Peanuts crossing over

As I noted earlier, during this year’s MetLife Super Bowl commercial, while the characters from Peanuts were in the same ad as other cartoon characters from various sources, they were never actually on the screen at the same time. This is clearly no accident, and there has been a general avoidance of having theĀ  Peanuts characters cross over with other characters. They didn’t show up in that Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue anti-drug special. About the closest they come in licensed product that I can think of is to have a boxed set of a Barbie with a Snoopy.

Now, in some ways this is of little surprise – Peanuts come from the comic strip world, where characters meeting between strips is the rare odd exception, rather than something that happens frequently in TV animation (Scooby-Doo may have met Batman, Three Stooges, and the Speed Buggy, but there would’ve been odd level-of=reality conflicts if they were to meet Snoopy & co.) or is the default assumption in comic books. And Peanuts is delicate… Batman is a diamond of a character, you can do almost anything with him and have it work (particularly because of the wide range of takes he’s already been subject to), but get Peanuts away from schulziness and it could be wrong, wrong in ways that would damage perception of the property.

Snoopy and Charlie Brown dance with the University of Missouri mascot, the Mizzou Tiger (now, but not then, known as "Truman")

 

And Schulz himself kept away from such crossovers in the strip, with the exception of a (fantasizing) Snoopy once meeting Bill Mauldin’s Willie & Joe. A character from Mutts did show up in the strip, but merely as a picture on the wall of a museum, not as a character. And yes, Spike did claim to get gifts from Mickey Mouse, but Spike also had long conversations with cacti. But in sketches? Ah, Schulz was willing to have fun with that. Called on for something official, Snoopy actually could meet Mickey Mouse, as seen in The Art of Mickey Mouse. And gathered at a table at the Reubens, passing sketches around, yes, the characters could meet Cathy. A Jack Kirby drawing of the Demon could battle Russell Myers’s Broom-Hilda above the head of a frightened Linus.

How many of these sketches are out there? I really don’t know. From time to time I find one out of the blue in some old cartoonists’ publication, or hit on one in some other context. I’d love to see some gathering of such things, but as a practical reality the rights issues would make it tough to do properly.

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