For some reason, people have been making lots of jokes recently about the titles of books, television programs, and other media products associated with Peanuts, a daily comic strip that Charles M. Schulz created and drew for decades until his death in 2000. During Schulz’ lifetime, his characters were featured in televised animation with titles like “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown!,” and “You’re in Love, Charlie Brown!” There was a hit Broadway musical called You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown!, and any number of paperback books collecting the strips.
One of the top hashtags on Twitter at the moment is #RejectedPeanutsSpecials. One of my favorite tweets under this heading is this from Keith Powell: “We’re concerned about your drinking, Charlie Brown.” There’s also a website called “Paperback Charlie Brown,” a.k.a. “Something Something Something Charlie Brown,” which shows images of the paperback books that collected the strips, often leaving the cover art unchanged, but altering the title. So, this original cover ,with its image of Charlie Brown’s dog Snoopy as a mid-60s hipster and the phrase “Ha Ha Herman” (a chant the characters in the strip use when they play a modified version of “Hide and Seek,”*) becomes more menacing:
*In most forms of “Hide and Seek,” exactly one seeker tries to find one or more hidden people. In “Ha Ha Herman,” multiple seekers try to find exactly one hidden person. The hidden person’s title is “Herman,” and the seeker who finds Herman shouts “Ha Ha Herman,” announcing to the other seekers that the game is over. Schulz apparently invented this game for the characters to play in the strip.