Crossover madness! (or “Who puts a ruff in the middle of a green?”)

Classic finds

Here’s a beautiful example of the Peanuts cast being integrated with other characters, in a shot I’d not seen before (but now have fo r the Reference Library, of course.) They’re going head-to-head at the 1990 Pebble Beach Pro-Am, in this foldout cover for the souvenir magazine. Ah, a lovely thing.

Peanuts crew meets Dennis the Menace and friends on cover to 1990 Pro-Am souvenir mag
Click to enlarge

The real question for me is: is this a genuine Schulz/Ketcham collaboration? By 1990, most of the Peanuts covers (and ad artwork and such) was not being done by Schulz himself; that’s where you could expect to find the work of such people as Tom Everhart, ably aping Schulz when he wasn’t blowing up the work for his interesting fine art pieces. However, Schulz had a long history of doing art for Pro-Ams, going back at least a quarter century by that point… and besides, wouldn’t a Schulz/Ketcham collaboration be something special?

On the Ketcham side, he definitely had people who did outside-the-strip work… and inside as well. While Ketcham was at this point doing the daily Dennis panel (with assistants), the Sunday strip had basically never been his work (a talented team of Fred Toole writing and Al Wiseman art produced the Sunday for much of the run – and frankly, as much as I enjoy Ketcham’s line, I find the Toole/Wiseman comic books to be much more readable in quantity than the daily panels at this point. Anyway, this is a digression; this piece wouldn’t be Wiseman, who had died a couple years before.) But Ketcham was a golfing nut… and in fact if you read his memoirs, he spends far more time on the time he played golf with Bing Crosby than the death of his estranged first wife from drug overdose and the vast troubles besetting his first son, the one for whom the strip is named. (The intent may have been not to focus on dark aspects of other people’s lives, I don’t know… but the impact for me was that Ketcham came off as cold-hearted.)

The Ketcham crew definitely seem to have been the lead on this piece, and not just because Dennis and and Ruff get the foreground. The audience, the enivrons, and the various fauna seem to have the Ketcham line… and the coloring most definitely is (note the cheek highlights on Charlie Brown and Lucy, the sort of thing that goes fine with Ketcham’s look but is glaring when paired with Schulz’s traditional flatter look.

A pro-am, for those not in the know, is a golf tournament which teams up professional players with amateurs, often celebrities. This particular one featured names recognizable even to non-golfers like me (Jack Nicklaus, Fuzzy Zoeller) with amateurs known for their actin (Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery), for other sports (Julius Erving, Willie McCovey), for music (Glen Campbell, Huey Lewis)… and even for cartooning, as both Schulz and Ketcham played this year. (Schulz was teamed with pro Mike Reid; Ketcham with Bobby Clampett.)

I wonder who has the original art? I mean, that’s a heckuva piece to have on one’s wall!

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