by John Rose
A scene from The Peanuts Movie featuring a nod to Billy DeBeck's Spark Plug. A scene from The Peanuts Movie featuring a bodacious nod to Billy DeBeck's Spark Plug. Like most cartoonists, I have always been a big fan of the work of Charles Schulz and his magnificent Peanuts comic strip.  His work influenced me and countless other cartoonists worldwide for generations.  Through being a member of the National Cartoonists Society, I was honored to meet Schulz in 1992 in Washington, DC and then, several years later, hear him speak to our group in a wonderful presentation! Charles Schulz had a connection to the Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip.   He was given the nickname “Sparky” after the racehorse character Spark Plug featured in the King Features comic strip, Barney Google by Billy DeBeck.  In 2015, my family and I attended The Peanuts Movie with a group of friends and we really loved it!  Our whole group had grown up reading the Peanuts comic strip and watching the Peanuts specials on television and we all thought the new movie was fantastic!  I was so surprised and thrilled to see the tribute to Billy DeBeck's Spark Plug (shown above) in the middle of the movie!  The movie came out on dvd this week and I rushed out to purchase a copy! One of my Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strips from 2015 that featured Spark Plug. One of my Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strips from 2015 that featured Spark Plug. Spark Plug still appears in our Barney Google and Snuffy Smith comic strip from time to time.  In 2015, he and Barney Google visited the strip for three separate week long stints and I am sure they will be back in 2016. Bodacious thanks to Steve Martino and Blue Sky Studios, 20th Century Fox, Paige Braddock and The Peanuts Studio and Jeannie Schulz for this wonderful tribute in the The Peanuts Movie!  If you're a fan of cartooning, a wonderful place to visit is the Charles M. Schuilz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA.  Check it out!  I did!

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