*Sigh*
November 9, 2015 10:01 AM   Subscribe

In the early 1950s, when Donna Mae Johnson arrived at work, she’d sometimes find her desk calendar festooned with doodled greetings or cartoons from Sparky, her co-worker. For three years, Johnson dated Sparky, but when he proposed to her, she turned him down. Although Donna Mae Johnson became Donna Johnson Wold, she maintained a lifelong friendship with Sparky, who for half a century, drew cartoons occasionally imbued with secret, romantic messages read by millions, yet truly understood only by Donna and Sparky.
posted by mattdidthat (24 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
“When it came time for a tip,” Donna said in an interview with the Schulz Museum archivists recently, “he would write on the placemat, ‘Early to bed, early to rise,’ and that was his ‘tip.’”

Oh good grief.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:19 AM on November 9, 2015 [21 favorites]


What a great story. And it seemed to pop out of nowhere.
posted by cleroy at 10:20 AM on November 9, 2015


Sweet.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:21 AM on November 9, 2015


The most in-depth interview I've seen yet with Ms. Wold. Wow. What pain there is in this world. Thanks so much for posting.
posted by Melismata at 10:38 AM on November 9, 2015


This November, the Little Red-Haired Girl will finally be coaxed out of the shadows. Along with the more instantly familiar faces from Schulz’s strip, she has been brought to C.G.I. life for The Peanuts Movie.

I was just dreading The Peanuts Movie. Now I'm pre-hating it.
posted by chavenet at 10:38 AM on November 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Wow! That article has a lot of Twin Cities' locales in it. Makes it very palpable for us living here.

The place is littered with Peanuts characters cast in bronze. It's kinda neat.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:01 AM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I took my nephew to the Peanuts movie on the weekend. It was alright. Yeah, they showed the Little Red Haired Girl's face, and it was definitely on the "Happiness is a warm puppy" side of the Peanuts spectrum, but all in all I thought it was fairly true to the spirit of the strip (and there were some subtle shout-outs to Peanuts nerds here and there). I wasn't a huge fan of the animation, but it wasn't the abomination I thought it might be, either (fortunately, I managed to find a non-3D screening; my nephew didn't want to see it in 3D either, because he'd seen The Minion Movie that way and it made his eyes hurt).

My worst fear, which was that the characters (especially Snoopy) would be Poochie-fied, was not realized. But it's very definitely aimed at little kids.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:15 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was just dreading The Peanuts Movie. Now I'm pre-hating it.

It's fine. I, a huge Peanuts fan growing up (can sing the songs from You're A Good Man Charlie Brown from memory) went with my Mom (same) and my 11 year old daughter who is a new fan. We all enjoyed it. Visually it's spot-on, very well done. The script hits some of the high notes longtime fans know - certain phrases, scenes, etc - without it be too obvious about it. The story overall is pretty slight, but to be honest I'm actually okay with that. Not everything needs to have the depth and pathos of a Pixar joint. So, not a tour-de-force, but a solid piece of entertainment, mostly for kids.
posted by schoolgirl report at 11:18 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


When Donna arrived at work some mornings, she’d find that Sparky had doodled greetings or cartoons on her desk calendar.

I'm so tainted by the modern era as to read this in absolute horror. He did whatheFUCK? HR time!
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:20 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


...also the sort of years-long horror of "get over it already." The guy's poor (other) family.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:21 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Ack, crying at work!!!!
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:34 AM on November 9, 2015


This fits with other facts like Schultz' regret over Charlie Brown never getting to kick the football. Peanuts just feels like a person rehashing the same sadness and regrets over and over again for 50 years in the form of a beautiful, poetic, comic.

I don't think I'll ever get how the strip that I've read has also spawned a marvelously uplifiting and mawkish memorabilia empire.
posted by DGStieber at 11:45 AM on November 9, 2015


chavenet: "This November, the Little Red-Haired Girl will finally be coaxed out of the shadows. Along with the more instantly familiar faces from Schulz’s strip, she has been brought to C.G.I. life for The Peanuts Movie.

I was just dreading The Peanuts Movie. Now I'm pre-hating it.
"

I dunno, my prehate started when I saw they were going 3D with the art. Which strikes me as about as massively disrespectful as you could get of the source material, outside of doing live action with normal actors.
posted by Samizdata at 12:15 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Woah that's a great read. I was right there in the story with them. I also took a little red-haired girl to the 12th floor restaurant at Dayton's after we went to the 8th floor Christmas display. We went on day trips to Taylors Falls (the potholes are cool, you should go), and one of my favorite pictures is from at least 20 years ago of us ice skating.

My little red-haired girl married me and I always leave a tip. I guess that's why I suck at art.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:15 PM on November 9, 2015 [14 favorites]


Clinging to the Wreckage: "Woah that's a great read. I was right there in the story with them. I also took a little red-haired girl to the 12th floor restaurant at Dayton's after we went to the 8th floor Christmas display. We went on day trips to Taylors Falls (the potholes are cool, you should go), and one of my favorite pictures is from at least 20 years ago of us ice skating.

My little red-haired girl married me and I always leave a tip. I guess that's why I suck at art.
"

Good for you! (You neglected to mention the red haired dog. Not so little, though.)
posted by Samizdata at 12:20 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


posted by Samizdata outside of doing live action with normal actors.

This has been done, with mixed results.
posted by mattdidthat at 12:48 PM on November 9, 2015


I dunno, my prehate started when I saw they were going 3D with the art. Which strikes me as about as massively disrespectful as you could get of the source material, outside of doing live action with normal actors.


Honestly, I worried about this, but it's not bad at all. They clearly went to great pains to make sure they stayed away from anything that would look completely out of place. Snoopy still has both eyes on one side of his head when he's at a three-quarter view, for example. Nothing I saw would have looked too out of place in one of the old TV specials, other than being much more polished. And Marcie remains awesome.
posted by schoolgirl report at 1:36 PM on November 9, 2015


As weird and romantic and sweet as that story is... gosh, poor Al. That's gotta have been a little rough for the guy.
posted by still bill at 2:05 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd like to imagine that every now and then Al would call up Jean after one of those LRHG strips ran and he'd be like "can you believe this shit?" and she'd be like "I know, right?"
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:10 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know I feel about Peanuts the way I do Shel Silverstein.... Funny as a kid, dark as fuck as an adult.
posted by sio42 at 2:50 PM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's interesting to see so much love for Schulz, because he sounds like just the kind of person MeFites would truly despise.
posted by Bugbread at 3:28 PM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'd like despise Schultz because when I was growing up he was used as a blunt instrument with which to bludgeon us kids about religion (I remember a book called "The Gospel according to Peanuts"). But there's too much talent in that strip and too much angst. I also wanted to hate the movie when I saw the art, but then I read this piece in the NYTs demonstrating the respect with which the animators took on the art. The NYTs review is interesting, too.
posted by acrasis at 3:58 PM on November 9, 2015


This was a great read, thanks. I have very mixed feelings about Peanuts. It's so funny, but so depressing. This article had me liking it more. There's more than one way to deal with depression.
posted by alms at 6:44 PM on November 9, 2015


...also the sort of years-long horror of "get over it already."

I once lost a little red-haired girl to another man, too. Some things you just don't get over. Little red-haired girls are indelible.

That said, I don't keep a torch lit via a nationally beloved comic strip, and her husband has never once fielded a phone call with me at the far end. But Schulz' deft touch somehow made bittersweet beauty of various kinds of pain and loss and failure and grief.

I think this Sunday Peanuts strip is my favorite of that sort.
posted by bryon at 9:40 PM on November 9, 2015


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