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You Matter, Charlie Brown

It’s almost impossible to not be familiar with the beloved cartoon franchise created by Charles M. Schulz and Charlie Brown. Having made its debut in public newspapers back on October 2, 1950, Charlie Brown took over by storm as it grew in popularity and earned TV specials, holiday specials, and even a 2015 movie. While Charlie Brown dealt with his struggles on camera, he had his share of struggles off camera as well. Last month, I was introduced to the true story of the man behind the voice Peter Robbins in a YouTube video that was published by the channel TheGamerFromMars. When I learned more about his story, it created a new layer of light for the beloved blockhead.


According to an article published by Los Angeles Times staff writer Nardine Saad, Nardine explains Peter Robbins’s debut in the Peanuts franchise when she states, “Robbins, who frequented comic book conventions, began voicing Charlie Brown in the 1960s and is credited for his work on the holiday classics “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (1965) and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (1966), as well as “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” (1969) and several other TV films and shorts. In all, he provided the voice of Charlie Brown in seven “Peanuts” TV specials between 1965 and 1969, according to IMDb.”


During his time as Charlie Brown, he loved being the character so much that he had “Charlie Brown” and “Snoopy” tattooed on his arm. He even named his dog after Snoopy as well. By the early 1970s, Peter’s film and TV career ended and in his adulthood, he worked as a real estate agent while living in San Diego. According to his agent Dylan Novak, “He was a great friend and the most generous celebrity I’ve ever met,” Novak said. “He needed money more than anyone else at the shows he attended, but instead gave away so much free merchandise because he couldn’t stand someone to walk away sad.”


The interesting thing about this statement was that in real life Peter Robbins was battling his inner demons that made him sad. Peter Robbins suffered from mental illness, and according to Dylan, “Every convention we went to, he used his platform to encourage anyone who suffers from mental disorders to get help immediately, so they didn’t end up making the same mistakes he had made,” Peter was also open about sharing his manic episodes once he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He also had addictions to drugs, alcohol, and sex for which he received treatments. He once stated in a Fox 5 interview, “I went on a manic phase where I bought a motor home, a mobile home, two German sports cars and a pit bull named Snoopy,”


Peter also pleaded guilty to stalking and threatening his ex-girlfriend as well as a plastic surgeon and was released from prison in 2015. After being sent back to jail and released in 2019, Peter Robbins wanted to change and write a book about his experiences in prison titled “Confessions of a Blockhead,”. Unfortunately, Peter would never have the chance to write his book, due to his death by suicide on January 18, 2022. The life of Peter Robbins was a heartbreaking tragedy, but it puts things into perspective about the character Charlie Brown. Peter Robbins loved being Charlie Brown, and maybe that’s because the two of them are the two sides of the same coin.


Charlie Brown lived a sad depressing life. He had “so-called” friends that would cheer for him one minute and bully him the next, the girl he liked barely knew that he existed, one of the characters Lucy never let him kick the football, he was not good at sports or anything else, and even Snoopy was not always his most “loyal and faithful dog.” However, despite his disappointments, Charlie Brown has helped people overcome their struggles as he fought to overcome his own.


According to an article published on Movieweb.com by writer Evadne Hendrix, Evadne shows Charlie Brown as a remarkable character by saying, “Charlie Brown struggles in school, love, and sports. He is often considered the underdog of his neighborhood, and even his own dog is ashamed of him sometimes. Nevertheless, Charlie Brown's enduring optimism helped him to overcome all of life’s disappointments.” One example can be found in an article published on Medium.com by author Deborah DiClementi.


In her article, Deborah writes how Charlie Brown’s existential crisis saved her life. First, Deborah explained how when she struggled with depression, Charlie Brown helped her understand what depression was by saying, “No one talked about kids and depression when I was little; no one but Charles M. Schultz and Charlie Brown.” She continues “I found Peanuts when I was the same age and, for the bargain price of 0.25 per paperback, author/illustrator Charles M. “Sparky” Schultz, became my first therapist.”


Next, she explains how relatable Charlie Brown was, “Chronicled with irony, humor, and compassion, Charlie Brown’s struggle with depression and anxiety helped me recognize and understand the consuming, painful feelings I had. As long as I was reading, I felt a little less alone.” Before Charlie Brown Deborah felt different but didn’t know why. Finally, Deborah explained how Charlie Brown healed her depression saying, “The more riddled with self-doubt, fear and worry Charlie Brown was, the better I felt.”


To conclude, Peter Robbins’s troubled life was echoed through Charlie Brown’s existence and Charlie Brown’s troubled life is represented symbolically by many people like Deborah. It’s too late for Peter Robbins to know how much he mattered, but it’s not too late for Charlie Brown to know how much he always will. So, Charlie, I want you to know that you matter! You are loved, you are valuable, you are priceless, you are precious, you are special, you are treasured, and you are appreciated. If no one appreciates you, there’s other people who will. Never let yourself forget that you matter!


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Tags: #media #depression #tv #comics #charliebrown #peanuts #peterrobins



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