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'Peanuts' coming to the riverfront

By KARL J. KARLSON
St. Paul Pioneer Planet
June 29, 2000
Web posted at: 10:44 AM EDT (1444 GMT)

ST. PAUL, Minnesota (St. Paul Pioneer Planet) -- A permanent bronze grouping of 11 ``Peanuts'' characters is being planned for St. Paul's riverfront as part of the city's permanent tribute to native son Charles Schulz.

St. Paul native Charles Schulz and his beloved comic strip will be honored with a statue on the riverfront
St. Paul native Charles Schulz and his beloved comic strip will be honored with a statue on the riverfront  

As envisioned now, the sculpture would re-create a scene from the 1965 perennial television favorite, ``A Charlie Brown Christmas,'' that depicts the characters happily dancing while Schroeder pounds his piano and Snoopy plays the guitar.

The Christmas show -- the first animated TV version of Schulz's famed newspaper comic strip -- won Emmy and Peabody awards that year.

``I watched hours and hours of videos, but when I saw this scene, I knew it was the one,'' said Megan Ryan, city director of marketing and promotion. She is project director for ``Peanuts on Parade,'' the city's summerlong collection of 75 individualized Snoopy statues that are another part of the city's tribute to Schulz.

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Flood aid will come

The proposed grouping includes Pig Pen, Sally, Linus, Schroeder, Franklin, Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Peppermint Patty and Marcie. It could cost up to $150,000 to turn the scene into ``life''-size images with characters about 4 feet high.

The artwork could be placed in Kellogg Park, city land along Kellogg Boulevard between Wabasha and Robert streets that overlooks the Mississippi River.

Each of the characters could be separate from the others, allowing room for children and other visitors to roam freely among them, Ryan said Tuesday. ``This is just a vision now. It could change.''

Part of the display may be ``interactive,'' so that when someone pushed a button by Schroeder's character, David Benoit's recording of the familiar ``Linus and Lucy'' theme would be heard, Ryan said.

She has been working on ways to honor Schulz since before the cartoonist's death of colon cancer in February at age 77.

Fifty of the city's 75 Snoopys are expected to be in place by Friday, with the rest up by July 15. The ``Peanuts on Parade'' project is patterned after the popular ``Cows of Chicago'' promotion last summer that featured colorful statues throughout the Windy City.

Corporate and individual sponsors financed the Snoopy statues. At the end of the summertime display, most of the Snoopys are expected to be donated for auction as a fund-raiser. Proceeds will be used to help fund the permanent ``Peanuts'' sculpture and to endow a scholarship fund at the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul.

Ryan said the auction is planned for early October, about the time of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first ``Peanuts'' cartoon strip on Oct. 2.



RELATED STORIES:
Schulz to receive Congressional Gold Medal
Sonoma County to rename airport after 'Peanuts' cartoonist
Hometown fans say goodbye to 'Peanuts' creator Charles Schulz


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