The first song, “Texas is My Hometown” is a slow jazzy song about how much he loves Texas. He sounds like an old-timey crooner, except that he references all kinds of contemporary musicians.
And then he plays “Discoball World.” It sounds quite different because it’s all acoustic guitar (although his strumming is pretty intense). I prefer the original, but he’s really intense while singing this version.
He says he was walking around DC and he ran into his favorite singer in the whole world. Then he invites Gaby Moreno to sing the final song, an old Spanish song their grandparents used to sing. And indeed, with wonderful flair, he plays a beautiful Spanish guitar. Gaby sings lead (in Spanish) on the whole song and her voice is really amazing. She can hold a note for a really long time and then really powers through a loud note. He does backing ooohss when needed, but Gaby is the star of this song. Until, that is, he plays some great guitar at the end, very percussive, very powerful.
It’s a good set.
[READ: June 1, 2016] The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972
I took some time off from my Peanuts reading–I needed a break after fifteen years. And it was fun to come back to the strip really looking forward to the 1970s.
There seem to be three big consistent ideas in these two years. Woodstock becomes very prominent, Sally gets to complain about school a lot and Peppermint Patty comes into her own, with strips about her and Chuck, her and Franklin and her and Marcie (who is finally named!).
1971 starts off auspiciously with Charlie saying that this is going to be his year of decision–he’s going to start making changes. But Lucy interrupts saying that she is going to spend the whole year regretting the past-“Forget the future!”
Woodstock is a major player this year. He’s almost exclusively with Snoopy, and while Snoopy delivers the punchlines, the focus is Woodstock. He hopes to be an eagle when he grows up. He even gets to go to worm school for a few weeks.
Lucy’s psychiatric help booth is pretty well established by now, with Charlie going there all the time (no one else goes there at this point). There is a nice turnaround when Lucy says she has even learned something herself and Charlie is quick to say “five cents please.”
There are dozens of jokes about Sally writing themes for school. After several strips in which she is clearly bluffing her way through her them, she ends with this awesome rant: “That teacher wanted me to tell all I know about oceans! They’ll NEVER get me to tell all I know. Never! They can threaten me or beat me or torture me but I’ll never tell all I know.”
Sally is also awesome for making mistakes about scholarship and having the results be hilarious. Like when she looks for “Ken and Abel” in the bible. Or one of the best ones: “I’m writing a story about some cave men. They’re sitting around a camp fire, see, when all of a sudden they re attacked by a huge thesaurus.” Charlie’s immediate response: “volume one or volume two?”
And then this joke that had me laughing all day: “Dear Grandma, school starts again next week. I hope I got my same desk on the I’ll.” (You have to say it aloud). Snoopy reads along and cracks up and Sally says “That stupid beagle is making fun of my lack of education.”
I also love this idea from Sally that makes Charlie’s head hurt: “I read a biography of Abraham Lincoln once. I didn’t like it though because the author never mentioned George Washington…”
In March of 1972 Sally gives a very lengthy argument against her getting C on a coat hanger sculpture:
Was I judged on the piece of sculpture itself? If so, is it not true that time alone can judge a work of art? Or was I judged on my talent? If so, is it right that I be judged on a part of life over which I have no control? If I was judged on my effort then I was judged unfairly for I tried as hard as I could. Was I judged on the way I had learned about this project? If so then were not you, my teacher, also being judged on your ability to transmit your knowledge to me? Are you willing to share my C? Perhaps I was being judged on the quality of the coat hanger itself out of which my creation was made… now is this not also unfair? Am I to be judged by the quality of coat hangers that are used by the dry cleaning establishment that returns our garments? Is that not the responsibility of my parents? Should they not share my C?
A non verbal joke from Sally that really made me laugh is her standing with a rake. A leaf falls to the ground and she hits it with the rake–WHAP! She says “I love raking” and the leaf is on the ground with smoke billowing from it.
Peppermint Patty has a wonderfully flirty relationship with Chuck. The two of them are sitting by a tree or doing a project and she says things like “You kind of like me, don’ you, Chuck.” and “You touched my hand, Chuck.” They even go on a kind of date to a carnival which is really fun and sweet. But Chuck ruins it by talking about the little red-haired girl. Patty also gives Chuck the longest threat he’s ever heard: “If I ever hit a deep drive to center field and I round first base and I round second base and I round third base and I go tearing in to home like a runaway freight, he’d better not be in my way!”
There’s an awesome strip which I feel like Cameron Crowe borrowed in Singles. Charlie is telling Patty about his dad’s early dates “…he would always hold open the car door for her…. After she got in and he had closed the door, he walk around the back of the car to the driver’s side, but before he could get there, she would reach over and press the button down, locking him out. Then she’d just sit there and wrinkle her nose and grin ant him… that’s what I think love is.” Patty replies, “Sometimes I wonder about you Chuck.”
In January of 1972, they revisit the dress code at Patty’s school–they don’t like her shorts and sandals and on January 7, Patty is actually wearing a dress. (She pounds the first person she sees). And we finally learn her full name: Patricia Reichardt.
Summer Camp provides a lot of fodder these years. Peppermint Patty is there in the rain and complain of the “dorky weather” and later when Marcie says “Sir, what time is lunch?” Patty says “Don’t call me ‘sir’ what kind of dorky kid are you?” And Marcie asks “Dorky?” (the word had been around since the 1950s, but I love the thought that it’s an unusual word to hear). Summer camp also has Charlie with a tent mate. We never see his face and all he says is “Shut up and leave me alone.”
Patty also starts using an amusing phrase in different ways: “Maybe I’ll scamper around the ol’ pond on my little Peggy Fleming legs and visit you.” Later… “Stop calling me Sir and scamper right down to the dispensary on your little Bobby Orr legs.” … How about you and I scampering around the lake tonight on our little Mama Cass legs and visiting them?” And then we got final one: “So we scampered around the pond on our little Ruby Keeler legs.”
In 1972 at summer camp the red-haired girl is at the girls’ camp. Patty winds up checking out the red-haired girl. Commotion ensues and since they mentioned Charlie’s name, he is kicked out of his own camp for being a troublemaker. He is shocked, as is Linus, but the final panel is the best: “My name was mentioned at the girls’ camp! Wow! This was the best camp experience I ever had.” Later Patty reveals that when she saw the red-haired girl “I cried and cried and cried.” Patty fears that she has a big nose and is funny looking and no one will ever love her the way that Chuck loves the little red-haired girl (Poor Patty!) Linus saves the day: “someday someone is going to look on you and say, “Behold! a great beauty!”
Chuck also tells Patty what the secret of living is:” to own a convertible and a lake. If the sun is shining you can ride around in your convertible and be happy. If it starts to rain it won’t spoil your day because you can just say “oh well, the rain will fill up my lake.” When Patty asks Snoopy what he thinks the secret of living is, he kisses her on the nose.
Speaking of new phrases, it seems that Schulz made up the phrase “Ha Ha Herman” to refer to hide and seek. Patty invites Chuck and Snoopy over to play and Patty reveals that she thinks Chuck is too wishy-washy (Marcie admits she loves Chuck). Marcie makes Patty apologize to Chuck.
Fall brings football season. Woodstock plays a lot with Snoopy–many jokes about him being too small to carry or kick a ball. And of course, Lucy pulls the ball from Charlie. In 1971 she says she is part of an organization. When she pulls it away, her reason is that “this year’s football was pulled away from you through the courtesy of Women’s Lib.”
Snoopy continues to write his epics. Although Linus says “I don’t understand why you stopped writing your novel to work on a short story–to which Snoopy says “I only have one sheet of paper.”
Snoopy also learns about and writes to the author of his beloved Bunny-Wunny series. Her name is Helen Sweetstory and he writes her a fan latter. She writes back! He is over the moon with happiness and won’t show it to anyone. Even when they tell him it’s a form letter he won’t let that dampen his excitement. Later, Snoopy tries to write an unauthorized biography of her. And then in October 1972 major shock: the newest Sweetstory book was banned from the library : How could anyone ban such a neat book as “The Six Bunny-Wunnies Freak Out?” Linus brings some sense to the crisis: I’m sure the librarian didn’t ban the book…and I don’t think it was the principal. I’m sure it was the school board.”
Snoopy also spends a lot of time as Joe Cool on college campuses. He stands around and looks for chicks, although there is this honest moment: “Actually Joe Cools are scared to death of chicks.”
Later in November of 1972, snoopy tries to migrate with Woodstock (by walking). They are just about to part but Woodstock can’t leave him. So Snoopy decides to take him to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm only to find out that it has been trued into a six-story parking garage.
In March 1972 Snoopy decides to read War and Peace one word a day. Woodstock gets mad at him and they have a fight about it. They don’t speak for several days, until Snoopy goes to rescue him from the cat next door (but it’s not Woodstock that the cat has, it is a yellow glove).
Every once in a while Shulz talks about the age of the kids. This one is pretty funny. Only 13 more years and I’ll be 21. [And that will be in 1984!] And there’s this strange strip that I honestly don;t get: “Bob Dylan will be thirty years old this month…” “That’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard.” what’s depressing about it? So many possibilities.
In February of 1972 Snoopy says he is flying the “Enterprise.” In March of 1972 Patty says that this “environmental stuff” is getting to her “last night I dreamed I was engaged to Johnny Horizon.” [Johnny Horizon was a mascot used by the Bureau of Land Management in the United States in the 1970s primarily for its anti-litter campaign (he was no longer used as of 1982)]. And a final pop culture reference is July 7, 1972 when Woodstock is playing “American Pie” again and again (it was a huge ht in early 1972).
There’s an annual strip for Mother’s day. I love the 1971 one in which Lucy buys a card that says “Dear Mother, I bought this card for you with my own money instead of giving you a hand-made one like some cheap kid I know.” And Father’s Day continues to get the shaft: “that’s what’s good about Father’s Day… you don’t have to remember it.” In 1972 the punchline is that Lucy is making a card for Father’s Day “Dear Mom –Have a happy Father’s Day.”
Linus continues to be the smartest kid around. He quotes the Bible extensively and offers advice to many folks (he even kisses Patty on the cheek when she is feeling down). But in Nov 1971 he actually kicks his blanket need! He gives it to Snoopy and he goes a week without it. He is cured! Until the next day when Charlie feels bad that Snoopy cut up the blanket and gives him a new one–“I’m hooked again!” Lucy sums up: “In all of mankind’s history, there has never been more damage done than by people who ‘thought hey were doing the right thing.'”
Of course baseball remains a part of the strip. Most of the jokes involve Lucy interrupting Charlie as he his about to pitch. Although in March of 1972 Schroeder promises her a kiss if she hits a home run (she has never hit it out of the infield). She gets a home run! But Lucy walks past him, “if that’s the only way I’ll ever get you to kiss me, forget it.”
May 1972 also sees the entrance of the newest character–Lucy and Linus’ baby brother Rerun. We don’t actually see him yet though, we just hear about him.
As 1972 comes to a close there’s lots of good snow and Christmas jokes. Woodstock wishes everyone a merry Christmas in his own way. And who will Snoopy send his Christmas card to (he only has one stamp). Then he gets a letter from Poochie (Poochie?) who proves to be the girl who looked at him at the adoption agency but then he saw her “walking away with an English sheep dog.” The year ends on a major downer!
The introduction is by Kristin Chenoweth. This seemed liked another bizarre choice until I read that she played Sally in the revival of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (and won a Tony for it). Rather than writing an introduction, this is an interview. The questions aren’t very revelatory although she does offer some insight into being a short younger sister and how she related to Sally. (Which is pretty cool). She also sang at Schulz’s memorial.