22 Comments

  1. This isn’t “Arlo”, this is “Geezer”. In the “Peanuts” television specials, whenever any adult (parent or teacher) spoke, all the viewer heard was a “waa-waa” effect (probably produced by a trombone). The automatic subtitles are simply an attempt to transcribe that sound in text form. Presumably Miss Othmar (or Mrs. Hagemayer, as she now should be called) has been forced by Covid quarantine conditions to use a bass-ackwards form of remote learning, in which all the children still come to school, but she has to do remote teaching.

  2. Nah, this isn’t weird remote learning, it’s the old “drag out the TV and VCR to show an educational show” thing, but updated to a flatscreen and streaming something from online. (Well, when I was the apparent age of the Peanuts characters, it would have been a film strip. Ding!)

  3. I like dvandom’s improvement even better. Miss Othmar is sitting in the back, and accidentally hit a button on the remote. But since the documentary has adults speaking, it still all comes out as “waah waah” noises.

  4. Miss Othmar isn’t sitting in the back. She’s at her desk (which you can see the corner of) in the direction Linus is looking.

    My problem is that Charlie Brown, Linus, Peppermint Patty, and Lucy are all in the same classroom. It’s true that Linus, despite being younger than Lucy and Charlie Brown, was often shown in the same class as Charlie Brown, while Lucy was almost never shown in class at all. But Peppermint Patty went to an entirely different school (with Franklin).

    (And yes, I’m aware that some of the later specials [such as “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown”] and the recent film all ignored the in-strip precedents.)

  5. The Peanuts characters basically aged until they were all the same. Linus and Sally were younger siblings, but as the years passed the age differences went from “several years” to maybe one or two.

    As an example, Lucy was an infant when she was first introduced, but after a while she was the same age as Charlie Brown.

  6. As a certified geezer my only defense is that I’ve never watched the TV specials. I was not aware of the sound effect Kilby describes. I never really liked the strip actually and so had no reason to watch.

  7. Credit to Powers for a pair of good points: yes, she’s at her desk; even if it makes it a little mysterious about how she managed to activate the subtitles from behind the TV set.

    I was also extremely irritated by the “non-canonical” inconsistencies between “The Peanuts Movie” and the original strips. My kids have watched it several times (we have it on DVD), but I was able to make it through to the end only once. However, after some consideration, I decided that the changes are perfectly understandable, and probably a good idea for new viewers. There’s no way for a single film to do justice to a constantly changing landscape across fifty years of comic strip history. For that reason, I’m happy to let my kids watch the movie, as long as I don’t have to watch it with them. In addition, I invested in the first ten volumes of “The Complete Peanuts”, so that I can share the original material with them whenever they feel like reading it (either alone or with me).

  8. No need to wonder how she activated subtitles from behind. It is entirely possible she started the video with subtitles on and this is just the start of the video or perhaps she forwarded the video to this section and subtitles were already on.

  9. We’re all ignoring the “Arlo”-ness (surely NOT deliberate) of “WAP” and/or (perhaps) the sounds of someone, er, pleasuring him/herself?

    Not saying I think either is a valid concern here, but I expect one of them is where the Arlo suggestion came from.

  10. Indeed, BillR didn’t say what he had in mind as Arlo-esque (he’s around and could clarify if he wanted to, but certainly doesn’t need to) — but my guess was about a recent musical number known as W-A-P.

  11. I can see from the shouting lines coming out of the character seen screen right that the subtitles are indeed supposed to be reporting what that adult is saying… however, my first impression was that it was a transcription of the flappy-wappy sound a kite makes as it is buffeted hither and fro in turbulent winds. Which I actually thought was quite funny.

  12. Just a minute! Is there in fact a Ben Franklin kite scene in one of those Peanuts specials? But if it’s not that, and just a separate educational history video, why does that production use sound effects in place of speech?

  13. @Danny Boy – London Derriere et al.
    This is a teacher talking in a classroom in a Peanuts TV special; It is what is heard when any adult speaks in any scene, anywhere. (I think the idea of the adult being a character or narrator on video in front of the kids may be new with this strip’s depiction.):

    Charlie Brown Teacher Speaking

  14. Kevin, thanks for the video, which makes the sound effect business more present for those of us who haven’t experienced the Specials.

    Speaking of sounds that get spelled WAP:

  15. Kilby : as a looooong- time* devotee of the “Peanuts” strip thanks for your reasoned response !
    (* in 1956 I wrote Charles Schulz a fan letter -I was in fifth or sixth grade- and he wrote back IN LONGHAND. Yes, it is framed and hanging on the wall.)

  16. When I was an undergraduate at Boston University, way back in the early 1970’s, I worked at the school newspaper. We got a few episodes of a comic strip written by a student. The strip was called “B.U. Mornings”.

    Student, thinking: “Well, here I am on the first day of my first class at BU! These must be my fellow students. I’ll sit down at this desk.”

    Student continues to think: “That must be the teacher walking in at the front. I wonder what she’ll be like.”

    Speech balloon, teacher unseen: “Wah wah, wa wahwah, wah wah.”

    Student, thinking: “Oh no! I’ve got Charlie Brown’s teacher!”

    The cartoonist submitted only three or four daily strips and that was it. I guess there just weren’t that many interesting things happening on B.U. Mornings.

  17. Does anyone know what TV special the “Charlie Brown Teacher Speaking” video post was from?

    I read all 10 years of comments and no one gave the answer (and yes, I opened all of the replies).

  18. @ Kevin A – I vaguely recall the sequence (in which Peppermint Patty keeps falling asleep in school), but I don’t know whether I saw it in a TV episode, or whether the sequence first occured in the strip. I was astonished to learn that there were over three dozen TV specials produced during Schulz’s lifetime (and a bunch of other stuff since then). However, I think the best candidate in that whole list is probably from the series “The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show“, specifically the episode called “Peppermint Patty’s School Days” (5-Oct-1985).
    P.S. Two other details are worth mentioning:
    1) None of the TV shows or movies (produced under Schulz’s supervision) ever contained “Peanuts” in the title. `it was always somthing with “Charlie Brown” or “Snoopy”. Schulz notoriously detested the name “Peanuts”, and avoided using it whenever he could.
    2) At least two of the TV shows contain adults who do speak, including “Life Is a Circus“, and “It’s the Pied Piper“.

  19. @Danny Boy – London Derriere

    The late 1980s educational TV miniseries “This Is America, Charlie Brown” had a scene with Benjamin Franklin borrowing a kite from a colonial-era Charlie Brown during an evening thunderstorm and returning it the next morning with both the kite and Franklin looking worse for wear from electrical shock. A scene of Franklin actually flying the kite like in this strip is not shown, though. The historical adults in “This Is America, Charlie Brown” all speak normally, though many segments were framed as oral reports given in school by various Peanuts characters. In those framing scenes in the classroom, the teachers speak with their classic “wah wah wah wah”.

  20. Well, I’m glad that Benjamin Franklin could get the kite to fly, even though Charlie Brown never could. And how did Franklin avoid the kite-eating tree?

  21. Mark in Boston: presumably, if you can control lightning, you can threaten the kite-eating tree successfully.

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