This is an overtly Christian performance and as such I did not really enjoy it. Having said that, his voice is terrific and his backing vocalists are subtle and uplifting without overpowering the music.
He sings three songs: “All I Need” “Believe” and “Already Here.” For some reason, there’s no video for “Believe” so you have to listen to the audio only track to hear it.
[READ: September 29, 2015] The Complete Peanuts 1957-1958
Some new themes emerge in this, the fourth volume of the Complete Peanuts. Charlie seems to get branded with the “wishy-washy” curse a lot more (except when it’s raining and he’s not willing to give up his baseball game).
The angst is getting heavier now too with Charlie Brown saying “sometimes I think my soul is full of weeds). Then in April 1958 he says “It always rains on the unloved.” Even the normally chipper Snoopy (who at one point says “to live is to dance, to dance is to live”) gets a little mopey and introspective “when I was a puppy every day was a happy day suddenly bang, and I’m in my declining years.”
I feel like Lucy and Linus are showing up a lot more. And Pig-Pen, really a one-joke character is appearing less but has not been forgotten.
I particularly enjoyed the concern that the earth was overpopulated (from Lucy). And after she says “The earth can’t feed this many people” Linus replies “Why Don’t You Leave?”
The Beethoven/Lucy feud heats up with her constantly trying to win over Schroeder and eventually yelling “Beethoven didn’t get to be King!” She also confuses a bust of Beethoven with bust of George Washington. Of course, when Schroeder asks if Beethoven would have liked him, she concludes that he would have liked Lucy even better.
There’s some very funny roller skating jokes (Lucy again) and the surprising scene of Charlie Brown playing with a stick and hoop (in 1957?).
The kids spend a lot of time looking at the starts and being philosophical, but there’s a funny moment when Linus tells Lucy he’d “rather look at the stars than watch TV” and she yells “HORRORS!”
In Sept 1957, I think we have the first real time when Lucy pulls the football away (although he says it has happened before).
Linus’ blanket really comes up when Lucy makes him give it up for two weeks–poor kid nearly has a nervous breakdown.
Linus gets one victory when Lucy threatens him and he retorts “You don’t frighten me one bit.” to which Lucy cries “Waah.”
I really got a kick out of this sentiment about nursery school from Linus: “I have the feeling that my mother is sending me just to get me out of the house for a few hours.”
In June of 1957, Charlie Brown tries to teach Snoopy to walk on hind legs, Snoopy he has no problem doing it and Charlie comments, it’s no fun teaching you anything.”
In Nov 1957 we get a line from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (although no Great Pumpkin yet): “never jump into a pile of leaves holding a wet sucker.”
On Nov 17, 1957, Schroeder turns on the radio and hears the number one song and turns it off and say “The Nation is in Sad Shape.” That song? “Jailhouse Rock”! A few weeks later when Schroder is listening to the radio, Snoopy makes a “square” with his ears.
Snoopy plays at being a bald eagle and a vulture (something he returns to a few times).
Snoopy decides for a time that it is relaxing to put your head in a water dish. There’s a very good dog truism as well: “it’s one thing to get a dog to chase a ball and it’s another to thing to get him to bring it back and it’s still another thing to get him to drop it.”
There’s a funny sequence in which Schroeder keeps saying what his father and grandfather have to say about kids these days. In the final one, Linus responds,your grandfather didn’t have to worry about being run down in the street by blockheads…bombed from outer space….
Real world anxiety rears its head again when in Jan 1958 Linus thinks that snow is fallout. Later Linus says that if he holds on to his blanket forever “I’ll never be drafted.”
I always wondered how they got so much money for candy and there is a funny joke “My dad says that kids these days have too much money.” Linus walks up “Charlie Brown do you have change for a ten?” “Sure, here you are nine ones and four quarters.” The candy jokes are gone but Charlie Brown is seen eating that special delicacy a sugar sandwich (just not on a windy day).
There’s some funny jokes about technology (moving beyond the TV). I guess hi-fi was all the rage in April 1958, Lucy has a hi-fi jump rope and another girl has a hi-fi bracelet.
There’s always good snowmen strips, I like the one where Lucy makes a whole bunch of tiny snow bunnies and when she tells Linus to get lost he make a giant snow dinosaur to eat them.
There’s also plenty of baseball (the team wins when CB is home sick). But there’s a terribly sequence where Charlie drops the ball that would have made their team the champions. (it takes an entire week for the ball to hit his glove…talk about tension!). AAUGH
In the summer of 1958 Linus begins drawing in the air and Charlie get a pen uh, pencil pal.
In December 1958 Snoopy starts sleeping on top of his dog house (and falling off in the beginning).
And there’s a nice call back to a few years earlier when CB read a book quickly to Lucy and she asked if the rest of the pages were ads. This time, Lucy reads to Linus “A man was born, he lived and he died. The End.” And Linus says “What a fascinating account.” Such is the difference in characters.
The intro to this book was written by Jonathan Franzen. He has once before written about growing up with Charlie Brown so this makes total sense
Franzen wonders if the Schulz genius came from his psychic wounds. He was prone to bouts of depression and loneliness, after all. And he did the strip every day for fifty years. But Franzen believes that it is the opposite–he suffered because he was an artist.
Franzen contends that the real avatar of Schulz is Snoopy–“the protean trickster whose freedom is founded on his confidence that he’s lovable at heart.” Because even if Schulz has some bad moments growing Franzen maintains that underneath he was “a happy young man oversupplied with parental love. His little family’s closeness gave him strength.”
In this book, Snoopy is breaking out of the doglike confines. He still sheds fur, fetches balls and licks people but he also stands on Schroeder’s piano and plays violin. Schulz is also settling characters into familiar patterns and doing extended gags.
It’s no surprise that in the 1960s, Peanuts would have its first wave of huge popularity.