The Charlie Browniest: 25 Abiding Charles M. Schulz Quotes

Charles M. Schulz in 1956/ Wikimedia Creative Commons
Charles M. Schulz in 1956/ Wikimedia Creative Commons

Signature’s This Week in History remembers events of the past, and the icons that set them in motion. If you're stirred by the words below, read on for more inspiring author quotes.

On November 26, 1922, Carl and Dena Schulz welcomed their only child, Charles Monroe Schulz, into the world. The man, who would become a defining cartoonist of the twentieth century, was once just a boy with a curious affinity for the Sunday 'funny papers.' Before he took his first steps, Charles was given the nickname "Sparky," after a character in the Barney Google comic strip. He and his father had a ritual of reading the Sunday paper, where Schulz, like many children, fell in love with cartoons.

Unlike most children, however, Schulz derived significant inspiration and motivation from these drawings. He especially enjoyed drawing the family dog, Spike, and as a senior in high school one of these drawings was published in Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The proud moment would set the course of his future. Schulz studied and honed his style throughout the 1920s and '30s.

Though the trajectory of his career was interrupted by two stints in the army, by 1945 he committed himself in earnest to being a world-class illustrator. His dreams happened to coincide with the shrinking of allocated newspaper space for cartoons, but few artists were as equipped for the abbreviated medium as Schulz. His humor fit perfectly into the minimalism characteristic of the post-war era. For five years he managed to sell the odd single-panel cartoon, before the first Peanuts strip was published in October, 1950.

So in tribute to a man whose work has touched countless lives over his career, below is a collection of the best wisdom and wordplay Schulz had to offer, both as himself and as his most beloved characters.

As himself
1. "A cartoonist is someone who has to draw the same thing day after day without repeating himself." (You Don't Look 35, Charlie Brown!, 1985)
2. "I just draw what I think is funny, and I hope other people think it is funny, too." (Address to the Sonoma County Press Club, 13 February 2000)
3. "I never try to please a certain audience. I think that's disastrous." (National Cartoonist Society talk, 1994)

As Charlie Brown
1. "My anxieties have anxieties." (9 November 1968)
2. "Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter like unrequited love!" (15 Dec 1964)
3. "Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'What can I do to keep my life from going by so fast?' Then a voice comes to me that says, 'Try slowing down at the corners.'" (30 July 1996 )
4. "I've developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time." (8 August 1966)
5. "How can I say the right thing and the wrong thing at the same time?" (11 September 1985)
6. "I'm not a poor loser, I'm a good loser. I'm so good at it I lose all the time!" (2 August 1998)

As Snoopy
1. "My mind reels with sarcastic replies." (12 October 1971)
2. "Yesterday I was a dog. Today I'm a dog. Tomorrow I'll probably still be a dog. *sigh!* There's so little hope for advancement." (15 February 1958)
3. "Beauty Tips - How to Look Younger: Don't be born so soon." (4 May 1982)
4. "(Writes a new book on theology:) I have the perfect title... Has It Ever Occurred to You That You Might Be Wrong?" (9 August 1976)

As Linus van Pelt
1. "Big sisters are the crab grass in the lawn of life!" (17 June 1961)
2. "Never jump into a pile of leaves with a wet sucker." (15 November 1957)
3. "I love mankind - it's people I can't stand!" (12 November 1959)
4. "There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people...religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin!" (25 October 1961)
5. "You can't bluff an old theologian!" (6 December 1972)

As Lucy van Pelt
1. "Don't let your team down by showing up!" (16 April 1963)
2. "These five fingers: individually they're nothing, but when I curl them together like this into a single unit, they form a weapon that is terrible to behold!" (5 January 1964)
3. "In all of mankind's history, there has never been more damage done than by people who "thought they were doing the right thing." Five cents, please." (18 November 1971)

As Sally Brown
1. "Happiness is having your own library card." (26 April 1964)
2. "Some philosophies take a thousand years. I think of them in two minutes." (15 April 1997)
3. "Light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles per second. ... So why are the afternoons so long?" (1 June 1976)
4. "Life in the village was peaceful until the volcano interrupted." (15 May 1998)