Associated Press, 02/12/00
SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Good Grief! It's the final goodbye for Charlie Brown and his pals.
Charles Schulz ended his 49-year-old "Peanuts'' comic strip with a poignant letter published in Sunday newspapers across the country. The signed letter also ran when he ended his daily comic strip on Jan. 3.
The 77-year-old cartoonist - beloved for his timeless characters Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy - is retiring to turn his full attention to fighting cancer.
In several Sunday newspapers, the strip opens with Charlie Brown on the phone saying, "No, I think he's writing.'' In the next panel, Snoopy is shown on his dog house, pecking on a typewriter. "Dear Friends...,'' it reads.
The final panel, decorated with images from the strip, is Schulz's farewell.
"Dear Friends, I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost 50 years. It has been the fulfillment of my childhood ambition.
"Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does not wish Peanuts to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement.
"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.
"Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy ... how can I ever forget them ...''
The letter ends with Schulz's signature.
Classic "Peanuts'' images decorate the letter: Lucy pulling away a football as Charlie Brown tries to kick it, Snoopy trying to steal Linus' blanket, and Lucy getting hit on the head by a baseball with a loud "Bonk!''
Schulz's contract stipulates that no one else will ever draw the strip, which debuted Oct. 2, 1950, and reached an estimated 355 million readers daily in 75 countries.
United Feature Syndicate will continue to publish "Peanuts'' reprints.