Happy 250! (Part 1)

Part 1 – Beethoven’s birthday in Peanuts

The Schroeder and Lucy Saga

A bonus posting for Beethoven’s (probable) birthday.

In 1953 and 1954 the characters’ appearance were still forming. Schroeder was into his fandom, but Lucy was not intervening yet.

By 1957, Schroeder was sharing his enjoyment with Lucy, but she was not on board.

A 1958 series starts here with non-birthday Beethoven content and on the 16th shows Lucy trying to share in the joy.

1958-12-16

And Lucy is an enthusiast by 1959, with this series starting way back on the 09th of December, and almost replicating her naming gaffe before erupting in a fine Lucy-rant and then pushing ahead without concern for the possibility of error:

In 1970 it was a very round anniversary of LvB’s birth, the 200th! Schroeder and Lucy of course noted the occasion. (With colorized reruns from 2017.)

1970-12-14 & 2017-12-14
1970-12-15 & 2017-12-15
1970-12-16 & 2017-12-16

The current series, started on 09 December 2020 , is of course NOT reflecting the 250th anniversary, since these are not new cartoons. But they are echoing, colorized, a sequence from 1973, which concluded with this unfathomable remark – makes you wonder if there was some sort of wrong-headed Wagner-based controversy going on:

Tomorrow: Other Beethoven-centered cartoons, not from Peanuts and mostly not even birthday-themed.






(Credits for portrait at top: By Joseph Willibrord Mähler – http://www.beethovenseroica.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=839673)

20 Comments

  1. The last one does seem like a reference to Wagner, but I’m not sure what’s unfathomable about it. She’s saying that Beethoven is good because, unlike Wagner, he didn’t support Hitler.

    Of course, neither Beethoven nor Wagner were alive at the right time to have supported Hitler. But Beethoven doesn’t have the reputation for anti-Semitism that Wagner does, nor the postmortem association with Hitler that Wagner got. Whether or not the criticisms of Wagner are wrong-headed, Wagner does have those associations, and Beethoven doesn’t.

  2. If you go to the beginning of that year’s LvB storyline (linked in the post) it’s clear how Lucy has gotten a bit angered. But to suddenly toss in Hitler seemed to me pretty odd for Peanuts.

    Maybe I am reading-in, before it really existed, that Internet Rule (can’t recall the guy’s name but someone can fill it in I’m sure) that says you know when discourse has reached an impasse, someone will drop in Hitler! And it hadn’t seemed Lucy and Schroeder had quite reached that point.

  3. Mitch4: I still don’t understand what you’re getting at. Lucy’s mention of Hitler doesn’t have anything to do with her being angry with Schroeder. It’s part of an argument to convince the teacher that they should have Monday off.

    The rule is Godwin’s law. However, there are times when it’s legitimate to bring up Hitler:

  4. Sorry, I’m posting from an Undisclosed Location and didn’t actually check the storyline I referenced. You are right, it is about who can be honored with a school holiday, not directly Schroeder’s failing that tell her Beethoven is dead, at this point.

    BUT STILL the Hitler point seems out of the blue – it’s not as though she had drawn a comparison to lay this on. Which is why I was speculating on whether there had right at that time been a public dispute over Wagner, or some other figure we might be forgetting now – so that she didn’t have to say “Well if so-and-so gets a school holiday, why not my guy?” Consider if it were set right now. Or this October. If there were a quick phrase characterizing what people see wrong with Columbus, that could go in without needing an explicit comparison pleading. But most other figures would call for more underpinning .

  5. Another thing this day is:

    Listed in most of the lists of these things, not just an invention of this cartoonist.

  6. The Lucy comment reminds me of the old quip that Austria’s greatest accomplishment was convincing the world the Beethoven was Austrian and Hitler was German.

  7. @ CaroZ – Or as Einstein is supposed to have written: “If my theory of relativity is correct, the Germans will say that I am German, and the French will call me a citizen of the world. If it is false, the French will call me German, and the Germans will say that I am a Jew.

  8. I started, but have not yet finished listening to, “An hour with Ned Rorem,” a semi-interview on The Fishko Files. The site’s blurb includes as a quote the beginning of his extended reflection:

    “There’s only two aesthetics in the whole universe. Everything is either French or German.” Composer and author Ned Rorem explains himself to Sara Fishko in an hour long conversation with music.

    Besides literal nationalities he uses these as labels for a variety of other dichotomies he sees in life. “Blue is French and red is German …” and so on. When it comes to composed music, of course, literal nationalities come back in. He unhesitatingly calls Beethoven German of course, and after saying he studied the piano sonatas and saw what a great genius Beethoven was to be able to put them together like that, he still finds the music of Debussy and Ravel better to listen to, both more pleasing and ultimately more profound.

  9. From a 2009 NYT piece by April Dembosky:

    Beethoven’s birthday was a perennial “Peanuts” event. Schroeder appeared in “Peanuts” for 49 years, and the composer’s birthday was acknowledged in 27 of them.

  10. @ Mitch4 – Well, it’s almost German: it should have read <Fraktur>”Schafe können sicher weiden“</Fraktur> (meaning “sheep can graze in safety”).

  11. I like to sing it for my cats, with “meow” as the lyrics, under the title “Kitties may safely graze.”

  12. It’s very unlikely Beethoven would have supported Hitler. He was a fan of Napoleon until Napoleon declared himself the Emperor. Beethoven ripped up the title page of what was supposed to be the “Napoleon Symphony” and declared that Napoleon was just a common tyrant after all. Hitler was a great admirer of Wagner but that doesn’t mean that Wagner would have been a supporter of Hitler. Strauss was probably just an opportunist, like Karajan.

  13. Am I the only one who thought Mr. Beethoven’s portrait was a “That’s Priceless” bit and was looking for a punchline?

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