Good grief! First-time visitors to "ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas" invariably were surprised by the impressively colorful ice-sculpture renderings of the Peanuts gang.
These articles are arranged from the most recent down, so you'll always find the newest news about Charlie Brown and his friends toward the top; older articles will be located further down, or on previous pages.
Very cool! Scenes from Charlie Brown special rendered in ice
November 27, 2009
By Donna Stinnett
The Gleaner (Henderson, Kentucky)
Thirty days after they started, 40 ice sculptors from Harbin, China, were successful in transforming 2 million pounds of ice into the colorful Christmas world of Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
"ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas" opened late last week at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, marking the first time "A Charlie Brown Christmas" has been created in such a medium.
It will be open through Jan. 2 in the Gaslight Theater in Opry Plaza.
Just prior to the public opening, members of the late "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz' family as well as the 1965 animated cartoon's producer, Lee Mendelson, came from California to tour "ICE!"
"I couldn't wait to see it when the opportunity came up," said Craig Schulz, son of the artist. "It exceeds my expectations."
His sister, Jill, said it was very incredible to walk though and see the scenes from the Christmas classic recreated in ice in a three-dimensional way.
"My dad would certainly be proud of it," she said.
Visitors will see the highlights of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" in the 10 rooms of the display, including the ice skating scene that opens the show, Lucy's psychiatry booth, Sally's letter to Sana, the Christmas play rehearsal, Charlie Brown and Linus' visit to the Christmas tree lot, Linus' famous speech that lets everyone know what Christmas is all about, Snoopy's decorated doghouse, the kids singing "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing" and more.
There's also an interactive aspect to the ice exhibit -- an ice slide that visitors can try out should they choose.
Since the area that houses "ICE!" is kept at 9 degrees, visitors are given special parkas to wear for the 20 minutes or so they spending touring the exhibit. If you go you might want to take gloves.
Also at the ending of "ICE!" there is a life-size Nativity scene carved in ice, one of four featured in the resort's "A Country Christmas" celebration.
The 26th "A Country Christmas" also includes the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes, Louise Mandrell's Joy To the World show, 2 million exterior Christmas lights and other events.
Harbin, China, the hometown of the artisans who carved "ICE!" is nicknamed "Ice City" and is home of the internationally known Harbin Ice Festival.
"ICE!" will be open seven days a week. A schedule detailing the hours, which are more extensive on Fridays, Saturdays and the days immediately prior to and following Christmas Day, are available at www.WeFrozeCharlieBrown.com.
Tickets are $24 on Thursday-Sunday and $22 on Monday-Wednesday for adults and $15 and $13 for ages 4-11.
Google logo: Thanksgiving with Snoopy and Woodstock
November 26, 2009
Today we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful for not just the harvest, but all things in our lives. And Google helps us remember the day with a special logo. Snoopy and Woodstock also adorn the logo, donning chef hats. Quite the image for quite a special holiday.
You can read about the history of Thanksgiving and more about the holiday on the Google search page that is linked to the logo. A Wikipedia article gives you information about the day.
We hope you have a wonderful holiday. And a great holiday season.
Skippy Baxter still skating 80 years on
Ex-champion plans return to teaching at Schulz ice arena
November 23, 2009
By Chris Smith
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Nobody skates through life, not really. But Skippy Baxter has come pretty close.
Baxter, two weeks short of 90 years old, is the grand old man at the ice-skating rink that was built -- for him, you could say -- by his late friend and employer Charles Schulz.
Since the "Peanuts" creator died at age 77 in 2000, Baxter has been the Redwood Empire Ice Arena's resident celebrity. He hasn't sought to be idolized by multiple generations of skaters, but he's naturally charming and gracious and he's blessed with a smile that could melt ice. So adoration just happens.
A near-Olympian, Baxter is still skating 80 years after he first strapped on a pair of blades and decades after he performed in thousands of professional ice shows as one of the most precise, athletic and high-leaping figure skaters in America.
"Maybe the reason I've lasted is that I gave up smoking the day I was born," he said from a table at the arena's Warm Puppy Cafˇ. "And I gave up alcohol the day I was born."
He doesn't curse, either, though he confesses that he used swear words while serving with a U.S. Army mountain unit in Italy in World War II because too much polite language prompted other GIs to throw things at him.
Since he helped fellow World War II veteran Schulz open the skating rink near Coddingtown 40 years ago, Baxter's main pursuit has been showing kids, not simply telling them, how to skate. He's had to back off from the lessons as of late, after having both a hip and knee replaced after a fall on the ice last year.
Even so, the man who taught Peggy Fleming as a child and showed Robin Cousins how to do a backflip intends to resume teaching, even if he has to call on younger instructors to spell him should he grow tired before a lesson is through.
"I'm going to return (to teaching) in 2010. I don't know exactly when," said Baxter, a widower since his wife, Phyllis, died a year ago last August. Any kids who take skating lessons from him next year will be lucky kids, because the inductee into two Halls of Fame (World Figure Skating and U.S. Figure Skating) plans to retire before the end of 2010.
To be clear, said Skippy Baxter, who went by his given name, Lloyd, until friends impressed by how he skipped across the ice gave him a nickname that stuck, "I'm not going to retire from skating, just from teaching."
And he vows he'll also continue his regular visits with his friend Sparky Schulz.
"I sure miss him," Baxter said. "He was such a wonderful person. I go to his grave (at Sebastopol's Pleasant Hills Cemetery) at least once, twice a week."
Baxter met Schulz, one of the world's favorite cartoonists, in 1966.
A few years prior to that, Baxter and his brother, Meryl, had left Oakland and had come to Santa Rosa hoping the little city could support a new ice-skating rink. Skippy Baxter was then a bit older than 40 and had completed a demanding, exciting and successful career as a competitive skater and performer.
He'd qualified for the 1940 Summer Olympics, only to see them cancelled because of World War II. He'd performed in 5,532 ice shows with Sonja Henie and other greats, then he'd turned to working with young figure skaters eager to dance, spin and leap on the ice as he did.
After Baxter and his brother chose Santa Rosa as the spot for a new rink in 1961, they had one built on Santa Rosa's Summerfield Road. The building is now home to the Rialto Lakeside Cinemas.
Baxter recalled the night that Sparky Schulz and Joyce, his first wife and the mother of his five children, popped in. They'd had dinner up at the nearby Hilltopper restaurant, now The Villa, and had seen the blinking "Ice Skating" sign. Baxter said the Schulzes, formerly of icy Minnesota, took a look around the rink and said they'd like to bring their kids in to learn to skate.
The Schulz kids became regulars at the rink. They were disappointed and their parents were, too, when Baxter and his brother discovered in 1968 that the building's laminated roof beams were separating. They sadly announced they'd have to close the arena while the beams were replaced.
Then Charles Schulz phoned Baxter with a proposal.
"He said, 'Skippy, if I build a new rink, will you and your brother run it?' Without hesitation, I said yes."
Schulz had a new ice arena constructed on West Steele Lane and opened it in 1969 with Meryl Baxter as its manager and Skippy Baxter as the director of instruction. Forty years later, Meryl is retired in Pleasanton and his brother skates on at the rink he knows better than anyone else.
Skippy Baxter's blue eyes smiled when he said he hopes that when he dies somebody will put his skates on him and lace them up, "but not too tight. It might cut off circulation."
A Square Peg's Christmas
November 15, 2009
By Michael Murray
Canwest News Service (www.canada.com)
It has been said that the genius of jazz legend Miles Davis was that he played silences the way other people played notes. He allowed space to come into his music, and it was into this emptiness that an unmistakable melancholy often settled.
I was struck by this observation while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, which is entirely unique in the genre of animated Christmas specials. The first oddity is the jazz soundtrack. Composed by Vince Guaraldi, the score is so integral to the show's mood and tone, it's practically a character in and of itself. There's a thoughtful, adult quality to it; one that suggests art rather than commerce, and although the show was released in 1965, it has a pre-modern, almost rural feel to it.
Although "Linus and Lucy" -- the signature piece of music to which all the Peanuts famously danced -- doesn't sound until about halfway through the special, it became so culturally embedded, it was used as the theme song for all subsequent specials.
However, it's not this piece of music that starts A Charlie Brown Christmas, but another Guaraldi composition. Wistful and contemplative, this music is in no rush, nor does it try too hard to sell you anything, be it a mood or a new song for your iPod.
As this music plays, the cartoon opens with a slow, 10-second pan. We move languorously across the winter landscape to watch the Peanuts skating on a frozen lake. With implacable faces, they glide about the ice. Instead of jubilantly playing as a group, as most children would, they seem indifferent to one another. Content to do their own thing, they seem lost in their own worlds. While this is slowly unfolding, we hear children's voices, slightly out of tune, singing "Christmas Time is Here." This has to be the most sombre, even mournful, Christmas carol ever.
Of course, the music isn't the only disarming thing about A Charlie Brown Christmas. The voices of the Peanuts and the rhythms of their speech have always seemed a little bit weird to me. There's a choppy, almost breathless quality to the way they deliver their lines, and I only recently discovered that the actors who voiced the Peanuts were indeed children.
Typically, when we're watching a cartoon like The Simpsons, we're hearing adult actors performing the voices of the children. This adds all sorts of polish and depth to the delivery. The actors furnish their lines with the knowing maturity of adults who understand exactly what the writing team intended. In the case of the Peanuts, the children used for the voices were sometimes too young to know how to read, and their lines were fed to them, half a line at a time, and then spliced together.
For this reason, there's an unusual pace and innocence in the way the characters speak. It's as if the words were translated from an adult language to a child's language, making it simultaneously alien and familiar.
Sometimes, it's as though the kids don't even really understand what they're saying. It's all very strange and dislocating, but it has the ring of truth to it.
At any rate, Charlie Brown is not in the Christmas spirit. He attempts to direct the school pageant, but proves a failure at that. He then bungles the task of picking out a tree, choosing one that's little more than an emaciated sprig of parsley. However, after Linus delivers the epiphanic Gospel of Luke, in which the true meaning of Christmas is revealed, things take a turn for the better. The tree, attended to by the Peanuts gang, fulfils its beautiful potential, and we're left with the image of everybody, Charlie Brown included, singing beneath an immense night sky, as snow falls.
Charlie Brown, a square peg in a world of round holes, always has an uncertain frown -- as if drawn by somebody with a shaky hand -- on his face. The jangly lines of an insomniac circle his eyes, and despite his very best efforts to be like the effortlessly confident and graceful Snoopy, things just never work out for him. The melancholic, depressive glaze of the Peanuts is unmistakable, and that's one of the reasons I think it makes for such a strange and compelling Christmas special.
I suppose there are many people who relate to Charlie Brown at this time of year. With manufactured Christmas Muzak bombarding us at the shopping malls, many of us feel pressured to be happy and to confront obligations, both financial and social, that we really want no part of. Often, the absences in our lives feel amplified at this time, and it's easy to fall through the cracks and feel blue, like an outsider, like Charlie Brown.
Each year, the eccentric Peanuts special returns and washes over us like a Miles Davis performance. A Charlie Brown Christmas comes at a different tempo, giving the audience the opportunity to fill the space between the notes that have been struck, and, like Charlie Brown, to find some solace in a restive moment of grace and innocence.
Good grief! Not!
New Village Theatre Art Gallery opens with 'Peanuts at Bat'
November 12, 2009
By Dolores Fox Ciardelli
The Danville Express News (California)
Baseball season may be over for some folks but it's just beginning in Danville. "Peanuts at Bat" from the Charles M. Schultz Museum is the opening exhibit in the new Village Theatre Art Gallery that is having its grand opening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., this Saturday, Nov. 14.
"The Town's Village Theatre Art Gallery creates an exciting new destination where both the visual and performing arts can be enjoyed," said Marcia Somers, assistant town manager. "When attending ... performances, you can now also view the lobby gallery exhibits before the show starts or during intermission."
Grand opening festivities begin with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. and will include a special guest appearance by Snoopy, live music, giveaways and food.
The Monte Vista Beautyshop Double Quartet will perform as well as the East Bay Banjo Club, United We Sing, and the San Ramon Valley Jazz Vocal Ensemble and Kylie Rothfield.
The party is also a chance to see the newly renovated lobby of the historic building. The entry was reconfigured to include an art gallery, larger restrooms and a new ticket area.
Peanuts at Bat showcases some of Charles M. Schulz's most memorable baseball-themed comic strips. Forty-three digital prints from the original Schulz drawings are on display, taking the visitor through five decades of the Peanuts Gang engaged in America's pastime.
Included in the exhibition are vintage Peanuts baseball memorabilia and ephemera: bobble head dolls, banners, and a board game. Also on display are a Louisville Slugger Joe Shlabotnik bat (Shlabnotnik is Charlie Brown's favorite - underperforming - player, who's never actually seen in the strip) and an over-sized Snoopy doll decked out in his favorite team uniform.
Peanuts at Bat is organized and toured by the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa. It is sponsored locally by the Town of Danville Recreation Services Department.
"With the opening of the Village Theatre Art Gallery this is a unique time for the town," said Michelle Lacy, Recreation Services Manager.
The Peanuts exhibit runs through Dec. 20. The second exhibit will be "Light Fantastic," a contemporary Irish stained glass art show organized by the Crafts Council of Ireland, Kilkenny, from January to March. It will be followed in April and May by a show organized by the Mt. Diablo Museum curator featuring original work.
The Village Theatre Art Gallery is located at 233 Front St. in Danville. Gallery hours are 2-8 Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Jill Schulz, Daughter of Late 'Peanuts' Creator Charles Schulz Says No One Will Ever Continue Strip
November 5, 2009
By Brent Singer
Jill Schulz, daughter of "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz, is a busy woman.
She helps manage the massive "Peanuts" empire, especially Woodstock Ice Productions, drawing on her career as a professional ice skater. She also directs and choreographs the "All Wheels Xtreme" sports entertainment shows and still finds time for her husband, Aaron, and their two children, Kylie, 11, and Tyler, 7. She took time out of her day to chat with ParentDish about her dad, his legacy and the Peanuts 60th Anniversary Photo Look-A-Like contest.
ParentDish: I'm sure you've been asked this 100 times, but what's it like to be the daughter of a legend?
Jill Schulz: I always say that he's the only dad I grew up with, so to me he was always a dad first. I learned a lot from my dad. His philosophy on working hard and enjoying what you do, and enjoying the process. We grew up in Northern California, so we didn't grow up in a sort of celebrity Beverly Hills-esque lifestyle. My parents were from Minnesota, so we were all fairly "Plain Jane." We just grew up in a regular "Brady Bunch"-style house in the country.
PD: Is there a point when you realized how special your dad is to other people?
JS: Throughout the years, just seeing the effect he had on different people, all the way from your average fan to when he had his heart surgery and President Reagan [called] him in the hospital. I think he himself was oftentimes impressed with how famous the entire "Peanuts" empire had become.
I remember we were at a cartoonists' convention, and he [said], this entire room full of people, all of their jobs and their livelihoods are based on his job. He really felt honored, a responsibility to all these people that were making their living and putting their energies into products that were related to this strip that he had started.
People used to say [to him], 'You have all the money you want, why don't you just retire.' My dad would always say, 'Why would I be fortunate enough to have a job that I love to do, the only thing I ever wanted to do [and] not do it?' To him that made no sense. He always taught me the real joy is in the process of finding something you do and in the doing of what it is you have a passion and an interest in, not where you're going to end up.
PD: Do you feel a responsibility to keep the Peanuts legacy safe and special?
JS: Yes. [My family is] very adamant about that. Years ago, before my dad passed away, there were renewals on contracts, and there was a question -- do we someday allow anyone else to write the strip, to continue it. A lot of people [said] you've got to get someone else to draw it, to keep the product out there. They were looking at it from purely a business standpoint.
[My dad] took great pride in the fact that he had never let anybody else letter or draw a single piece of any strip. And we said no, we don't care if it ends up being a less financially beneficial decision. Our first and foremost concern is the integrity of our dad's work, and the legend behind his work.
The new TV specials, we've allowed them to take comic strips and string them together, and you have to write enough to turn it into a half-hour TV special. But there will never be anyone writing a cartoon strip. That will never ever happen. Because we know that's something my dad never wanted.
PD: Why do you think Peanuts continues to resonate with people?
JS: [The strip] is based on emotions and situations in life that nobody escapes. My dad was always a great observer, and he was always a good listener. His own childhood memories were so strong that what was in the strip, all of the things we go through -- the Little Red Haired girl, the rejection, the brothers and sisters fighting, Lucy and Linus...it's nothing that will ever go away. It was happening back when he started to write the strip, and it's still happening now. And I think that's why it continues.
PD: Comic strips, since they appear in the newspaper, are targeted at adults, not kids, right?
JS: You're right. My dad used to say, people don't understand that my cartoon strip is for adults. But a kid can still enjoy looking at the physical gags, the drawings, Snoopy jumping off the dog house, or dancing, because it's really clean and simple. That was one thing my dad intentionally did. He used to point out some strips that had too much going on in the picture, they added too much in the background. Even though the subject matter is definitely written for adults, kids like looking at it.
PD: The TV specials -- were they made for all ages?
JS: Those are definitely for all ages. The Halloween special is really identifiable to kids -- the trick or treating, "I got a rock," the Great Pumpkin. You probably have to be an adult to get to the next layer of what the meaning is in those specials, [but] I think the entertainment is for all ages.
PD: Tell me about the Peanuts Look Alike contest.
JS: It's just a fun thing to start the year for all the special events that will happen for the 60th anniversary. All the celebrities that agreed to represent themselves as that character, it's all fun. You're always seeing people saying, "Oh, you're so Charlie Brown," "My sister is just like Lucy, she's always yelling at me," things like that. It gives people a chance to send pictures, either people whose personalities are just like these characters or somebody who just looks like them.
PD: Your daughter was in "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"?
JS: Yes, she played Sally and sang "My Philosophy" with the local theater club here.
PD: What was that like?
JS: It was neat to see her do it. The director gave her the last line of the play, where Lucy says, "You're a good man, Charlie Brown." Normally it would have gone to Lucy, but he gave it to her. I know it was really special for her. Now my son is starting to do plays. He'll probably be Linus because he has a blue blanket, like I'm sure hundreds of other people do.
PD: Would you mind if your kids went into show business?
JS: No. I want them to do whatever it is they want to do. I continually stress the lesson that my dad always taught me. The most important thing is just to enjoy the process of what you're doing. Understand the difference between wanting to be in the business and working at your craft, or wanting to be in the business because you want to end up on "Entertainment Tonight."
'A Charlie Brown Christmas' at the baby grand
October 28, 2009
Called a "pleasant mix...that aims to please and often succeeds," by the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Eric Mintel Jazz Quartet (http://www.ericmintelquartet.com/index.html)'s presentation of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" features the beloved songs of Vince Guaraldi as made famous by the animated Peanuts gang. The acclaimed quartet brings familiar tunes such as "Christmas Time is Here," "Skating," and "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" to the stage along with other classic holiday standards like "Silent Night," "Christmas Tree," "Christmas Song," and Mintel's own original compositions. The Eric Mintel Quartet performs "A Charlie Brown Christmas" live at the baby grand (http://www.thegrandwilmington.org/) in Wilmington on Thursday, December 10 at 8PM. Tickets are $23.
For many families, the annual broadcast of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" signals the start of the holiday season. One of the most memorable aspects of the special is its collection of lilting, sweet melodies written by late composer Vince Guaraldi. The Grammy-winning jazz pianist's 1963 single "Cast Your Fate to the Wind" convinced producers to enlist him as composer for the animated version of Charles Schulz's celebrated comic strip. Eric Mintel and company showcase Guaraldi's holiday-themed music in an effort to not only entertain adults who grew up on A Charlie Brown Christmas, but also introduce children to jazz in a live concert setting.
Pianist and composer Eric Mintel has toured with his nationally-acclaimed quartet since 1993, mixing elements of classical, jazz, and original compositions to create a unique live experience. In addition to collaborating with symphonies, orchestras, and choirs, Mintel has frequently performed at the Kennedy Center, as well as the White House. Recently, the quartet opened for Dave Brubeck at the renowned Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and was a featured guest on XM Satellite Radio's "Live Performance Theater."
In addition to Mintel, the jazz quartet consists of National Jazz Ensemble alumnus Nelson Hill on saxes and flute, one-time USO and Cavalcade of Stars bassist Dave Antonow, and drummer Dave Mohn, who has worked with many great jazz players, including Paul Schaeffer, Dennis DiBlasio, Richie Cole, Charles Fambrough, Steve Varner, and Daryl Hall.
The Eric Mintel Quartet performs "A Charlie Brown Christmas" live at the baby grand in Wilmington on Thursday, December 10 at 8PM. This concert is sponsored by DuPont. Tickets are $23 and can also be purchased as part of a MyChoice series package. MyChoice benefits include saving $3 off each ticket with the purchase of 3, 4 or 5 shows and $5 off each ticket with the purchase of 6 or more shows, as well as ticket exchange privileges, free parking vouchers, lost ticket insurance, The Grand's Stage Door Pass, and more. Both single tickets and MyChoice series packages can be purchased online at TicketsAtTheGrand.org (http://www.ticketsatthegrand.org/), or by calling 302-652-5577 or 800-37-GRAND, or visiting The Grand's Box Office at 818 N. Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801.
Other upcoming holiday shows include the warm sounds of a Canadian Brass Christmas (http://www.thegrandwilmington.org/Canadian_Brass) on Monday, December 14 at The Grand. Kick off the holiday season with The Grand and the Brian Setzer Orchestra at the 2009 Grand Gala (http://thegrandwilmington.org/Grand_Gala) on Saturday, December 5 at 8PM. The Brian Setzer Orchestra sold out the house at The Grand in 2006, and their return performance will keep you on your feet with swing, blues, and rockabilly versions of popular holiday favorites. Further information on these shows and other artists can be found in The Grand's 2009-2010 season brochure, now available for download at TheGrandWilmington.org (http://www.thegrandwilmington.org/), or by request when calling The Grand's Box Office at 302-652-5577.
Only One Month Until World's Only Charlie Brown Ice Sculpture Attraction Opens
October 21, 2009
With only one month to go until the opening of the only ice sculpture attraction in the world telling the story of A Charlie Brown Christmas, the family of the late and legendary Charles Schulz is preparing for a visit to Nashville, Tenn. It is there that artisans from Harbin, China are busy carving 2 million pounds of ice at Gaylord Opryland Resort's A Country Christmas. When the 40 carvers are finished, thousands of giant blocks of ice will have been transformed into a larger-than-life ice sculpture storybook telling the story of A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles Schulz. Members of the Schulz family will be the first to experience ICE during a private tour before it opens to the public November 20, 2009.
"We've all seen an ice sculpture, we've all seen carvings, but I think to see room after room of these Charlie Brown Ice sculptures is going to be mind boggling. I think that when it comes to these ice sculptures that they are going to be perfect and [Charles Schulz] would have loved them all," said Jeannie Schulz, wife of the late Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, one of America's most successful TV Christmas classics, is being brought to life in frozen form at Gaylord Opryland's Gaslight ICE! Theater, in an attraction called ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas. The colorful, interactive ice sculpture world will tell the story of Charlie Brown and his friends as he asks, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?," and they discover the answer together.
Jeannie Schulz along with Charles Schulz's son Craig will be on hand to experience ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas, when it is complete. They discuss the project, and Charles Schulz on a video that can be seen at http://j.mp/18rwt6 which was recorded at the Charles Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, California.
"Undoubtedly my Dad would have loved it because basically anything that was about art he loved whether it was ice carving, drawing, painting ... he was fascinated by art. So for someone to take his comic strip and translate it into ice sculptures I think would have fascinated him on numerous levels. Now for it to come to Nashville, I am thrilled," explained Craig Schulz, son of Charles Schulz.
"We are proud to partner with Gaylord Opryland Resort to bring the public ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas," said Helene Gordon, VP of Peanuts Worldwide at United Media, the licensing and syndication company for Peanuts. "Each holiday season, fans of all ages look forward to watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, and having a chance to see it brought to life with ICE! will truly be a wonderful and unique way to celebrate this time of year."
It will take a team of 40 artisans 40 days of around-the-clock work to transform thousands of 350 lb. blocks of ice into the Peanuts characters' sculptures, slides and entire rooms that are literally constructed of ice. The attraction is constructed inside the theater on the Gaylord Opryland property that is kept chilled at 9 degrees.
ICE! featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas opens Nov. 20, 2009, and runs through Jan. 2, 2010. It will be open seven days a week with times ranging from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., depending on the day of the week. Ticket prices range from $13 (child) to $24 (adult), depending on the day. Children ages 3 years and under are allowed entrance for free.
Peanuts lovers can have breakfast with Charlie Brown, too, in Gaylord Opryland's beautiful Garden Conservatory Atrium's Ristorante Volare. Children and adults will enjoy the wide range of delicious buffet items created with A Charlie Brown Christmas in mind. And Charlie will visit the tables, share hugs and happily join his new friends for photographs.
Breakfast with Charlie Brown is available Saturdays and Sundays during A Country Christmas from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Breakfast is $14.95 for kids 3-11 and $24.95 for adults. Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling 1-888-999-6779.
To see the schedule for ICE!, buy individual or group tickets in advance, make reservations for Breakfast with Charlie Brown or book A Country Christmas vacation packages from two to three nights, which includes ICE!, call 1-888-999-OPRY or visit www.ChristmasatGaylordOpryland.com.
From left, Sleepy Eye Mayor Jim Broich holds the Linus statue's "I Love Sleepy Eye" heart recovered last Wednesday in brush along the bike trail by Edgar Sanchez and Nate Eckstein.
Sleepy Eye Linus' lost heart found
October 7, 2009
By Doreen Tyler
The Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch [Minnesota]
The odds were stacked against it ever happening, but, as luck would have it, Linus got his heart back.
Last Wednesday, Nate Eckstein and his buddy, Edgar Sanchez, both of Sleepy Eye, found the "I Love Sleepy Eye" heart laying in the brush along the bike trail.
"It was laying there and we thought it was a balloon or something," Edgar said. "We picked it up and freaked out because we knew it was the heart they were looking for."
The pair immediately took Linus' heart to the police station, but since the police were out on patrol, Nate and Edgar instead left it with Sleepy Eye Ambulance coordinator Shari Hittesdorf who happened to be in her office at the time. The guys said they won't forget the look on her face when she saw what they had.
Shari made a phone call to Mayor Jim Broich who picked up the heart on Thursday. "I never thought I'd see this again," he said, examining the heart. "I was under the impression from information the police had, that it was in pieces."
According to Mayor Broich, the police had leads on the perpetrators of the theft, but were unable to prove they had committed the crime. It had been insinuated to them that the heart had been destroyed.
Linus' heart did sustain some damage by way of scratches. When Nate and Edgar found it, the heart was muddy and in need of a good cleaning. "It will need to be repainted," Mayor Broich said.
"In the spring, we're hoping to have the whole Linus statue repainted. It needs it."
The "I Love Sleepy Eye" Linus and Snoopy statue was erected in front of Dyckman Library in September of 2003, as part of the unveiling of 105 statues in a public art initiative called "Linus Blankets St. Paul."
The Sleepy Eye Linus statue was made to honor Sleepy Eye native Linus Maurer who worked with cartoonist and Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.
The heart, along with Snoopy's nose, were reported missing in early May 2009, although it is still unknown when the parts were first stolen.
The process had just gotten under way to create a replacement heart. Mayor Broich estimated it could have cost the city up to $1,000 to replace the heart and nose. He added Linus' heart will be reattached in the coming week, more securely than it had been attached.
Snoopy's nose may never be found. It is, after all, small and black, much like a clump of dirt or mud.
When asked if they might like to give the search a try anyway, Nate and Edgar laughed. "It would be hard to find that," Nate said.
"I'm glad to have (Linus' heart) back," Mayor Broich concluded. "This was unexpected."
Charlie Brown, world's greatest baseball player, returns to the Slugger Museum
October 6, 2009
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory announced the return of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang with a new temporary exhibition entitled Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!. The exhibit, developed with the Charles M. Schulz Museum, opens Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 4, 2010.
The 2009 debut of Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! marks the beginning of a three-year agreement to bring the exhibit to Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory during the holiday season. Admission to the exhibit is included with a Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory ticket.
The heartwarming collection honors the 1965 classic television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas with a behind-the-scenes look at this animated gem and artifacts used in the production.
"We are very excited to welcome back the Peanuts gang," says Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory Executive Director Anne Jewell. "The Peanuts At Bat exhibit was such a rousing success two years ago, we wanted to expand our relationship with the Schulz Museum. Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! is the perfect way to do that. We hope this annual exhibition becomes a holiday tradition for our guests."
Other features of the exhibition include reproductions of winter and holiday-themed Peanuts comic strips, a continuous showing of the 1965 classic - A Charlie Brown Christmas, fun hands-on arts & crafts, and much more.
"The Peanuts gang and Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! have found a holiday home at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory," says Charles M. Schulz Museum Executive Director Karen Johnson. "Wintertime and the holidays were very important to Mr. Schulz and his endearing characters. This exhibit is a tribute to them and celebrates Charlie Brown's quest to find the true meaning of Christmas."
Sid and Sharon Kingry, of the Village of Hacienda, share a laugh as they read the newspaper comics Wednesday in Spanish Springs Town Square. [Nicole Sack / Daily Sun]
Villagers reflect on comic strips, the Oct. 2, 1950, syndication of Charles M. Schulz's 'Peanuts'
October 2, 2009
By Nicole Sack
The Villages Daily Sun [Florida]
Sharon Kingry doesn't hesitate when it comes to comics.
"It's the first thing she reads in the newspaper," said Sid Kingry, her husband. "And if she finds something good, she shows it to me, and makes me read it."
Sharon Kingry, an English major in college, explains the allure of the paneled comics: "They are intellectual. There is more social commentary in the comics than any other part of the newspaper."
There has been one strip in particular that has brought a special story to those who flip to the funny pages: Peanuts.
Sharon Kingry said she gravitates toward Snoopy, Charlie Brown's dog and World War I flying ace; Woodstock, who plays birdbath ice hockey and communicates with tick marks, which Snoopy can understand; and Schroeder, who plays Beethoven on his piano.
"He is cool -- off in his own world. We've all been there," she said of Schroeder.
But what about good ol' Charlie Brown?
"Pathos! Poor, pathetic Charlie Brown," she laughed. "Nothing ever seems to work out for him. I felt like Charlie Brown when I started playing tennis."
Charlie Brown manages a baseball team that never wins, he is constantly being called a blockhead, loses kites to trees and relentlessly has footballs pulled out from in front of him.
"I think a lot of people don't get the satire," Sharon Kingry said of the funny pages. "Sometimes you have to read between the lines. You'll find things that make you laugh at yourself."
Back in 1950, newspaper readers across the nation got their first introduction to Charlie Brown on this day, Oct. 2.
Based in Minnesota, Charles M. Schulz's comic strip was syndicated to seven newspapers: The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Minneapolis Tribune, the Allentown Call-Chronicle, the Bethlehem-Globe Times, the Denver Post and the Seattle Times.
Paul Lonsdorf, of The Village of Orange Blossom Gardens, said that when his six children were living at home, Peanuts was a common topic of discussion. But as the kids grew up and moved away, Lonsdorf hasn't stopped turning to the funny pages.
Something else that has remained constant is the age of some of his favorite comic-strip characters. Lonsdorf notes that Blondie and Dagwood haven't aged since they were introduced in 1930, but their children have grown up. The Peanuts gang has also been untouched by the passing years.
"I don't know why I remember so much about them, but I do," said Lonsdorf, who grew up in Pennsylvania and lived in New Jersey prior to moving to The Villages in 1999.
While adults are occasionally mentioned in Peanuts, they are never actually seen. Shirley Klenke, a former schoolteacher, understands why the Peanuts gang does best without adult supervision.
"There is a way that children interact with a parent or an adult. But when it's just kids -- the way they relate to each other -- it's a whole different world. Parents aren't in on it," she said.
That's not to say that Klenke doesn't understand the humor. And her favorite of the Peanuts: Lucy, who runs a curbside psychiatric clinic for 5 cents a visit.
"I identify with Lucy," Klenke said. "She says things that make your hair stand on end."
The regard for Peanuts took it into more than 2,600 newspapers at the peak of its popularity. In December 1999 Schulz announced his retirement due to health problems, and on Feb. 12, 2000, he died at age 77 due to complications from colon cancer. The strip continues in reruns.
A new personal coach for Wright?
September 22, 2009
By Bill Price
The New York Daily News
I doubt Snoopy will be brought aboard, but that photo got me thinking that it might not be a bad idea since David Wright can use all the help he can get.
Snoopy, who certainly isn't afraid of the Red Baron, could convince Wright not to be afraid of Citi Field and just swing away.
Snoopy could also teach Wright how to relax. While Charlie Brown gets top billing, everyone knows Snoopy is the real star of the show, yet it never bothers him. If he's not snoozing on the dog house, he's busting Lucy's chops or putting up Christmas lights. He has no problem being the face of the franchise, so why should Wright?
Snoopy could also bring his other pals around.
Lucy could become the Alan Lans of the 21st century, opening up her psychiatrist shop in the clubhouse, Marcy could walk around calling Omar Minaya "sir" so he feels important, Schroeder could play the organ between innings and Pig Pen could teach all the Mets how to get dirty. And when things start going bad, Charlie Brown and his "Good Grief" shtick could help offset the always-smiling Mr. Met.
Having the Peanuts gang around would certainly give Jerry Manuel some new material to try out on the media. He could even try to talk like the teachers on those shows for a few laughs. So let's hire Snoopy, that is if we can afford him.
Lucy displays her trademark warmth in the Kafkaesque "Good ol' Gregor Brown."
Classics, Comics In Masterful Mashups
September 3, 2009
By Glen Weldon
National Public Radio
It would be a mistake to dismiss cartoonist R. Sikoryak's highly stylized mashups of comics and classic literature as mere parody. They are that, of course: It's certainly amusing to see the artist depicting Lady Macbeth, for example, as Mary Worth, the funny pages' most venerable buttinsky.
But Sikoryak is up to something more substantial here -- he's not simply satirizing Shakespeare's regicidal Thane (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Rex Morgan, M.D.), nor is he just poking fun at the way Mary is always sticking her blue rinse into everyone's business.
No, in "MacWorth," and in the 13 other cartoon sendups of the literary canon collected in Masterpiece Comics, Sikoryak skillfully finds and plumbs the connections between so-called high and low culture. These parallels are his true medium, and as fun as it is to see the chameleonic Sikoryak deftly interpolating the art style of Little Lulu, Garfield and Superman, the real joy of Masterpiece Comics comes in seeing how, again and again, the cartoonist lines things up to ensure that comic strip and classic book comment on one another.
When it works -- when he locates deep affinities between a literary work and a contemporary strip -- the result distills the essence of both, allowing you to see them with fresh eyes. Often, the connections Sikoryak uncovers are intuitive, reflecting similarities of tone and mood between the two works in question. This is nowhere more apparent than when he marries the tale of Kafka's Gregor Samsa to that most haplessly Kafkaesque of all comic strip characters, Charlie Brown.
The fusion ("Good ol' Gregor Brown") works so well that you can't help but notice how much emotional real estate the two authors share. And Sikoryak has internalized the strip's simple line work so well that even though you know in your head that Schulz never drew a giant dung beetle wearing Charlie Brown's iconic yellow shirt, you feel certain this is what it would look like if he had.
Masterpiece Comics is full of "but of course!" moments like that one. In retelling the Genesis story, what better candidate to personify the quick-to-anger Old Testament Jehovah than Dagwood Bumstead's hotheaded, cigar-chomping boss, Mr. Dithers? The tale of Dante's Inferno plays out, canto by canto, as a series of Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrappers; Wuthering Heights becomes an old EC horror comic; Voltaire's Candide gets re-imagined as Ziggy; Garfield shows his Mephistophelian side in an updated Doctor Faustus.
Until now, fans of Sikoryak's takes on the classics have had to seek them out in indie-comic anthologies like Raw or Drawn and Quarterly. Masterpiece Comics combines those previously published works with new material designed to look like ads from vintage comic books, including one for a scale model of Captain Ahab's doomed whaler ("Because of the PEQUOD WHALING SHIP's enormous metaphorical weight we must ask for 75-cent shipping charges").
Masterpiece Comics is an impressively diverse collection of Sikoryak's clever, distinctive and ultimately illuminating work; it reads like the assigned textbook for the coolest Great Books survey course of all time.
Cedar Fair brings a familiar face to its parks in 2010
September 3, 2009
Cedar Fair Entertainment, a leader in regional amusement parks, water parks and
active entertainment, today reported that it has reached an agreement with
United Media to bring the Peanuts characters to five more of its parks for
"We are thrilled to be able to expand the Peanuts brand to five of our other
parks," said Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair's chairman, president and chief executive
officer. "Peanuts and Cedar Fair are synonymous with good, wholesome family
fun and we believe our guests, both young and old alike, will enjoy spending
time next summer with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and everyone's favorite
beagle - Snoopy!"
Canada's Wonderland, near Toronto; Kings Dominion, in Doswell, Va.; Carowinds
in Charlotte, NC; Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio; and California's Great
America will welcome the lovable Peanuts characters to their parks in 2010.
The Peanuts characters will be integrated into the parks through rebranding of
existing kids' areas, and in some cases new rides, live shows and attractions.
The Peanuts characters have been entertaining kids of all ages for years at
Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California; Cedar Point and Geauga Lake's
Wildwater Kingdom in Ohio; Dorney Park in Allentown, Pa.; Michigan's Adventure
near Muskegon, Mich.; and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo.
"For nearly 30 years, Cedar Fair and Peanuts have enjoyed a successful
partnership, and we are pleased that we're not only extending this
association, but expanding our presence into five additional parks," said Doug
Stern, President and CEO of United Media. "In all avenues of the consumer
experience, Cedar Fair reaches families in a fun and amusing way. The Peanuts
characters, with their broad appeal to fans of all ages, are brought to life
vividly through the attractions, themed rides, ice shows, character
appearances, and skits."
Starring an unlikely round-headed hero and a unique cast of young characters
wiser and wittier than their years, Charles Schulz's Peanuts is not just the
best-known, most-loved comic strip ever created, but a true global phenomenon.
The Peanuts characters are featured in 2,200 newspapers, in classic television
specials and on remastered DVDs, on stage, in hundreds of books and across the
Internet. They have inspired every kind of consumer product from t-shirts to
Cedar Fair is a publicly traded partnership headquartered in Sandusky, Ohio,
and one of the largest regional amusement-resort operators in the world. The
Company owns and operates 11 amusement parks, six outdoor water parks, one
indoor water park and five hotels. Amusement parks in the Company's northern
region include two in Ohio: Cedar Point, consistently voted "Best Amusement
Park in the World" in Amusement Today polls and Kings Island; as well as
Canada's Wonderland, near Toronto; Dorney Park, PA; Valleyfair, MN; and
Michigan's Adventure, MI. In the southern region are Kings Dominion, VA;
Carowinds, NC; and Worlds of Fun, MO. Western parks in California include:
Knott's Berry Farm; California's Great America; and Gilroy Gardens, which is
managed under contract.
This news release and prior releases are available online at www.cedarfair.com.
Kissing 2 Lips flower shop owner Christie Lewis puts some finishing touches on the Snoopy statue recently installed outside her business.
Peanuts statue finds a home in Woodbury
September 2, 2009
By Amber Kispert
The Woodbury Bulletin [Minnesota]
Everybody's favorite beagle, Snoopy, has found himself a new home in Woodbury outside the Kissing 2 Lips flower shop.
"Snoopy is going to be the new face of the flower shop," owner Christie Lewis said.
The Snoopy statue was delivered to the flower shop on Thursday, Aug. 27.
Snoopy has always been part of Lewis' family having been displayed prominently outside their previous establishment, Shamrock's Bar and Grill, in all his Irish glory.
After Lewis and her husband sold the restaurant, they wanted to keep Snoopy in the family, so they took him in to get renovated back to the traditional Snoopy look.
"He got a whole new makeover," Lewis said.
Lewis' Snoopy marks the first Snoopy in Woodbury.
Lewis said she is so excited to have Snoopy here and hopes that people stop by to say hello to him.
"Snoopy is just timeless -- I don't care how old you are," she said. "He's a fabric of our childhood."
The Woodbury Cafe also has statues of Peanuts characters at its store front.
The statues were originally commissioned for the city of St. Paul.
Snoopy meets Burning Man
August 31, 2009
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Thousands of free spirits will convene through Labor Day weekend on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for the annual Burning Man communal gathering and arts festival.
And one of them will be Charlie Brown's dog Snoopy.
Jeannie Schulz, widow of "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles Schulz, is taking up a boat-shaped car with a cutout of Snoopy on the bow.
The name of the craft? "H.M.S. Beagle," of course, with no apologies to Charles Darwin, who sailed on the original craft of that title. This year's Burning Man theme is evolution, after all.
"I loved Burning Man last year. I took up 'Peanuts' books to share, and volunteered in the coffee shop," Jeannie said. "This year, I can be a taxi. I think the H.M.S. Beagle will be a popular form of transporation."
A large Sonoma County contingent is expected at Burning Man this year, said Michael Friedenberg, chairman of the Arts Council of Sonoma County.
"Last year, about 25 arts community leaders from Sonoma County went to Burning Man as a delegation," he said. "We're trying to bring Burning Man art back to our community, maybe to Sonoma County Museum."
Charlie Brown Christmas coming to town
Volunteer group working to improve downtown celebration
August 26, 2009
By Matthew Hall
The Windsor Times [California]
A group of downtown business owners and residents have come together to form a new group focused on providing an expanded Christmas celebration in downtown Windsor.
The group, called It Takes A Village, has plans to expand holiday lights in the area, decorate the windows of empty commercial spaces, set up a "Santa shop" with a professional photographer and at the August 19 council meeting, the group received approval to set up a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove on the Town Green.
The grove will organize decorations and lights for up to 48 trees. Individuals, businesses, community groups and schools will be invited to participate with trees in the Bosque area (behind the Rain Joe Snoopy statue) between December 5 and January 2. In addition, 20 trees decorated by non-profits will be displayed along the fountain area. Participants may request sponsorship for their decorations or choose to provide their own materials. While some sponsorships have already been secured from Michael Powell, Party Jump, Atrellis and Images, additional sponsors are being sought.
The staff report presented to council on August 19, said "The proposed Charlie Brown Christmas Tree Grove would be an attractive enhancement that will replace what the Park Division has done along the fountain in previous years."
The program will include a showing of the "Charlie Brown Christmas" movie during the decorating section on December 5 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Members of the It Takes A Village coalition have already secured $2,000 from the town during the non-profit grant allocation for their combined efforts. While no additional money is being requested for the grove, staff estimate it will take an additional $1,000 to support the project.
Karen Alves presented the project to the council and said "people were talking about how sad Christmas was last year and in January we put a plan together. What we wanted to accomplish was to add things to the Town Green Village and Old Downtown Green that would attract people and make it a destination for families."
Alves said an attempt at lighting the downtown area last year began too late and was unable to secure permission or sponsorship for a more elaborate display. "It wasn't anyone's fault, just a combination of circumstances and the economy," she said.
In order to secure the necessary resources the group has been working on the 2009 celebration since February. Alves said the early start was necessary and that the group would continue to do what was necessary to make the downtown event successful. "We started early so we would have plenty of time to accomplish it. I just got before the town in August when it started in February, it takes time," she said.
World War I and the Flying Ace
August 7, 2009
The Overland Park Convention & Visitor's Bureau [Kansas City, Missouri]