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The BBC's Jane Hughes
"For the New York Daily News it's a sad day"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 4 January, 2000, 12:18 GMT
Peanuts packs up

Charlie Brown and co head off into the sunset

After almost half a century of neurotic angst and childish rivalries, Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang are calling it a day.

The comic strip appearing in Monday's newspapers across the US is the last ever drawn by Peanut's creator Charles Schulz as the cast of characters he refers to as his "children" follow him into retirement.

Dear Friends, I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost 50 years. It has been the fulfilment of my childhood ambition. Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip, therefore I am announcing my retirement ...

... Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy ... how can I ever forget them
Charles Schulz's farewell
Mr Schulz was diagnosed as suffering colon cancer last November and shortly afterwards announced that he would be putting away his pen to concentrate on his health.

The single-panel farewell features Snoopy, Charlie's philosophical beagle, sitting on top of his dog house reading an affectionate retirement note from Mr Schultz thanking friends, colleagues and readers for allowing him to "fulfil his childhood ambition".

Of course, Charlie, Linus, Lucy and the rest won't disappear overnight - there is a huge back catalogue that will be re-run and doubtless run again - but the publication of the last new strip marks the end of an American institution.

The last new strip for Sunday newspapers will appear in February.

Under the terms of Mr Schulz's contract no other artist can take on the strip after his death.

Charles Schulz: Fond farewell
Peanuts first appeared in October 1950 and many Americans have grown up with the gang.

Their antics now appear in more than 2,600 newspapers around the world and in 21 languages generating an annual global revenue of more than $1bn.

But although the world has changed a lot since its first publication, Peanuts has remained a constant.

Charlie Brown, the great America loser, typically responds to the trials life sends him with a despondent "good grief", while his canine pal Snoopy takes regular flights of fancy to the skies of World War I to fight the Red Baron.

The final cartoon, as it appeared in US newspapers on Monday

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See also:
14 Dec 99 |  Americas
So long, Charlie Brown
15 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Cartoonists honour Schulz
15 Dec 99 |  World
You're a phenomenon, Charlie Brown
15 Dec 99 |  Talking Point
What are your favourite Peanuts moments?
21 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Snoopy creator diagnosed with cancer
06 Oct 98 |  Asia-Pacific
Shelling out for Peanuts

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