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6 Ways Charles Schulz Really Was Charlie Brown

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While Charlie Brown and his creator, Charles Schulz, share a first name, the character was actually named after one of Schulz’s art school friends, not after himself. Despite this, the big-headed character shares a lot more with his creator than a name. In honor of what would have been Charles Schulz’s birthday, let’s celebrate the man and his creation by considering how similar Schulz was to good old Chuck.

1. They Both Had Terrible Valentine’s Days

We all know that Charlie Brown never receives Valentines even though he gives them out to everyone else, but he isn’t the only one that Cupid seemed to laugh at. Schulz was skipped ahead two grades as a child and was always shy and awkward around the other students in his classes. For his first grade Valentine’s Day, his mother helped him make up Valentines for everyone in class so no one would be left out. Unlike Charlie, who was ignored by everyone else, Schulz excluded himself. He was too shy to put the box of Valentines at the front of the class, so he held on to them throughout the day—and later brought them back to his mother.

2. They Mutually Loved The Little Red-Haired Girl

If you’re mostly familiar with the animated Peanuts classics instead of the comic strips, then you probably don’t realize just how unobtainable the Little Red-Haired Girl actually is—she’s never actually shown in the entire comic strip series. Charlie Brown talks about her and on rare occasion he gathers the muster to talk to her out of the frame, but she is never once shown in the strip.

The Little Red-Haired Girl and Charlie Brown’s obsession with her was based on a real-life obsession Charles Schulz had for a young redhead named Donna Mae Johnson. The couple met while working together at Art Instruction, an art correspondence school. Before long they had been together for three years, but when Charles asked her to marry him, she refused, only to marry another man in October of the same year. While the two remained friends, it seems Schulz never completely recovered from his broken heart. He once said of the ordeal, "I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is."

3. They Both Loved Their Dogs

It isn’t too surprising to hear that Schulz had a black and white dog during his childhood that later served as the inspiration for Snoopy. Interestingly, the dog wasn’t actually a beagle though, it was a pointer named Spike. Charles’ first published drawing was of little Spike and it was featured in the newspaper comics feature Believe it or Not.

4. They Both Were Tormented By Bossy Women

Like The Little Red-Haired Girl, Lucy Van Pelt was also based on a real person, only in this case, it was actually two people. The bossy, impatient and rude character was based on Schulz’s mother and his first wife, Joyce.

One can imagine how bad Schulz’s relationship with Joyce was, based on the fact that only a year after their wedding Schulz introduced Lucy to the world. Even after the couple’s divorce, Schulz still featured Lucy prominently in the series, where she always seems to have the upper hand over poor old Charlie.

Schulz’s mother was also a big inspiration for Charles, as her cold and distant manner made him constantly feel like he wasn’t getting enough love. This is reflected in the way other characters treat Charlie Brown. While he seems largely positive despite his maltreatment, this is one way he greatly differed from Schulz, who grudgingly held on to every indignity and insult he ever received and used them later on to fuel his strip.

5. They Were Both Above Racism

While Schulz generally stayed out of politics and Charlie and the rest of the gang never really mention current events, both he and his cartoons were progressive when it came to race. When Schulz added Franklin to the cast of the strip, race relations of the late sixties were at a boiling point. While he claimed the character had no political motivations, he obviously was against segregation and politely ignored hate mail sent in by both editors and readers complaining about the decision to have Franklin attend school with the rest of the children.

Similarly, when Hank Aaron was challenging Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, Schulz read about the hate mail received by the athlete and decided to support Aaron by drawing a series of cartoons detailing Snoopy’s difficulty as he approached the home run record.

6. They Died Within Two Hours of One Another

Perhaps one of the saddest things Charlie Brown has in common with his creator is their deaths. Schulz knew he was becoming sick in the late nineties and announced his retirement in December of 1999 and requested that the publishers discontinue the series after his death. He continued to produce enough Sunday strips to last through mid-February, and on Saturday, February 12, 2000, he passed away. Only two hours later, the final Peanuts strip was printed.

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5 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 2
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Stranger Things seemed to come out of nowhere to become one of television's standout new series in 2016. Netflix's sometimes scary, sometimes funny, and always exciting homage to '80s pop culture was a binge-worthy phenomenon when it debuted in July 2016. Of course, the streaming giant wasn't going to wait long to bring more Stranger Things to audiences, and a second season was announced a little over a month after its debut—and Netflix just announced that we'll be getting it a few days earlier than expected. Here are five key things we know about the show's sophomore season, which kicks off on October 27.


The first season of Stranger Things consisted of eight hour-long episodes, which proved to be a solid length for the story Matt and Ross Duffer wanted to tell. While season two won't increase in length dramatically, we will be getting at least one extra hour when the show returns in 2017 with nine episodes. Not much is known about any of these episodes, but we do know the titles:

"The Boy Who Came Back To Life"
"The Pumpkin Patch"
"The Palace"
"The Storm"
"The Pollywog"
"The Secret Cabin"
"The Brain"
"The Lost Brother"

There's a lot of speculation about what each title means and, as usual with Stranger Things, there's probably a reason for each one.


Stranger Things fans should gear up for plenty of new developments in season two, but that doesn't mean your favorite characters aren't returning. A November 4 photo sent out by the show's Twitter account revealed most of the kids from the first season will be back in 2017, including the enigmatic Eleven, played by Millie Bobby Brown (the #elevenisback hashtag used by series regular Finn Wolfhard should really drive the point home):


A year will have passed between the first and second seasons of the show, allowing the Duffer brothers to catch up with a familiar cast of characters that has matured since we last saw them. With the story taking place in 1984, the brothers are looking at the pop culture zeitgeist at the time for inspiration—most notably the darker tone of blockbusters like Gremlins and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

"I actually really love Temple of Doom, I love that it gets a little darker and weirder from Raiders, I like that it feels very different than Raiders did," Matt Duffer told IGN. "Even though it was probably slammed at the time—obviously now people look back on it fondly, but it messed up a lot of kids, and I love that about that film—that it really traumatized some children. Not saying that we want to traumatize children, just that we want to get a little darker and weirder."


When you watch something like The Americans season two, it's almost impossible to catch on unless you've seen the previous episodes. Stranger Things season two will differ from the modern TV approach by being more of a sequel than a continuation of the first year. That means a more self-contained plot that doesn't leave viewers hanging at the end of nine episodes.

"There are lingering questions, but the idea with Season 2 is there's a new tension and the goal is can the characters resolve that tension by the end," Ross Duffer told IGN. "So it's going to be its own sort of complete little movie, very much in the way that Season 1 is."

Don't worry about the two seasons of Stranger Things being too similar or too different from the original, though, because when speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the influences on the show, Matt Duffer said, "I guess a lot of this is James Cameron. But he’s brilliant. And I think one of the reasons his sequels are as successful as they are is he makes them feel very different without losing what we loved about the original. So I think we kinda looked to him and what he does and tried to capture a little bit of the magic of his work.”


Everything about the new Stranger Things episodes will be kept secret until they finally debut later this year, but we do know one thing about the premiere: It won't take place entirely in the familiar town of Hawkins, Indiana. “We will venture a little bit outside of Hawkins,” Matt Duffer told Entertainment Weekly. “I will say the opening scene [of the premiere] does not take place in Hawkins.”

So, should we take "a little bit outside" as literally as it sounds? You certainly can, but in that same interview, the brothers also said they're both eager to explore the Upside Down, the alternate dimension from the first season. Whether the season kicks off just a few miles away, or a few worlds away, you'll get your answer when Stranger Things's second season debuts next month.

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NBC - © 2012 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in October
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NBC - © 2012 NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Netflix subscribers are already counting down the days until the premiere of the new season of Stranger Things. But, as always, in order to make room for the near-90 new titles making their way to the streaming site, some of your favorite titles—including all of 30 Rock, The Wonder Years, and Malcolm in the Middle—must go. Here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in October ... binge ‘em while you can!

October 1

30 Rock (Seasons 1-7)

A Love in Times of Selfies

Across the Universe

Barton Fink


Big Daddy


Cradle 2 the Grave

Crafting a Nation

Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest

Daddy’s Little Girls

Dark Was the Night

David Attenborough’s Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates (Season 1)

Day of the Kamikaze

Death Beach

Dowry Law

Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief

Friday Night Lights (Seasons 1-5)

Happy Feet

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison




Love Actually

Malcolm in the Middle (Seasons 1-7)

Max Dugan Returns


Million Dollar Baby

Mortal Combat

Mr. 3000

Mulholland Dr.

My Father the Hero

My Name Is Earl (Seasons 1-4)

One Tree Hill (Seasons 1-9)


Picture This

Prison Break (Seasons 1-4)

The Bernie Mac Show (Seasons 1-5)

The Shining

The Wonder Years (Seasons 1-6)


October 19

The Cleveland Show (Seasons 1-4)

October 21

Bones (Seasons 5-11)

October 27

Lie to Me (Seasons 2-3)

Louie (Seasons 1-5)

Hot Transylvania 2

October 29

Family Guy (Seasons 9-14)


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