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You’re a bad man, Charlie Brown! Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown in animated specials like A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, was arrested last Sunday on an outstanding felony warrant and held on $550,000 bail. The charges: four felony counts of making a threat to cause death or great bodily injury and a single felony count of stalking. More details in the San Diego Union-Tribune
On an upbeat note, Robbins seems like a fun guy when he’s not stalking people and sports a cool Peanuts tattoo on his arm:
I’ll be posting a Holiday Gift Guide next month, but one book leapt out of the pack and I want to give you the heads-up right now. I just received a copy of Charles Solomon’s The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation (Chronicle Books) and found it a wonderful surprise.
Not only a visual delight – original cels, backgrounds, storyboards, animation drawings, Schulz model sheets and scripts, behind the scenes photos, television station publicity materials – but Solomon’s text is goes deep into the making of these landmark specials (and theatrical features) with new information and interviews with noted participants, including Lee Mendelsohn, Phil Roman, the late Bill Melendez and Bill Littlejohn – and many others including the voice actors. The text is loaded with great inside information and I particularly appreciated how Solomon tied the influences of UPA and earlier animation to the Peanuts specials – and how these Charlie Brown specials have influenced important directors and creators of animation working today.
The bottom line: the book is great fun and highly informative. I never thought a book about Peanuts specials could be so enlightening and entertaining. Bravo, Mr. Solomon, the Schulz estate and the editor/designers at Chronicle for a job well done. You’ve done Mr. Schulz and Mr. Brown proud. The book goes on sale Nov. 14th.
In conjunction with the publication of this book, the Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa California is hosting an exhibition of rare animation art over this holiday season. Don’t miss an appearance and panel with Producer Lee Mendelsohn and author Charles Solomon on Saturday December 1st to discuss the films. Here’s the Museum’s Press release:
The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is highlighting the artifacts that made this possible with an exhibition featuring 16 original never-before-displayed Peanuts animation drawings and cels, including five cels rescued from Schulz’s 1966 studio fire.
The Art of Peanuts Animation: Production Cels from the Museum’s Collection runs now through Sunday, February 3, 2013. Timed to coincide with the November 7, 2012 launch of the new Chronicle book The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation by Charles Solomon, this exhibit includes rare original production cels from animated Peanuts classics: A Charlie Brown Christmas; It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Visitors will also see cels from numerous other animated specials from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and view selected full-length animated specials in the Museum’s theater.
Rare Cels Survive Fire at Schulz’s Studio
Several of the animation cels in the Museum’s collection survived a fire at Schulz’s Coffee Grounds Studio in 1966. These original cels from the animated television specials It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas were donated to the Museum by a childhood friend of Schulz’s son, Craig, who recovered the cels from the studio after the fire.
Saturday, December 1 at 1:00 pm
Join Lee Mendelson, executive producer of the classic Peanuts animated specials, and Charles Solomon, internationally respected animation historian and author of the new Chronicle book The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation, as they talk about the making of Peanuts animated specials.
ABOUT THE CHARLES M. SCHULZ MUSEUM AND RESEARCH CENTER
The Charles M.SchulzMuseum 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 andcartoon 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
*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
Charles M. Schulz Museum & Research Center • 2301 Hardies Lane Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Here’s a trio of original cels in the book – and now on display at the Schulz Museum (click to enlarge):
Deadline Hollywood broke the news this morning that 20th Century-Fox and Blue Sky Studios will produce a new feature length movie starring Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. The film is targeted for release on November 25, 2015, a date that commemorates the 65th anniversary of the comic strip by Charles Schulz (which began Oct. 2nd 1950), and the 50th anniversary of the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas (which first aired December 9th, 1965). It’ll also be 35 years since the last theatrical Peanuts animated feature, Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!), from Paramount in 1980.
Steve Martino (Horton Hears A Who!, Ice Age: Continental Drift) will direct from a screenplay is by Craig Schulz and the writing team of Bryan Schulz & Cornelius Uliano. Craig Schulz and Bryan Schulz, who are Schulz’s son and grandson, will produce with Uliano.
Since Schulz death in 2000, I’ve been impressed how well the Schulz family has managed the Peanuts characters and brand. Unlike the Dr. Suess estate, the Schulz team has produced a wonderful direct-to-video film, a new comic book (from KaBoom) and merchandising that honors Charles Schulz and his legacy. Let us hope that this move into CG territory is handled with the same good taste.
I really like these limited edition Peanuts Special posters by artist Tom Whelan. The Great Pumpkin piece (below) sold out a few months ago. Now the Christmas special (above) will go on sale Thursday in three editions:
450 Standard Edition ($75)
100 Variant Edition ($125)
50 Silver Bells Edition (on metal with Variant image imprinted) ($250)
It’s pretty mysterious how these are being distributed. eMoviePoster.com will release all 3 editions exclusively on Thursday (12/1) at a random morning hour. The next day, Friday (12/2) publisher Dark Hall Mansion will make them available in their online Store. For more information on Tom Whelan and his amazing poster art, check Whelan’s blog.
Black Friday’s move to midnight or earlier (may have been largely driven by Millennial shoppers, who, unlike their older peers, are quite comfortable shopping in the wee hours of the morning. With their in-store shopping out of the way,... Read the rest of this post
Next Tuesday, Warner Home Video will release an all-new Peanuts special direct-to-video, Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown. It was directed by my old friend Andy Beall (Up, Ratatouille) and animator Frank Molieri (The Simpsons Movie, SpongeBob SquarePants Movie). The film is based directly on Peanuts strips from the 1960s, and the whole production was put together with incredible loving care. I’ve seen it and I love it. It may be the best Peanuts animation since… oh, lets say 1971. Here’s a video, narrated by Beall, showing several scenes in pencil test just to give you a taste.
Hello everyone out there in the Land of Blog, it is I once again. The scariest Sith that will be trick or treating at your house this year, Darth Bill (just don't put any rocks into my trick or treat bag, man I hate when that happens)!!!!!!!!!!
From the classic Television Special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."
Well I have a special treat for all you guys out there who love comics and graphic novels. Josh Elder author of such great graphic novels as "Mail Order Ninja" and various comic books has given me this very exclusive interview. Josh was here this summer at ImaginOn for the highly successful "Kids Love Comics! Workshop for Aspiring Artists & Young Fans" and more recently here in Charlotte for the Library System's "Novello Festival" earlier this October.
Mr. Elder on the left with Michele Gorman from the "Kids Love Comics Event"
I don't believe, to my utter dismay, that I have not reviewed the totally awesome Mail Order Ninja Volume 1 on our blog (dooooooohhhhhhh!!!!!). So before the interview check this out:
Mail Order Ninja Volume 1 by Josh Elder and Erich Owen -Every bullies dream, Timmy McAllister, spends the majority of his days in school getting picked on and pushed around, until one fateful day he sees an advertisement for "The Great Ninja Warrior Gunshyo Giveaway." Figuring that he has nothing to lose, he enters this contest. A few weeks later a rather large box is delivered to his house containing a ninja named YoshidaJiro. At first Timmy's parents are not sure if he is ready to own a ninja, after all it is a big responsibility. But after begging and pleading, Timmy's parents relent. Things in Timmy's life are about to change in a big way thanks to his new personal ninja and friend, YoshidaJiro. This Graphic Novel has lots of laughs and high ninja adventure. Very, very cool indeed!!!!!!!!
My review ofMail Order Ninja Volume 2 can be found on this blog by clicking: Here.
Now without further commercial interruptions is the "Boys Rule, Boys Read" highly exclusive interview with the one, the only Josh Elder:
1)What was/or were the first book and/or books you read as a kid that made you think “wow?”
Pretty much all of 'em. Books and comics have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I can't imagine my life without them. Here a few that totally changed my life, though:
The Oz books by L. Frank Baum
Hatchet by Gary Paulson
Anything by Mark Twain
Anything by Robert L. Heinlein
Any comic I could get my hands on. Especially GI Joe, Transformers, Spider-Man, Calvin & Hobbes and my number one hero of all time... Superman.
2) What gave you the idea for “Mail Order Ninja” and some of the very cool characters in the books?
I had purchased a number of old comics off of ebay and in these old comics were ads for outrageously fraudulent items like X-ray glasses and weight-lifting programs that promised to add 20 lbs of muscle in as many days. So I thought it would be awesome if you could order your very own ninja through the mail. My friend said "Dude, that's the best idea you've ever had." He was right, and that afternoon I developed pretty much the entire premise of "Mail Order Ninja."
3) Who do you consider some of your biggest influences as a comic/graphic novel creator?
My biggest influences -- especially on my work aimed at younger readers -- are theLooney Tunes and comic strips like Calvin & Hobbes. Those are works that are aimed at children yet are enjoyable for audiences of any age. And the older you get, the smarter and funnier they actually become. Aside from Bill Waterson and Chuck Jones, my biggest influences as a comic writer would have to be Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. They're constantly evolving, constantly taking risks and exploring new territory -- they're never content to stick with a formula or emulate a past success. Every story I write should be different and/or better than anything I've done before or else why do it?
4) Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?
Because reading is cool. It's the only way you get to really be a part of the story -- even playing a videogame you're just another character. When you read you're a part of the story in every way and the story can't get told without you.
5) Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why? Of course it is! Writers and artists are the people who truly shape the world. Plus it's fun!
6) Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?
That one's easy: Superman. He's the first and greatest superhero of them all -- the wellspring from which all other superheroes came. I've been a fan of the character for literally longer than I can remember (I had a pair of Superman pajamas as a little boy that I wore to bed pretty much every night without fail) and today I have a Superman tattoo on my right bicep of which I'm quite proud.
I've actually gotten to write Superman stories for DC Comics over the past few years and that has been a real dream come true for me.
7) What is your favorite sport?
Football, no doubt. I played it in high school and it remains the only sport I really follow today. Anything can happen on any given play in any game -- it's what makes football so incredibly unpredictable and exciting. That and I'm a big fan of watching big dudes hit each other really hard.
8) What do you like to do for fun?
I like to read and I like to write (I certainly chose the right career then, didn't I?). I enjoy my football and am a big movie buff. In fact, every week or so I get a group of friends together for "Bad Movie Night" and we all watch really terrible movies with the goal being to have the best joke of the night at the movie's expense. I like to visit museums whenever I can and I also do a lot of biking here in Chicago during the summer months.
9) What is your favorite book you have written?
Probably "Mail Order Ninja." It's easily my best-written work and is the one that I still find funny each time I read it. Though I am working on a story called "Dear Superman" that is very near and dear to my heart that will most likely take the top spot if and when it's published.
10) Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?
Why do I have to choose? I'll going to use a bit of lateral problem solving and just have a cheeseburger pizza instead!
Thank you very much Mr. Elder!!!!!! What a cool guy!!!!!! I hope the "Dear Superman" that he is working on comes out sometime soon. If you have not read The Mail Order Ninja Books, Volumes 1 and 2, do yourself a favor and check them out ASAP!!!!!!
Until next time - Up, Up and Away!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is something to be said for simplicity. Baseball is not what I would consider to be a simple game. No, the act of tossing a ball the size of an orange into a tiny imaginary square with any kind of power or accuracy sounds pretty complicated to yours truly. Call me crazy, but somehow I think that communicating the cultural landscape of an era of American history is just as tricky. Doing so in a simple, authentically powerful fashion is downright hard (and rare to boot). And how about trying to do that without, you know, using many words? In “Satchel Paige”, the author and illustrator have done just that. A graphic novel about America, segregation, baseball, and racism - all told with understatement through the life of Satchel Paige, a pitcher with a flair for the dramatic.
The story is told through the eyes of a nameless sharecropper from Tuckwilla, Alabama whose prowess on the diamond brings him into contact with the great flamethrower Paige. After besting Satchel at the plate, our narrator suffers an injury, forcing him to give up the game for good and head back to the farm.
Sharecropping with his family is difficult and exhausting work. Add to this that the land owners - Walker Jennings and his two sons - are dangerously unkind.
Fast forward 15 years. Satchel’s celebrity has exploded and his team is visiting Tuckwilla to play the local all-stars. It takes everything he has to attend the game with his son, but Paige’s performance breathes new life into our narrator and the citizens of Tuckwilla.
Simple words and illustrations guide the reader through the story. Additional information is provided at the back of the book to help inform readers on the history and terminology that is sprinkled throughout. A great biography and a quality selection to be sure.