Adults on Charlie Brown specials: Wah wah wah

Was the decision to use the trombone or whatever instead of actual voices an artistic decision, or was it to save money on hiring adult voice actors? They would still have had to hire a horn guy, right?

I think it’s in keeping with the comic strip that adults are never shown, they’re just people “offstage” that Charlie Brown and co. occasionally speak to.

My WAG: It was an artistic decision.

The adults are never seen in the comics so they are never really heard in the cartoon. Grown-ups were more of a supporting role.

Plus, I’d like to think it’s related to a child’s perception that everything any adult ever says is along the lines of “wah wah wah wah”.

Now, why the cat on Mr. Rogers says nothing but “meow meow meow meow” while the owl that lives next door has a perfect command of the English language is beyond me.

BTW, it’s a trumpet with a mute over the bell.

There was a more recent Charlie Brown special where Linus and Charlie go to France, and have an adventure there, on the way going to Normandy (I think) and getting all Linus-type deep and sombre over the futility of war.

There were adults both seen and heard in that one. I think the exception was deliberate for the seriousness of some of the plot.

It was a very good show, and still had Snoopy and Woodstock jokes, too.

“So what you are telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else that you have never seen.”

When adults talk in the comic strip, isn’t it usually just a bunch of meaningless marks and lines? Or is that when Woodstock talks?
Speaking of. . . Woodstock, the bird; Woodstock, the place/concert. Connection?


My Homepage Updated 9/28/99!
The RHPS: Website For Virgins Updated 9/28/99!

Woddstocks (and all the birds) originally talked in all exclamation points. I haven’t paid attention for a while, but I thought that they still did.

Woodstock was introduced in the very early 1970s, so the name was obviously borrowed from the event, but I do not remember any special plot tie-ins to the concert.


Woddstocks? ::putting manhattan on the far table away from the keyboard:::



Alphagene said:

That, my friend, is a thought provoking observation (and it also made me ROFLMA)

Some mornings it just doesn’t seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.
Emo Philips (stolen from matt’s webpage)

Adults talking in the strip is just silence. It’s always the reaction comments that give away what was said - much like a Bob Newhart phonecall skit.

“So what you are telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else that you have never seen.”

IMO showing adults or even big kids on Charlie Brown specials should be a crime, it destroys the charm inherent in the show. Note that the earlier specials, Christmas and Halloween are far superior to the sucky more recent ones…similar to Winnie the Pooh. The first couple of videos: full of charm The last couple of videos: all the klutziness of a Hanna-Barbera cheapie.

Salinqmind, I basically agree. I think what we need to remember is that adults are just not important in “Peanuts”. They are secondary. Many comments from the kids are concerning moving, or a new job, or, “my dad always says…”.It’s the kids’ lives we see. Remember the gang in France? Wouldn’t you have called home if the chateau was not accessable? If you had to have your dog drive the rental car because you can’t drive?


As I recall, Charles Schulz actually held a write-in contest, asking people to suggest names for the bird now known as “Woodstock” ( formerly known as Prince, of course <VEG> …)
I have no idea who won the contest, but this memory is a strong one. More Urban Myths made real, or did this happen? I’m 37, and so was a wee sprite when the boid first appeared. Does anyone have a handle on the truth? Dare I say…the Straight Dope???
Typer :slight_smile:

" If you want to kiss the sky, you’d better learn how to kneel "

While we’re at it, how come Goofy can talk and Pluto can’t.

For that matter, David, why does Goofy get to wear pants and drive a car, but Pluto has to sleep in a doghouse?


“Believe those who seek the truth.
Doubt those who find it.” --Andre Gide

Sigh… OTB:IF

Dirty Devil wrote:

No, it’s not. It’s clearly a trombone with one of those mutes (I forget the name of this particular mute, may be a Harmon) that allows the trombone player to partially cover and uncover the bell with an extra handpiece. Uncovering the bell slowly gives the characteristic “wah” sound.

The glissandos, plus the pitch range of the instrument (well below a trumpet’s useful range), are obvious signs that the instrument in use is in fact a trombone and not some other non-trombone brass instrument. Besides, a trombone player came to an orchestration class I was in one day and demonstrated the “Charlie Brown’s Teacher” sound on his instrument (with the appropriate kind of mute, of course).

The truth, as always, is more complicated than that.

You’ve almost got it, tracer. I do believe it’s a trombone. Now, from the More-Information-Than-Actually-Needed Department:

A harmon mute is a metallic mute that closes off the bell and has a hole in the middle. This produces the raspy, buzzing sound familiar to anyone who has watched a Zalman King film. Most of these mutes come with a removable pipe with a small bell that slides into the hole. This makes the tone somewhat cleaner, and allows the player to put his/her hand over this smaller bell to make the “wah-wah” sound. At least one mute company actually refers to this as a “wah-wah” mute. Still, if the sheet music asks for a harmon mute to be used, the pipe is removed.

I, for one, make cartoon noises with my instrument without a mute. My private teacher tells me that would go away if I’d just practice more.

Carpe hoc!

A fuller explanation can be found in the liner notes of George Winston’s album “Linus and Lucy: the music of Vince Guaraldi.” (VG wrote the music to the TV shows among other things). The liner notes are 13,000 miles away from me right now, but as I recall, it was a trombone, modified somehow (tracer sounds right), and it was an artistic decision between Schulz and Guaraldi.

“It all started with marbles in school…”

And now for you real peanuts fans…
There are (at least) two fairly unknown characters in the comic strip. One was the only black kid I’ve ever seen on the strip. The other one was named after a number. Do you remember their names?