Lucy Van Pelt character profile, from 'Peanuts' official YouTube channel.
Cartoonist Charles Schulz's beloved Peanuts characters Lucy and Schroeder have a famous exchange in which Lucy dismisses Beethoven's greatness given his absence from bubblegum cards.
We included this well-known exchange in a promo we aired before last week's Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra broadcast. In the comic strip, which we won't republish here but you could probably find on the official Peanuts site, Lucy and Schroeder's conversation goes like this:
LUCY: Everyone talks about how great Beethoven was … Beethoven wasn't so great!
SCHROEDER: What do you mean, Beethoven wasn't so great?
LUCY: He never got his picture on bubblegum cards, did he? … How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?
Turns out Lucy had it wrong.
I found out when listener Doug Palmer of St. Paul, Minn., sent me this email:
I've been intrigued this week by your clever announcement of this weekend's SPCO Beethoven concert, featuring Lucy Van Pelt's declaration that Beethoven never appeared on a trading card. I immediately thought that Beethoven must surely have been included among the 1952 Topps "Look 'N See" series of famous historical and cultural figures that I avidly collected when I was Lucy's age.
But when I googled the old Look 'N See trading card series, I was amazed to find Beethoven absent! The Topps Company only got around to releasing a Beethoven trading card in 2009:
I made some fascinating discoveries of Beethoven's appearance in other series, which I'm sharing with you:
Beethoven did indeed appear on a 1927 series of trading cards that accompanied an elixir distributed by the Liebig Meat Extract Company of Belgium:
I found that the Rochester NY-based Amenda Quartet distributes Beethoven trading cards at its concerts (too bad it doesn't picture them on its site).
For $10 you may obtain three trading card-sized fine art photo rag prints of this portrait of "Ludpig" from When Guinea Pigs Fly.
[Editor's Note: this item appears to be sold out.]
'Ludpig' by Lesley DeSantis of WhenGuineaPigsFly on Etsy.
Hmm … I'm intrigued by the Amenda Quartet's practice of handing out Beethoven cards at its concerts. Maybe Classical MPR can do that at next year's State Fair? I guess we'll see!