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Rose Mary
By Rosemary McKittrick
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Charlie Brown and Lucy; original comic art; football Sunday; 1988; image size 22 ½ inches by 14 ¾ inches; sold for $50,788. Photo courtesy of Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers.
“If you do not say anything in a cartoon, you might as well not draw it at all,” cartoonist Charles M. Schulz said. “Humor which does not say anything is worthless humor. So I contend that a cartoonist must be given a chance to do his own preaching.”

Schulz shared his nuggets of wisdom with the world in his weekly “Peanuts” comic strip for nearly 50 years in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. Few would call him a preacher. His comics never would have lasted. He was more like a mystic.

Schulz had a gift for pouring big thoughts through little folks.

“I don’t know where those witty little statements the kids say to one another come from. I take that blank piece of paper and go at it cold-blooded, day after day,” Schulz said.

Without knowing where the witty statements came from, Schulz touched a chord. Took a deep cut at life. Made us chuckle at ourselves as we struggled with our own flaws. In the face of rejection, failure, loss and unrequited love, Schulz taught us the saving grace was a sense of humor.

He understood all too well that most of us had a little red-haired girl (or boy) somewhere in our past. The one who never knew we existed. The unattainable in life.

“…Some people can get over loss very quickly,” Schulz said. “Then there are people who can remember every golf match or tennis match, or any loss. They never get over it. Maybe I’ve been somewhat like that.”

Schulz doesn’t remember much about the morning he sold what would become “Peanuts” to United Feature Syndicate. He was hopeful that day but also used to hearing the word no.

Syndicate president Larry Rutman liked what he saw and offered the cartoonist a standard five-year contract which Schulz accepted. “Peanuts” appeared for the first time on Oct. 2, 1950. Sales to newspapers were slow the first year. Then “Peanuts” slowly began to take off. Fast and steady.

Ultimately, “Peanuts” would become one of the most popular comic strips of all time. Schulz understood how to get to the essence of things and do it simply.

He was frequently asked if he suspected “Peanuts” would last when he first made the sale. “Sure, I thought it would last. I never intended to draw anything that wouldn’t last,” he said.

Schulz was also asked if in the end Charlie Brown would get to kick the football after so many years. "Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century," he said.
The cartoonist retired in December 1999. He passed away on Feb. 12, 2000, just a few hours before the final “Peanuts” Sunday strip appeared.

On Aug. 14-15 a collection of original art from the “Peanuts’ comic strip went on the block at Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas, Texas, in the Comics & Comic Art auction. Here are current values for Schulz’s original comic art.

Charles Schulz Original Art

Snoopy starring in four panels with dart board; 1957; image size 27 ½ inches by 5 ½ inches; $26,290.

Snoopy at feeding time; 1990; image size; 22 inches by 14 ¾ inches; $28,680.

Lucy & Schroeder with music box; includes hand-written Yuletide inscription by Schulz; 1956; image size 22 ½ inches by 15 inches; $44,813.

Charlie Brown and outfielder Lucy Van Pelt; baseball strips are some of the most desirable; 1980; image size 22 ½ inches by 15 inches; $44,813.

Charlie Brown and Lucy; football themed Sunday; 1988; image size 22 ½ inches by 14 ¾ inches; $50,788.

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