If you’ve NEVER seen Citizen Kane, STOP reading this post NOW. Seriously.
Okay, well… of course, you can keep reading and ruin the experience, but that’s your problem I say. You’ve been warned.
As a regular reader of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts for decades, even as a kid I was always floored by how deep the simply drawn cartoon was. I started reading it in the late 60’s, but I only vaguely recall some of the strips from back then. However, in 1973, one particular Sunday page stood out and as that post title notes, is what I consider the best movie spoiler I’ve ever read. Now I hate most spoilers thanks to a few favorite books and films being ruined for me intentionally over the years. But this one stood out because I didn’t know what the heck Citizen Kane was and reading this strip made that title stick in my mind and later, do some digging on the movie and its place in history. I don’t recall seeing it on TV here in New York at all, so all I had were the memories of others I occasionally asked about the film whenever the opportunity arose.
I finally saw Kane in the 80’s at a Public Library that had a borrowed print and although excited, I was also a bit wary because of the spoiler and how it would affect my enjoyment of the movie. As soon as the film started and a dying Charles Foster Kane whispers “Rosebud”, I actually laughed out loud because I realized that Schulz (through Lucy Van Pelt) didn’t actually “spoil” the film at all with that strip. I still had to watch the entire thing just to see what the hell Kane meant by that cryptic opening word because the significance doesn’t become truly clear until near the finale (and in later viewings, a bit earlier). By then, I’d forgotten all about being annoyed about knowing, but I do recall afterwards walking out of the library and overhearing a couple who’d seen the same strip wondering why Schulz would go and ruin such a fantastic film. To each his or her own, but I actually liked Schulz’s other movie-related Peanuts strips over the years.
(thanks, bigpimpdaddie! Yeah, it cuts off before the ending, but it’s kind of appropriate, I think!)
Dean Treadwell’s excellent fimicability blog has an superb post that features a bunch of Schulz’ other movie-themed strips with Charlie Brown and the gang, so go check it out if you need a break from your Monday madness. And go see Citizen Kane already if you haven’t – it’s pretty much a Film 101 course that’s worth whipping out whenever you need a solid lesson in storytelling and a few other things.