Fairly recently, I was in the process of having a tidy up in the studio, (which doubles up as my library too… well, all the books help to ‘deaden the sound’ of the room – very important when recording acoustic stuff with a mic!) and during the cleaning process I unearthed a pocket of small books from my childhood.
This tiny Schulz collection took me back to a ‘Cub Scout Summer camp’, ooh… way back! (I’m not even going to attempt a guess at the year!) My friend Matthew had one of these books and I was transfixed. I guess as a young boy in the UK, it was like holding a tiny window of USA culture in my hands for the first time and peering in. I loved Matthew’s little book and I was reluctant to let him have it back towards the end of ‘camp week’. I promised myself that I would buy one of these as soon as Summer Camp was over.
Back home, I raced to my local book shop, which was a news agent, sweet shop, greetings card shop and more, all in one. My little face must have been a picture as I asked the lady behind the counter if she had any ‘Charlie Brown books’, all eager and eyes darting excitedly at the prospect of buying one.
“Charlie who books?!” she said, perplexed. “Do you know the author?”
My face dropped, but I remember thinking hard and after a pause, I said “Erm, Charles?… Charles something… erm, that’s it, Charles M…. something or other?!” That’s all I could remember from Matthew’s book.
“Mmm?” “Not helpful is it?” she said, but seeing me completely crestfallen she suddenly said “Ok, Charlie Brown – Charles M. …something – got it – leave it with me pet.”
(Pet!? I certainly wasn’t her pet! – did I have whiskers and a tail? No!)
Anyway, I remember returning to the shop the following Saturday and bursting through the shop door. The lady rolled her eyes and tutted then glanced down at me… and beamed.
“Here you go young man, how many did you want?”
“How many?” I said in complete shock.
I hadn’t thought that there were ‘many’, I just wanted one – the one that Matthew had. It was my turn to ‘beam’ when she pointed at the shelf which displayed the most exciting array of tiny book spines in the world with that all too familiar ‘Schulz logo’! I only bought one mind you, I think they were 50p or something! but at least the lady had suggested that I could maybe get one a week with my pocket money – which I damn well did!
I must have liked this one – it’s very creased and dog eared!
The strips are great like this one where Lucy gives Snoopy the balloon, yawns and then lets it go! The look on his face and his ears raised in alarm says it all! I think they were all afraid of Lucy – (she’s the one who notoriously takes the football away as Charlie goes to kick it!)
I used to like Marcie. She was the geeky, bookish, appreciator of the arts character who had affection for Charlie. She was funny, as she seemed completely at odds with the others!
I would like to post some info on the books and Schulz here too but I’ve hit well over 500 words plus now – (just want to keep it bite sized!) so I’ll do that in ‘Charlie Who Books?! – part two’ – another day.
Chris Martin of Coldplay wrote ‘Charlie Brown’ in his daughter’s play house and was originally called ‘Cartoon Heart’