What’s Old Is New Again
Issue: Volume 38 Issue 5: (Sep/Oct 2015)

What’s Old Is New Again

Like most kids growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, I loved Peanuts. Not much interested me in that big, thick Sunday newspaper except for the colorful comics section – in particular, the “Peanuts” comic strip. Needless to say, I was glued to the television set every holiday when the “Peanuts” TV specials aired. To this day, I (and no doubt many others) refer to Christmas trees that are a bit sparse as a “Charlie Brown tree.” 

This infatuation continued through high school. While I loved Snoopy, his pal Woodstock was my favorite. I had a Peanuts pillowcase, a Peanuts T-shirt, and a Peanuts ski hat. I was one of those “lucky” (said with plenty of sarcasm) teens who had to wear a uniform to school – a lovely (more sarcasm) drab brown and tan plaid skirt (worn shorter than permitted, but that’s another story) with an equally drab brown vest. To spruce it up and to “flaunt” my individuality within school regulations, I had an array of Peanuts buttons and pins, mostly of Snoopy and Woodstock. 

What’s more, the subject of my high school biography was none other than the creator of my favorite characters, Charles M. Schulz. 

I even passed along my Peanuts obsession to my son. When he was younger, we would religiously watch the holiday TV specials, and to sustain us during the remainder of the year, the Peanuts video collection. 

What was it about those simplistic but complex characters? For a dog that could not talk, Snoopy sure was expressive and hilarious. And Lucy, she sure was bold and bossy. Charlie Brown, he never gave up. Linus showed that it was okay to proudly display a cherished piece of childhood. Indeed, all the characters had quirks, and that was just fine. 

The Peanuts gang was introduced in print nearly seven decades ago, and since then the characters have appeared on television, video, stage, and now are making their feature-film debut in The Peanuts Movie. Some had cringed upon hearing that these lovable 2D, lined characters were making a transformation to CGI. Would they look different? Would something get lost in translation? 

As you can see in the article “Simply Audacious” on page 8, the artists and animators at Blue Sky Studios worked hard to maintain the essence and appearance of these beloved characters and their environments while bringing them into today’s world. Kudos to them. No doubt their work will spawn a new generation of Peanuts fans.

For those who want to know even more about the moviemaking process, Titan Publishing is releasing a making-of book in late October.

Another “old” technology making a resurgence is virtual reality. Once the domain of scientists, researchers, and industries like oil and gas, automotive design, and aerospace, VR has re-emerged, this time making quite a splash with consumers, as well. This thanks to the affordability of the equipment, from computers and graphics cards to the various head gear, which will be popular holiday gifts.

At this year’s SIGGRAPH, VR was everywhere – vendor booths and a special area called VR Village, which hosted a range of VR and AR applications (see “VR a Major Reality at SIGGRAPH 2015” on page 26). 

On a final note, CGW wants to recognize the sad passing of our founder, Randall Stickrod, this past summer. He was a visionary, which led to the establishment of this magazine many years ago – just one of his many successful business ventures. More about this exceptional person can be found in the online article “A Sad Farewell to CGW’s Founder” at http://bit.ly/1JEeWab.