Finlayson for your life

Way back on May 31, 2004, I made reference to Larry Finlayson, singer of the “Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown” theme song. Courtesy of someone who recently found that post, I now have more information about him:

He was my teacher in elementary school in Berkeley, California. I happen to be recording his LP from 1979 to MP3 right now. It’s called, “Give Your Friend A Smile…”. It was recorded at the Music Annex under the name of Finlayson Music Production in 1979. Larry was/is indeed a songwriter and played the guitar in this album.

With those pieces of additional information in hand, a quick Yahoo! search reveals that he’s using a different name these days. And he’s available for weddings! I’d consider hiring him if the “Race for Your Life” theme is still a part of his repertoire, assuming I ever have a wedding.

This is a great week for "Peanuts" reruns

Very easy way to update this “Peanuts” for 2006: for “Casey Stengel, sick ” read “Ozzie Guillen.”

(Hmm, medical maybe once the “Complete Peanuts” series is finished 20 years from now, Fantagraphics can move on to “The Annotated Complete Peanuts.”)

These "Peanuts" reruns should come with annotations

This strip originally ran in 1959. That’s two years before the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins, so the reference is to the Minneapolis Millers of the minor-league American Association.

In 1959, the Yankees finished in third place in the American League, and the Millers finished in first place in the AA (but lost the Junior World Series to the Havana Sugar Kings of the International League). They probably could have taken the Yankees.

Now ensconced on the iPod

This is only tangentially baseball-related because of the “Peanuts” connection, and because it has the potential to be played on the trip: thanks to Cartoon Network kicking off the summer season by showing “Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown” this morning, I now have the two songs from the movie on my iPod. Yes, one of those is the theme song, in which Larry Finlayson sings the profound observations written by Ed Bogas that “the sunshine is brought to you absolutely free” and that “when the sun sets down, it is gone, Charlie Brown.” It’s almost as good of a summer song as “Kokomo”! As far as I can tell, Larry Finlayson never did anything else in his life.

By the way, the All-Movie Guide description of “Race for Your Life” (sorry, I can’t link to it directly) lists some things that aren’t actually in the movie, but were in other “Peanuts” animated shows (and the strip, of course), most notably “Charlie Brown gets a ‘go away and leave me alone’ bunkmate.” Also, they claim it was made for TV (as opposed to a theatrical release), list Larry Finlayson as a songwriter (as opposed to a singer), and misspell Charles Schulz’s name. So, in conclusion, do not trust the All-Movie Guide, not even if you’re trying to look for additional credits for Larry Finlayson.

Original comments…

Levi: For my birthday, Stacey crocheted me a very nice red iPod cozy with a Cardinal on it. I’m willing to bet I’m the only person on earth with one of these.

Jim: A picture of the iPod cozy needs to be submitted to the iPod Lounge. Since I’m already a member of that site, I can do it if you e-mail me a picture.

Things, wonderful, about the new Peanuts book, known by Jim, not told by him to Levi

Jim didn’t mention that the best book ever has a Joy of Cooking- or Legends of the Jews-quality index.

For example:

Charlie Brown, insults to, general . . . 1, 9, 10, 27, 33, 41, 65, 102, 116, 128, 131, 171
Snoopy, clothes, depicted in, to disturbing effect . . . 163, 171
Snoopy, dog reference, offended by . . . 13, 41, 81, 118, 120, 130, 200, 209, 236, 257
Snoopy, dog reference, nonplussed by . . . 20
Tricycle, Charlie Brown bullied off by Patty . . . 100, 102, 104, 195

Baseball doesn’t get such a specific breakdown, but it is featured on sixteen separate pages.

In the next few months, Stacey and I will be building the shelf that, in mid-2016, will hold all twenty-five volumes.

Original comments…

thatbob: Is it an index to only the first two years’ encompassed in volume 1? Or is it an index to the whole 50+ years, to be printed in all twenty-five volumes? And if it’s just an index to the first two years, I can’t help but wonder whether subsequent volumes will include a cumulative index (hot!!!), or if maybe each volume will be individually indexed (yawn) with cumulative five or ten-year indices (hot!) or a separate full index volume (hottest!!!). This is something you should try to determine before building your shelves.

Levi: I was thinking about that last night. The Legends of the Jews has a separate index volume, which seems to most often be the way that multi-volume scholarly productions go. But I bet this will just be an index to each volume.

However, I _think_ there’s no law that would prohibit us from making and selling a comprehensive index to all the volumes in 2016.

Hilary Spurling (with author Anthony Powell’s encouragement) did that with the twelve volumes of _A Dance to the Music of Time_, tracking each character. It was called _An Invitation to the Dance_. We’d have to call ours _Peanuts Shells_ or something.

Jim: Assuming they don’t change the format of the books at some point, the last volume is going to be 1999-2000…but the last new “Peanuts” strip was in February 2000. Plenty of space for a cumulative index in that one.

Good ol’ baseball

“Peanuts” began on October 2, 1950, unfortunately at a time of year when it would be incongruous to draw kids playing baseball. But the first mention of it was less than a month after the debut, on October 27, with Shermy showing Charlie Brown a globe:

Shermy: So you see this proves that our Earth is round like a ball…
Charlie Brown: Like a baseball?
Shermy: Sure, like a baseball.
Charlie Brown: Like a basketball?
Shermy: Sure, just like a basketball.
Charlie Brown: I don’t believe it!
Shermy: Why?
Charlie Brown: No stitches!

Then after the long, cold winter, the first appearance of baseball equipment was March 1, 1951, when Shermy and Charlie Brown are wearing baseball gloves for a non-baseball joke. So what I would call the first “Peanuts” baseball strip is March 6, 1951, in which Charlie Brown is wearing a catcher’s mitt and a backwards baseball cap, and Shermy appears in the last panel with regular glove and cap in normal orientation…

Charlie Brown: Pitch to me, boy! Throw it right in here! He can’t hit it!! Just pitch to me, boy! Pitch to me! O.K., I’m all warmed up…let’s start the game!

(Yes, as you may have gathered, this arrived in my mailbox today. Perhaps I should have posted this under the heading “whetting Levi’s appetite,” since it looks like they’re shipping the pre-orders via Media Mail from Seattle, so he probably doesn’t have his copy yet.)

Original comments…

Levi: I’m still waiting for mine. In fact, I’ve taken to sticking my head in my mailbox every afternoon and shouting, “Hello in there!”

Last night, I was speculating with Stacey and Bob that Jean Schulz, in a final tribute to her late husband, had decided not to send the books after all, and to cancel the series, keeping alive the feelings of sadness, despair, and shattered hopes that Charlie Brown was so familiar with.

But Bob pointed out that the better idea would be for them to send books to all those who ordered except one person, leaving that person to wait and wait and wait while his friends talked about the book and posted to their weblogs about it.

Jim: Sometimes you call Fantagraphics: “Thanks for the copy of ‘Complete Peanuts’ you sent me.” They respond, “We didn’t send you any copy of ‘Complete Peanuts.'” Then you say, “Don’t you know sarcasm when you hear it?”

If it makes you feel any better, you have historically had better luck with women than I have. Of course, I can now use the pickup line, “Hey, want to come back to my place and see my copy of ‘Complete Peanuts’?”