Happy 250! (Part 2)

A bonus posting for Beethoven’s birthday (baptismal record).

Part 1, yesterday, dipped into the history of the Peanuts strip taking note, in various ways in different years, of the occasion. But they weren’t the only ones in the world of cartooning to take note!

But Peanuts does cast a long shadow:

Sent by Andréa.

From Kilby, an on-point musical panel:

The funnies can reference Beethoven without centering on his birthday, of course, as these selections contributed by Olivier illustrate:

Which musical works get into the comics?

As seen above, the Fifth Symphony has long been a source for drinking jokes because of that peculiar fluid volume measure, one fifth (of a gallon, ICYMI). The opening three-and-one is pretty ubiquitous, though probably by now it is pure geezer to connect that with V-for-Victory.

And of course the symphonies can be referenced by number without going into anything about content. Nicknames help — plenty of “The Erotica Symphony”, not too many from “Pastoral”. The Ninth as a whole comes up sometimes, but the Ode To Joy on its own is a beloved perennial for jokes, adaptations, parodies, Flash Mobs, what you will.

I did see a reference (in a Peanuts?) to “Beethoven’s Seven Concertos” which was a rather interesting take, I thought, to make them a group despite the different solo instruments. But it turns out this was probably an allusion to a book, The Seven Concertos of Beethoven by Antony Hopkins (not the actor Anthony) whose choice of that title is less surprising after seeing he also wrote The Nine Symphonies of Beethoven.

The Sonatas come up some, particularly the Moonlight — though did you notice yesterday in the 1957 Peanuts there was even a bit of the score and a reference to the very early F Minor Sonata? This 1952 Peanuts features an excerpt from what may be the Hammerklavier:


and the NYT A&D article by April Dembosky which gave me that strip also gives some context:

In a strip from 1953 Schroeder embarks on an intensive workout. He does push-ups, jumps rope, lifts weights, touches his toes, does sit-ups (“Puff, Puff”), boxes, runs (“Pant, Pant”) and finally eats (“Chomp! Chomp!”). In the last two panels he walks to his piano with determination and begins playing furiously, sweat springing from his brow.

I was wondering at the absence of the quartets, but then this image of a Thong Quartet came in:

The perhaps surprising high-frequency champ seems to me to be that wonderful Bagatelle “Für Elise”! (And this first example even elevates its significance. Despite being really lovely, it is after all, a mere bagatelle.)

And how about second-order references — cartoons about other treatments of Beethoven in popular culture? I was expecting, and saw a good many, references to the use of “Für Elise” as a ringtone. But I was quite unprepared for the allusions to a movie (and sequels!) called Beethoven and featuring a dog who bears that name!

“Hahaha, that’s a dog’s name!”

Contributed by Olivier (who may be able to clarify if that apparently nonstandard French is a particular identified variant or just what a kid might spell.)

Some interest in his general history and biography:

And it’s good to see, in cartoon format, a genuine educational interest in serious history and biographical fact!

(Several uncredited individual images above contributed by Olivier.)

How confusing! It seems the prompt “If Beethoven were alive today, he’d probably be a jazz fan” and the picture would be coming from a fan of both LvB and Miles Davis. But then the take-it-back line about being old seems to be a put-down of both Beethoven and jazz as a genre.

But it should be no surprise that jazz musicians are fans of Beethoven. There are at least two albums of jazz variations on one movement of Beethoven’s, the Allegretto from Symphony No. 7.

Possible Part 3 tomorrow? : Let’s see what contemporary cartoon series had to say on the big 250th birthday date!

Nope, nothing of note! But feel free to comment with relevant comics that were overlooked!

Happy 250! (Part 1)

Part 1 – Beethoven’s birthday in Peanuts

The Schroeder and Lucy Saga

A bonus posting for Beethoven’s (probable) birthday.

In 1953 and 1954 the characters’ appearance were still forming. Schroeder was into his fandom, but Lucy was not intervening yet.

By 1957, Schroeder was sharing his enjoyment with Lucy, but she was not on board.

A 1958 series starts here with non-birthday Beethoven content and on the 16th shows Lucy trying to share in the joy.


And Lucy is an enthusiast by 1959, with this series starting way back on the 09th of December, and almost replicating her naming gaffe before erupting in a fine Lucy-rant and then pushing ahead without concern for the possibility of error:

In 1970 it was a very round anniversary of LvB’s birth, the 200th! Schroeder and Lucy of course noted the occasion. (With colorized reruns from 2017.)

1970-12-14 & 2017-12-14
1970-12-15 & 2017-12-15
1970-12-16 & 2017-12-16

The current series, started on 09 December 2020 , is of course NOT reflecting the 250th anniversary, since these are not new cartoons. But they are echoing, colorized, a sequence from 1973, which concluded with this unfathomable remark – makes you wonder if there was some sort of wrong-headed Wagner-based controversy going on:

Tomorrow: Other Beethoven-centered cartoons, not from Peanuts and mostly not even birthday-themed.

(Credits for portrait at top: By Joseph Willibrord Mähler – http://www.beethovenseroica.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=839673)

The Revolution’s Happening in New York!

B.A.: [May 21, 2020] Please queue this up for the morning of July 4. Hopefully by then the Great Quarantine of 2020 will largely be over and “Music to Get Us Started During the Lockdown” will have gone the way of ChadWatch and While We’re Waiting for the Download, and this will just be something fun to listen to a Saturday morning.

I find this version infinitely more appealing than the one in Hamilton, because there’s no sense of “Look how cool we are, and I bet you’re glad you paid $1200 for your ticket.”

I also like the idea of Peggy, an adult (historically accurate) who seems to act like a child (probably not historically accurate), being played by an actual child.


Bob: So nice to see kids today covering the music of their grandparents’

(The barely pubescent lead singer is the baby of this group. The
drummer who is also the background singer in the striped sweater is
about 20 y.o. and I don’t know the approximate ages of the other two
beyond appearances.)

CIDU Bill: Not really “wake-up music,” but worthy of being included as an Honorable Mention.

Goin’ Nowhere

Usual John:

This is more lockdown-themed, but still seems pretty upbeat, and in any case is an obvious choice for a comics-related blog.  Rick Moranis has done a song called I Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (it may remind you of another song, at least if you’re a geezer), and the cartoonist Carol Lay (whose comics are available as Lay Lines on GoComics) has helped with its animation.

Carol Lay is apparently not a geezer, since she thinks the original was popularized by Johnny Cash.