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‘Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown’: Future ‘Simpsons’ director turns ‘Peanuts’ into a bloodbath
04.24.2017
02:57 pm
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In the mid-1980s, Jim Reardon was at the highly regarded Character Animation program at the California Institute of the Arts, and one of his student projects was a remarkable mashup of the Charlie Brown universe and the Sam Peckinpah universe—all of it undertaken with what must have been a deep affection for both worlds. The four-minute film’s title is “Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown,” an obvious reference to Peckinpah’s 1974 movie Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia.

The short is presented as the commercial for a “heartwarming holiday special” featuring the Peanuts gang. So the Great Pumpkin places a bounty on Charlie Brown’s head, which causes an immediate death spiral into ultraviolence. All of the familiar characters (Lucy, Schroeder, Linus, etc.) attempt to assassinate Charlie Brown, until finally the hero is forced to take matters into his own hands, grabbing a machine gun and mowing them all down.

The second half of the short is truly a bloodbath, and definitely Reardon has Peckinpah’s masterpiece The Wild Bunch on the brain most of all. Peckinpah was known not just for violence but most of all for lush slow-motion sequences focusing on the carnage, and “Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown” certainly has several of those. The moment when Lucy nips Charlie Brown in the shoulder is a direct callback to a sequence from The Wild Bunch involving William Holden’s character Pike Bishop.

Reardon’s short, which is in black-and-white, is a little crude by professional standards, but for a student project it’s incredibly effective and engaging. “Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown” is dense, somewhat akin to MAD Magazine, with references covering everything from Popeye and Travis Bickle to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Godzilla. The closing zinger, spoken in Arnie’s trademark accent, is “Happiness is a warm uzi,” a remarkably canny mix of the strip’s treacly motto “Happiness is a warm puppy” and John Lennon’s memorable ditty “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” 

“Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown” also owes a debt to the old Warner Bros. cartoons, particularly in the bomb Lucy creates to dispose of her football-kicking buddy.

Based on the strength of this short—one imagines—Reardon was quickly hired by John Kricfalusi (later of Ren and Stimpy fame) as a writer on Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures. Later on he would be a supervising director for seasons 9 through 15 of The Simpsons  and co-wrote the script for WALL-E.

Watch it after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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04.24.2017
02:57 pm
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‘How you like me now?’: Charlie Brown & the Peanuts gang quote Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop & more


Peanuts characters ‘Peppermint Patty’ and ‘Charlie Brown’ riffing on lyrics from ‘Protect Ya Neck’ by the Wu-Tang Clan. Painting by artist Mark Drew.
 
I’m a huge fan of artist Mark Drew—especially his “Tape Stack” paintings which can be found on greeting cards. I grab a few whenever I’m lucky enough to come across them.

In 2013 Drew created gallery-sized paintings based on one of his many zines. The zine in question featured images of the gang from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comic mashed up with lyrics derived from 80s and 90s hip-hop. So instead of good old Charlie Brown uttering his famous phrase “good grief,” we get finally get to see Chuck slaying his nemesis Lucy with a line from “Let Me Ride” by Dr. Dre: “Fuck around n’ get caught up in a one-eight-seven.” Which seems about right given the fact that Lucy probably deserves to get a cap in her ass for all those times she denied poor Charlie the pleasure of kicking that goddamned football.

When Drew debuted the paintings at the China Heights gallery in Sydney, Australia he called the show “Deez Nuts” in tribute to the moniker adopted by failed 2016 presidential candidate high school student Brady C. Olson. Images of Charlie Brown and his homies Snoopy, Linus, Peppermint Patty quoting their favorite hip-hop lyrics follow.
 

Peanut’s character and notable meanie Lucy reciting a lyric from Public Enemy’s 1988 jam, “Louder than a Bomb” in a painting by artist Mark Drew.
 

Quote derived from the 1992 song by Dr. Dre, “Let Me Ride.”
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.06.2017
08:49 am
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‘You’re short, bald and ugly, Charlie Brown’: Marvelously crude and nasty Peanuts remix
07.29.2016
11:48 am
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We’ve all seen “Nietzsche Family Circus” and “Garfield Minus Garfield”—personally, I find “Shut Up, Garfield!” a more elegant and incisive take on the sad dementia of Jon Arbuckle. Not long ago we also had Danziggy.

Such rude interventions into the iconography of comics are nothing new; Robert Armstrong was messing around with “Mickey Rat” (a scurrilous take on Disney’s Mickey Mouse, natch) in 1971, and Mad Magazine’s Mickey Rodent popped up way back in 1955. Still, the joys of stumbling upon a new variation of Archie and Jughead as gay lovers or Nazi sympathizers (depending on one’s mood) never gets old.

I recently learned of a version of the culture-jamming approach used on Peanuts, the nearly universally beloved strip by Charles Schulz, with an unusually high pedigree. In 1993 a self-published mini-comic with a small run of 300 started making the rounds, with the title “You’re Short, Bald and Ugly, Charlie Brown!” in the familiar bubble letters similar to the ones Schulz used in many Sunday strips. The small volume was credited to “Dr. Casey ‘Sparky’ Finnegan,” which apparently is a reference to a Canadian children’s television series called Mr. Dressup (“Sparky” was the real life nickname of Charles Schulz). The volume was billed as a “A Roasted Peanuts Book.” At first glance, it was easy to take the strange strips inside for actual Peanuts strips, until one looked closer….. the dialogue didn’t match, indeed it was very rude in places.

“You’re Short, Bald and Ugly, Charlie Brown!” has three sections, each the work of an individual detournist using a similar technique of replacing Schulz’s original dialogue. The first section simply places R-rated dialogue into the bubbles of Linus, Sally, Lucy, and the like, while the third section has Linus crushing hard on the kid with the big round head. The middle section, titled “Billiards,” takes a more original approach, turning a bunch of Charlie Brown/Linus panels into a kind of telenovela, perhaps, or a workaday translation of a finely wrought Argentinian novel, as in: “Juan, is your mother still playing herself silly with the billiards table that is in your family’s home?”

As Shaenon Garrity has pointed out, it’s the “Billiards” section that makes “You’re Short, Bald and Ugly, Charlie Brown!” worth the trouble.

More crudely modified ‘Peanuts’ after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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07.29.2016
11:48 am
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‘Linus and Lucy’: Los Straitjackets’ revved-up cover of the beloved ‘Peanuts’ theme song
11.13.2015
08:55 am
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The luchador-masked garage/surf band Los Straitjackets have been a popular live act for over 20 years, thanks to tight musicianship and energetic, theatrical stage shows. They’re known for sharing stages with other showy, dynamic performers like the burlesque troupe The Pontani Sisters, but lately they’ve begun working with someone altogether different—Nick Lowe, the great songwriter and producer who lived the transition from pub rock to New Wave and beyond. Los Straitjackets were a feature of Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue tour last year, and will be again this year. Further, a show recorded on last year’s tour will be released as a Record Store Day LP on November 27th.

That album will contain Los Straitjackets’ version of the immortal Vince Guaraldi number “Linus and Lucy,” famous as the theme music from the Peanuts TV specials, starting with A Charlie Brown Christmas 50 years ago. Thanks to the Peanuts connection, that song is by far pianist Guaraldi’s best-known work, and there are abundant covers out there, by artists as varied as yuppie jazz institution Wynton Marsalis and indefatigable skate-punks JFA. But if it’s all you know of him, do yourself a favor and pick up Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus or even just a best-of. He was pretty amazing.

Los Straitjackets are hardly strangers to holiday music—in the late ‘90s, a Straitjackets Christmas appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien was an annual tradition, and in 2002 they released ‘Tis the Season for Los Straitjackets. Guitarist Gregorio El Grande discussed the appeal “Linus and Lucy” held for the band to DM in an email exchange:

We listen to all different kinds of instrumental music and always loved the Vince Guaraldi score for A Charlie Brown Christmas. One of the discoveries working on “Linus and Lucy” was finding out the opening riff sounds exactly like the opening riff in “You Really Got Me by The Kinks” when you rock it up. You would never think of those two songs being similar! The best thing about covering this song is seeing everybody doing the Peanuts dances when we play it.

 

Posted by Ron Kretsch
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11.13.2015
08:55 am
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Finally: The Peanuts gang takes on AC/DC, Led Zep, Journey, Floyd, and the Who
03.19.2015
01:45 pm
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Everyone’s already seen YouTube videos in which Snoopy, Pigpen, and the rest bop and gyrate to the dulcet tones of Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum.” In fact, lots of folks have repurposed that dancing footage from A Charlie Brown Christmas to make it seem like the Peanuts gang is into Pharrell or whatever.

But it took YouTube user Garren Lazar/Super G to see the possibilities in the rest of the animated Peanuts oeuvre. He has made a whopping 34 videos (!) using Peanuts characters to animate videos for songs by a variety of classic hard rock acts, as seen below. These videos are remarkably good—I especially like the use of Schroeder’s impressionistic “Pathétique” sequence, which was just waiting to be used for something like this. The Peanuts version of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”—24 minutes long, mind you—is especially mind-blowing.
 

 
I’ve embedded a few of my favorites here, but there’s plenty more on Garren Lazar’s YouTube page.
 
Led Zeppelin, “In the Light”:

 
More “classic rock” fun with the Peanuts gang after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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03.19.2015
01:45 pm
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‘Good Grief! Cancer Boy!’ Charlie Brown in nihilistic German existential cinema parody
10.08.2014
12:32 pm
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You may remember a post last week on “Apocalypse Pooh,” a fantastic little pre-Internet mash-up of Apocalypse Now and Winnie The Pooh released in 1987 through underground tape-trading circles by art student Todd Graham. Though Graham is still best-known for his prototype mash-ups, I was pleased to find his fantastic little original short, “Good Grief! Cancer Boy!” a nihilistic portrayal of Charlie Brown in German (I mean, it’s more nihilistic than the original).

The disdain of his peers, the conniving sadism of Lucy, the general alienation of modern life, even in childhood—really, the material is already there. Todd Graham himself is brilliant as our tragic protagonist, and you can really feel the existential despair, you know?
 

Posted by Amber Frost
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10.08.2014
12:32 pm
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This Charming Charlie: The Smiths meet the Peanuts gang
08.14.2013
02:50 pm
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Finally, a website after my own, cold, cold heart… This Charming Charlie.

The Tumblr is by San Francisco-based graphic designer Lauren LoPrete.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.14.2013
02:50 pm
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The Peanut Underground, not to be confused with the Velvet one
04.03.2013
11:38 am
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image
 
I’ve never seen this Peanuts meets Velvet Underground cartoon before (though it appears it’s been going around for a while). Better late than never, right?

Click here to see larger image.

Posted by Tara McGinley
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04.03.2013
11:38 am
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‘You’re a Creep, Charlie Brown!’
01.19.2012
12:21 pm
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image
 
Good grief, Charlie Brown! Could your life get any bleaker? Once you hear Vega Choir’s cover of “Creep” set to visuals of Charlie Brown’s oh so very tragic life, you’ll see just just how bleak it can get. :’( 
 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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01.19.2012
12:21 pm
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Website makes fun of ‘Peanuts’ paperback covers
10.24.2011
01:19 pm
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I had a good laugh this morning looking through Paperback Charlie Brown which pokes fun of Peanuts paperback covers. Poor Charlie Brown…


 
A few more after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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10.24.2011
01:19 pm
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‘Peanuts’ and race-mixing, 1969
06.17.2011
05:05 pm
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Beloved cartoonist Charles Schulz received this unsigned letter dated November 12, 1969 concerning the new addition of “Franklin,” the first black character appearing in “Peanuts.” How strange this seems now, but just imagine the uproar on FOX News if a gay kid was added to the gang today.

We know Bryan Fischer would hate it. But haters gonna hate, what can you do?

Click here to view larger image.

United Feature Syndicate
220 East 42nd Street
New York, N.Y. 10017

Gentlemen:

In today’s “Peanuts” comic strip Negro and white children are portrayed together in school.

School integration is a sensitive subject here, particularly at this time when our city and county schools are under court order for massive compulsory race mixing.

We would appreciate it if future “Peanuts” strips did not have this type of content.

Thank you.

Here’s a link to an article written by Chris Haft, now a sportswriter for The Cincinnati Enquirer, about his youthful correspondence with Charles Schultz about why there were no black kids in “Peanuts”.

(via reddit)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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06.17.2011
05:05 pm
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