great start for the young thrill-seeker this summer."
In addition to the attractions at Planet Snoopy, a new restaurant will satisfy the rumble in the tummy. Kids will be the boss at a new themed restaurant,
which will feature a children-only menu. Parents don't need to worry -- there's a small,adult-only section on the menu just for them! The interior of the new restaurant
will cater to the ultimate Peanuts fan with graphics from the world-famous comic strip.
The terrestrial fun extends beyond Planet Snoopy next season with four new live shows. Snoopy's Big Bow Wow On Ice will skate into the Good Time Theatre.
Snoopy, along with 14 world-class skaters, will be featured in a brand-new ice skating extravaganza with amazing skating routines, familiar music and the fun and
excitement of a summer party.
Next to Planet Snoopy, All Wheels Extreme is set to wow guests young and old in the former aquatic stadium. Skilled stunt bikers, skateboarders and rollerbladers
will perform flips, tricks and unbelievable stunts in this high-energy BMX-style show.
In the Centennial Theatre, Signed, Sealed, Delivered will feature live singers and dancers in a spectacular stage show celebrating music of the 1950s and '60s, while
the Red Garter Saloon will showcase an all-new musical revue.
In addition to the new attractions, a two-year refurbishment at the Sandcastle Suites Hotel will be completed by this summer. The $3 million in renovations
include an improved lobby and registration area, upgraded suites and rest rooms and newly decorated hallways. Last summer, the exterior of Sandcastle Suites was upgraded.
Located on the tip of the Cedar Point Peninsula, Sandcastle Suites has 187 guest suites, including three Grand Vista Suites that include an indoor Jacuzzi
and a wraparound deck or patio. The hotel also includes an outdoor pool and whirlpool spa, tennis courts, a romantic gazebo, scenic boardwalk and shuttle
service to the gates of the park.
Including Planet Snoopy, the park will spend approximately $5.2 million in capital improvements for the 2008 season.
Cedar Point will open for its 139th summer on Saturday, May 10. For a complete operating calendar and more information on whats new for 2008, log on to
cedarpoint.com or call (419) 627-2350.
Playing for Peanuts
Charlie Brown inspired David Benoit to pursue jazz, and he's still saying thanks
December 7, 2007
By Marijke Rowland
The Modesto Bee [California]
Charlie Brown and Snoopy and that sad little tree have become almost as much a part of the holidays as that jolly old elf and all those reindeer.
And equally ingrained in our collective consciousness is the elegant jazz score that accompanies the Peanuts gang as it celebrates the season in the classic
animated Christmas special. Today, no jazz artist embodies that spirit more than David Benoit.
The contemporary jazz pianist, composer and five-time Grammy nominee created A Charlie Brown Christmas, a tribute show to the beloved Peanuts holiday special
created by Charles M. Schulz and composer Vince Guaraldi. He brings the Christmas show to the State Theatre tonight.
Born in Bakersfield and raised in Los Angeles, the 54-year-old musician was inspired to go into jazz piano by the 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas TV show.
He saw it as a boy, and it has stayed with him since.
"It was such a landmark thing back in the '60s to use jazz in animation," Benoit said from his Palos Verdes home. "I remember I was 10 years old when it came out.
It was a lot of the reason I became a jazz pianist. It captured a spirit; It's just genius."
He began studying music a couple years later. His first piano teacher had a background in jazz, so, unlike most pianists, he learned jazz before he learned
classical music. With a father who was a jazz guitarist, the music always was in the house and Benoit said he was drawn to its laid-back mood.
"Jazz was the weekend music, the music to relax to and have a cocktail to," he said. "Classical was the weekday music, my mother's music. The music we did our
Five Grammy nominations later, Benoit is working on his latest studio album. The release, called Heroes, will feature Benoit's take on a collection of
standards by an eclectic array of his musical favorites, from The Beatles to Elton John, The Doors to Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Dave Brubeck.
"Those are my influences," he said. "That is probably why I got into contemporary jazz -- I was very into popular music and groove-oriented jazz."
He said the CD should be out in the spring.
Benoit said contemporary jazz today is getting more and more fragmented. The genre has gone from the mainstream in the 1950s to a segmented niche that breaks down
even further into jazz fusion, smooth jazz, traditional jazz and so on.
"What is disappointing to me is seeing a bitterness in some of the camps. It's such a small percentage of the market now," he said. "It's supposed to be music
that makes you feel good and gives you a chill. It's about individual expression. I hope that is what the younger players think about and what is most important."
From seeing the cartoon on TV to writing its music, Benoit's career has come full circle as he became the official composer for the Peanuts shows, creating
the music for 2003's I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown, 2000's It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown and 1992's It's Christmastime Again Charlie
Brown, among others.
Benoit also had the opportunity to meet his inspiration, Peanuts creator Schulz, a few years before his death in 2000. He said being associated with the Charlie
Brown name is an honor.
"He was a wonderful man," Benoit said. "I am best friends with the producer who brought me into (Peanuts). It's that kind of organization. The people are unlike
the kind of people you normally meet in television and show business. And it all started with Charles Schulz ... the most down-to-earth, unassuming person."
Benoit's A Charlie Brown Christmas show began big, first with an orchestra and video presentations and then with Al Jarreau and Melissa Manchester.
But now he has taken the concert back to its basics, playing with his piano trio and a saxophonist.
"I think that show got a little far away from the innocence of Charlie Brown," he said. "I decided to do something very simple and pay tribute to the music
of Charlie Brown."
As has become his tradition on this Christmas tour, Benoit will bring out an area children's choir to sing with him on the show's final song, "Christmastime is Here."
"(Using the children's choir) is a marvelous experience. There's not a dry eye in the house," he said.
Opening the show will be Tracy singer/songwriter Tara Tinsley.
Has Snoopy lost his cool?
Snoopy and the gang are still big sellers, but to the younger generation, Peanuts is in danger of getting stale.
October 29, 2007
By Neal Justin
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Emily and Hanna Devaney, ages 10 and 8, are two of Crossroads Elementary School's most dedicated history buffs. While the St. Paul students love the Cheetah
Girls, Hannah Montana and Harry Potter, they're also obsessed with good ol' Charlie Brown.
Put the emphasis on ol'.
The Peanuts crew was born in 1950, which means Linus Van Pelt soon will be trading in his security blanket for Social Security. But the characters are still active
stars in today's pop culture scene. Around 2,400 newspapers still carry the strip, even though it's been in reruns since Charles Schulz's death in 2000. That's
a drop of just 200 subscribers from its peak.
"We considered dropping Peanuts after Schulz died, but we asked our readers if they wanted us to continue running the old strips" said Peter Bhatia, executive editor
of the Oregonian in Portland. "The answer was yes, and we still are running them."
ABC still airs seven animated Peanuts specials a year, and Warner Bros. just bought the DVD rights for the dozens of related cartoons with re-mastered
re-releases starting in January. During New York's Fashion Week in September, top designers showed off outfits inspired by their favorite Peanuts characters.
At Target, the Champ Snoopy bedding for cribs is one of the top sellers in its category. In 2005 Urban Outfitters sold out its line of pathetic Christmas trees.
But these success stories have more to do with adult interests than with what kids want. For them, Snoopy is about as relevant as Rin Tin Tin.
It doesnt help that Camp Snoopy at the Mall of America was replaced early last year by Nickelodeon characters or that the market is now flooded with cable
hotshots like Diego and Jimmy Neutron. A new video game aimed at the younger generation, It's the Big Game, Charlie Brown, recently ranked 10,328th
in sales at Amazon.com. At Target, sales of Charlie Brown titles have fallen behind Dora the Explorer and Elmo.
"A generation change is happening here," said Dan Gonsior, co-owner of the Minneapolis clothing store Uber Baby and the father of a 4-year-old boy. "Our little
guy isn't exposed to Snoopy and Charlie Brown. For him, it's SpongeBob and Jimmy Neutron. There's a huge swing."
Crossroads' main hallway features a replica of Snoopy's doghouse, a nod to the fact that Schulz grew up in St. Paul. But the school library contains none of
his books. In Hanna's third-grade class, only two of the 27 students have ever heard of the cartoonist.
"Kids have so many choices now that Charlie Brown is getting pushed off to the side," said the girls' mother, Kathleen Devaney, a paraprofessional at the school,
who sometimes tells her students that she's having a Charlie Brown kind of day and gets only blank faces in return.
The 20th century's favorite blockhead still has a prominent place in the Devaney household. During a recent evening, the family related their favorite
Peanuts moments -- Snoopy pretending to be a python, Marci struggling to boil eggs, Peppermint Patty struggling to finish a book report -- as Hanna did her
version of Snoopy's happy dance across the living room.
If nothing else, the nostalgia trip is a way for the girls to connect with their parents.
Every holiday, the Devaneys watch the related Peanuts special three times before opening presents or sitting down for Easter brunch, often with the extended
family crowded around the TV set. On a recent weekend, 17 of them -- including the grandparents and a 5-year-old cousin, watched the video, It's the Great Pumpkin,
Charlie Brown, which inspired Mom to reminisce with her siblings about how they used to call each other blockhead and how, on more than one occasion, she'd
pull the football away from her brother.
"Because the adults are watching it, the kids are more drawn to it," said their father, Sean Devaney, a senior lab technician at H.B. Fuller. "If they were watching
by themselves, theyd get bored pretty quickly."
Kathleen, who keeps a Charlie Brown doll above her dresser, hopes to expand the fan club later this year by introducing third-graders to Peanuts books through
her after-school reading program.
"Some people might not think kids should be learning by reading comic books, but you've got to offer them a wide variety of material," she said. "You've got to
find ways to introduce them to reading."
If Peanuts really wants to win over new fans, maybe Charlie Brown should turn away from the red-haired girl and start mooning over Dora the Explorer. It'd
be a match made in merchandise heaven.
MetLife Blimp Program Celebrates 20 Years Since Maiden Voyage
October 25, 2007
Business Wire [New York]
MetLife Inc. will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the MetLife blimp program on October 27, 2007. The blimp program, a major part of
MetLife's brand marketing mix consists of two blimps, Snoopy One and Snoopy Two, as well as a celebratory blimp, Snoopy Three. The blimps, which are the most
recognized blimps in the United States, according to a MetLife advertising awareness study, provide aerial television coverage for sporting, news, and special events.
"We are excited to celebrate the MetLife blimp program and the maiden voyage of the first MetLife airship," said Beth Hirschhorn, senior vice president,
Global Brand & Marketing Services, MetLife. "The iconic MetLife blimps provide an exciting way for us to promote our company to diverse audiences as well as
provide a unique perspective and experience for viewers from high above."
The celebratory blimp, Snoopy Three, was added to the MetLife airship fleet for three months beginning in August of 2007, to handle an extended blimp schedule
due to an increase in activity in celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the MetLife blimp program. Along with Snoopy One and Snoopy Two, Snoopy Three provided
aerial coverage of NFL games and special events across the U.S. Snoopy Three is an A-150+ model blimp with a gondola that can accommodate the pilot plus nine passengers.
The blimp is decaled with artwork in honor of the MetLife blimp program's anniversary, which includes the slogan, Celebrating 20 Years of the MetLife Blimp.
Snoopy One and Snoopy Two are both emblazoned with MetLife's "if" brand advertising campaign artwork. The campaign speaks to the possibilities and uncertainties
we face throughout our lives -- in other words, the ifs in life -- and speaks directly to MetLife's ability to help consumers create their own personal safety
net with guarantees to secure their future. Snoopy One and Snoopy Two are A-60+ models with a passenger capacity of three passengers plus one pilot. The structure
of the airships is designed to cover golf and other sporting events, which require them to be nimble and quiet.
Annually, the MetLife blimps provide aerial coverage of approximately 60 events for networks including NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, TGC and TNT. Most recently,
the blimps have captured television shots of the US Open, the PGA Championship, the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup and NFL games across the country.
Photos taken from the MetLife blimps have appeared in print publications including New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Golf World. The airships have also
been featured in shows such as Secrets of New York, HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel and in an ABC World News webcast feature.
The MetLife blimps have also supported a variety of MetLife events with special flyovers for clients and employees. Since September 2007, in celebration
of the MetLife blimp program's 20-year anniversary, more than 4,000 MetLife employees and clients have been given the opportunity to see the blimps
up close and talk with the pilots.
October 21, 2007
The News-Observer [North Carolina]
The Complete Peanuts, 1965-1966
By Charles M. Schulz
Designed by Seth
Fantagraphics, $28.95, 326 pages
One of the benefits of reading David Michaelis' Schulz and Peanuts is that it gives classic Peanuts comics an extra level of meaning -- above and
beyond the approximately 11 levels of meaning the comic already encouraged. Fantagraphics Books is providing the chance to enjoy Schulz's great strips anew with
its handsome hardcover reprints of Peanuts. Each volume contains two years' worth of comics -- every strip, daily and Sunday, in the order they appeared in newspapers.
The newest of these collections covers the years 1965-1966, a period in which Schulz struggled mightily with issues of faith, culminating in the triumphant
December 1965 broadcast of A Charlie Brown Christmas, in which Linus unprecedentedly recites a long passage from the Gospel of Luke in the middle of a TV program.
Also, in 1966 the Schulzes' house burned down; the incident turns up as a raging inferno consuming Snoopy's doghouse (and his Van Gogh).
Aside from the sheer pleasure of revisiting these comics in order -- ranging from throwaway gags to nuggets of wisdom that made Schulz not only a popular
favorite but also a longtime hero of the counterculture -- there's great interest in seeing patterns the perceptive Michaelis points out in Schulz's work played
out on a day-to-day basis. Schulz's fear of travel manifests in Snoopy's chickening out of a speech he's asked to give at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. Charlie Brown's
first trip to camp -- where he finally makes a friend -- reflects Schulz's stint in the Army, where he briefly came into his own. Most touchingly in light
of Schulz's eventual divorce, his stand-in Schroeder acknowledges affection for Lucy only when the Van Pelts briefly move to another town.
Sure, there are some clunkers amid the 700-plus strips collected here. By 1965, Schulz had sold more than a million copies of his uncharacteristically
fuzzy book Happiness Is a Warm Puppy, and the occasional strip indulges Schulz's sappy side. And as timeless as the strip feels on most of its pages,
Schulz sometimes succumbed to the cartoonist's crutch of using the fads of the day as handy laugh generators. Annette Funicello, surfing and skateboarding make
awkward appearances, only to quickly disappear when their one-week (or one-day) utility is exhausted. It's tempting to wish that the publishers had edited out some
of the bombs, but any ill will toward Fantagraphics' completism is extinguished by the joys of the book's index, in which Daisy Miller lives near darkness,
cursing thereof and Vivaldi immediately precedes Waaaahh! or Waah!
These were two momentous years for Peanuts: Peppermint Patty is introduced; Sally wears an eyepatch; Charlie Brown loses the school spelling bee by spelling
maze M-A-Y-S; and Snoopy climbs aboard his Sopwith Camel and battles the Red Baron for the first time. I had forgotten that Snoopy never defeats the Red Baron;
his doghouse often winds up riddled in bullet holes and trailing smoke. (Though ditching behind enemy lines often gives him the chance to chat up beautiful French
farm girls.) Even Charles Schulz's most happy-go-lucky character could never defeat the enemy who haunted him most memorably for all those years.
Rochester womans house filled with Snoopy memorabilia
October 9, 2007
By Emily Buss
The Post-Bulletin [Rochester, Minnesota]
For Laurie Miller of Rochester, collecting Snoopy memorabilia is more than just a hobby, it's an obsession that has been going for nearly 30 years.
An indicator of it greets visitors at the front door with a doormat of a jubilant Snoopy and The Millers embossed on the mat.
Inside, the Millers' house is filled floor to ceiling with all things Snoopy. From collector dolls and PEZ dispensers to large posters and figurines
constructed out of Legos, one might think they were in Snoopy's very own home.
Her love of the classic Peanuts character was sparked by a pin one of her friends made her in 1979 when Miller was in high school.
"My nickname was Hellmer Pup because my maiden name was Hellmer," she said. "There was a drawing of Snoopy on it (the pin) and from there I began to collect
everything I could that was Snoopy."
Out of her devotion to the character, Miller said she has more than 2,000 Snoopy pieces and has to limit her spending on new memorabilia. Most of Miller's
purchases have come from thrift stores, but most of her collection has been given to her by family members and friends as gifts.
Miller's large collection of Snoopy things doesn't just sit in her home for her own enjoyment. Each year, she celebrates Snoopy by holding a Snoopy Party.
After 20 years of holding her party, Miller said this yea's party -- held last week -- was the best.
"The theme this year is the Best of 20 Years," she said. Miller brought out all of the games from previous parties to celebrate Snoopy's birthday.
Miller's party usually brings in more than 20 people each year to what she calls an all-adult party. Games are set up for the attendees to participate in and
win prizes. Although not all attendees are as big of fans of Snoopy as Miller, she says she has been told her party is the social event of the year.
"There will be root beer, pepperoni pizza, because it's Snoopys favorite, and chocolate chip cookies," Miller said. "We always have a good time at these parties."
American Masters: Good Ol' Charles Schulz
October 3, 2007
PBS press release
Linus never sees the Great Pumpkin. The nefarious Red Baron always gets away. Good ol' Charlie Brown never, ever kicks that football.
Armed only with security blankets and vivid imaginations, the Peanuts gang endured unrequited love, loneliness, resentment and despair for almost 50 years ... just like their creator, Charles M. Schulz. Every day for decades, Schulz poured out his heart on the comics page and helped us all laugh at life's toughest struggles.
Although characters like Snoopy and phrases like "Happiness is a warm puppy" became part of a billion-dollar global phenomenon, success failed to quell Schulz's own doubts. "I can't believe they think I'm that good," Schulz said tearfully at the end of his last on-camera interview. "I just did the best I could."
In Good Ol' Charles Schulz, American Masters presents an unexpected portrait of the man behind the most popular comic strip in history. The feature-length documentary premieres Monday, October 29, 2007, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET on PBS.
"I grew up reading Peanuts ... we all did," says Lacy. "The characters are as familiar to us as our own siblings. Their trials and tribulations evoke our own childhood desperations. To learn that Charles Schulz, as incredibly successful as he was, struggled with the same kinds of frustrations and self-doubts his characters did -- and that they helped fuel his art -- was a revelation."
Schulz's genius -- evident throughout his 17,897 comic strips -- lay in depicting the daily collisions of insiders and outsiders, of mundane cruelties and transcendent hopes. With both whimsy and profundity, Schulz offered millions of readers different facets of his own personality, along with a unique take on 20th-century America. Peanuts burst on the scene in 1950 with a minimalist aesthetic and emotional wallop unlike anything seen before. The strip combined open expressions of malice (the very first punch line was "Good ol' Charlie Brown & How I hate him!"), psychological insights and a lifelong loser of a protagonist in a way that upended not only the comics page but also the eras prevailing Father Knows Best mythology. It had an immediate impact on readers of all ages, from bohemia to Peoria.
"Charles Schulz was one of the great artists of the 20th century and an utterly fascinating individual," says director David Van Taylor. "His is a quintessential American tale, in both the extraordinary accomplishments and the relentless self-questioning. Like Horatio Alger's self-made man, Schulz and his best-loved creations wanted to fit into the crowd and couldn't help but stand apart from it."
Good Ol' Charles Schulz includes excerpts from classic Peanuts television specials, archival footage, personal photos and home movies, as well as unlimited use of the comic strips. Archival interviews with Schulz himself offer insight into a humble man who reached the pinnacle of his profession but still described himself as ordinary. Original interviews include Schulz's widow and three oldest children, the real-life inspirations for Linus and the little red-haired girl, prominent cartoonists who knew Sparky Schulz and David Michaelis, author of Schulz and Peanuts (available in October from HarperCollins), who served as consultant to the film.
Throughout, the documentary explores the many connections between Schulz's life and art, from wintry images of a Minnesota boyhood and the echoes of a first marriage in the relationship between Lucy and Schroeder to the dismal family Thanksgiving that found its way into a holiday special. Even when the strip seems least grounded in reality (such as Snoopy's well-loved flights of fancy), it reflects Schulz's state of mind. The film also uses video compositing and original animations to meld Peanuts and Schulz's life.
Like Peanuts, Schulz's story highlights the extraordinary drama of ordinary life. The loss of a parent, heartbreak, divorce, illness, death ... Schulz confronted these universal challenges in his own life and found a way to translate them into the everyday doings and musings of grade-schoolers. The Peanuts gang made smart observations about literature, art, classical music, theology, medicine, psychiatry, sports and the law, becoming permanently affixed in our collective psyche.
But while Peanuts affirmed the Charlie Brown inside us all, Schulz continued hoping he could leave behind the isolation that shadowed him since childhood. Again and again he found, or made, homes and communities for himself: in a Church of God congregation he joined after returning from World War II; at the art school where he taught as an aspiring cartoonist; in the idyllic estate he and his wife Joyce built for their five children in Northern California; in his very different second marriage to Jeannie Schulz.
His continuous ascent encouraged these hopes. Peanuts debuted in seven newspapers on October 2, 1950, through United Features Syndicate, and ended up in 2,500 newspapers. In 1965, after Peanuts made the cover of Time magazine, the animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas was seen in more than 15 million homes, capturing nearly half of all American viewers. Peanuts soon became a worldwide industry. For the first time in the book trade, booksellers started to sell not just Peanuts books but also sweatshirts, dolls and an increasing array of paraphernalia that bore the image and form of the characters in the books. An old idea called licensing would bring in $1 billion a year to United Features and make Schulz richer than any popular artist in the world. Even in death, his annual earnings of $35 million place him just behind Elvis Presley.
But essential doubts continued to plague both the creator and his creations. Would his many admirers seek him out, he wondered, if he weren't rich and famous? Like Charlie Brown, he awoke in the middle of the night to ask hard questions about God, love and life. In later years, he found himself wondering more and more about basic mysteries of his childhood, including the death of his mother just as he left home for military service. He watched Citizen Kane as many as 40 times, looking for clues to his own Rosebud.
Through it all, Schulz's work and his dedication to his characters and his art never flagged. He had known since boyhood that he wanted to be a cartoonist, and it remained his number one commitment. That could be an obstacle in itself, as Schulz's solitary vocation often isolated him even from his loved ones. As a close friend describes it in Good Ol' Charles Schulz, "He was in his own world ... close the door and he lived in Snoopy's doghouse."
But it was also, clearly, his salvation. When all else failed him, Schulz still knew, like Schroeder at his piano, the satisfaction of mastering his art. Even after he developed a tremor, he did all the drawing, all the lettering, himself. Jeannie Schulz compares it to his diary, where he could express and explore his feelings, even those he couldn't share with his family.
That diary was not only Schulz's deliverance, but his legacy. The way Schulz used the strip to wrestle openly with difficult emotions is the ultimate convergence of his life and art. After viewing Good Ol' Charles Schulz, you'll never look at Peanuts the same way again.
Warner makes a deal for Peanuts
Snoopy and his gang also could see new life on mobile, Web, VOD platforms
October 2, 2007
By Susanne Ault
Cowabunga! Warner Home Video has signed a multi-year deal to distribute Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang on DVD and digitally.
The first titles from the pact are deluxe editions of Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown streeting on Jan. 15, 2008, and Feb. 26, 2008, respectively. The content will be re-mastered and boast newly created bonus features.
Overall, Warner has exclusive access to 50 classic Peanuts TV specials and series episodes, based on the comic strip, which is read in 2,400 newspapers spanning 75 different countries. Peanuts content was licensed from United Media, Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and Lee Mendelson Film Productions.
The deal also opens the door for new made-for-video Peanuts titles, as well as related short-form content distributed for mobile, Web and VOD platforms. Mendelson/Melendez Productions LLS will be involved in crafting such brand new Peanuts material.
Paramount Home Entertainment has previously distributed a number of Peanuts titles, including A Charlie Brown Christmas and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving in 2000.
"This agreement is a testament to Warner Home Video's dedication to bringing some of the world's most foremost and cherished properties to consumers," said Jeff Brown, Warner senior VP and general manager of TV, family and animation. "We have a tremendous passion for Peanuts and look forward to the opportunity to build this perennial brand by reinvigorating the home video library via product and packaging innovation, potentially creating original content based on Schulz's work and building digital distribution on new media platforms."
United Media is hopeful Warner will attract new fans to its Peanuts franchise.
"A perfect match for Peanuts, Warner Bros. has demonstrated to us and the industry its enormous global reach, creative foresight, marketing expertise, as well as its ability to understand classic properties," said Doug Stern, United Media president and CEO.
Mercer Gets Help From Snoopy in Anti-Smoking Effort
September 27, 2007
By Bethany A. Romanek
The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register [West Virginia]
WHEELING -- With one in three West Virginia high school students currently using tobacco products, Dr. William Mercer plans to use a new tool to teach children not to smoke.
On Wednesday, Mercer, who serves as health officer at the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, announced the Joe Too Cool To Smoke Campaign -- a year-long effort to educate the youth of the county about cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco and clean indoor air. The program incorporates two of Mercer's favorite things -- Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters and his passion for promoting a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Mercer recently returned from the Peanuts on Parade event in Santa Rosa, Calif., to support the Charles Schulz Foundation. Each year a life size Peanuts character statue is chosen and different individuals and corporations submit themes that they would like to see on the statue.
According to Mercer, the designs are then chosen by the family of the late Charles Schulz. This year the selected character was Joe Cool also known as Snoopy. Mercer submitted his design, Joe Too Cool To Smoke, and it was accepted.
"My love for the Peanuts characters came to my head and I thought how about Joe Too Cool To Smoke?" Mercer said. "I wanted to use this as a tool back in Ohio County to teach kids not to smoke."
Given his interest in promoting a tobacco-free lifestyle in youth, Mercer left one paw of the Snoopy statue blank. He is asking for all fifth grade students in both the Ohio County Schools system, as well as parochial school students to submit a drawing which will be painted on the figure. One winner from each participating school will be awarded and the overall winner will have their design featured as a permanent part of the statue.
On Oct. 24, Joe Too Cool To Smoke will make his first appearance on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University with fifth grade students in attendance. Additionally, the 17th Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, will join other dignitaries as invited guests.
"Can this make a difference? I think so," Mercer said. "If we can get our great community behind this we can have a great thing."
Once the 500-pound Snoopy is home in Wheeling, Mercer and a medical student will be visiting each school to speak about the dangers of tobacco use. Mercer will also be incorporating the methods used by Joseph Henry Garagiola, Sr., a former major league baseball catcher, who spoke out about the dangers of tobacco.
Mercer hopes to continue the campaign in other West Virginia counties, promoting Joe Too Cool To Smoke. He hopes the program will one day reach a national level. For more information call (304) 242-6645.
Joe Cool fetches big cash for cool
Hundreds turn out for benefit auction of snoopy statues
September 23, 2007
By Robert Digitale
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
A few sprinkles couldnt dampen the fun Saturday when Santa Rosa bid farewell to its summer of Snoopy, the culmination of three years of whimsical statues placed around town in tribute to Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.
For one last time, visitors strolled past the likenesses of the round-nosed beagle, 90 statues gathered together at the ball field behind the Schulz Museum. Beneath gray skies were sunglasses-wearing Snoopys in Joe Cool personas, as pilot and race car driver, legal beagle and Blues Brother Jake to name but a few.
Like many visitors, Santa Rosan Jenny Lawrence said the fun Saturday came in the photo shoots beside the statues. She said her 11-year-old daughter, Shannon Cook, and Shannons friend, Taylor Hopper, enjoyed play acting for the camera.
"They could be surfing or being pirates," she said.
Saturday also featured the auction of 17 statues at the nearby ice arena. Several hundred fans and bidders attended the event, which featured four popular statues displayed on ice.
The auction raised nearly $250,000, which will benefit art scholarships and a permanent bronze Peanuts sculpture to be unveiled at 11 a.m. today at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.
The top auction item, the tropical-themed Boom shaka laka laka, raised $31,000. It was purchased by the owners of the Flamingo Hotel, who also paid $6,000 for the Egyptian-themed A-snoop-bis, and $30,000 for Joe Cool Giant, signed by 42 past and present San Francisco players, including Barry Bonds.
Schulz, the creator of one of the most popular comic strips in history, died in February 2000 at age 77. He had lived in Sonoma County for more than 40 years.
Santa Rosa's statue invasion began three summers ago with 55 Charlie Browns, followed last summer by 76 Woodstocks and this year's 94 Snoopys.
Some fans at Saturday's auction clapped in support of keeping the statues coming again next year. But Schulz's son Craig told the audience that the end had come.
"This is it, Santa Rosa," Craig Schulz told the crowd. He expressed appreciation that community support had made possible the bronze statue for the airport, adding that "today's unveiling is the day I've been waiting for for eight years."
The three years of statues will be remembered for the sometimes-quirky pop art -- this year included allusions to Harry Potter and pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow. With that was coupled the chance to revel in the creations of a Santa Rosan known round the world.
"To me it's brought so many smiles, not only to the people who live here, but we've had so many people visit our community to see the statues," said former mayor and Peanuts on Parade co-chairwoman Janet Condron.
MetLife blimp gives a smooth, slow ride
September 23, 2007
By Rony Walter
Green Bay Press Gazette [Wisconsin]
The only time my name has appeared in the same sentence as blimp has been ... well, it wasn't flattering.
But when the MetLife blimp coasted past the office window this week after arriving for today's Packers game, it was time to go investigating and blimping.
The insurance people were kind enough to accommodate, so I met the crew of 13 people at the south end of Austin Straubel International Airport on Saturday morning for a close and personal experience with Snoopy 1.
As one who still doesnt understand how planes stay in the air, my assumption was that blimps were just like those helium-filled balloons you buy for birthday parties, only bigger.
Snoopy is bigger -- 128 feet long and 44 feet high, with 69,000 cubic feet of helium. MetLife has owned these things for 20 years and now has three Snoopys.
Pilot Charlie Smith, a 25-year-old Florida native, took us up for a 40-minute drift over Lambeau Field, the same route he'll be taking today so his cameraman can give the television network those aerial pictures of the game.
They'll have a camera attached to the front end of the cabin, gyrating for whatever angles the cameraman wants.
But getting a blimp into the air isn't an easy process.
They had four strong men holding ropes and two others holding onto the ship cabin to make sure Snoopy didn't leave before his time.
When the crew chief, a man named Julian, gave the signal, Smith revved the two gas-powered engines and we went forward and up.
Smith and I were in the 20-by-6-foot cabin that hangs below the blimp. He told me its maximum speed is 52 mph, but it seldom goes that fast.
"The easiest comparison is that it's a lot like sailing," Smith said as we hovered over Lambeau Field for while.
The ride is smooth, with the cabin occasionally swaying back and forth with the wind.
Smith controlled the elevation with wheels on both sides of his chair, and had pedals to determine the direction. Snoopy usually floats between 1,000 and 1,500 above the ground.
"It's a great job," Smith said, looking ahead to trips to Indianapolis, Boston and finally to Florida, where Snoopy will stay for the winter.
"The biggest concern for us is weather," Smith said.
"We couldn't have flown yesterday (Friday) because of the wind, and we're always watching out for heavy storms. We do everything we can to avoid that."
Landing the blimp is determined by wind direction but Smith set it down smoothly in a field south of the runway, and the big guys made sure it stayed there.