On October 2, 1950 seven newspapers, including the Seattle Times, the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune ran the very first Peanuts comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz. The strip and its associated books, merchandise and television specials earned its creator over one billion dollars. Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and, of course, Charlie Brown are American icons. The comic strip ran until February 13, 2000, the day after Shultz died. Schulz was posthumously given the Congressional Gold Medal, the body’s highest honor given to a civilian.

In the Peanuts comic strip, Charlie Brown walks by two friends, one of whom remarks, “Well! Here comes ‘ol Charlie Brown! Good ‘ol Charlie Brown … yes, sir! Good ‘ol Charlie Brown … how I hate him!” By the end of the decade, Peanuts comic had been picked up by hundreds of newspapers and had won Schulz a Reuben award, the highest honor given by the National Cartoonists Society. Along with continued success as a cartoon strip in newspapers across the country, 1965 saw the first television special: A Charlie Brown Christmas. Charlie Brown and his friends appears on the cover of TIME that same year.  Charlie Brown’s work has been translated into 21 languages.

Photo courtesy of Otterbein University Theatre