Long before Jerry Seinfeld became comically rich and famous with a sitcom about nothing, there was Charles Schulz, the man who gave us Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the Peanuts gang.
Schulz, a son of a barber who grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, was a modest, seemingly unremarkable man who produced transcendent work. At its peak, the Peanuts comic strip was syndicated in 75 countries, translated into 21 languages and had a total readership of 355 million.
And yet Schulz, who died in 2000, claimed Peanuts was “about nothing.” Of course, we all knew better. Peanuts was about everything.
In the nearly 18,000 strips that Schulz drew over 50 years (1950-2000) adults almost never appear. When they do they are abstract, all legs. When they are allowed to speak in animated movies they make an unintelligible, trombone-sounding “wah-wah” noise, which is exactly how parents sound to a kid most of the time.
It’s important that adults don’t have a place in Peanuts. What better way to experience the sweet, joyous and sometimes disappointing world than through the eyes of a child – or a dog and his best friend, Woodstock?
Through small comic strip panels, Schulz introduced us to some of the world’s biggest philosophical ideas. Existentialism. Love. Failure. Friendship. Loneliness. Ambition. Loss.
In Schulz’s television masterpiece, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), the Peanuts gang battles past selfishness and crass commercialism to transform a scrawny evergreen into a glorious Christmas tree. Perspective matters.
And perhaps that’s the most valuable lesson Schulz offers us today. In a year marked by a pandemic and struggle, it’s easy to focus on how much we have lost, forgetting just how much we have to be thankful for.
So today, just in time for Thanksgiving, we hit the pause button on 2020. Below you’ll find some of the people and things that make us smile, or laugh, or simply allow us to ponder the good in a world – one filled with wonder just waiting to be appreciated.
Frances Veillette reminds us it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. After collecting antiques for more than 50 years, Frances joined forces with her daughter, Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, and opened Olde 1811 Antique Shoppe in Chatham, New York – fulfilling her lifelong dream at age 86 of having her own shop.
Nicholas Lowry of Swann Auction Galleries, New York, in all his sartorial splendor, reminds us regularly that this hobby we love so much is so much fun. “It’s a never-ending parade of interesting material, people and stories,” Lowry says. “It’s fabulous.”
In addition to our subscribers and readers, we’re thankful for our Facebook community and for all of the engagement by our friends and followers there, who appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of the antiques we post, like this fairy table lamp with a natural shell shade by Moritz Hacker, Vienna, 1905. For more neat stuff, checkout facebook.com/antiquetrader.
A special Julien’s Auctions event in April gave us a sneak peek into the life of Doris Day, everybody’s favorite girl next door who seduced us all with her bubbly screen presence, beautiful voice and magnetic smile. Proceeds from the auction went to help animals, a lifelong passion of hers. Thanks Doris. We miss you.
We all know one of the best weapons against the coronavirus is washing our hands, the main pathway of germ transmission. It turns out that we’ve known this for a long time, as this World War II poster by artist Seymour Nydorf for the U.S. Office for Emergency Management so wonderfully illustrates. So lather up! And thanks for the colorful reminder Seymour.
If you’re going to have a spaghetti poodle you might as well have one with cat-eye glasses – meow! – and a bow tie. This mid-century piece of classic kitsch makes us smile, and you can’t ask for much more than that during a pandemic.
Frank Frazetta’s modern fantasy art has taken the market by storm, fitting for someone whose specialized in male and female warriors, muscled and curvaceous, battling creatures spawned in the depths of hell. Frazetta was never interested in the ordinary and these days a little fantasy can go a long way.
Acclaimed graphic designer Milton Glaser, the man who gave us the ubiquitous salute to his beloved New York, died in June. “I know a lot about the way things look,” Glaser once said. “and as a result, I try to see how much of that world I can embrace.” What a lovely thought, to embrace the world.
Showing off an impressive Dad bod, President John F. Kennedy knew his way around the pool. JFK was a former member of the Harvard swim team. The light blue swimming trunks he’s wearing here sold for $3,500 at auction. Remember when politicians had nothing to hide?
And finally, it's important to remember that good things can happen to good people. A U.S. Air Force veteran, while appearing on Antiques Roadshow, discovered a Rolex watch he paid $345 for in 1974 is now worth $700,000. The vet fainted upon receiving the appraisal from Peter Planes (left). The moment left us breathless as well.