Wednesday, September 03, 2008
another great master is gone
Like many of you, I grew up...heck, I thrived on Peanuts and Charlie Brown specials as a kid. I continue to collect Peanuts memorabilia, books and DVDs. It's an easy "get" for dad at the Loophole household to find a Peanuts gift for Father's Dad, etc. When Charles Schulz passed away, it felt like a part of my childhood died- even though it still lives everytime I read "good old Charlie Brown" and the gang. Still... even though I never met him, he was- is my childhood hero. My very first flesh and bone hero outside of my family members and Snoopy himself. So maybe, you might understand why this news strikes me very hard.
News comes that Bill Melendez has passed away. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Melendez "died Tuesday at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. He was 91." I don't have to recite his great impact on animation and American culture- you can read this great article about him by Jerry Beck at Cartoon Brew, who does a better job than I could hope to muster.
Bill, with producing partner Lee Mendelson, was the only guy who Charles Schulz would trust to animate his iconic characters. Over 75 Peanuts specials and animated televisions shows demonstrate the staying power and love. Bill was even the voice of Snoopy. The story goes that he filled in, so the child voice actors could have something to work off of, and it was so perfect- they just went with it. Bill also animated another of my favorite non-Peanuts Christmas specials: Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus, which is sadly not available on DVD (a crime if you ask me).
If you've watched, like so many millions of others, the iconic Peanuts Holiday specials- It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas- you've been touched by Melendez's talent and work.
I know it's a big political night. I'll have to catch up with all of that tomorrow. Right now, I need to visit with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Charles Schulz and Bill Melendez and remember some simpler, yet very special times. Maybe some Great Pumpkin...
Goodbye, Bill. Thank you for everything...Tell Sparky we miss him.
Nothing but sincerity reaching out as far as the eye can see.