The GMPs According to Peanuts

Classic finds

This is actually a booklet I blogged about seven years back, but given the eyebrows it raised at Beaglefest and the new audience I assume I’ve gathered since then, I reckoned the time was ripe for a repost (with improved graphics.)

What exactly are the GMP’s? Why, the Good Manufacturing Processes for Human Foods, as dictated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, of course. So is this one of those government pamphlets that use Peanuts to explain something? Nope.

You see, there are lots of Peanuts books aimed at special audiences, and this one is aimed very specifically at folks who work in Coca-Cola bottling plants. This 16-page pamphlet features a 52-panel color comics story about Charlie Brown converting his lemonade stand into a lemonade bottling operation. He and his friends have to go through the process of eliminating possible sources of contaminants, including dogs and birds. Below the cartoons is text dealing more specifically with the reality of sanitary procedures in Coke bottling plants.

The opening spread of the story (click to enlarge).

The art is reworked, repurposed Schulz; they did a good job, but when a character holds something in their hands, you can tell, as things become awkward. Still, it’s a pretty impressive little document to aim at a narrow audience like that.

I haven’t been able to pin a date down for this yet. I know that it was published no earlier than 1971, as there is a 1971 copyright date for the Peanuts characters. But I do know that it was before 1986, since the text refers to Coke being bottled for almost a century, and it would have hit that century mark in 1986. With what little I’ve found out about the regulations it covers, I’m guessing it’s from 1984. That would be about two decades after Coke’s most important dance with the Peanuts property, as they were the advertiser who underwrote A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Between their odd distribution and the fact that Peanuts collectors would have to fight with Coke collectors to get their hands on one, I was worried that I was the sole Peanuts person to have one of these; the Schulz Museum doesn’t. But a fellow at Beaglefest let me know he has one.

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