Haven't I Seen That Punchline Before?

compiled by Derrick Bang and Tim Chow (with help from other loyal researchers)

Charles Schulz has drawn close to 18,000 individual strips since Peanuts debuted in 1950, and that's a lot of gags and storylines. It's therefore inevitable that individual ideas might occur to him more than once over the years, and nobody's memory is good enough to remember that much work with perfect clarity. So yes, some duplications have appeared over the years, and they're cited below.

Sharp-eyed Riley Ross got this one. You can't blame the Peanuts kids for believing that Snoopy can understand every word, or for the beagle's desire to participate in everything his two-legged friends do ... including picking on somebody. In the daily strip first published January 1, 1951, poor Charlie Brown, having been tormented by several people, is next passed by Snoopy ... and, apparently believing that the loyal dog will add his two cents, beats him to the punch (!) by protesting, "Don't say it!"

Years later, on October 20, 1955, Linus is getting similarly teased because of his thumb-sucking. As he walks past Snoopy, perhaps again anticipating the worst, he, too, shouts "Don't say it!"

(I'm pretty sure Snoopy wouldn't have said anything either time!)

Check 'em out!

Are all little boys in a hurry to shave? They must not realize that, once they've started, there's no turning back...

At any rate, in the February 23, 1951, strip, Charlie Brown looks at his face closely in a mirror, and then reports to Violet that "It turned out only to be dirt ... but for one brief, exciting moment I thought I needed a shave!"

Many years later, on July 15, 1959, the players have changed, but the gag remains the same. Linus looks at himself in a hand mirror, decides that he's only seeing a little dirt, and reports to older sister Lucy that "For one brief, exciting moment I thought I needed a shave!"

Check 'em out!

Marcie Lee gets credit for these two. Back in the days when he still was a curious puppy, Snoopy was startled when Charlie Brown turned off a yard sprinkler, in the June 18, 1952, daily strip.

You'd think Snoopy would have learned from that lesson, but apparently not; he was nailed the same way in the May 19, 1953, daily strip. Note the similarity of the final panels in both strips.

Check 'em out!

Jim Dankiewicz deserves the handshake for this one. In the January 26, 1953, strip, Violet contemplates a possible future life as Mrs. Charlie Brown, and finally gives up by saying "Nope, I just can't see it."

Quite a few years later, on October 2, 1963, in a strip reprinted in The Peanuts Treasury and As You Like It, Charlie Brown, Sally plays the same theoretical game after meeting 5, by picturing herself as "Mrs. Sally 95472." She comes to the same conclusion: "I can't see it."

Check 'em out!

Eagle-eyed Marcie Lee also spotted this one. In the early days, Charlie Brown was able to chew Snoopy out a bit ... but the world's most famous beagle still didn't put up with much. In the March 31, 1954, strip, Snoopy responds to Chuck's admonition that he "hold his head in shame" by falling asleep.

Many, many years later, on May 23, 1986 (in a strip reprinted in By Supper Possessed), Peppermint Patty wound up doing the same in school.

Check 'em out!

Australia's David Heslin gets credit for this one. In the March 23, 1956, daily strip, Linus bemoans the fact that he'll be an "old man" by the time he finally gets out of school.

Many, many years later, in the July 2, 1996, daily strip (reprinted in The World According to Lucy), Rerun is the one who wails that he'll be an "old man" by the time he's released from school.

Check 'em out!

No doubt about it; Snoopy is one talented beagle. In the May 23, 1956, daily strip, he reveals one of his many skills by retrieving a soap bubble in his mouth and transporting it -- intact -- back to Charlie Brown.

While not absolutely identical, a pretty close variation on this particular notion reappeared in the June 22, 1998, daily strip (seen in It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy). In this case, Snoopy retrieves a soap bubble for Rerun. It's nice to see that the world's greatest beagle hasn't lost his touch!

Check 'em out!

Usagi, a reader and translator of the Japanese FAQ translation, got this one:
In the October 30, 1956 strip, Linus discusses the upcoming Halloween activities with Lucy, who explains the nature of trick-or-treating. Wanting to be sure that he's on safe ground, Linus questions the legality of this practice, and concludes by saying, "I wouldn't want to do anything that might arouse the FBI."

Apparently Linus has a short memory. A few years later, on October 30, 1959, he has a quite similar conversation with Lucy, and concludes by saying, "I wouldn't want to be accused of taking part in a rumble."

Check 'em out!

Riley Ross also caught this pair, with the key events taking place in the dead of winter. Charlie Brown, bundled up against the cold, slips on the ice and falls on his back. Then, much like Ralphie's little brother in the movie A Christmas Story, poor Charlie Brown isn't able to get back up. Snoopy comes along, and ol' Chuck undoubtedly imagines that his faithful dog has come to the rescue ... but, instead, Snoopy merely places his head on Charlie Brown's stomach!

This happens the first time in the January 24, 1957, daily strip, and then again in the November 14, 1999, Sunday strip (the latter reprinted in Peanuts 2000.

Check 'em out!

Lucy has been pestering Linus to get rid of his blanket pretty much since he began carrying it around. Most often he can shrug off her snide remarks, but every so often he bristles in response. On June 23, 1958, she complains that he'll probably drag "that thing" around for the rest of his life. "Well, what's it to you?" he replies. "Maybe I won't drag it around for the rest of my life." He simmers silently in the third panel, and then adds, "Maybe I'll have it made into a sport coat!"

Just a few months later, on September 17, 1958, Charlie Brown approaches the same subject, but much more compassionately. "What are you going to do when you get too old to drag it around?" he asks. "Who knows?" Linus replies. "I've been thinking seriously of having it made over into a sport coat."

In fairness, this could be a running gag rather than a lapse on Schulz's part ... and it's also a foreshadowing of things to come, since Snoopy eventually will have it turned into a sports coat!

Check 'em out!

Then, too, Lucy sometimes tortures her little brother ... although perhaps not intentionally. In the February 16, 1959, strip, she politely tosses him the blanket while he's looking for it ... but then he reacts in pain and shouts, "I'm scalded!" "I forgot to tell you," Lucy answers (yeah, right!). "I just took it out of the clothese dryer!"

Decades later, on January 13, 1984 (in a strip reprinted in The Way of the Fussbudget is not Easy), Lucy pulls the same mean trick. "Don't say I never do anything for you," she starts off, and then continues with, "I just took your blanket out of the dryer." In the third panel, she gets as far as, "Be careful, it's still a little..." before Linus flies head over heels in the final panel, much as he had done in 1959. "...warm," Lucy concludes, rather unnecessarily.

Check 'em out!

"So here I am starting a new year," Snoopy muses to himself, in the January 2, 1960 daily strip. After a few panels of reflection on the lack of change in his life, he concludes by saying, "Sometimes I marvel at my consistency."

Schulz must have gotten a kick out of that gag, because he essentially repeated it just a few years later, in the December 31, 1962 daily strip (reprinted in You Can Do It, Charlie Brown). "So this is the last day of the year," Snoopy reflects, and then considers his lack of accomplishments during the past year, as with other years. "How consistent can you get?" he finally asks.

Check 'em out!

Marcie also gets credit for this one:
Snoopy apparently needs action and stimulation, and who could blame him? It seems like the world-famous beagle spends a lot of time on top of his dog house. "My life has become a bore," he muses, in the January 25, 1961, strip (reprinted in It's a Dog's Life, Charlie Brown). "Everything is the same day in and day out. What I need is a change." And, in the final panel, he's lying with his head facing the other direction.

Just a little more than a year later, on March 10, 1962 (strip reprinted in Snoopy, Come Home), he once again ponders that "My life has become a bore. Everything I see I've seen before. I need to set my face toward new horizons." And so he does ... by facing the other direction.

Check 'em out!

We all know that Lucy’s quite the fussbudget, but sometimes she gets out of hand by even her own standards. In the May 28, 1961, Sunday strip, reprinted in We’re Right Behind You, Charlie Brown, she objects when Linus wanders through their house, obviously enjoying life to the fullest: by singing at the top of his lungs and then watching television at too high a volume. Toward the end of the strip, he retreats into the kitchen and prepares himself a bread and butter sandwich. Seeing his crabby sister’s glare, he snidely asks, "Am I buttering too loud for you?"

More recently, poor Rerun has been Lucy’s primary target ... but it’s nice to know that little brothers concoct the same line of defense. In the August 5, 1998, daily strip (seen in It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy), Lucy and Rerun are eating breakfast, while the little guy attempts to share some of his experiences. Lucy’s not having any, so she asks, "Do you always have to be so noisy?" After taking a panel to contemplate a suitable rejoinder, Rerun returns to his toast and replies, "Am I buttering too loud for you?"

It should be noted, however, that this particular repeat is most certainly deliberate...because the punchline is reported to have been said by Schulz's daughter, Amy, years and years ago when she was 3. By way of confirming this, the last panel of the latter strip bears this message, reading sideways: "Happy birthday, Amy."

Check 'em out!

Hey, we all get tired of stuff. In the as-yet-unreprinted August 17, 1962, strip, Linus pauses during his thumb-sucking to wonder, with an expression of faint dissatisfaction, whether "...it's possible for a thumb to spoil."

Nearly four years later, on March 1, 1966 (in a strip reprinted in The Unsinkable Charlie Brown), Lucy again grimaces at his thumb, and -- as Lucy walks past -- asks, "Do thumbs ever spoil?"

Check 'em out!

Back when Charlie Brown's younger sister Sally still was pretty new to the world, she proved quite the impressionable audience for odd facts and amusements. On February 8, 1963 (in a strip reprinted in You Can Do It, Charlie Brown), she watches while her big brother uses his hands to illustrate that old rhyme: "Here's the church...here's the steeple...open the door...and see all the people!" After carefully examining his closed fingers, she announces, "It looks like a rather small congregation!"

Four years later, on April 8, 1967 (in a strip reprinted in You're Something Else, Charlie Brown), Sally watches as Linus delivers the same rhyme...and then she provides an almost exact response: "Sort of a small congregation."

Check 'em out!

After entering school, Sally finds herself obliged to begin each day with a pledge to the American flag. On September 11, 1963 (in a strip reprinted in As You Like It, Charlie Brown), she stands at her desk and recites the entire pledge. She then sits down in the third panel, but rises again in the fourth to conclude with a heartfelt "Amen!"

Almost a quarter-century later, on September 16, 1987 (in a strip reprinted in If Beagles Could Fly), Peppermint Patty stands behind her desk and recites the same pledge. She then sits down in panel three, looking quite satisfied, but bounces up again in panel four, for a hearty "Amen!"

Check 'em out!

You'll need a good memory to recall this duplication, because neither of the strips in question has been reprinted yet. In the January 24, 1966, daily strip, as Snoopy smoothly glides along the winter ice, his warm cap trailing behind, he suddenly slips and flips to a spectacular crash. "Whew," he thinks to himself, recovering, and then looks suspiciously at his hind legs: "I think my feet need sharpening."

This one came back the very same year, but the following winter. In the December 20, 1966, daily strip, Snoopy once again is skating on a frozen pond, with what looks like the same fuzzy cap (although a scarf has been added to his ensemble). He once again slips, this time landing on his back, and once again we read, "I think my feet need sharpening."

Check 'em out!

This one's as close to a complete duplicate as you're likely to see, which only goes to prove that a classic punchline bears repeating. As Linus and Lucy walk in a gentle snowfall in the December 27, 1968, daily strip (reprinted in You've Had It, Charlie Brown), the flakes eventually cease. "Just what I thought," Lucy says, wearing one of her Instructive Misinformation faces, "I knew it would happen sooner or later...they've run out of snowflakes!" Linus, in the final panel, clearly doesn't know what to make of it.

But he apparently came around to his sister's way of thinking. In the December 5, 1998, daily strip -- almost 30 years later to the day, and reprinted in It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy -- Linus is standing in a snow-laden field as the flakes slowly subside. "Rats!" he says, "I knew this was going to happen." His sister, coming up from behind and obviously having forgotten the wisdom she imparted lo those many years ago, asks, "What's wrong?" Linus, returning his gaze to the heavens, responds, "We just ran out of snowflakes."

Check 'em out!

In the December 30, 1968 daily strip (reprinted in You've Had It, Charlie Brown), Snoopy approaches Schroeder's piano, plinks a few notes with one paw, and gets a rather curious result.

This gag resurfaced a years later, again in a daily strip, on January 12, 1974 (and reprinted in Win a Few, Lose a Few, Charlie Brown). Aside from a slightly suspicious glance from ol' Snoopy to ensure that nobody is watching, the strips are pretty much identical!

Better yet, both these strips are a variation on yet an older daily strip: March 10, 1960. In this case, Snoopy starts off sitting on top of the piano while Schroeder is playing, and then tries the keyboard himself after the Beethoven lover leaves the scene. Although the resulting "notes" are a bit more free-form, the basic idea remains the same...making this one a triple!

Check 'em out!

Usagi, a reader and translator of the Japanese FAQ translation, got this one:
"Sometimes you do dumb things," Snoopy muses, to himself, in the July 13, 1971 strip (reprinted in The Snoopy Festival), "and you never forget them. Other times you do smart things." "I'll never forget one of the smartest things I ever do," he eventually concludes. "I never bought a nehru jacket."

Many years later, on December 15, 1979 (in a strip reprinted in Here Comes the April Fool), Linus and Charlie Brown have a similar conversation about smart things and dumb things. Charlie Brown eventually reports that the smartest thing his grandfather did was that he "never bought a nehru jacket."

Check 'em out!

Linus always has been talented. In the January 6, 1975, daily strip (reprinted in Speak Softly and Carry a Beagle), he has just built a snowman upside-down. While showing this accomplishment to Charlie Brown, however, Linus notes that the snowman can't stay in this position very long, because "All the snow rushes to his head."

And it would seem that Lucy is pretty adept herself. Nearly a decade later, on January 7, 1984 (in a strip reprinted in The Way of the Fussbudget Is Not Easy), she builds the snowman, and shows it to Charlie Brown...and the word balloons in the final two panels are virtually identical!

Check 'em out!

Bad weather brings out the best in us. During a heavy rainstorm in the April 4, 1976, Sunday strip (reprinted in Summers Fly, Winters Walk), Snoopy hurries over and flips Woodstock's nest upside-down (with Woodstock in it), so that our little bird friend can stay dry. (Apparently, gravity isn't an issue.)

And you can say this for Woodstock: He learns from experience. On October 27, 1979 (in a strip reprinted in Here Comes the April Fool), another rainstorm once again threatens to drench Snoopy's bird buddy...who, this time, flips his nest over himself! (Frankly, I would've liked to have seen him do that...)

Check 'em out!

Our buddy Julian gets credit for this one:

Charles Schulz had little patience, over the years, for those who claimed an inside track to "the one true way" during religious discussions. This prompted him to take a cautious approach to religious matters, and led to a query that he turned into a repeated punchline.

In the August 9, 1976, daily strip, Snoopy decides to title his new book on theology, Has It Ever Occurred to You That You Might Be Wrong?

A few years later, in the June 20, 1980, daily strip, following an incident during which Sally is humiliated by a discussion leader for her choice of opening prayer, Linus challenges the individual in charge by asking, "Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?"

Although not quite the same context, the meaning is precisely the same. Along with other places, both cartoons are included in the collection And the Beagles and the Bunnies Shall Lie Down Together.

Check 'em out!

Over the years, Snoopy has made no secret of his desire to write The Great American Novel, but the many hapless editors and publishers do little but get in his way. (And, based on the snatches that Lucy occasionally reads aloud, this may be a good thing.) Perhaps the supreme indignity comes in the April 18, 1980, daily strip (reprinted in Dr. Beagle and Mr. Hyde), when the "world-famous author" delivers his latest novel to the local public mailbox...which spits the manuscript back out, scarcely before the hatch has closed. "I have a hard time believing they read it very carefully," Snoopy thinks to himself.

This gag resurfaces on April 23, 1997 (in It's a Big World, Charlie Brown), as Snoopy completes his latest opus. Adding a cover letter that reads, "Gentlemen, enclosed please find my latest short story," he takes it to the mailbox and pops it into the slot...only to have it pop right back out again!

Check 'em out!

Nobody needs to be reminded of the suffering Charlie Brown has endured while playing baseball, but it seemed needlessly cruel to subject him to this particular torment more than once. In the April 8, 1981 daily strip (reprinted in You're Weird, Sir), ol' Chuck notices that it has started to rain. He hollers for the unseen ground crew, and orders them to "get out the tarp, and cover the infield." In the final panel, speaking from beneath a tarp which has turned him into a bump on the landscape, he comments, "They did that pretty fast."

This gag resurfaced in a Sunday strip published September 20, 1987 (and reprinted in If Beagles Could Fly). Charlie Brown calls for two volunteers -- Lucy and Sally -- and shows them a tarp, explaining that if it starts to rain, they're to rush out and cover the infield and pitcher's mound with it. "Remember," he concludes, "you have to be quick." Raindrops start falling on his head, so he calls for the tarp. In the final panel, once again hidden from sight, he laments, "That was a little too quick."

Check 'em out!

Peppermint Patty and school don't get along all that well, and she probably approaches the annual end-of-summer ritual -- the purchase of school supplies -- with mixed feelings at best. In the September 4, 1981, strip (reprinted in You're Weird, Sir), she buys the usual things and then, when asked if she needs anything else, replies, "A lot of luck."

This one pops up again on September 2, 1988 (reprinted in Could You Be More Pacific?), in practically identical fashion: Peppermint Patty visits the store with a list in hand, and the final item is "...a lot of luck."

Check 'em out!

Poor Charlie Brown. In the May 30, 1983, daily strip (reprinted in I'm Not Your Sweet Babboo!), he's forced to return a kite to the store because it's "afraid of heights."

One hopes that he's in a different store when, on March 4, 1999 (in a strip reprinted in Peanuts 2000), he checks out what's available and requests a kite that "...isn't afraid of heights."

Check 'em out!

Woodstock just can't catch a break. In the June 11, 1983, daily strip (reprinted in I'm Not Your Sweet Babboo!), his pleasant birdsong comes to naught when the notes wash away in a sudden rainstorm. (One wonders if he therefore lost his voice...)

In a similar turn of events, on November 27, 1984 (in a strip reprinted in The Way of the Fussbudget Is Not Easy), a sudden rainstorm s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s the notes like taffy. While not an absolutely identical punchline, it's close enough to warrant including here.

Check 'em out!

Those who own dogs know that they’re thirsty all the time, and Snoopy is no different. Apparently our favorite beagle has quite a kick when he wants some water, as can be seen in this May 9, 1985, daily strip (reprinted in Dogs Don’t Eat Dessert), when he kicks a hose bib to rather comical results.

A variation on this gag - almost like a sequel - appeared on April 16, 1990 (reprinted in Make Way for the King of the Jungle), when Snoopy once again kicks the hose bib, and gets a slightly different result.

And, as eagle-eyed Tim Chow pointed out, both these strips sort of "morphed" from the delightful May 19, 1963, Sunday strip (reprinted in We’re Right Behind You, Charlie Brown). Apparently Snoopy has been getting his own water for quite awhile...and it's another triple!

Check 'em out!

Poor Snoopy. He just can't catch a break!

On June 11, 1987 (in a strip reprinted in It Doesn't Take Much to Attract a Crowd), one of Snoopy's manuscripts is returned, along with a letter that he not send any more submissions ... "please, please, please!" "I love to hear an editor beg," Snoopy thinks to himself, in the final panel.

This one pops up again, practically word for word and scene for scene, on January 20, 1996 (in a strip reprinted in The World According to Lucy). It's a three-panel format rather than four, and Snoopy winds up on top of his doghouse, rather than leaning against a tree ... but otherwise, it's the same!

Check 'em out!

In the December 15, 1990, strip (not yet reprinted), Lucy asks if Linus will go to Sunday School the next day, and mentions that he didn't attend the previous week, and that the teacher wanted to know why. "The zipper on my Bible was stuck," Linus replies.

Not quite a decade later, the gag resurfaces with Lucy and Rerun, in the April 5, 1998, Sunday strip (reprinted in It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy). After arriving at Sunday School, Rerun laments that he wasn't able to study his lesson, because "the zipper on my Bible is stuck."

Check 'em out!

Breaking News

Just the FAQs, Ma'am

Ace Airlines Tours: Sites to Visit

Beethoven's Rhapsodies: The Music (and Musicians) of Peanuts

Shop Till You Drop

Just for Fun

By Derrick Bang

Legal Matters

All PEANUTS characters pictured are copyrighted by United Feature Syndicate, Inc. They are used here with permission. They may not be reproduced by any means in any form.