The famous Peanuts comic strip appeared for the final time on this day in 2000 – just one day after their creator, Charles M Schulz, died of colon cancer.
The adventures of Charlie Brown, his friends and his beagle Snoopy had turned the strip into an international success, translated into 21 languages and read in 75 countries.
The final edition took the form of a message from Schulz to his readers, presented next to a picture of Snoopy typing on top of his kennel with further images from the strip’s history above it.
“I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost 50 years. It has been the fulfillment of my childhood ambition,” read the cartoonist’s message. “Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy... how can I ever forget them...”
One of the images included in that final collage of memories features poor 'ol Charlie Brown failing to connect with an American football placed in front of him - and snatched away - by his perennial foil, Lucy.
Schultz admitted that this reoccurring gag brought tears to his eyes as he signed off the final strip. He said: “All of a sudden I thought, 'You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick - he never had a chance to kick the football!'”
Schulz had successfully pitched his idea for a four-panel cartoon to the United Feature Syndicate in 1950, and the first edition of Peanuts appeared on October 2 of the same year, printed daily in seven newspapers. Years later, at its height, the strip could be seen in 2,600 publications worldwide.
Peanuts also proved a huge hit in other media. The first anthology book of its best moments was published in 1952, while popular animated versions of the strip for television began with the Emmy-winning 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' in 1965.
With its humour, its philosophical nature and its highly-recognisable cast of characters led by a good kid lacking in confidence but full of persistence, Peanuts was a huge influence on modern newspaper cartoons and remains the most popular and successful comic strip of all time.