Folks who waited patiently since just after dawn on May 17, 2001, in front of Santa Rosa's Redwood Empire Ice Arena, were the first to purchase the new Snoopy First-Class U.S. Postage stamps.
The stamps went on sale a day early in Santa Rosa; the rest of the nation could not purchase them until Friday, May 18. (AP photo/The Santa Rosa Press Democrat)
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.
Woman buys 10,000 Snoopy stamps
May 29, 2001
The Associated Press
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Yvonne Grimes has been stuck on Snoopy for more than 40 years. Now Snoopy, of Peanuts comic strip fame, will be stuck on everything she mails.
Grimes' home is like a museum dedicated to the lovable beagle with Snoopy wallpaper, cookie jar and salt-and-pepper shakers.
She recently added to her collection with the purchase of 10,000 U.S. Postal Service commemorative "Peanuts" postage stamps.
The postage stamp, which was issued May 17, displays Snoopy in his familiar role as a World War I flying ace. The stamp is a tribute to the comic strip creator, Charles Schulz, who died last year only hours before the final Peanuts strip appeared.
Grimes said the $3,400 she spent for the stamps at 34 cents each, has been enhanced by 2,000 more supplied by friends and relatives.
"I figured out that I will never have to use another stamp for the rest of my life," Grimes said.
Snoopy will now be a regular fixture on all of Grimes' cards, invitations and bill payments.
"I've been a Snoopy fanatic since I was a very little girl," she said, saying her passion for beagle dates back to 1969, when the Apollo 10 lunar module was named for Schulz's character, and the then-9-year-old received an astronaut Snoopy from her sister to honor the occasion.
McDonald's Snoopy offer sparks China stampede
May 29, 2001
SHANGHAI, (Reuters) -- Call it the Snoopy stampede, Peanuts run amok or McMayhem.
What started as a chance for parents in the south China city of Guangzhou to treat their kids to a fuzzy doll of the popular cartoon dog soured after excited children, anxious parents and entrepreneurs keen on a quick buck thronged McDonald's fast food outlets.
In late April, the U.S. chain started offering the eight-inch Snoopy dolls for 10 yuan ($1.21) apiece with a "value meal" in a two-days-a-week promotion. But trouble started when stocks of the wildly popular toy ran thin and scuffles broke out after some enterprising customers picked up more than half a dozen of the stuffed canines, state media said.
One store's front window was smashed, the Shenzhen Business newspaper said in a Web site report.
McDonald's in Guangzhou declined comment. A Hong Kong spokeswoman said the firm was aware of numerous Chinese press reports, but gave no further comment.
Disgruntled Guangzhou residents flooded McDonald's hot-lines with complaints after queueing for hours without getting their hands on a Snoopy doll, state media said. Parents complained their children's education was on the line as disappointed students who collected anything but the full set of six dolls lacked the will to pursue their studies.
"McDonald's please pay attention to public morality. McDonald's don't make mischief anymore," lectured a headline in the official Southern Daily newspaper, quoting a weary mother.
Some took advantage of the promotion to set up a tidy business -- one youth was seen selling a Snoopy doll for 50 yuan, said a report on popular Web site www.sina.com.
A Guangzhou police official told Reuters on Tuesday the situation had returned to normal. Another police official added "This whole situation is too big for me to comment on. How about calling the city government?" City government officials declined comment.
McDonald's promotions have provoked similar incidents in Asia. A Singapore promotion of "Hello Kitty" dolls last year sparked a public debate among schoolteachers, housewives, academics and consumer analysts. They decried the way many people ordered dozens of meals to qualify for the Japanese cartoon cat, only to dump the uneaten burgers and soft drinks in trash cans immediately after.
In 1998, a Snoopy promotion provoked a similar frenzy in Hong Kong.
Postage stamp really 'Peanuts'
Fans had to come to Charles Schulz's town or wait till today for WWI flying ace
May 18, 2001
By Chris Smith
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
The presence of a shy and exacting doodler was felt but not seen at a Santa Rosa skating arena Thursday as the U.S. Postal Service issued a 34-cent tribute to the late Charles Schulz.
A crowd of several thousand, many from out of state, turned out at Schulz's ice rink for the national release of a commemorative postage stamp bearing the cartoonist's most endearing character, Snoopy.
The new first-class stamp was sold Thursday only at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena and at Santa Rosa post offices; collectors everywhere else in the country had to wait until today to buy one.
"This is a great day for Santa Rosa," said the city's postmaster, Jeffrey Lelevich, at a day-of-issue ceremony conducted on the arena ice. " 'Peanuts' fans all over the world are envious of us."
The ceremony's featured speaker, Olympic skating champion Peggy Fleming Jenkins, said the playful and colorful stamp is an appropriate tribute to a man whose humor tickled the world.
"Sparky Schulz put his heart and soul into the characters of 'Peanuts,' and that's what captured us," said Jenkins, a friend of Schulz's who skated at the grand opening of his ice arena in 1969.
She said that as great as it was to win a gold medal in figure skating at the 1968 Olympic Games, "when Sparky included me in the 'Peanuts' strip for the first time, I knew I had truly arrived."
Schulz drew the "Peanuts" strip for nearly 50 years, 42 of them while living in Sonoma County and working at a studio down the street from the ice arena. He was 77 when he died at his Santa Rosa home of complications of colon cancer 15 months ago.
His wife, Jeannie Schulz, told the more than 1,000 people assembled inside the West Steele Lane arena that the light-hearted stamp should establish an immediate, friendly link between the sender of a letter and the receiver.
"I warn you," she added, "if you have a crabby letter to write, don't put a Snoopy stamp on it."
The Postal Service has printed 125 million of the new stamps, which portray Snoopy as the World War I flying ace, a pilot's leather helmet strapped onto his head and a yellow scarf blowing in the wind. Consumer demand will determine if any additional printings are necessary.
"We would love to sell them out and go through the process of considering printing more," said David Failor, a Postal Service spokesman who came to the ceremony from Washington, D.C.
The Snoopy stamp, designed by Paige Braddock, artistic director at the Santa Rosa agency that reviews requests for licensing of "Peanuts" characters, will have to sell extremely well to beat out America's most popular commemorative stamp. That's the Elvis Presley stamp, more than 500 million of which sold in 1993.
The first Snoopy stamp ever sold went Thursday morning to Laura Niemann, a newly hired Santa Rosa Transit bus driver who arrived at the arena at 5 a.m. She was at the head of the line when postal employees began selling stamps and day-of-issue caches -- specially decorated envelopes bearing a stamp and a commemorative cancelation -- at 830 a.m.
Niemann, 44, came hoping to make some money. She said she intends to sell the stamps and caches, one of which has an upside-down cancellation that she imagines might be worth a lot to the right collector.
A love of all things "Peanuts" motivated others among the estimated 5,000 people who showed up throughout the day and waited an hour or more to buy Snoopy stamps and caches.
Boston resident Scott McGuire, 33, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology software developer, said from near the front of the stamp line that he's not sure exactly why he has collected "Peanuts" books, videos and other products all his life.
"It's something I grew up with," said McGuire, who is in California chiefly for a conference in San Jose.
"I had a stuffed Snoopy as long as I can remember," he said. "When my parents gave me the first one, they didn't know what they were getting into."
Farther back in line was Miki Onodera, 42. She just recently moved to Santa Rosa from Japan, which buys more "Peanuts" merchandise -- clothing, jewelry, and character-imprinted household items such as toasters and clocks -- than any other country, even America.
The most popular 'Peanuts' character in Japan is Snoopy. Why?
"He's just cute," Onodera said as she inched closer to the stamp-purchase tent. "Nobody can say no to such a cute dog."
One of Schulz's sons, Monte Schulz, said amid the good-natured crowd outside the arena that if his dad were alive and were there, he probably would be greeting friends and fans, enjoying the attention and grimacing at requests for autographs.
"It's amazing all these people came out," the younger Schulz said. His brother, Craig Schulz, said the release of the 'Peanuts' stamp culminated discussions and planning that started years ago, when his father was well and hoping to draw the strip well into the new century.
"It's too bad he didn't get to see it," he said.
Snoopy puts stamp on SR
Commemorative postage only released locally -- at least until Friday
May 17, 2001
By Chris Smith
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Postal carriers, typically leery of dogs, seemed charmed Wednesday when Snoopy showed up at Santa Rosa's main post office to preview today's release of the nation's newest commemorative stamp.
The Snoopy mascot, the same one who skates often at the late Charles Schulz's ice arena near Coddingtown Mall, hugged carriers and postal clerks, then passed out pins and T-shirts emblazoned with the 34-cent postage stamp that will go on sale this morning only in Santa Rosa.
"Where's my dog spray?" one playful carrier called out as Snoopy worked the crowd inside the sorting area at the post office on Second Street.
The famed beagle's surprise visit was a prelude to today's stamp-release celebration at the Schulz family's ice arena on West Steele Lane.
The new stamp, bearing a Schulz drawing of Snoopy piloting his dog house as the World War I Flying Ace, will go on sale in a tent outside the arena at 830 a.m. Postal employees also will be selling, for $4, a collectible day-of-issue envelope bearing one of the Snoopy stamps and special cancellation.
The new stamp also will be available today at all Santa Rosa post offices. It will go on sale everywhere else in America on Friday.
Santa Rosa Postmaster Jeffrey Lelevich said it is a big deal for Santa Rosa to be the site of the national first-day release of a commemorative stamp.
"This has never happened in Santa Rosa before, even as large as we think we are," he said. "And it will probably never happen again."
Today's day-of-issue celebration at the ice arena will start at 1030 a.m. and will be presided over by Olympic ice skating champion Peggy Fleming, who was a friend of Schulz's.
The arena's doors will open at 930 a.m. A free skating session will begin following the ceremony and will continue until 2 p.m.
The new stamp commemorates the nearly 50 years that Schulz drew "Peanuts," for decades the world's most widely distributed comic strip. The cartoonist lived and worked in Sonoma County from 1958 until his death at age 77 last year from complications of colon cancer.
Snoopy postage stamp goes on sale in Santa Rosa
May 17, 2001
The Associated Press
SANTA ROSA, California - Snoopy launched his latest flight of fancy Thursday, gracing a new U.S. postage stamp in honor of the late Charles Schulz, creator of the long-running "Peanuts" comic strip.
The stamp features the lovable beagle astride his trusty doghouse sporting goggles, scarf and a helmet as a World War I flying ace eternally chasing his enemy, the Red Baron.
"I wish Sparky were here to see it," said figure skater Peggy Fleming, a friend of Schulz who attended an unveiling ceremony at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena where the comic strip artist used to skate.
The stamp is the latest in a series of tributes to Schulz.
In his hometown of St. Paul, Minn., statues of Charlie Brown, the main character of the Peanuts comic strip, will pop up on street corners and neighborhoods this summer for visitors from around the world.
A similar tribute in St. Paul last summer, featuring statues of Snoopy that later were auctioned, netted $1.2 million for a future bronze statue of Peanuts characters as a permanent tribute.
Schulz died from complications of colon cancer on Feb. 12, 2000, the day before publication of his last new Peanuts strip. He was diagnosed with the disease the previous fall and announced his retirement.
Schulz spent most of his strip-drawing years in Santa Rosa with his family. A museum celebrating Peanuts is under construction and is set to open in spring 2002.
A good number, Charlie Brown
May 12, 2001
By Karl J. Karlson
The St. Paul Pioneer Press
With lots of loose ends still to tie up for this summer's "Charlie Brown Around Town" tribute, St. Paul is close to topping last year's total of 101 Snoopy statues, organizers said Friday, the deadline for sponsoring one of the 5-foot-high decorated creations.
There will be at least 100 Charlie Brown statues for the city's second summer tribute to "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles Schulz, said Lee Koch of Capital City Partnership, one of the coordinating agencies.
Nearly all of the statues have been spoken for, although a few contracts remain to be signed, she said, and it is still possible that additional sponsors could be added.
Officials earlier had declined to specify the number of Charlie Brown statues while they worked out logistics and other concerns with the Schulz family and "Peanuts" syndicate.
The goal of the tribute is to raise money for a bronze statue to honor Schulz, who grew up in St. Paul.
The public can get a first look at many of the Charlie Brown statues next weekend, when artists take part in a paint-off event at RiverCentre.
Visitors at the June 3 Grand Old Day parade also will get an early peek at some statues. Several flat-bed trucks, each carrying six to eight statues, will take part in the Grand Avenue parade.
"They will be trucks with Chucks," said Megan Ryan, director of the city's marketing and promotion department, which is helping coordinate the tribute.
The completed statues then will be placed around downtown and scattered throughout the city during the first week in June.
The Convention and Visitors Bureau will again sponsor an information "Dog House" with maps showing the locations of all the Charlie Browns and city promotional materials. This year, it will be at Wabasha and Fifth streets on the Ecolab Plaza.
Last summer, the hut staffed by volunteers sat in front of the Science Museum of Minnesota on Kellogg Boulevard, but the street will be under construction much of the summer.
The Charlie Brown statues will be on location until mid-September before they are collected for a "Blockhead" party downtown. Then, on Sept. 30, like last year, many of the statues will be up for auction at the Mall of America.
Money raised by the auction will go to the Charles M. Schulz Fund, administered by the St. Paul Foundation, for the bronze sculpture. Some of the proceeds also will go for scholarships at two local art schools.
To get involved
The public can watch artists decorate their Charlie Brown statues next weekend at a paint-off event in the exhibit hall on the lower level of Touchstone Energy Place at RiverCentre. The artists will be working Friday through Monday, but the event will only be open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. May 20 and 3 to 7 p.m. May 21.
Individuals, groups and companies interested in staffing the Convention and Visitors Bureau's information center can volunteer by calling (651) 265-4900.
For information about the tribute and upcoming events, visit www.ilovesaintpaul.com.
All-new Charlie Brown Valentine's Day Special to Premiere On ABC
New special based on Schulz's famed strip and longtime stalwarts "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will air on ABC beginning this October
May 9, 2001
New York (Entertainment Wire)
United Media, one of the largest character licensing companies in the world, today announced that the ABC network has picked up an all-new Peanuts Valentine's Day special for broadcast in February 2002.
Produced and animated by the same team as past Peanuts specials, Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez, the story is taken directly from Charles M. Schulz's famed strip. In addition, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" will also make their debut on ABC in October.
The Peanuts Valentine's Day special is the first newly created television programming from the Peanuts team in over eight years. Since 1965, Schulz, Mendelson and Melendez created a library of over 63 primetime and direct-to-video specials and series. The Valentine's Day special marks the first new programming created since Schulz's death in 2000. Taken directly from the vast amount of archived strips that Schulz themed to the popular February holiday, Lee Mendelson will executive produce and Bill Melendez will produce and direct.
"We are extremely excited to be partnering with the creative team of Mendelson and Melendez once again," said Charles Schulz's son, Craig Schulz. "My father's strip is a wealth of meaningful themes and stories, and there is no one better to continue the tradition of producing these wonderful specials than the original team he worked with for 35 years. ABC, a network known for its excellence in family programming, is the perfect home for these classic works, as well as ones to come."
The three stalwarts of primetime television specials -- "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" -- will make their debut on ABC this October. ABC made the announcement on the heels of the Christmas episode's phenomenal success on CBS last year, in which a second primetime broadcast was added on Christmas night. Over the past four decades, the extensive library of Peanuts animation has received five Emmy and two Peabody awards. It has also received one Academy Award nomination, three Grammy nominations, and fifteen additional Emmy nominations.
Peanuts focuses on the anxieties and joys of childhood as expressed by an ensemble cast of children who often seem wise beyond their years. Among them are the lovable Charlie Brown, who perseveres despite continuous failure; the philosophical, blanket-carrying Linus; the fussbudget Lucy, who dispenses psychological advice for a nickel from behind a concession stand; and toy-piano virtuoso Schroeder. Central to the comic strip is Charlie Brown's dog, Snoopy, who first stood on his hind legs in 1958 and became extremely popular for his imaginative adventures as a number of characters.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1922, Charles M. Schulz began his fascination with comic strips early, reading the Sunday comics from four different newspapers with his father each week. With encouragement from his parents, Schulz enrolled in a correspondence course in cartooning. Peanuts debuted in syndication on October 2, 1950, and nearly all the 2,600 newspapers that published the strip before Schulz retired continue to publish classic Peanuts comic strips today. On February 12, 2000, Charles M. Schulz died in Santa Rosa, California, of complications from colon cancer, only hours before his last original Peanuts strip appeared in Sunday papers.
About Lee Mendelson (Executive Producer)
Lee Mendelson's association with Charles Schulz stretches back to 1963, when he approached the cartoon strip creator about bringing the Peanuts gang to television. Mendelson had recently produced the well-received documentary on baseball great Willie Mays titled "A Man Called Mays," and thought it would be interesting to produce something on a less successful athlete, Charlie Brown. Schulz agreed, and the result was "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which debuted on CBS in 1965, with Mendelson as Executive Producer. The two men continued their long-term association until Schulz's death, working together on the numerous television programs and specials featuring the Peanuts characters.
About Bill Melendez (Producer and Director)
Bill Melendez began his animation career in 1938, when he was hired by Walt Disney to work on such projects as "Fantasia," "Pinocchio," "Bambi" and "Dumbo." From there, he signed with Leon Schlesinger Cartoons (later Warner Bros.), animating some of the most memorable short subject pieces featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. In addition to his work on Peanuts, Melendez has animated numerous other characters including Cathy and Frosty the Snowman. The recipient of numerous awards, Melendez began his association with Charles Schulz in 1965, when he produced and directed "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
No 'Luncheon on the Grass, Charlie Brown'?
May 3, 2001
By Laura Billings
St. Paul Pioneer Press
In the artist's sketch, Charlie Brown wore a gown made of glitter, bright red lipstick, and stood on a pedestal with a provocative title that delicately asked the location of the nearest, uh, water closet.
"Oh, it was just horrifying," recalls Sara Richter, a project manager handling this summer's "Charlie Brown Around Town" display. "Very, very scary."
Students of art history will recall that's the same thing they said about Edouard Manet's strangely dingy "Olympia." The same thing they said about that creepy burial scene by Gustav Courbet. The same thing they said about so many of the great artists whose work was so routinely rejected by the state-sponsored Salon -- the 19th-century French version of "Peanuts on Parade" -- that they created their own exhibition, le Salon des Refuses.
It's an idea that may be worth reviving here in St. Paul, when some 450 hopeful Charlie Brown artisans find out they didn't make the cut, and that their work will not be featured on any of the 101 statues displayed around town all summer. Even before City Hall opened its doors to allow statue sponsors to sift through about 550 sketches this week, project managers and Charles Schulz's family tossed about 60 sketches (like the above-mentioned transvestite Charlie Brown) that included uncomfortable political overtones, corporate logos or major mechanical headaches.
"Now we don't mean to discourage artists -- we wanted to make Charlie a blank slate for their creativity," explains project manager Jenifer Robins. "It's just that some people were so clever, they were sort of overcreative."
Among the rejected Foxxy Brown, a statue featuring Charlie Brown as the scantily-clad female rap star whose every link on the Internet takes you to a restricted adult site.
"I think the problem was that it had hair," recalls Robins, who notes the same fate befell the fat Elvis-impersonating "Hunka Hunka Burnin' Charlie Brown." Of course, lack of hair didn't necessarily save a selection. Several Jesse Ventura Charlie Browns were also voted down.
Other submissions we'll never see A statue featuring Charlie Brown holding a hand drill. ("Cute, but dangerous," says Robins.) A Charlie Brown in the center of a snow globe. ("Cute, but what if it didn't work?" says Richter.) A Spring Flood Charlie Brown, in a box of sand and water. ("Looks cute on paper, but..." says Robins.)
One submission recasting Charlie Brown as the wild-eyed Irish mythic hero Cuchulain -- the one who died on the battlefield in a standing position, his foes afraid to approach him until they saw vultures pecking at his flesh -- could have been a big hit with St. Paul's Irish population but missed the mark with the Charles Schulz's son Craig, who dropped it from consideration.
"I think he was kind of scared," says Megan Ryan, from St. Paul's marketing and promotions department. "Maybe he'd never heard of Cuchulain."
And sadly, no one will see it unless some courageous art patron steps in to underwrite St. Paul's own exhibit of chucked Chucks, the hundreds of rejected Charlie Browns who may simply have been ahead of their time. Luckily, there are still signs that purveyors of public art are sometimes willing to take a chance. Yesterday, two RiverCentre representatives sifted through the pile of Peanuts proposals and picked a sketch of Charlie Brown with a big yellow face, punctuated, Picasso-like, with nothing but two black circles for eyes.
"I think we'll get flak for this," said marketing assistant Amber Bintliff.
"Our colleagues will think 'You guys are way weird for picking this,' " said her boss Mary Sienko.
As art historians know, that's the same thing they said about all the great ones.
Schulz hockey tourney to return in 2002
May 3, 2001
By Chris Smith
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
The summertime hockey tournament that Charles Schulz loved will resume in 2002 after a one-year hiatus, and Santa Rosa tourism officials are hoping local businesses will kick in money to help assure that the tourney will continue far into the future.
Heirs of "Peanuts" creator Schulz had considered eliminating the Snoopy Senior Ice Hockey Tournament as a way to cut operating losses at the ice arena that the cartoonist built near Coddingtown Mall in 1969.
But Schulz's wife, Jean, and his children and stepchildren have decided to continue the mid-summer tournament, at least for one year.
It will not be held this year because the arena is undergoing a $1 million renovation and mechanical upgrade, but it will resume next year.
Schulz's family was encouraged to continue the weeklong tournament because it draws about 1,500 hockey players and spectators from around the nation and overseas.
Officials of the Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau estimate that the hockey tournament generates more than $2 million in revenue each year for Santa Rosa-area hotels, restaurants, wineries, golf courses, shops and other businesses.
The tournament has been a money loser, however, for Schulz's ice arena. Schulz, an avid hockey player himself, absorbed the loss and provided participating players with costly gifts such as jackets.
After Schulz died at his Santa Rosa home from complications of cancer in February of 2000, his heirs said it was necessary to cut the losses at the ice arena.
They reduced the management staff and prepared for this summer's modernization project, which will reduce the energy required for maintaining the ice and heating the building.
Susan Anderson, director of the convention and visitors center, is promoting sponsorships and advertising as a means of helping the arena to cover the costs of the hockey tournament.
Jim Doe, the ice arena and gift shop's vice president of operations, said the 2002 tournament will happen with or without the sponsorships, which were conceived by the visitors' bureau.
He said the 2002 tourney will be little different than the 26 that proceeded it.
"Some of the gifts (to participants) will probably be scaled back a little bit, but not a lot," he said.
The tournament -- in which Schulz played each year with the Santa Rosa Diamond Icers -- is open to players 40 to 75.
Charlie Brown Getting New Look
'Charlie Brown Around Town' sponsors are working to select the designs that will grace their statues in St. Paul this summer
May 2, 2001
By Karl J. Karlson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
A St. Paul Foundation team of four pawed through the city's 550 artists' interpretations of "Charlie Brown" on Tuesday, looking for the perfect statue design to sponsor this summer.
Carrie Jo Short, foundation program officer, said they wanted a design that represents the character of the foundation and its staff, donors and grant recipients.
"We are by, of and for our community. We want a design that conveys that," she said.
The foundation team had booksful to choose from -- drawings by several dozen schoolchildren as well as designs by amateur artists, professional artists and designers.
Folks have responded by the hundreds to a call to help St. Paul continue its tribute to the late cartoonist Charles Schulz. This year, it will be "Charlie Brown Around Town." Last summer, it was "Peanuts on Parade," which featured 101 statues of Snoopy, the beagle from Schulz's comic strip.
The goal of the events is to promote summer fun in the city and raise money for a bronze collection of "Peanuts" characters to honor Schulz, who grew up in St. Paul.
The foundation staffers -- Chris Vitek, director of executive services; Lisa Winkler, director of marketing and communications; Jane Johnson, administrative assistant; and Short -- plowed through the offerings. They rejected design after design, despite comments that almost all were colorful or attractive.
"You can't rush great art," Short said of the process.
Some were rejected because they showcased Minneapolis, some because they were too colorful. One was dropped because it had a fish swimming across Charlie Brown's head, though Vitek opined that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources or Friends of the Mississippi might like it.
After an hour of art commentary, Short handed Vitek a design for "It's a Big World, Charlie Brown," by the firm Go East Design.
On that design, the Mississippi River formed the zigzag on Charlie Brown's shirt, and there were scenes of the Como Conservatory, other city parks, the downtown St. Paul skyline and more landmarks.
"This is it," Vitek proclaimed with the others' agreement.
The process of picking a design will continue through the week as sponsors -- already 90 of them -- finalize their choices. By the May 10 deadline, organizers hope to have more than 100 Charlie Browns, according to Megan Ryan of the city's marketing and promotion department.
The experience of the St. Paul Foundation team in making a selection was typical. It took a team of three from Minnesota Life two hours to find -- and fall in love with -- "Sunburnt Charlie Brown," a design by artist Troy Olin of a red-faced boy with sunglasses.
"The statue is going in front of the Minnesota Business Academy (a charter school in downtown), so we wanted something that was youth-related," said Maggie Jensen, spokeswoman for the insurance firm and one of the team.
"We almost picked one with a cowboy lassoing a star because the logo for the Business Academy has a star in it," she said.
To sponsor a statue in "Charlie Brown Around Town," this summer's St. Paul tribute to the late cartoonist Charles Schulz, call (651) 265-4920. The sponsorship deadline is May 10.
Other information about the tribute and upcoming events is available at (651) 266-8989 or www.ilovesaintpaul.com .
'Charlie Brown' events
"Charlie Brown Around Town" is under way, with sponsors in the process of selecting designs for their statues. Here is a sample of tribute events
May 18-21 Public Paint-off, at which artists decorate statues. The event, in the lower lever of Touchstone Energy Place, will be open to the public from noon to 5 p.m. May 20 and 2 to 7 p.m. May 21.
June 4-6 Statues are delivered to sponsors and put on public display.
September Statues will be gathered for display downtown for a Sept. 15-16 "Blockhead" Party.
Late September Statues will be moved to Mall of America for a Sept. 30 auction.
Santa Rosa to get sneak preview of Snoopy stamp
Skater Peggy Fleming will preside over release of 'Peanuts' stamp on May 17
April 27, 2001
By Chris Smith
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Stamp collectors and "Peanuts" fans will converge on the late Charles Schulz's ice arena in three weeks for the release of the new Snoopy postage stamp.
Olympic figure skater Peggy Fleming will preside over a day-of-issue ceremony to start at 1030 a.m. on May 17. The program will take place inside the ice arena that Schulz built three decades ago on Santa Rosa's West Steele Lane.
The Postal Service's newest first-class stamp, featuring a Schulz drawing of Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace, will go on sale that day, only in Santa Rosa. It will be available at post offices nationwide the following day.
The 34-cent stamp commemorates the nearly 50 years that Schulz drew the universally popular "Peanuts" comic strip. Schulz was 77 when he died of cancer at his Santa Rosa home on Feb. 12, 2000, the day before his final original Sunday strip appeared in 2,600 newspapers around the world.
Organizers of the new-stamp ceremony in Santa Rosa expect a big crowd.
"Peanuts collectors are a large group, and stamp collectors also are a large group," said Ruth Gardner Begell, director of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, which is under construction adjacent to the ice arena.
The ceremony will be free and will be followed by a free skating session.
Begell said she will seize the event as an opportunity to distribute information about the museum, expected to open next spring, and to make memberships available.
Schulz, a native of Minnesota who lived and worked in Sonoma County for 42 years, was the world's most successful cartoonist. His "Peanuts" strip, featuring Charlie Brown, his peripatetic beagle and their pals, spawned TV shows, books and licensed products that continue to generate more than $1 billion in annual sales.
The late cartoonist's wife, Jeannie Schulz, and a son, Monty Schulz, will be among the speakers at the approximately hourlong ceremony inside the ice arena. The master of ceremonies will be Fleming, whose achievements include winning the gold medal at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France.
In April 1969, Fleming came to Santa Rosa at Schulz's invitation and appeared in the opening-day celebration at his Redwood Empire Ice Arena.
"The neat thing about her being the emcee is that she was a friend of Sparky," as Schulz was known to many, said James Doe, general manager of the ice arena and adjacent gift shop.
Postal officials will set up a tent outside the skating rink and will begin selling the Snoopy stamps at 830 a.m. on the 17th. Also on sale will be collectors' envelopes that will bear the new stamp and a special commemorative cancellation.
Postal Service spokesman Horace Henshaw in San Francisco said the new stamp also will be available that day at all Santa Rosa post offices. It will go on sale everywhere else in the nation May 18.
The commemorative stamp was designed by Paige Braddock, a former newspaper design editor who is now senior vice president and art director at Creative Associates, the Santa Rosa agency that reviews worldwide requests for licensing of products that use likenesses of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Woodstock and the other "Peanuts" characters.
Postal authorities unveiled the stamp last September in Minneapolis.
The ceremony at the ice arena will be followed by free skating until 2 p.m.
Postal authorities said collectors may learn more about the Snoopy stamp by going online to www.usps.com and selecting "Stamp Release Schedule."
Schulz's grandchildren to paint two Charlie Browns
April 24, 2001
By Curt Brown
The Minneapolis Star Tribune
Calling it "kind of a neat tribute to our grandpa," two of cartoonist Charles Schulz's grandchildren will fly to St. Paul next month to paint a pair of polyurethane statues of Charlie Brown.
"We're really excited and we can't wait," Stephanie Johnson, 17, said Monday from her home in Alpine, Utah. "Knowing my grandfather, he'd probably say something sarcastic like 'Why are you wasting your time painting my stuff?' "
Brian Johnson, 16, sounded like a self-deprecating chip off the former St. Paul resident as he detailed his plan to paint a "classic Charlie Brown" with the yellow shirt bisected by a black zig-zag.
"I'm not real creative, but I thought this would be kind of a neat tribute to our grandpa and my own way of doing something special to remember him," Brian said.
Monday was the deadline for artists to submit drawings for the second public art project aimed at honoring Schulz, a barber's son who grew up in Depression-era St. Paul and sketched his way into the psyche of American pop culture with his moon-faced "Peanuts" comic strip kids.
After his death last year, St. Paul officials decided to commemorate the hometown cartoonist by placing 101 5-foot-tall, polyurethane Snoopys around town. It proved to be such a wildly popular attraction that they decided to launch a sequel with Charlie Brown statues this summer.
Organizers were thrilled Monday when they received a check for $7,200 from Schulz's daughter, Amy Johnson, and learned that the oldest of her nine children would paint the two sculptures she's sponsoring.
"As we study our genealogy, we realize that St. Paul is really where my father's roots are, and the whole strip is really based on his life in Minnesota," Amy said. "We figured, hey, if all these other people are going to be painting Charlie Browns, why can't Stephanie and Brian?"
Despite his self-proclaimed lack of creativity, Brian is "a very good artist, drawing Snoopys and his own inventions and I want to encourage that," Amy Johnson said.
Stephanie said she prefers lettering to drawing and plans to use some of her grandpa's favorite quotations on her Charlie Brown.
Sponsors will start selecting designs for their statues May 1, and Stephanie and Brian will fly to town with their dad for the so-called "Paint-off" May 18. At the end of the summer, the Johnsons plan to have their Charlie Browns auctioned off so proceeds can benefit local cartooning scholarships and a permanent Schulz memorial in downtown St. Paul.
Interest in new 'Peanuts' statues is high
Potential sponsors already number 70
April 14, 2001
By Karl J. Karlson
St. Paul Pioneer Press
More than 70 potential sponsors have inquired about statues for St. Paul's "Charlie Brown Around Town," including a large number of new sponsors, according to the city officials working on the tribute to the late cartoonist Charles Schulz.
Megan Ryan, director of city marketing and promotions, said the event committee is "very pleased" with responses since first word came out two weeks ago.
The Charlie Brown statues will try to create the same kind of popularity that last summer's "Peanuts on Parade" promotion did with 101 Snoopy statues scattered around downtown and St. Paul neighborhoods.
"It shows this summer there will be a lot of activity and fun in the city again," Ryan said, adding that organizers have not determined yet how many Charlie Browns statues there will be.
Early on, however, many of last year's statue sponsors seem ready to try it again.
Tom Johnson, for example, said his firm -- A. Johnson and Sons Florists at 1738 Grand Ave. -- is on board. Last year's "Snoopy Garden Party" statue drew so much attention that customers want the store to take part again.
"We've had 30 to 40 people ask if we were going to have a Charlie Brown. People expect it," he said this week.
The West Seventh Pharmacy, 1106 W. Seventh St., also plans to sponsor a statue again. Last year's "Patchwork Snoopy" became a kind of neighborhood icon in front of the store.
"It was a lot of fun. We had the artist here one day painting kids faces; we had Minnesota Twins here signing autographs," said Linnea Forsell, co-owner of the store.
"We hope this summer will be top-notch again, that this sort of thing has not become passe," Forsell said.
But Juergen Weidling, owner of River City Agency, is less certain whether he'll sponsor a follow-up to last year's "Pig's Eye Snoopy."
"How many different ways can you dress up Charlie Brown? He's got that yellow sweater with the zigzag, and that's it," Weidling said.
Last summer, sponsorship cost $3,100 for an undecorated statue and $4,100 for an artist-decorated statue. This summer, the fees are $3,700 and $4,700, with the $1,000 difference going to the artist. There is also a $4,000 donation fee for sponsors who choose not to give up their statues for the fund-raising auction finale.
To learn more
More information about the "Charlie Brown Around Town" is available on the tribute's official Web site, www.ilovesaintpaul.com.
For information about sponsoring a Charlie Brown statue, call (651) 265-4920. The application deadline is May 10.
For artists interested in creating one of the statues, there will be a workshop from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday in the Jerome Hill Theater of the U.S. Bank Trust Center, 180 E. Fifth St. To sign up, call the artists' phone line at (651) 266-8542.
'It'll take a few more peanuts to attend KC's theme park'
April 5, 2001
By Liz Austin
The Kansas City Star
Worlds of Fun opens its 29th season Saturday, boasting a new Snoopy-themed playland for children.
But a family trip to the amusement park will cost a little more than it did last year.
Children's single-day tickets will increase $4, to $11.95 (for children 4 and older who are less than 48 inches tall). Single-day ticket prices for adults will increase $1.55, to $33.50.
Children's and senior citizens' season passes also will increase $1, to $40. Family and individual season passes will stay the same.
The park's operators review ticket prices at other parks and increase admission fees to stay on par with industry standards, said Kathy Bellew, a spokeswoman for Worlds of Fun. The parks' junior ticket prices are still among the lowest in the country, she said.
In spring 2000, Worlds of Fun adult tickets had increased $2, with a $1 increase for Oceans of Fun adult tickets.
Worlds of Fun's new Camp Snoopy is the fifth of its kind, with the others in Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio; Knott's Berry Farm, in Buena Park, Calif.; Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom near Allentown, Pa.; and the Mall of America, in Bloomington, Minn.
The entire Peanuts gang will be on hand every day to welcome guests to the new attractions, which replace Berenstain Bear Country in the south end of the park between the Detonator and the Timber Wolf.
Parents can join their children on several of the area's 13 rides, including Woodstock's Airmail and Snoopy's Camp Bus.
Woodstock's Airmail, which resembles a miniature Detonator with seats that look like mailboxes, lifts riders up a tower and drops them back down on a cushion of compressed air.
Children can also fly in the Red Baron's swinging airplanes, take a train ride on the Woodstock Express and jump on an oversized inflatable air mattress in Snoopy Bounce. The area will also feature shows in the Campground Theater.
The park's administrators decided to phase out the Berenstain Bears because of Camp Snoopy's success in other parks, Bellew said.
"Snoopy is extremely popular, with both children and their parents," she said.
Worlds of Fun's sister theme park Oceans of Fun opens May 26. Ticket prices also will increase there, with single-day tickets going for $22.95 for adults and $11.95 for children.