Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Probably One of the Dorkier Things We’ve Done in a While

“No dogs alloooooowed! And biiiiirds!” I sang to Todd one day several years ago.

“What’s that from?” he asked me. I explained that it was from the perennial classic “Snoopy Come Home." He hadn’t seen it; my childhood was riddled with Peanuts cartoons. Dad and I used to read the Peanuts comic strip together every Sunday morning. It was the first one on the comics page, and took up most of the above-the-fold real estate. It stayed in that spot for years, and Garfield, my second favorite at the time, was just below it. A double whammy of awesome without having to turn the page, life was good.

We were flipping though the channels a few weeks ago and Todd saw that "Snoopy Come Home" was on and set the DVR to record it. Last night we finally watched it. I was instantly transported back to when I was 8-9 years old and begging Mom to stay up late. By the time I was born my mom was pretty laid back about stuff like that. Most of the time she was about a half second away from saying “Here’s a Ginsu, go play in traffic, I don’t care!” That’s how it goes for the fifth child.

I hadn’t remembered just how bad the score was on these Peanuts specials. But it was great in its terribleness. We listened to the kid that did Charlie Brown’s voice sing terribly off key after Snoopy left to go live with his original owner. On the screen Charlie tossed in his bed, his heartbreak keeping him awake. He paced to the kitchen, then out to Snoopy’s dog house. Snoopy had somehow managed, without thumbs, to nail a sign onto it that said “For sale or to let.” His typewriter and airplane goggles likely placed into his suitcase to be used at his new home--where he would pen more letters to the editor, then fight the Red Baron, from the roof of his new dog house. It was a dismally depressing song, with weird jazz music accompanying it. Teeth-itchingly off key with an out of time modern jazz collision in the background; only in 1972, I suppose.

Todd Googled and found the name of the kid that did Charlie Brown’s voice: Chad Webber. Then he began to scour the Internet to see whatever happened to Chad Webber. Did he go on to perform in anything else? Did he grow up get married and have kids? Did he win a Pulitzer? Did he write a tell-all about the behind the scenes action on the Charlie Brown sound stage? Did he and Lucy hook up in Snoopy’s dog house, like the Brady kids were reputed to have done? Want to know what we found?


This kid, apparently, fell off the face of the earth after providing the voice for Charlie Brown. There are no pictures of him. There is no biography. There are no embarrassing mug shots on The Smoking Gun of him wacked out on goofballs, half undressed while smirking sleepily at the camera in some backwater police station after robbing a liquor store with a squirt gun while nude. No profile on IMDB, other than one sentence that said he did the voice of Charlie Brown, and the same on Wikipedia.

“This is so weird,” Todd gazed at his screen, puzzled. “I mean, you can Google me and you and our dogs and get something. This guy was the voice of Charlie Brown, and there’s nothing.”

“Maybe Chad Webber is a fake name. I mean, he was a kid when he did those shows. Maybe his parents made him do it under an assumed name to protect their privacy?”

“Even so, wouldn’t it say something like John Smith, also known as Chad Webber, was the voice of Charlie Brown?”

Then we had to know what happened to Chad Webber. We Googled, we clicked, we perused and scoured. We came across the woman who was the voice of Sally Brown, Charlie’s little sister. She works as a script consultant now, and has a long list of credits to her name. We stumbled upon her resume, and there we found her email address.

“Look! Her email address!” I pointed to the top of the screen. Todd smiled, and then opened his email application.

“You’re really going to email this woman to ask her what happened to Charlie Brown?” I laughed.

“Why not? The worst she can do is delete the email and not respond, right?”

I am sure that a grown woman, who once did the voice of Sally Brown, will appreciate getting a random email with the subject line “Regarding Chad Webber.” Never mind your own stellar career, sweetie. We want to hear about Charlie Brown. How about we rip that football away right before you get to kick it?

I’ll let you know if she writes back.



Blogger Taoist Biker said...

Oh lord, I'd forgotten about that special. I'm pretty sure I bawled my eyes out over that one when I was 5 or so.

December 17, 2009 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

TB, a few years ago we watched the Christmas special. I hadn't seen it in years and was amazed at the obvious religious theme through it. I never picked up on that when I was a kid. And no, I did not ride the short bus, either.

December 17, 2009 at 11:27 AM  

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