Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Charlie Brown Farewell --
R.I.P. Bill Melendez

Curious how I had been thinking about Charlie Brown all day.

Because he was on my mind, I worked Charlie Brown references in to my cold-brewed iced coffee post earlier today. (Old college and writing pals will tell you I'm notorious for bizarre thought trains. Anyone else I have had a conversation with will more than likely be able to cite a colorful example upon request.)

Even curiouser, I dug out my collection of Charlie Brown DVDs and VHS tapes to play for Little Sprout today. He loved the fact that Snoopy was a beagle. He sat entranced through It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown [although he did run away scared at the part where WWI flying ace Snoopy dog-fights with the Red Baron in his Sopwith Camel (his dog house)] and You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown. He asked for more when they were over.

What greater compliment is there than a child's delight at Pinnochio or Fantasia? Little Sprout bonded with Pinnochio at the tender age of 16 months. It was his first Disney movie.

But Mr. Melendez's legacy doesn't end there. He also worked at Warner Bros. making Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and Daffy Duck shorts. So remember him well when you hear that signature Loony Tunes sign-off, "Th-th-th-that's all folks!"

The Associated Press published this entertainment news brief:
'Peanuts' animator Bill Melendez dies at 91
as well as an online obituary (scroll to the bottom):
Obituaries in the News - Bill Melendez

I never met Mr. Melendez, but there is no question that he was truly one of the great Hollywood animators. He molded my childhood and left a lasting impression with his "Peanuts" specials. I, for one, will remember him fondly every time I hear Snoopy's "voice."

Thank you for all of the wonderful "Peanuts" specials, commercials and animated features you made, Mr. Melendez. Your prodigious animation legacy will live on in every child's (or child-at-heart's) smile. We'll miss you.

Note: A photo of Mr. Melendez is included in the evening edition of The Washington Post.

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