Pop Culture
Pop Culture: Articles for the Scripps Howard News Service & "Seen, Heard, Said"

Why the top-365-songs list isn't a stupid idea

Actors sink their teeth into vampire roles

Gregory Corso: My encounter with a Beat legend

Golden Globes: Sleazy and proud of it

In the offing, Clinton continent looms

"NYPD Blue" opener: The misery continues

 New movie genre: Reclusive authors anonymous

"West Wing," "Ally," et al.: Words, words, words

When TV shows outstay their welcome

Film critics dig their own graves with "Angels" review

Great Robert Altman films you never
heard of

Famous folk, next week in the arts, show business briefs

"Time regained": Proust in the multiplex

Glitterati is dead, long live Popfocus

Carl Barks: The man who put the ducks in Duckburg

"Almost Famous": Lester Bangs rises from the dead

Liz Hurley wins in war of words with Jane mag

Douglas poses with Zeta-Jones, and baby-makes three

Weddings that aren't: Douglas, Zeta-Jones, Madonna, Ritchie

The Emmy War: A half-century of coast-to-coast feuding

Jennifer Love Hewitt plays the Iglesias odds

It's raining books by and about Trumps

What's in a mane? Blond woman in the news

Liz Hurley denies dissing ex-beau

Rock Hall of Infamy: Anti-heroes from Elvis to Eminem

Barbra tix bankrupt fans

Laurels for Kathie Lee to rest on

Hillary "In bed" with De Niro, Cruise, Kidman

How "Sopranos," "West Wing" will divvy up awards

This just in: Donald Trump is not a dope

Walter Matthau: A rumpled old dog in the heart of the city

Sampras to take a stroke at wedding bells

Who wants to host "Monday Night Football"?

Queen rewards Tina Brown for demoralizing American readers

How the Korean War cane to TV land 20 years late

Ivanka Trump: From catwalk to commencement line

Lester Bangs: The troublesome punk who wouldn't die

Rags clash over Ted Turner "romance"

With straight face, Trump deems Marla's move "tacky"

"Friends" re-up for another season of top ratings, top money

Madonna in denial, and rightly so

"Suburbia": The continental subdivide

Howard Stern, Sly Stallone in bizarre, apocryphal triangle

Easter video viewing: "Spartacus" to "Harvey"

Billy’s in the news: Bob, Joel in love but not with other

"Charles's Angels" movie: Dispiriting news for old-time fans

Innovative career move for 'NYPD Blue' co-star

Top model: Why I gave oldish rocker husband the heave-ho

Unpleasantville: The awful truth about old-time TV families

Tina Brown held captive in desert by demanding children

Anybody's Oscar: Unusually suspenseful awards show looms

Oscar telecast: Looking for a few good hosts

"Lambs," "Beauty": Oscar's love affair with unacceptable behavior

Brad Pitt, Oscar to be in same room at same time

Letterman bites guest-host bullet: Andrew "Dice" Clay, call your agent

Seinfeld eyes East Hampton manse: Where's the welcome wagon?

"Mod Squad" Immortal dishes couple du jour

Brad Pitt's second thoughts about Oscar

Mike McCurry praises "West Wing": It's not entirely demeaning,,,"

Memo to "Hannibal" producers: Get Najimy while the getting's good

Don't Invite Gwyneth and Oscar to the same party

True or false: Douglas, Zeta-Jones don't even know each other

Ex-Clinton honcho linked to ex-"Cheers" costar

Third party cited in Trump-Knauss breakup

 Gossip queen goes to bat for Talk mag

20th century's No. 1 hit: "Satisfaction" hits the spot

Statement: Spice girl's marital problems insoluble

Charlie Brown, Pogo and me

From Howdy to Charlie Brown, we hate to say goodbye

The Beatle George: While his guitar gently weeps

Jodie Foster's people in mild tiff with CBS

A Peanuts trivia Q&A

Publicist: Boyle still joined at hip

There's video in your future and future in your video

"The future is now": Hit rewind

Whitney Houston presides over confluence of talent

Jim Carrey's flack earns A "D," Cher's A "B-minus"

Geraldo: bye-bye, doghouse

Michael Douglas does nothing much, reporters go wild

Ricky Martin on Menudo: Look back in anger

How to outsmart Halloween crowds at the video store

Tom Cruise puts himself in harm's way, only not really

1800-1900: Steaming towards revolution

1700-1800: Liberty, equality and bloodshed

1600-1700: The earth moves; North America is settled

Trump mulls travel plans, from altar to White House

"Faces of Impressionism" Time machine made of canvas, paint

Major quakes aren't personal unless they happen to you

Brad Pitt gracious about character assassination

Director insists Harrison Ford is not a brainless hulk

Costner, Willis, Douglas. Branagh, Sting_ in that order

Streisand: Color her ready to plug her new album

Julia and Benjamin's rings devoid of significance, flack says

Literary mud wrestling, featuring Geri and The Spice Girls

Urgent news: Ford to replace Gibson on "GMA" eventually

She married a monster from outer space

Never mind Godzilla VS. Mothra, Here's Trump VS. Cronkite

Spurned by Pitt, Redford pays court to Damon

Celebrity coyness is bustin' out all over

"Detroit Rock City": Kiss of death

Talk is cheap? Not with Tina Brown at the helm

The Beats: Remembered, Lionized and Unread

Real estate beat, starring Woody Allen and Donald Trump

Mood Music, or how we learned to stop worrying

Sex in the cinema: From "Last Tango" to "Eyes Wide Shut"

Two easy steps to looking exactly like Ricky Martin

Close encounters of the Muppet kind

Upcoming Brad Pitt movie not garbage, insiders say

Kathie Lee's eyewear excites Islanders' ire

Back to the future, continued

"Wild Wild West": Buck Rogers in the 19th century

Sculptures by Roy Lichtenstein: Fun, Fun, Fun

An expert's verdict:" Austin Powers" is pretty neat

Click here for pointless celebrity gossip

P. Dempsey Tabler of the jungle: The many faces of Tarzan

Kirk Douglas' Ex tells all about Errol Flynn fling

New twist in TV programming: Ax profitable shows

Private jet fees spell the end for another celebrity union

Killer serials: "Flash," "Buck" and a boy named George Lucas

Top nonfiction books: A message from two old men

Celebrity Dream dreams: Monica, Donald, Barbara, Georgette

Two divas, publicist form bizarre show-biz triangle

Johnny Cash tribute: Ring of fire, ring of friends

Streisand employee really upset about rumors

Grande Dame Eyes MGM Grand Gig

Secretive celebs? Not by a long shot

NBC honcho bristles at notion that Brokaw is not a saint

Barbara Walters not keen on daily dose of Monica

"Seen, Heard, Said"

David Letterman, Donald Trump, Eddie Murphy, Elton John

Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Prince Charles, Maj, Ronald Ferguson, Fergie, Miranda Richardson, Brad Pitt, Juliette Lewis, Axl Rose, Stephanie Seymour

December 31, 1999


By ROGER ANDERSON Scripps Howard News Service

I first met Charlie Brown one summer day in the mid-1950s when I was visiting a place in California called the Devil's Post Pile with my mother, my father and my big sister.

The Devil's Post Pile got its name from some dramatic volcanic action that had occurred there millions of years ago, resulting in a massive upthrusting of stone shafts that looked like an array of Brobdignagian fenceposts. Even more exciting was the pumice that lay everywhere - puffy volcanic rock that floated when you put it in the river.

Floating rocks!

Charlie Brown was a boy a lot like me - about my age and, like me, living in a highly self-contained neighborhood community of children. Like me, he was in the early years of school, and, like me, his emotional life seemed to be a somewhat perplexing mix of happiness and melancholy. The other kids liked him, yet often he wasn't sure if they liked him enough.

Charlie Brown lived inside a paperback book my parents had bought me, simply titled “Peanuts," a collection of the daily strips Charles Schulz had been producing since 1950.

Getting to know Charlie Brown through repeated re-readings, I may have felt some pangs of guilt over the fact that I was two-timing old friends of mine named Churchy la Femme and Howland Owl.

Churchy and Howland were characters I already knew extremely well from paperback books of Pogo comic strips written and drawn by Walt Kelly, who, like Schulz, had begun his daily newspaper labors around the time I was born.

Pogo's world was in many ways the diametric opposite of Charlie Brown's. Charlie Brown and his friends (except Snoopy the beagle) were human, while Pogo himself was a possum and his friends were all animals - Churchy the turtle, Albert the cigar-smoking alligator, Beauregard the dog, Mamselle Hepzibah the skunk. And while Charlie Brown lived in a perfectly conventional post-war American neighborhood, Pogo and his pals lived in the lush expanse of the Okefenokee Swamp, somewhere in the borderlands of Florida and Georgia.

Charlie Brown and the other Peanuts children spoke in grammatical, economic English, one or two short sentences per panel. Pogo himself was a marsupial of few words, but his swamp compatriots were given to speaking in fractured run-on sentences fraught with slang that seemed to evolve from one panel to the next.

In a sense, Kelly's critters had taught me how to read. I was so fascinated by their print antics in my pre-literate stage that I forced grownups to read me the words over and over again until I had them memorized.

Charlie Brown and I became pals there at the Devil's Post Pile, but a bit later, when Schulz introduced a character called Linus who had a bossy sister, a philosophical turn of mind, hair that wouldn't comb and a ratty old blanket he wouldn't let go of, I really found my soulmate.

But then a very strange thing happened. I became an adolescent, a college student, a young adult and a middle-aged adult, while Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and the others stayed the same - forever children.

Then, just as I was preparing myself mentally for my 50th birthday, Charles Schulz announced that he would retire the strip due to illness.

I had lost Walt Kelly and his creations many years earlier. But maybe it was no accident that in the last year or so, after long ago having lost the habit of reading daily comic strips, I rediscovered Peanuts and paid dally visits to that old neighborhood.

Which left me with one perception: Charles Schulz was the best. Right to the end, his boys and girls proved sweet and true to themselves while their creator danced them through the panels of their world with effortless grace.

On the afternoon of my 50th birthday, I lay down for a nap and turned to Peanuts in the newspaper. Linus and Lucy's little brother, Rerun, who shares with Linus the uncombable-hair gene, discovered a basketball in the snow, picked it up and took it inside. "So when you get older," Rerun said to the ball, sitting with it in a comfy chair, "maybe I'll take you to a nice warm gymnasium."

I laughed out loud. A few minutes later, the book on Australian prehistory I was reading dropped out of my hands and I fell asleep under the ratty old blanket my wife can't convince me to get rid of, and I dreamed about rocks floating on a river in California.

Roger Anderson is arts and entertainment editor at Scripps Howard News Service.

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