Comic Book Legends Revealed #475
COMIC LEGEND: Charles Schulz originally intended to end Peanuts with Charlie Brown finally kicking the football.
Reader Kevin B. wrote in a number of years (that number is six) to ask:
I remember a rumor floating around that Charles Schulz had drawn a “final” strip that was to be published at the time of his death. The strip was supposed to show Charlie Brown finally kicking the football and he then walks off into the sunset happy. I know it was never published, but was there any truth to that rumor? Did that particular strip ever actually exist?
Charlie Brown never kicking the football is a rare instance of a recurring gag where the writer/artist never deviated from the standard gag….
In other words, unlike Charlie Brown’s baseball team never winning a game, the football gag never had an exception in the Peanuts comic strip.
So with that in mind, there certainly would be a certain poetry to ending the strip by Charlie Brown doing what he had never done in the strip. Obviously, though, that’s not how the actual strip ended, as here is the final strip (the final strip was published literally the day after Schulz passed away)….
But did Schulz ever have an alternate in mind?
Over the years, he was pretty adamant that it wouldn’t work for Charlie Brown to kick the football, noting: “I couldn’t have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century.”
But in an interview in 1999 about his feelings after finishing that final strip, he slightly recanted on that earlier stance, “All of a sudden I thought, ‘You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick — he never had a chance to kick the football!’”
However, as you can see from the context of the quote, it was written after he had completed the final strip. So he was reflecting on the fact that he DIDN’T have Charlie Brown kick the football.
In addition, his widow, Jean Schulz, was once asked if such a strip ever existed and she said no.
So there ya go, Kevin! You only had to wait six years for an answer! Quick service!