Celebrating Peanuts with Jill

It’s the 60th Peanuts Anniversary! We are really proud to celebrate the comic strips with a special interview of Jill Schultz, the dauther of Charles M. Schultz, the father of Peanuts. She was very cute and selected two strips for Polkadot’s readers (above)!

Polkadot: “Hi Jill, nice to meet you! We know you as the Mr Charles Schulz’s daughter, but what about you and your relation with Peanuts?”

Jill: “Well, of course growing up with Peanuts I continue to be overwhelmed with how well the popularity of the strip, the classic television shows, and the merchandising has held up these past 10 years since my father passed away. It brings a special joy to constantly have reminders of my father through all of these things. To myself, he was simply “my Dad”, and this was what he did.  Our lifestyle was still very simple out in Northern California, and my Dad always remained a humble and fairly conservative Minnesota native. Both of our parents instilled a strong sense of values and always impressed on us the importance of finding something you really have a passion for and sticking with it. My passion ended up being figure skating for quite a long time, and eventually led me in the directions of dance and acting, as well as working for the Rollerblade Company as a lead spokesperson, choreographer, and  producer/director of Team Rollerblade, Inc. promotions.

I currently work as executive producer of our Woodstock Ice Productions, Inc. and All Wheel Sports, Inc. companies producing and directing shows for major theme parks as well as corporate industrials and many other special events”.

Polkadot: “At Polkadot we love Peanuts, we think they are really over the time, always up to date, more a philosophy of life than illustrations for kids, do you agree? What’s the secret of their success?”

Jill: “Yes, I agree, as my Dad always talked of how the content of his comic strip was really written and geared more towards adults. He did say however, that he felt the illustrations were most likely so appealing to the children because of the simplicity of the drawings without a lot of clutter in the background. It makes it easier to look at especially for children. I believe the continued success of the Peanuts strip is really due to the fact that the majority of the subject matter deals with issues that we are all familiar with, regardless of which generation we are raised in. Things like sibling rivalry, unrequited love, bullies, feeling alone on the playground, losing the games, flying a kite, not getting an “A” in school, and all the other daily childhood struggles and activities that no one really escapes. Of course there were also many strips which were right in line with current events, and those have now become a great way to look back upon specific times in past generations”.

Polkadot: “What was your father’s mission drawing Peanuts and why did your father decide that no one else would carry on his comic strips after his death?”

Jill: “My father always said he “was born to draw a comic strip” Even with all of the worldwide popularity and merchandising, etc., what it really came down to for him was being true to his passion of drawing his strip every day, his loyalty to the newspapers and their deadlines, and knowing he was probably one of the only, if not the only cartoonists that lettered and illustrated every last one of his strips. He was very proud of that. As far as the decision for no one else to ever draw the strip, this was decided by the five of us children. At one point this decision fell onto our shoulders and we knew of course that this what my father would want, as well as the fact that we ourselves did not believe letting anyone else touch the strip would uphold the integrity and legacy of what our father had put into his art. At the end, when he announced his ‘retirement”, it was only due to the fact that because of the health problems from the stroke he had suffered, he was unable to continue to draw the strip. He would have never retired otherwise. My father always said he found it strange when people suggested to him that he had “all the fame and money in the world”, and that he should “retire and do whatever he always wanted to do”. My father would say, “Why would I spend my entire life doing the only thing I ever wanted to do, and was fortunate enough to have it become as successful as it did, and then not do it anymore?”.

Polkadot: “According to you why a lot of brands have created a lot of partnerships with Peanuts in order to use illustrations for merchandising?”

Jill: “The timeless nature of the Peanuts characters, and the appeal of Snoopy as a pop-culture icon I believe make identification with a wide variety of products and lifestyles the perfect fit for all of these partnerships. For a long time the overall appeal of Snoopy and the other characters in the US seemed to be either with the small children, or the parents and others from the earlier generation. It now seems as if the popularity has crossed over into every category including young teens and college kids which was something I only remember as prominent in the Asian and other foreign markets in the past. With the continuing popularity of the classic television shows such as “The Great Pumpkin” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, I feel this is something as a parent that I feel is a part of our past generation that many of us want to pass on and share with our children and friends in today’s fast paced generation of multi-media and internet driven entertainment and communication”.

Polkadot: “As a peanuts’ reader i have my favourite character, what’s yours?”

Jill: I would have to say that my favorite character has always been Snoopy. I think because he has such a sense of freedom with his imagination, and goes anywhere he wants without ever actually leaving his doghouse!! And of course, I am a huge animal lover, so the ways in which my father drew Snoopy doing all sorts of crazy, and fun things always brings a smile to my face, just as anyone’s own pets at home would.  And I guess it would be fun to have all the knowledge of Linus too!”

Polkadot: “Are you an internet addicted?”

Jill: “Well, since I am writing this on my computer, and then after I will probably stay up for a few more hours just surfing the internet, checking e mails, etc., I think I may have to say “yes” However, I am definitely addicted to my I Phone, and will check each and every text, e mail, etc., as soon as I hear the ring tone……except when I am driving as I took the “Oprah Pledge” to not use my phone while driving at all. I actually think being able to Google any question at anytime is the best thing ever! I can even help my kids with their homework if I don’t have the answer………..well, except in pre-algebra. That problem still isn’t solved by Google for me”.

Polkadot: “Does exist a web site where people can find the Peanuts strips for free? what do you think about free contents sharing on internet?”

Jill: Okay, this is a question even I will have to Google and get back to you with the answer. I am not up to date enough to really have an answer for this second question on sharing free contents on the internet, and would probably want to have more information before speaking my opinion.

Polkadot: Jill thanks a lot for your time, we are really pleased and we are sure that readers will be happy to read the interview! Good luck and we hope heard you again!

© 2010 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

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