I’ve always had a secret sympathy for Charlie Brown of the incredibly long-running Peanuts cartoon strip. An everyman in a world of achievers, he’s the embodiment of persistence and optimism, even as his friend and part-time nemesis Lucy Van Pelt annually reminds him that the world isn’t completely safe, even when you think you’ve got it all figured out.
The back story of Peanuts is just as rich too: In 1947 creator Charles Schulz started a cartoon feature called L’il Folks for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. It was a flop, though, never achieving a permanent spot in the paper. In 1950 he compiled his strips and sold the entire series to the United Features Syndicate, which changed its name to Peanuts and, well, a star was born. Interestingly, Schulz originally resisted the name change, believing that the name “Peanuts” was too insignificant.
Like all good comic strips, Shulz created a rich world with multiple storylines intertwining, notably including the Calvin & Hobbes precursor of the lovable Beagle Snoopy and his avian sidekick Woodstock. Snoopy can’t talk with the human kids, but in his imagination he’s a daring adventurer and his cries of “Curse you Red Baron!” from the top of his WWI flying doghouse are permanently etched into my childhood memories.
Peanuts has made it to TV a number of times, most successfully with A Charlie Brown Christmas (first aired in 1965) and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (first aired in 1966), but the movie theater? That’s another thing entirely. Which is why I’m really curious to see what Blue Sky Studios has created with its upcoming The Peanuts Movie. The company has a long history of really good animation, including the Ice Age series, Rio, Epic and the under-appreciated Robots.
You probably don’t know that Blue Sky Studios has also contributed special visual effects to Titan A.E., Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Fight Club and Star Trek: Insurrection. An impressive filmography!
Modern cinema is all about tie-ins and marketing promotions, so when I was invited to help with a food product and Halloween-themed trick-or-treat campaign through Safeway (and a number of other supermarkets throughout the US), I was enthused to get involved. Even better: there’s a sweepstakes you should definitely enter. Details below…
The photos you see sprinkled throughout this article are the results of my participation, a simple enough campaign where if you buy certain qualifying products like Pop Secret popcorn, Nestlé Crunch candy bars and Gold Peak iced tea, you’ll get a cheery, durable trick-or-treat bag perfect for the little person in your life on their Oct 31 evening adventures!
And lest we forget, there’s a movie coming out too.
Here, you can watch the trailer:
Now, doesn’t that look cute and entertaining? And a film actually rated “G”? What a nice surprise.
I’ll let you know if it’s good too with a review I’ll publish on my film blog Dave On Film. Which you should be reading anyway! 🙂
Now, before you rush off and enter the cool giveaway, tell me, which of the Peanuts characters best describes you, and why?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.