Now that you have fully recovered from any holiday happenings and you are looking for something fun to do again, The Museum of Science and Industry has a great exhibit for grown ups. Oh sure, you could take kids, but they won’t love it like you will. You know how when you force your kids to sit and watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! or A Charlie Brown Christmas, you want them to love it as much as you remember loving it? And then they just don’t.
Charlie is in OUR memories. Before Pong, before Pac Man, before any cool animation on Nickelodeon or Disney, there was the Peanuts Gang. Back then we would have set the DVR if we had had a DVR. We would have set our smart phone alarms if we had had smart phones. We had to actually remember to sit down at 7 pm and turn on CBS and watch it. And we couldn’t watch it again until next year or the next holiday. It was that revered.
SO if you are looking for something that will take you back to your youth or even your children’s youth if you had kids that loved the Peanuts, then go see this exhibit. And take your time. Walk slowly and read. There are word bubbles after word bubbles of cartoon stories. There is a detailed history of Mr. Schulz and his early beginnings.
There are stories of heart break and his young life and why he developed the characters he did. Charlie the lovable loser, Lucy the wisecracking friend, Linus the wise beyond his years immature cuddler, and the little unattainable red headed girl. They are all there.
You will see his recreated office and videos of him talking and describing his processes or drawing while he describes the thought put into his work. The desk and desk chair and the ink and pencils are there.
There are all of the holidays and most memorable cartoons posted larger than life on the walls. You will want to walk as slowly as possible to read every single word. It is as calm and warm of an exhibit as you will find. Don’t take your kids. Do this for you. You can take them to the coal mine another time. They get to take field trips when they are in school. Make this a field trip for you.
Who needs kids along when you’ve got all of these? Remember? Your old friends? They will be as real to you now as they were back then. Before they were remastered. Before they were on video or DVD and you could watch them at will. Before all of that, they were there…
Of course if you feel like you NEED to take kids with you, there is a drawing center, and a dress up center, and lots of bright colors, but you won’t get to be the kid if THEY are there. You probably won’t be able to read every thought bubble with someone telling you that this is boooooring. You won’t be able to sit and watch all three video clips from the 70’s. And they may even tease you if you get a tear in your eye from seeing an old favorite.
Ok, Ok, if you have a child who loves art and you think they should see a little history in cartooning, I take all of that back. Go ahead and take them with you. But establish some rules first. This trip is for you. Today, for a change, it’s all about you.
Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit will be in Chicago until February 18th, 2013. One more month! Run, don’t walk… actually I take that back too, walk slowly like before everything felt so frantic. Take your time. You could even pack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to take with. And while you are at it….put your potato chips in the center for old times’ sake.