Did anybody actually ever believe people with large eyes need more sleep than people with small eyes?

This strip is from 1972 and I have to admit there were a lot of Peanuts strips from that era that gave me the impression Charlie Brown’s ophthalmologist was a bit off.

And speaking of being a bit off, is Lucy’s final comment a complete non sequitur?


  1. I think either Charlie Brown or his ophthalmologist (or both) was making a joke. Charlie B looks happy… he feels he is in a conversation with someone who is paying attention, like normal humans. But with her final non-sequitur comment, Lucy is doing here much what she does with the annual football-kicking routine: setting Charlie Brown up, and then swiping the football away at the last second, leaving him to fall flat on his back.

  2. P.P.S. @ 2am – Tom Toles created “Randolph Itch, 2am” to combat (or least productively use) his own insomnia. (He agreed to stop the stop when he became the editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post.)

  3. I think Lucy’s remark is a way to tell CB he ‘s a weirdo: who else would research eye size apart from him and maybe that other weirdo who belongs to 4 book clubs?

  4. I don’t remember Charlie Brown’s ophthalmologist being mentioned much at all, but I do remember Linus‘ ophthalmologist being mentioned a lot (OK, maybe they are the same); Sally also had an ophthalmologist for a while when she had a lazy eye; I suppose that one would definitely be the same one as Charlie Brown’s….

    I think it’s Sparky who had the off ophthalmologist — or maybe he just liked putting the word “ophthalmologist” in his strip…

  5. Lucy has been spreading rumors. She made up the “needs more sleep” one about some unnamed and unpictured kid at some point in the past, which CB actually fact-checked with an expert and is telling her she’s wrong, so in panel 4 she moves to a new one.and is about to start a new rumor.

    The joke is “kids believe silly things”.

  6. @ larK – I believe Schulz commented (in the Peanuts 50th Anniversary collection) that he had been asked to work “lazy eye” into the strip, as part of a public awareness effort.

  7. I vaguely knew there was an expression “[have] sleep in one’s eyes” and thought it meant roughly that one looked sleepy. Then I met someone for whom it meant something simple and physical, the little crusty bits you may get in the corners of your eyes (or even on the lashes) while sleeping. And it was clearly on the way to being a frozen and no longer actively metaphorical expression — so that one could say “Oh my cat has so much sleep in his eyes, I’m going to get a clean cloth and wipe off some of that sleep.”

  8. It’s rare for Peanuts to require having read a previous strip to be understood, but this is one of those rare cases.

  9. Does anyone else find it disconcerting to have the dailies colored? (Especially since they change Charlie Brown’s shirt color between the two strips…) It’s not that the colors are wrong, it’s that seeing them, I expect to be reading a Sunday strip, so I’m expecting a different pacing, and come up short when it ends in 4 panels…

    Some things were made in black and white, and they should stay that way; we don’t need to be spoon fed colors everywhere! Casablanca should be B&W, and Peanuts dailies should be B&W… (I swear, 50 years from now they’re gonna colorize Schindler’s List, and the beginning and end of The Wizard of Oz…)

  10. In general I agree with larK about coloring dailies, although for some reason it doesn’t bother me quite so much with Peanuts as some other strips. I really hate the way GoComics has been reworking some of the old “B.C.” strips, but at least they have not tried to contaminate “Calvin and Hobbes”. Perhaps the difference is that Watterson is still around to defend his artwork, whereas Hart and Schulz are at the mercy of their literary executors and/or heirs.
    P.S. The joke about colorizing the “Wizard of Oz” first went around back when Ted Turner started his color crusade

  11. “P.S. The joke about colorizing the “Wizard of Oz” first went around back when Ted Turner started his color crusade”

    I know: I was harking back to that — just because it’s old doesn’t mean that all the arguments against it were wrong; quite the opposite, really: we’ve already established that it is wrong, why do we have to reinvent the wheel and rehash all the arguments again?! Can’t we learn??

  12. @Kilby That first “Randolph Itch, 2am” is wonderful. (It took me a considerable amount of time to take in the whole thing, which resulted in the getting it being oh-so-good.)

  13. @ Kevin A – To be honest, I did not purposely select that particular comic. I needed to select a date (any date) for the link, otherwise GoComics would strand people on that putrid “today” page. Since I could not identify a “best” example, I decided to go to the “first” example in the archive.

  14. That would have been a CIDU for me in 1972. I didn’t know what a “book club” was until the 1990s. Before then, if I heard “book club”, I’d think of a “book-of-the-month club” type mail-order book service.

    Colourizing things made in black and white offends me. To me it says “this thing is just some random junk, indistinguishable from any other random junk, and we’ve made it flashy and colourful for you so you don’t lose interest.” When it comes to films, I particularly hate it because it still looks like garbage and b&w is lit and shot differently, so it’s entirely inappropriate.

    I agree that that first Randolph Itch 2 a.m. is a headscratcher for a bit but then very satisfying when one gets it.

  15. Re colorization: you don’t mind hearing Beethoven sonatas played on a modern piano, do you? Does a 1796 Streicher do justice to the Pathetique? or an 1820 Broadwood to the Hammerklavier?

  16. No more than I would object to seeing a Casablanca remake shot in colour. Which is not at all.

  17. Mark In Boston: Not the same at all. Heck, classical music can sound great on electric guitar.

    The problem with colorized films and TV shows originally shot in monochrome, is that they still look like altered monochrome films and TV shows. Producers also often get details wrong, such as the color of actors’ eyes. That issue riles film historians.

    As an aside Turner had this to say regarding the colorizing of the films his company owned:

    “Turner reiterated his stand that colorization is necessary because television advertising rates for black-and-white movies are lower than those for color movies. He insisted that colorization is a financial issue and not, as the protesters argue, an aesthetic one.”


    So the other issue film buffs have with the whole film colorization thing is that it’s not done for some artistic reason, it’s all about money.

    As a further aside, back when I was in art school, “colorizing” black and white prints was called hand tinting (usually with special water color paints). They looked like tinted black and white prints. 🙂

  18. Grawlix, if you go back far enough, there were people hand-painting into B&W photos (because there were no color photos then). They did not look like purely-painted portraits, nor like color photos. But they were more life-like than the B&W photos they were painted on.

  19. Producers also often get details wrong, such as the color of actors’ eyes.

    I recall a Siskel and Ebert episode on colorization, and they mentioned that an early colorization got Frank Sintatra’s eye color wrong in an early one (so he was “old brown-eyes”).

    A bit of searching reveals that the movie was Suddenly (1954).

  20. One of the first (and in Germany: most famous) precursors to the comic strip is Wilhelm Busch’s “Max and Moritz“. First publshed in 1865, the illustrations were monochrome woodcuts. I’ve never liked the cheap modern editions, which are usually hideously recolored, but I have one version that includes photographic reproductions of a very old hand-colored edition from the 19th century. As nice as it is, I usually prefer reading all of Busch’s works in black & white.

  21. Have you noticed how weird old movies look on a modern TV? Today’s TV’s do all kinds of supposedly helpful motion correction.

  22. @ MiB – Motion correction is a minor effect compared to the fundamental difficulty of getting the aspect ratio right. Even if the old movies were filmed in a wide-screen format, the existing prints have almost always been trimmed for standard 4:3 TVs. Sometime a 16:9 TV will figure out the broadcast encoding correctly, but more often not. Only a very few of those old movies will ever be reformatted for wide screen.
    P.S. I once saw a TV in an airport that was tuned to a gymnastics competition. The screen was 16:9, but the network was still showing 4:3, which made the women on the balance beam look like the Green Bay Packers.

  23. The other problem with televising old movies is frame rate. Movies scan at 24 frames per second. Video runs at 30 frames per second. Old silent movies were shot with hand cranked cameras, so the frame rate often varied widely. That’s why those early movies always seem to look kind of herky-jerky on TV. When you’re broadcasting HD (as nearly everyone does in the US, at least on their primary feed), it’s definitely possible to letterbox 4:3 aspect ratio . But it’s a lot more trouble than just running it through an encoder and stretching the video to fit. Almost as bad is squeezing 16:9 HD video down to 4:3 SD. Makes everyone look pencil thin, and not in a good way. (Though sometimes talent seems to like the slenderizing.) 🙂

  24. And re: Wizard of Oz
    The first few times I saw this movie, in the early 1960s, it was on a black and white TV. It was quite an amazing revelation the first time I saw it in color.

  25. @ DanV – European PAL TV scans at 25 frames per second. Conversion is generally more trouble than it’s worth, so DVD films just run 4% faster, but they usually process the audio to fix the (minor) increase in pitch.

  26. Grawlix –

    In the 1800s the new thing in embroidery/needlework was called Berlinwork as it had started in Berlin, Germany. A picture would be printed in black and white. A grid would be printed over the picture. Then women would sit and paid the the grid squares of the picture so that one could follow same for stitching the picture in, what is now called, needlepoint.

    One would stitch the yellow squares in yellow, green in green… Needlepoint or Berlinwork is stitched on even weave canvas so that each square of the picture is a stitch (square) on the canvas – the stitches are each a slanted stitch (long time since I did needlepoint so don’t remember if the stitches go / or the opposite direction.

    Today this grid system is still used both for needlepoint and for counted embroidery (especially counted cross stitch), but instead of painting or printing it in color, there is a different symbol in each box and each symbol represents a color.

  27. @Kilby&DanV: a few years ago, I was watching Dr. Strangelove; I was the only one in the theater and not even the projectionist was watching: I had to go to the lobby to get someone to come and set the picture width properly.

  28. Many televisions will give you options to set up your pictures properly. My set has a cinema mode that displays 24 frames per second.for films. Aspect ratio can be manually set, giving some control if someone has set things improperly.I turn off the motion interpolation, so the soap-opera effect is eliminated. It is possible to get a good picture out of a modern TV, but it takes some menu adjusting.

  29. Conversion of movies to broadcast on TV has always been a challenge, because movies are wider than TV. It’s a problem even when you’re MAKING the movie, because any TV or computer screen that appears on the screen has to be specially modified to have a refresh rate of only 24 fps, instead of the normal 30 (for TV) or 60+ for computer monitors) If you just use stock equipment and shoot it with a movie camera, you get “banding”. The monitor draws the whole screen in less than 1/24 of a second, and then starts to draw another but doesn’t finish. This means that part of the screen is drawn twice and part of the screen is only drawn once while a single frame of film is exposed. This makes a band of higher intensity and a band of lower intensity appear on the screen. Then, when the next frame is exposed, you get the same thing but the part that gets drawn twice is a different part of the screen.
    The net effect of this is you get bands of brighter light that flow either up or down on the screen for as long as the screen is visible in the film. Apple is based in California, and IBM is based in New York, so Apple was the first computer company to make specially-timed computer displays specifically for use in production of motion pictures. For a while, it seemed like every computer in every movie was a Mac. This is the true reason why, in “Independence Day”, the alien invaders’ computer systems were compatible Jeff Goldblum’s Mac.

    The old way of fixing the different aspect ratio of film and video was to just use a part of every frame of movie, and discard whatever was off the edges. This conversion process is called “pan and scan”.

  30. @ SingaporeBill – Yes, there are TV options that can improve the situation, but they are highly dependent on the TV’s manufacturer, and (much worse) are also dependent on the encoding information that the network (or DVD) sends along with the signal, which can at times be defective. There are generally three choices:
    1) Letterbox: waste screen space to get the correct aspect ratio;
    2) Zoom: chop off part of the movie to fill the screen;
    3) Anamorph: squeeze (or stretch) the movie to fit the screen (and ignore the fact that people look pencil-thin or really fat).
    I almost always prefer option 1, but I have run into (thankfully very isolated) cases in which the combination of network (or DVD) signal and TV model permitted only two of the three options to be used (the one that was dropped being situation-dependent).

  31. @ Kilby: Granted it is an imperfect world but with the right settings and a decent source the results can be very satisfying. I’m willing to put up with some limitations to have access to the films I want when I want them. It sounds like you’re a bit of a cinephile too, so check out http://www.criterionchannel.com if you haven’t already. Contains the kind of films you don’t find on the regular streaming services.

    Personally, I’ve never understood the idea that the screen is “wasted” if it’s not completely filled in all dimensions. I want to see the whole picture as undistorted as possible. If it means that the whole screen isn’t full, that’s okay. The only case one can make for the practice of pan-and-scan cropping was when sets were quite small. But then the world is full of all kinds of sensation-seekers. Those who must turn the bass up to 11, colourize black and white films, and fill every pixel.

  32. For a long time, movie cameras had viewfinders with frames for both cinema and TV aspect ratios, and many cameramen were able to shoot in such a way that it worked fine in the theater and on TV.

    One notable failure is “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”, where you sometimes see at the bottom of the screen the mechanics of how the effect works, such as the endless chain feeding into the bottom of the bicycle basket. Or maybe that was deliberate: you’d see the effect in the movie theater, and years later when you saw it on TV you’d see behind the scenes.

  33. Olivier – can’t think of how many times I have had to go out to the lobby at one theater or another – even when there are others in the theater (we go to the “late” movie – starts somewhere 9:30 to 10pm – and often we are the only ones in the theater) to fix some problem with the projection, or the sound or even to turn off the house lights.

    The remotes for our cable boxes seems to have some button on it which we hit often by accident and change the “picture size”. We were watching the TV in the bedroom which is analog (and the only one I can comfortably watch) and the pictures were wrong – just looked too pulled out. We presumed that the signal was not right for the analog (new box – old one died). While he was asleep one night and I was watching TV, I checked and, yes, one of us had accidentally set it to “stretch”

    Biggest problem we have though with all the TVs though is that music is too loud, especially compared to talking. We often can’t hear the dialog as the background music or the music in the action of the show is too loud.

  34. @ SingaporeBill – You’re right: I do like good movies, but my favorite medium is DVD. The main advantage (in comparison to German broadcast TV) is that you can choose not just when to watch something, but also in which language. For me, this is almost always the language in which the movie was originally recorded.
    I will check out that link, but in general I just don’t have the patience (or time) to fiddle around with any of the streaming services. We haven’t even bothered to get a decoder chip for the extra channels (HD and payview) that our cable company offers, simply because we don’t even have time to watch all the stuff on the free channels.

  35. P.S. @ Shrug – I also omitted “pan & scan”, but that’s only a production option, not something that the viewer can control. Even worse than that is “scan, but don’t pan”, which is a problem that affects some of the surviving prints (and video transfers) of old cartoons, particularly Tom & Jerry. Every so often there’s action that occurs on the edge of the frame, proving that the animators used a wider cell than what was converted to TV format.

  36. @Kilby: Don’t bother with the link. The Criterion Channel is currently only available in USA and Canada. I suspect sorting out the rights to stream any given film in the many countries of Europe would be a real challenge. It’s even a challenge in North America. It seems there are some films they have rights only for the USA and not Canada. Usually non-North American films.

    @Meryl A: I was going to write some stuff about TV sound, but there’s lots of good information at this link. I will mention that if you have the option on your TV or sound system to select something called “Sound Levelling” or something similar, try that. It decreases the loudness of the background compared to the foreground sounds.


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