August 2 ~  Laugh At Yourself Art of Schulz

"If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself." ~ Charles M. Schulz

Charles M. Schulz

On this day in 1984, the award-winning Peanuts became the first comic strip to appear in 2,000 newspapers.

Creator Charles M. Schulz (1922-2000) was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Known to his friends as Sparky, he was a combat veteran of World War II. After the war, a church publication hired him to draw comics and he created a boy named Charlie Brown and a girl with red hair.

"It seems beyond comprehension of people that someone can be born to draw comic strips, but I think I was," he said. "My ambition from earliest memory was to produce a daily comic strip."

Schulz introduced his special characters, called Li'l Folks, to seven newspapers on October 2,1950. The name was soon changed to Peanuts, which ironically Schulz disliked.

"All of my fears, my anxieties, my joys, and almost, even all of my experiences go into that strip," Schulz said.

Over the years, the comic has grown in popularity because of the wisdom shared about life by the delightful round-headed children. The characters deal with real emotions and are easy to identify with.

"Some days are like being in the 'ten items or less' line behind a dozen people who don't understand the new math," Schulz penned with clever wit.

According to the Minnesota Historical Society, Charlie Brown and the gang have appeared in as many as thirty thousand newspapers in 40 languages in 75 countries, reaching 350 million readers daily. Schulz's beloved beagle Snoopy has become the most widely-recognized character in the world.

Happiness is laughter... and a warm puppy.