When the world's most successful cartoonist puts down his pen, we say "Good grief, Charles Schulz! Charlie Brown always bounced back!"
Lucy, please, give back his football. Snoopy, act like a hero and make him draw again. Pigpen, clean yourself up. Schroeder, play a tune.
We lovers of the "Peanuts" gang always thought happiness is a warm comic strip that will go on forever.
For nearly 50 years, Schulz spoke a universal language of wit, hope, and friendship that reached a global audience of over 300 million a day. The 20th century needed a smiling, fantasizing, floppy-eared Snoopy.
"Peanuts" spawned hit TV shows, a Broadway musical, and many books. In this age of "Dilbert" and "Doonesbury," Mr. Schulz's comic strip showed how humor about human vulnerabilities can also display love and honesty - played out among kindergartners - without bite or bitterness.
Charles Schulz is right: No one can replace him. Someone could imitate his art, but not his unique wisdom and humanity.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society