Annotations of The Complete Peanuts/1959 to 1960

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Annotations to The Complete Peanuts: 1959 to 1960 by Charles M. Schulz (Fantagraphics Books, 2006. ISBN 1560976713)

  • p. 3 (January 6, 1959) 4th panel. Popular songs were the music that "everybody" was familiar with during the first half of the 20th century, until rock and roll replaced it as the music of the general public.
    • "Stardust", written by Hoagy Carmichael, and recorded thousands of times, was one of the most popular of these "popular songs." During the 1940s - 50s many older pieces of music (including some classical) were jazzed up, given lyrics and became "hits." For example, "Stranger in Paradise" from the 1953 musical Kismet is based on Alexander Borodin's Polovetsian Dances and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto in B-Flat Minor became “Tonight We Love.” The joke is that the children are so young that they don't know "Stardust" has already been around a while and in fact started out as a pop song.
  • p. 18 (February 11, 1959) 3rd panel. "Tennessee Ernie" is Tennessee Ernie Ford, a popular singer and TV variety show host.
  • p. 30 (March 9, 1959) 2nd panel. Deep focus again. (See also Vol. 1, p. 267, November 15, 1952.)
  • p. 37 (March 27, 1959). The first appearance of Lucy's psychiatric help booth.
  • p. 38 (March 29, 1959). Commercial use of jet aircraft in the United States began with the Boeing 707, first used in international service in October 1958 and for domestic flights in January 1959. Jets were louder than the propeller-driven aircraft they replaced, and in many places, people living near airports distributed petitions in an attempt to reduce the number of jet flights and/or reroute jet traffic away from their homes.
  • p. 42 (April 6, 1959) 3rd and 4th panels. Almost certainly Peter Gunn, which had premiered on TV the year before. Gunn was a cool detective, hip to all the lingo. “Mommy-O” is a spin on "Daddy-O", what one cool cat might call another. The 1958 film Daddy-O features a truck driver who turns detective.
  • p. 60 (May 18, 1959). Telephone booth stuffing, in which as many people as possible tried to cram into the same glass-walled phone booth, was a fad in the late 1950s, primarily on college campuses.
  • p. 67 (June 6, 1959). "I was an only dog." Schulz would later change his mind on this (or, he simply forgot the line). Over the years (see May 5, 1965), we would learn that Snoopy had seven siblings.
  • p. 68 (June 7, 1959). The first movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 1, op. 2 No. 1.
  • p. 79 (July 4, 1959) 4th panel. Charlie Brown is suggesting that his father will have to drastically raise the price of haircuts at his barber shop in order to cover the increased cost of living that comes with an expanded family. At the time, haircuts typically cost less than $2.00.
  • p. 81 (July 6, 1959). The Soviet Union was well-known for sending dogs into space, experiments which were continuing as of this date. The American space program had actually sent mice into space in the early 1950s; by 1959, they had moved on to monkeys, with a pair surviving a flight in May of that year. Various other animals also made space flights.
  • p. 87 (July 20, 1959). The back sides of boxes of breakfast cereals aimed at children often had brief stories or comic strips printed on them.
  • p. 87 (July 22, 1959). The Continental League was proposed in 1959 as a competitor to the American and National baseball leagues. It was to have begun play in 1961, but the existing leagues soon announced plans for expansion teams in some of the Continental League cities, thus eliminating much of the new league's reason for being.
  • p. 99 (August 19, 1959). "Hot summer nights": the name given to racial riots of the 1950s and 60s.
  • p. 101 (August 23, 1959). Note that it was three months between the first mention of Charlie Brown's new baby sister (May 26, 1959) and this, her first actual appearance in the strip.
  • p. 120 (October 6, 1959). First mention of "Miss Othmar."
  • p. 124 (October 16, 1959) 4th panel. The Brothers Grimm popularized the legend of the Pied Piper, who is reputed to have used his pipe to play music to lure an infestation of rats out of the town of Hamelin, Germany; when he was not paid by the townspeople, he later returned and lured the town's children away.
  • p. 126 (October 21, 1959). Lucy is reading the mythological story of King Midas. Linus is correct that things backfired for the king.
  • p. 131 (November 1, 1959) 5th through 7th panels. Dr. Benjamin Spock's bestselling book Baby and Child Care, first published in 1946, advocated a more loving approach -- some would say "permissive" -- to raising a baby than had previously been in vogue.
  • p. 137 (November 15, 1959) 4th and 5th panels. The Soviet Union launched several Sputnik satellites between 1957 and 1960, apparently enough that Charlie Brown and Lucy could use "Sputnik" as a generic term meaning "artificial satellite."
  • p. 138 (November 17, 1959) 1st panel. A score of 300 -- 12 strikes in a row -- is the best possible score in a single game of ten-pin bowling.
  • p. 145 (December 5, 1959) 2nd and 3rd panels. Horsehide is another name for a baseball and pigskin is another name for an American football, in both cases due to the material traditionally used for each ball's cover. Both are now much more commonly made from either cow leather or synthetic materials.
  • p. 150 (December 14, 1959) 4th panel. Beethoven's first name was actually Ludwig.
  • p. 160 (January 7, 1960) 4th panel. Indoor antennas intended primarily for receiving VHF television broadcasts were frequently in the form of a dipole antenna placed on top of the TV set, each pole a separate telescoping metal rod. Often set at a 45-degree angle to the set and a 90-degree angle to each other, these antennas were nicknamed "rabbit ears."
  • p. 162 (January 12, 1960). "Rabbit ears" antennas often had to be adjusted to a different position in order to improve the quality of the television picture, when changing to a channel that was transmitting from a different location than the previous channel, or as a result of changing atmospheric conditions.
  • p. 164 (January 17, 1960). The first iteration of what would become a recurring theme: Snoopy and his doomed relationship with a snowman. See also February 2, 1961; January 15–20, 1962; and, most memorably, February 18, 1962.
  • p. 174 (February 8, 1960). Snoopy's doghouse had not previously been shown as being this close to a house -- see January 2, 1960, for example.
  • p. 189 (March 14, 1960). "Whirlybird" is a nickname for helicopters.
  • p. 207 (April 25, 1960) 4th panel. The phrase "happiness is a warm puppy" led to an explosion in Peanuts merchandise and entered the consciousness of the public at large, even inspiring a Beatles song. (Also see the April 27 and April 30 strips.)
  • p. 224 (June 5, 1960). Linus starts singing the traditional spiritual "Dem Bones."
  • p. 240 (July 12, 1960). The picture tube is the main part of a traditional television set.
  • p. 243 (July 18, 1960). Uncle Sam is the traditional personification of the United States. The elephant is a symbol for the Republican party, and the donkey is a symbol for its counterpart, the Democratic party. A snake with the phrase "Don't tread on me" is an image from early American history, most notably seen on the Gadsden flag. All of this means that Lucy has crammed a bunch of symbols commonly used by editorial cartoonists into the same cartoon.
  • p. 245 (July 24, 1960) 13th panel. Lucy's microphone is a lavalier-type condenser microphone, commonly worn by television personalities who would have to move around too much to use a fixed microphone and didn't need to use a handheld type. This type of microphone later became much smaller, to the point where it can now be clipped to a lapel or even hidden beneath a shirt.
  • p. 253 (August 11, 1960). The spitball was banned in professional baseball in 1920. Schulz and/or his syndicate may have worried about some client newspapers' acceptance of the word "spit" on their comics page, hence the use of the euphemism "expectorate ball."
  • p. 254 (August 14, 1960) 4th panel. British Honduras is now known as Belize, after having become a self-governing colony in 1964 and fully independent of the United Kingdom in 1981.
  • p. 257 (August 21, 1960) 6th panel. "Rain Rain Go Away" is a traditional nursery rhyme that normally doesn't work this quickly. (Also see the following two Sunday strips, August 28 and September 4.)
  • p. 264 (September 6, 1960). This storyline may have been inspired by an upgrade of U.S. 101 through Sonoma County, California, upgraded to a freeway in the 1960s. Since freeways are wider than traditional roads and require additional space for grade-separated interchanges at intersections, their construction often results in the need for the local government to use eminent domain powers to purchase significant amounts of land on and around the route of the road.
  • p. 273 (September 28, 1960). Comedian Mort Sahl took much of his material from current events.
  • p. 282 (October 17, 1960). "Population explosion" was a term commonly used to describe conditions that could be leading to overpopulation, in the news at the time due to the baby boom following World War II.
  • p. 305 (December 11, 1960), p. 308 (December 18, 1960), and p. 311 (December 25, 1960). This year, Linus's piece to memorize for the Christmas program is Luke 2:1, and Charlie Brown has Luke 2:8.
  • p. 313 (December 30, 1960). A container for restaurant leftovers is sometimes known as a doggie bag.