Schulz's Beethoven: Schroeder's Muse
page 110 of 156
Beethoven's Birthday

Along with Linus's vigil in the Great Pumpkin patch and Lucy tormenting Charlie Brown by yanking away the football just as he starts to kick it, Beethoven's birthday is a perennial favorite on the yearly Peanuts calendar. Schulz acknowledged Beethoven's birthday in the strip 27 out of 49 years (Schroeder was not introduced in the strip until May 30, 1951). Ironically, we don't know the exact date of Beethoven's birth. In his time babies were normally baptized the day they were born. However, if the weather prevented taking a newborn to church, parents would wait a day. Beethoven was baptized on December 17, but there is concrete evidence that he celebrated his birthday on December 16.

Whatever the real date, Schulz took advantage of Beethoven's birthday in many ways in the strip. Some of the most humorous include Lucy's attempt to wheedle a present out of Schroeder or, alternatively, as yet another ploy to worm her way into his affections. The most memorable of the birthday strips may be the poster-wielding characters advertising: "Five days to Beethoven's birthday." The most poignant birthday strips feature Schroeder forgetting Beethoven's birthday. As you are about to see, when this occurs he falls into the throes of guilt and depression, a literally hair-raising event!