The Mystery of the Daily Dozen

I’ve written before, albeit not recently, about Snoopy’s Daily Dozen, a 1960s wall chart that had the Peanuts kids demonstrating various exercises. It’s an interesting piece, but we didn’t include it in the things we submitted for The Complete Peanuts volume 26, because we were not 100% sure that it’s genuine Schulz art. The art looks a lot like it could be Schulz, but it’s inherently weird; because the kids are demonstrating exercise, they have to be able to move in ways that they weren’t designed for, particularly when it comes to the bending of the knees. The legs seem to be longer, more human in proportion, so everything would look a little off even if it were Genuine Schulz.

Late last year, Jeannie Schulz posted a blog entry over at the Schulz Museum website that had some wonderful news while befuddling the question further. The Museum had obtained three pieces of art that had been intended for the Daily Dozen, but not used (presumably, it had a different title when more exercises were intended, but my guess is publisher Hallmark decided to stick with the format in which they were printing calendars, so that limited the page count.) This was great news – back in 2007, the Museum didn’t even have a copy of the printed item, and had to come to me for information on it. Anyway, the pieces are two additional exercise pages… and a one-page comic strip meant to be put at the front of the book.

That one-pager just exacerbates one source of doubt in the authenticity of the Schulziness, and that’s the lettering. If you look at the exercises, the lettering looks pretty Schulzy… but look at the letter Y. The Y’s, as you will see in this sample, are drawn by drawing the upper-left stick, down into the bottom stick, and then adding the upper right stick.

Schulz had drawn Ys like this at some point in his career, but by this point in his career, he was mostly drawing Ys by drawing a little U that made up the upper two sticks of the Y, and then dropping a line down from the bottom of the U to make a stem. You can actually see these Ys in the one-page unused strip.

So I believe that the unused strip is indeed pure Schulz. But for the exercises, are we dealing with (well-done) non-Schulz art with non-Schulz lettering, genuine Schulz art with non-Schulz lettering, or perhaps Schulz just lettering differently because he had to fit large amounts of text into fixed spaces? I really don’t know. There’s a reason I tend to duck authentication questions (other than the occasionally “Oh boy is that very not Schulz!”)

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