The renowned comic strip Peanuts, from the pen of cartoonist Charles Schulz, began on this day in 1950 in seven U.S. newspapers. The strip, for the United Features Syndicate, had only three characters at its inception: Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty (Reichardt) and Shermy. The world’s most famous beagle, Snoopy, made his first appearance on October 4th.
Later, we were introduced to Linus, Lucy Van Pelt, Sally and Schroeder; and learned that the Peanuts gang came from the California town of Sebastopol, which really exists.
Charlie Brown starred in his own Broadway musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, along with the rest of the gang; and in several movies; and in several TV specials. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas are rerun on TV year after year, no doubt attracting new audiences each time around.
Snoopy, everyone’s favorite character in the strip, became so famous that the comic strip, although titled, Peanuts, is often referred to as Snoopy.
The last Peanuts strip created by Charles Shultz, as he was set to retire, showed Snoopy at his typewriter surrounded by other Peanuts regulars. Snoopy was typing out a “Dear Friends” letter thanking readers:
“I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip,” Schulz wrote. “Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy ... how can I ever forget them ... ” It ended with his signature.
Charles Shultz died Feb 12, 2000 as the last strip was headed for newsstands. And readers of 2400 newspapers, in 68 countries, who speak in 26 different languages, read their beloved Peanuts through tears that turned to smiles as they recalled the wonderful moments those little children and our favorite dog, Snoopy gave us.
1908 - For the fourth time in history, baseball fans saw a perfect game. Cleveland pitcher Addie Joss never let Chicago near the bases as Cleveland won, 1-0.
1920 - The only triple-header in baseball history was played, as the Cincinnati Reds took two out of three games from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
1928 - This was a busy day at Victor Records Studios in Nashville, TN. DeFord Bailey cut eight masters. Three songs were issued, marking the first studio recording sessions in the place now known as Music City, USA.
1929 - The National Farm and Home Hour, which gave rural Americans information about farm products, growing crops, farm animal care and useful household tips, debuted on NBC radio. The Stars and Stripes Forever opened the show. Don Ameche and Raymond Edward Johnson were featured, along with music and entertainment by The Cadets male quartet, Jack Baus and The Cornbusters and Mirandy of Persimmons Holler. The National Farm and Home Hour was sponsored by Montgomery Ward (or, Monkey Ward’s, as we used to call it).
1933 - Red Adams was heard for the first time on NBC radio. Later, the program was retitled, Red Davis (starring Burgess Meredith), Forever Young and, finally, Pepper Young’s Family (starring Mason Adams). Radio listeners kept listening through all the changes until 1959.
1937 - Ronald Reagan, just 26 years old, made his acting debut with the Warner Brothers release of Love is in the Air.
1939 - Flying Home was recorded by Benny Goodman and his six-man-band -- for Columbia Records. A chap named Fletcher Henderson tickled the ivories on this classic. It later became a big hit and a signature song for Lionel Hampton, who also played on this original version of the tune.
1949 - “Hennnnnnreeeeee! Henry Aldrich!” “Coming, Mother!” The popular radio program, The Aldrich Family, became one of TV’s first hits, as the longtime radio show appeared on NBC-TV for the first time. In addition to being a successful radio transplant, The Aldrich Family scored another distinction -- being the very first TV sitcom (situation comedy).
1953 - Friday nights were Person to Person nights on CBS, beginning this night. Edward R. Murrow, with lit cigarette in hand, premiered the popular interview program which would establish him as a TV icon.
1955 - “Good Eeeeeeevening.” The master of mystery movies, Alfred Hitchcock, presented his brand of suspense to millions of viewers on CBS. The man who put the thrill in thriller would visit viewers each week for ten years with Alfred Hitchcock Presents. And who could forget that theme song (The Funeral March of a Marionette)?
1959 - “There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fear and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the twilight zone.” Familiar words now, but they were first spoken this Friday night on CBS-TV at 10 p.m. by the creator and host of The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling.
1963 - Pitcher Sandy Koufax struck out New York Yankee Harry Bright to end game one of the World Series. Bright was Koufax’ 15th strikeout victim, breaking the World Series single game record of 14 set by Brooklyn’s Carl Erskine against the Yankees in 1953. Koufax’ performance helped the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 5-2 victory over the Yankees and their ace, Whitey Ford. The Dodgers went on to sweep New York in four games. Koufax was the Game 4 winner also. His 1963 regular-season record was 25-5.
1965 - The McCoys’ Hang on Sloopy hit #1 in the U.S. The song snuck in at number one for one week, between Eve of Destruction, by Barry McGuire and Yesterday, by The Beatles.
1966 - Sandy Koufax, in great pain from an arthritic elbow, won 27 games and, for the third time in four years, led the Los Angeles Dodgers to the National League pennant. However, the Baltimore Orioles swept the Dodgers 4-0 in the World Series that year.
1967 - Thurgood Marshall, appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, was sworn in as associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall was the first black Supreme Court justice and served until his retirement on June 27, 1991, at the age of 82. He had served in the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals (1961-1965) and as U.S. Solicitor General (1965-1967). Justice Marshall died on January 24, 1993.
1971 - This was a very good day for singer Rod Stewart. His Every Picture Tells a Story album hit number one in both the U.S. and the U.K. And, to add a little icing to this day’s cake, his single with two back-to-back hits from the album -- Maggie May and Reason to Believe -- rose to #1 on the Billboard singles chart.
1988 - The games of the XXIV Olympiad closed at Seoul, Korea. The Soviet Union topped the medals tally with 132 (55 gold) against 102 medals for East Germany (37 gold) and 94 for the United States (36 gold). The Olympics were also profitable, with a surplus of $288 million. And the Games helped open new avenues of foreign trade and commerce to the isolated, but burgeoning, South Korean economy.
1998 - These motion pictures opened in U.S. theatres: Antz (Dreamworks Pictures); Dee Snider’s STRANGELAND (Raucous Releasing); A Night at the Roxbury (Paramount Pictures); and What Dreams May Come (Polygram Films).
1869 - Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi
political and spiritual leader: India; died Jan 30, 1948
1879 - Wallace Stevens
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: Collected Poems ; died Aug 2, 1955
1890 - Groucho (Julius Henry) Marx
“The one, the only, Groucho.”: TV host: You Bet Your Life; comedian, actor: one of the Marx Brothers of vaudeville and film fame: Animal Crackers, A Day at the Races, Duck Soup, Horse Feathers, The Cocoanuts, Monkey Business; died Aug 19, 1977
1896 - (William Alexander) Bud Abbott
comedian, actor: Abbott of Abbott & Costello; Who’s on First?, The Abbott & Costello Show; died Apr 24, 1974
1904 - (Henry) Graham Greene
author: The Third Man, The Power and the Glory; died Apr 3, 1991
1927 - Paul Goldsmith
motorcycle hall of famer: champ Daytona 200 ; auto racer: finished 3rd Indy 500 
1928 - (George Emmett) ‘Spanky’ McFarland
actor: Little Rascals series, Our Gang comedies; died June 30, 1993
1929 - Moses Gunn
NAACP Image Award-winning actor: Ragtime ; Othello, The Blacks, Shaft, The Great White Hope, Good Times, Father Murphy; died Dec 16, 1993
1932 - Maury (Maurice Morning) Wills
baseball: LA Dodgers [World Series: 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966/all-star: 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966/Baseball Writers’ Award: 1962/AP Male Athlete of the Year: 1962], Pittsburgh Pirates, Montreal Expos
1938 - Rex Reed
movie critic; actor: Myra Breckenridge
1945 - Don McLean
songwriter: Killing Me Softly; singer, songwriter: American Pie, Vincent, Castles in the Air
1946 - Bob (Robert Eugene) Robertson
baseball: Pittsburgh Pirates [World Series: 1971], Seattle Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays
1948 - Avery Brooks
actor: Spenser: For Hire, A Man Called Hawk, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Walking with Dinosaurs, The Ballad of Big Al, Jesus: The Complete Story
1948 - Donna Karan (Faske)
fashion designer: DKNY line of clothes
1949 - Richard Hell (Myers)
musician: bass: groups: Television; Heartbreakers; Neon Boys: Love Comes in Spurts, That’s All I Know Right Now; Voidoids: Kid with the Replaceable Head, Blank Generation
1950 - Michael Rutherford
musician: guitarist: group: Mike + The Mechanics: Silent Running, All I Need is a Miracle, The Living Years
1951 - Sting (Gordon Sumner)
singer: group: The Police; solo: Set Them Free, Fortress Around Your Heart; songwriter: Every Breath You Take; actor: Dune
1955 - Philip Oakey
singer: group: The Human League: Don’t You Want Me?, [Keep Feeling] Fascination, Mirror Man, The Lebanon, Life on Your Own, Louise, Electric Dreams
1956 - Freddie Jackson
singer, songwriter: You are My Lady
1971 - Tiffany (Tiffany Darwisch)
singer: I Saw Him Standing There, I Think We’re Alone Now, Could’ve Been; voice of Judy Jetson: The Jetsons