What’s Entering the Public Domain in 2022: The Sun Also Rises, Winnie-the-Pooh, Buster Keaton Comedies & More

Ernest Hemingway “made the English language new, changed the rhythms of the way both his own and the next few generations would speak and write and think. The very grammar of a Hemingway sentence dictated, or was dictated by, a certain way of looking at the world, a way of looking but not joining, a way of moving through but not attaching, a kind of romantic individualism distinctly adapted to its time and source.” So writes the late Joan Didion, a writer hardly without influence herself, in a 1998 reflection on the author of such novels as A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and  The Old Man and the Sea.

The literary phenomenon that was Hemingway began in earnest, as it were, with The Sun Also Rises. Having been published in 1926, his first full-length novel now stands on the brink of the public domain. So do a variety of other works that launched storied careers: William Faulkner’s first novel Soldiers’ Pay, for instance, or A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, which introduced the now-beloved titular bear to the reading public. Having celebrated his 90th anniversary back in 2016 with the addition of a new penguin character to the Hundred Acre Wood, Winnie-the-Pooh remains the core of what has developed into a formidable cultural industry.

The work of Hemingway, too, has inspired no small amount of commercial enterprise. (Didion writes of Thomasville Furniture Industries’ new “Ernest Hemingway Collection,” whose themes include “Kenya,” “Key West,” “Havana,” and “Ketchum.”) But now that work itself has begun to come legally available to all, free of charge: “anyone can rescue them from obscurity and make them available, where we can all discover, enjoy, and breathe new life into them.”


So writes Jennifer Jenkins, Director of Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, in her post on Public Domain Day 2022. In it she names a host of other 1926 books similarly set for liberation, including Langston Hughes’ The Weary Blues, T. E. Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and H. L. Mencken’s Notes on Democracy.

The deeper we get into the 21st century, the wider the variety of media that falls into the public domain. Jenkins highlights silent-film comedies like For Heaven’s Sake with Harold Lloyd and Battling Butler with Buster Keaton, as well — the mid-1920s having seen the dawn of the “talkie” — as sound pictures like Don Juan, the “first feature-length film to use the Vitaphone sound system.” Unlike in previous years, a large number of not just musical compositions but actual sound recordings will also come available for free reuse. These include records by jazz and blues singer Ethel Waters, operatic tenor Enrico Caruso, cellist Pablo Casals, and composer-pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff. And as for those waiting to reuse the work of Joan Didion, rest assured that The White Album will be yours on Public Domain Day 2091.

On a related note, the Public Domain Review has a nice post overviewing the sound recordings entering the public domain in ’22.

Related Content:

Ernest Hemingway’s Very First Published Stories, Free as an eBook

Hear the Classic Winnie-the-Pooh Read by Author A.A. Milne in 1929

Watch the Great Russian Composer Sergei Rachmaninoff in Home Movies

Safety Last, the 1923 Movie Featuring the Most Iconic Scene from Silent Film Era, Just Went Into the Public Domain

The Public Domain Project Makes 10,000 Film Clips, 64,000 Images & 100s of Audio Files Free to Use

Libraries & Archivists Are Digitizing 480,000 Books Published in 20th Century That Are Secretly in the Public Domain

Creative Commons Officially Launches a Search Engine That Indexes 300+ Million Public Domain Images

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

How Fashionable Dutch Women (Like the Girl with a Pearl Earring) Got Dressed in 1665

Remember how it felt to be bundled into tights, socks, jeans, a thick sweater, a snowsuit, mittens, only to realize that you really needed to pee?

Back in 1665, the Little Ice Age compelled the well-to-do ladies of Delft to turn themselves out with a similar eye toward keeping warm, but their ensembles had a distinct advantage over the Christmas Story snowsuit approach.

Relieving themselves was as easy as hiking their skirts, petticoats, and voluminous, lace-trimmed chemise. No flies for freezing fingers to fumble with. In fact, no drawers at all.

Historical costumer Pauline Loven, a creator of the Getting Dressed In… series, builds this elite outfit from the innermost layer out, above, noting that clothing was an avenue for well-to-do citizens to flaunt their wealth:

  • A long, full, Linen or silk chemise trimmed with lace at the cuff
  • A waist-tied hip pad to bolster several layers of cozy, lined petticoats
  • An elegant silk gown comprised of several components:
    • A flat fronted skirt tucked into pleats at the sides and back
    • A laced up bodice stiffened with whale bone stays
    • Detachable sleeves
    • A stomacher for front-laced bodices
  • A loose fitting, fur-trimmed velvet or silk jacket
  • Silk or woolen thigh-high stockings gartered below the knee (created for the episode by heritage educator, and knitwear designer Sally Pointer)
  • A linen or silk kerchief pinned or tied at the breast
  • Square-toed leather shoes with a curved heel (created for the episode by Kevin Garlick, who specializes in handmade shoes for re-enactors.)

Fashionable accessories might include a foot warming, charcoal powered voeten stoof and understated jewelry, like the pearls Johannes Vermeer painted to such luminous effect.

If that doesn’t tip you off to the direction this historic recreation is headed, allow us to note that the attendant, who’s far from the focus of this episode, is garbed so as to suggest The Milkmaid by a certain Dutch Baroque Period painter who specialized in domestic interior scenes…and whose initials are J.V.

The finishing touch is a turban of yellow silk taffeta and blue silk dupion, an exotic element that may produce a sense of deja vu in art lovers … and anyone who relishes a good art-based recreation challenge.

View more of Pauline Loven’s work and Getting Dressed In… episodes focused on other periods at Crow’s Eye Productions’ YouTube channel.

Related Content:

How Women Got Dressed in the 14th & 18th Centuries: Watch the Very Painstaking Process Get Cinematically Recreated

A Pre-Pantone Guide to Colors: Dutch Book From 1692 Documents Every Color Under the Sun

Ghosts of History: Dutch Artist Eerily Superimposes Modern Street Scenes on World War II Photos

Street Art for Book Lovers: Dutch Artists Paint Massive Bookcase Mural on the Side of a Building

Ayun Halliday is an author, theatermaker, and the Chief Primaologist of the East Village Inky zine. Her latest book, Creative, Not Famous: The Small Potato Manifesto, will be published in early 2022.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Brian Eno Shares His Critical Take on Art & NFTs: “I Mainly See Hustlers Looking for Suckers”

Image via Wikimedia Commons

It can feel, in our inequality-addled world, that we have little left in common — that there is no “we,” just us and them. But multiple crises driving us apart have the potential to unite the species. After all, a rapidly warming planet and global pandemic do threaten us all, even if they don’t threaten us equally. Do solutions exist in the creation of new forms of private property, new ways of moving capital around the world? Can the extinction-level byproducts of capitalist commodification and waste be mitigated by ingenious new forms of financialization? These seem to be the arguments made by purveyors of cryptocurrency and NFTs, an acronym meaning non fungible tokens and — if you haven’t noticed — the only thing anyone in the art world seems to talk about anymore. Why?

Brian Eno has put his opinion on the matter quite bluntly in a recent interview. “NFTs seem to me just a way for artists to get a little piece of the action from global capitalism,” he tells The Crypto Syllabus. “How sweet — now artists can become little capitalist assholes as well.” He obviously disapproves of using art solely to generate profit, but then if we know anything about Eno’s theory of creativity and influence over the past several decades, it’s that he believes the guiding reason for art is to generate more art.


“If I had primarily wanted to make money I would have had a different career as a different kind of person. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to be an artist.” There’s utterly no use in trying to peg Eno as technophobic or out of touch; quite the contrary. But the fictional financial products that have invaded every other sphere of life have no place in the arts, he argues.

When asked why NFTs are touted as a salvation for artists and the art world by cryptocurrency visionaries, including many of his friends and collaborators, Eno replies:

I can understand why the people who’ve done well from it are pleased, and it’s natural enough in a libertarian world to believe that something that benefits you must automatically be ‘right’ for the whole world. That belief is a version of what I call ‘automaticism’: the idea that if you leave things alone and let something or other – the market, nature, human will – take its course unimpeded you will automatically get a better result than you would by tinkering with it. The people who hold beliefs of this kind don’t have any qualms about tinkering themselves but just want a situation where nobody else gets to tinker. Especially the state.

That the sale of NFTs have only benefitted very few — to the tune of $69 million in a single sale in a recent high-profile case — doesn’t seem particularly troublesome to those who insist on their benefits. Nor do the creators of NFTs seem bothered by the enormous energy overhead required by the technology, “an ecological nightmare pyramid scheme,” writes Synthtopia — of which Eno says: “in a warming world a new technology that uses vast amounts of energy as ‘proof of work’ — that’s to say, simply to establish a certain age of exclusivity — really is quite insane.”

Eno readily answers questions about why NFTs seem so glamorous — it’s no great mystery, just a new form of accumulation, commodification and waste, one in particular that adds nothing to the world while hastening a climate collapse. NFTs are the “readymade reversed,” David Joselit argues: Where “Duchamp used the category of art to liberate materiality from commodifiable form; the NFT deploys the category of art to extract private property from freely available information.”

The discourse around NFTs also seems to liberate art from the category of art, and all that has meant to humankind for millennia as a communal practice, reducing creative productions to digital certificates of authenticity. “I am trying to keep an open mind about these questions,” Eno admits. “People I like and trust are convinced [NFTs] are the best thing since sliced bread, so I wish I could have a more positive view but right now I mainly see hustlers looking for suckers.”

Related Content: 

What are Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)? And How Can a Work of Digital Art Sell for $69 Million

What Is Blockchain? Three Videos Explain the New Technology That Promises to Change Our World

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: An Introduction to Digital Currencies–A Free Online Courses from the University of Pennsylvania 

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

The Amazing Engineering of James Webb Telescope

If you want to see the current height of technology, you could do worse than taking a look at the James Webb Space Telescope. Millions have been doing just that over the past few weeks, given that this past Christmas Day witnessed the launch of that ten-billion-dollar NASA project a decade in the making. As the successor to the now-venerable Hubble Space Telescope, the JWST is designed to go much farther into outer space and thus see much further back in time, potentially to the formation of the first galaxies. If all goes well, it will give us what the Real Engineering video above calls a glimpse of the “early universe from which we and everything we know was born.”

But one does not simply glance skyward to see back 13.5 billion years. No, “the combination of technologies required to make the James Webb telescope possible are unique to this time period in human history.” These include the heat shield that will unfold to protect its sensitive components from the heat of the sun, to the onboard cryocooler that maintains the mid-infrared detection instrument (which itself will enable the viewing of many more stars and galaxies than previous telescopes) at a cool seven degrees Kelvin, to the array of gold-coated beryllium mirrors that can pick up unprecedented amounts of light.

However complicated the JWST’s development and launch, “the truly nerve-wracking process begins on day seven,” says the Real Engineering video’s narrator. At that point, with the satellite finding its precisely determined position 1.5 million kilometers from Earth, the heat shield begins unfolding, and “there are over 300 single points of failure in this unfolding sequence: 300 chances for a ten billion-dollar, 25-year project to end.” With that process underway as of this writing, the teeth of the project’s engineers are no doubt firmly embedded in their nails.

As it plays out, also-nervous fans of space exploration (who’ve had much to get excited about in recent years) might consider distracting themselves with the above episode of Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk. In it Tyson has in-depth discussions about the JWST’s conception, purpose, and potential with both NASA astronomer Natalie Batalha and filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn, whose documentary The Hunt for Planet B examines the JWST team’s “quest to find another Earth among the stars.” But let’s not get ahead of ourselves: even if the shield deploys without a hitch, there remains the not-untricky process of unfolding those mirrors. What we see through the telescope will no doubt change our ideas about humanity’s place in the universe — but if it functions as planned, we’ll have good reason to be pleased with human competence.

Related Content:

The Beauty of Space Photography

Free Interactive e-Books from NASA Reveal History, Discoveries of the Hubble & Webb Telescopes

How Scientists Colorize Those Beautiful Space Photos Taken By the Hubble Space Telescope

Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ Re-Created by Astronomer with 100 Hubble Space Telescope Images

NASA Enlists Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Norman Rockwell & 350 Other Artists to Visually Document America’s Space Program

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Asleep at the Wheel Frontman Ray Benson Discusses Half a Hundred Years of Songwriting: Stream the Nakedly Examined Music Interview Online

This week’s Nakedly Examined Music podcast features the Grammy-winning Texas swing band, Asleep at the Wheel, which Ray founded in 1969. They’ve released 26 albums of original tunes and classic covers while touring constantly, with Ray being the only consistent member through their various line-ups.

Your host Mark Linsenmayer talks with Ray about the title track from Half a Hundred Years (2021), “Pedernales Stroll” from Keepin’ Me Up Nights (1990), and “Am I High” from The Wheel (1977). Intro: “The Letter (That Johnny Walker Read)” from Texas Gold (1975). Closer: “The Road Will Hold Me Tonight” feat. Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson, recorded in the early 80s but only released now on the new album. Learn more at asleepatthewheel.com.

Watch the video for “Half a Hundred Years.” Watch “Am I High?” live on 80s TV. Here’s the band live recently at the Paste Studio and playing their 25th Anniversary show on Austin City Limits in 1996. Their most famous tune is “Hot Rod Lincoln.” Here they are with Willie Nelson. Here’s a very old TV performance of “Take Me Back to Tulsa.” Hear all of “The Letter (That Johnny Walker Read).

Image by Mike Shore.

Nakedly Examined Music is a podcast hosted by Mark Linsenmayer, who also hosts The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast, Pretty Much Pop: A Culture Podcast, and Philosophy vs. Improv. He releases music under the name Mark Lint.

500 Years of Haircuts: One Youtuber Tries Out the Hair Styles That Were Fashionable Between 1500 and 2000

“In Mankiewicz’s Julius Caesar, all the characters are wearing fringes,” writes Roland Barthes in his well-known essay on Romans in film. “Some have them curly, some straggly, some tufted, some oily, all have them well combed.” This fringe, Barthes argues, is “quite simply the label of Roman-ness”: when it comes onscreen, “no one can doubt that he is in Ancient Rome.” Ever since cinema first told historical tales, hair has been among its most effective visual shorthands with which to establish an era. This is in part due to hairstyles themselves having varied since the beginning of recorded history, and — in one form or another — no doubt before it as well. But how many of them could we pull off today?

In the video above, Youtuber Morgan Donner addresses that question as directly as possible: by trying out half a millennium’s worth of hairstyles herself. As a woman, she’s been provided much more to work with by fashion history (to say nothing of biology) than have the successors of all those fringed Roman men. She begins in 1520, a period whose art reveals “a fairly consistent center-part kind of smooth look going on” with braids behind, all easy replicable. 110 years later “things get actually quite interesting,” since fashions begin to encompass not just hairstyles but haircuts, properly speaking, requiring different sections of hair to be different lengths — and requiring Donner to whip out her scissors.


About a century later, Donner takes note of a pattern whereby “styles get bigger and bigger and bigger, and then — foof — they deflate.” Such, it seems, has become the general tendency of not just culture but many other human pursuits as well: the gradual inflation of a bubble of extremity, followed by its sudden bursting. It’s in the 18th century that Donner’s project turns more complex, beginning to involve such things as lard, powder, and hair cushions. But she gets a bit of a respite when the 1800s come along, and “it’s almost like everyone collectively decided that they were tired of it, and you know what? Messy bun. That’s good enough.” Yet in hair as in all things, humanity never keeps it simple for long.

Viewers of film and television historical dramas (which themselves have been booming for some time now) will recognize more than a few of the hairstyles Donner gives herself throughout this video. But the deeper she gets into the 20th century, the more of them remain in living memory. Take the 1940s’ shoulder-length curls with pinned-back layers on top, which many of us will recognize from pictures of our grandmothers. That particular hairstyle doesn’t seem to have been revived since, but from the 1960s on, Donner works through a series of looks that have provided no little inspiration to our retromaniac 21st century. At the end of her historical-tonsorial journey, she fires up the clippers and buzzes herself completely — thus beginning hair Year Zero.

Related Content:

Get the Ancient Roman Look: A Hair & Makeup Video Tutorial

How a Baltimore Hairdresser Became a World-Renowned “Hair Archaeologist” of Ancient Rome

How Women Got Dressed in the 14th & 18th Centuries: Watch the Very Painstaking Process Get Cinematically Recreated

Where Did the Monk’s Haircut Come From? A Look at the Rich and Contentious History of the Tonsure

50 Years of Changing David Bowie Hair Styles in One Animated GIF

Google Creates a Digital Archive of World Fashion: Features 30,000 Images, Covering 3,000 Years of Fashion History

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

The Famous Downfall Scene Explained: What Really Happened in Hitler’s Bunker at the End?

Before his role as Hitler in the 2004 German film Downfall turned Swiss actor Bruno Ganz into a viral internet star, he was best known for playing an angel who comforts the dying in Wim Wenders’ 1987 Wings of Desire. “People really seemed to think of me as a guardian angel,” he told The Irish Times in 2005. “People would bring their children before me for a blessing or something.” Seventeen years later, the self-described introvert transformed his gentle, comforting face into the Nazi screen monster: “Nothing prepared me for what must be the most convincing screen Hitler yet,” wrote The Guardian’s Rob Mackie. “An old, bent, sick dictator with the shaking hands of someone with Parkinson’s, alternating between rage and despair in his last days in the bunker.”

This portrayal has never been surpassed, and perhaps it never will be. How many fictionalized film treatments of these events do we need? Especially since this one lives forever in meme form: Ganz endlessly spitting and gesticulating, while captions subtitle him ranting about “his pizza arriving late” – Gael Fashingbaeur Cooper writes at cnet – or “the Red Wedding scene on Game of Thrones, or finding out he wasn’t accepted into Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.” As Virginia Heffernan wrote at The New York Times in 2008 – maybe the height of the meme’s virality – “It seems that late-life Hitler can be made to speak for almost anyone in the midst of a crisis…. Something in the spectacle of an autocrat falling to pieces evidently has widespread appeal.”


Given the widespread preference for memes over facts, the ubiquity of the Downfall clip as viral spectacle, and the renewed relevance of murderous autocracy in the West, we might find ourselves wondering about the historical accuracy of Downfall’s portrayal. Did the dictator really lose it in the end? And why do we find this idea so satisfying? To begin to answer the first question, we might turn to the video above, “That Downfall Scene Explained,” from the makers of The Great War, billed as the “biggest ever crowdfunded history documentary.” Despite taking as their subject the First World War, the filmmakers also cover some of the events of WWII for fans.

First, we must remember that Downfall is an “artistic interpretation.” It condenses weeks into days, days into hours, and takes other such dramatic liberties with accounts gathered from eyewitnesses. So, “what is Hitler freaking out about” in the famous scene?, the subtitle asks. It is April 1945. The Red Army is 40 kilometers from Nazi headquarters in Berlin. The dictator’s Chief of the Army General Staff Hans Krebs explains the situation. Hitler remains in control, drawing possible lines of attack on the map, believing that SS commander Felix Steiner’s Panzer divisions will repel the Soviets.

Little does he know that Steiner’s divisions exist only on paper. In reality, the SS leader has refused to take to the field, convinced the battle cannot be won. Another General, Alfred Jodel, steps in and delivers the news. Hitler then clears the room of all but Jodl, Krebs, and two other high-ranking generals. Joseph Goebbels and Martin Bormann stay behind as well. Then (as played by Ganz, that is) Hitler has that famous screen meltdown. The outburst “shows just how he had centralized the chain of command,” and how it failed him.

This may have been so. Downfall presents us with a convincing, if highly condensed, portrait of the major personalities involved. But “the scene that spawned a thousand YouTube parodies,” writes Alex Ross at The New Yorker, “is based, in part, on problematic sources.” One of these, the so-called Hitler Book, was compiled from “testimony of two Hitler adjutants, Otto Günsche and Heinz Linge, who had been captured by the Red Army and interrogated at length…. The most curious thing about The Hitler Book is that it was intended for a single reader: Joseph Stalin.” The Soviet dictator wanted, and got, “a lavishly detailed chronicle of Hitler’s psychological implosion.” Other sources “convey a more complex picture.”

According to other accounts, Hitler was “generally composed” when learning about the Red Army attack on Berlin, even as he decided to give up and die in the bunker. According to Nazi stenographer, Gerhard Herrgesell, it was the generals who “violently opposed” surrender and spoke harshly to Hitler to persuade him to defend the city – a speech that had some effect during an April 22nd meeting. It did not, of course, prevent Hitler and his new bride Eva Braun’s eventual April 30 suicide. For Ross, however, this more complex historical picture shows “how cults of personality feed as much upon the aspirations of their members as upon the ambitions of their leaders.” The members of Hitler’s inner circle were as committed to the ideology as the leader himself.

There is more to the film’s title in German, Untergang, than its translation suggests, Ross writes: “It carries connotations of decline, dissolution, or destruction.” When we fix the end of Nazism to the suicidal death of one delusional, drug-addled madman, we lose sight of this wider meaning. In the viral spread of the Hitler meme, we see a kind of comically banal triumph. It is “the outcome,” Heffernan argues, that “Hitler, the historical figure sought….” A situation in which he becomes “not the author of the Holocaust” but “the brute voice of the everyman unconscious,” a proliferating grievance machine. From another perspective, imagining Hitler’s end may offer “comforting moral closure to a story of limitless horror,” writes Ross. But it has helped feed the myth that it could only happen there and then: “Now German historians are ending their books on Nazism with thinly veiled references to an American Untergang.”

Related Content: 

How Did Hitler Rise to Power? : New TED-ED Animation Provides a Case Study in How Fascists Get Democratically Elected

Carl Jung Psychoanalyzes Hitler: “He’s the Unconscious of 78 Million Germans.” “Without the German People He’d Be Nothing” (1938)

Hitler Was ‘Blitzed’ On Cocaine & Opiates During World War II: Hear a Wide-Ranging Interview with Best-Selling Author Norman Ohler

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Enjoy Classic Songs from A Charlie Brown Christmas, Performed by Vince Guaraldi Trio Drummer Jerry Granelli (RIP)

We’re living in times where so much is done to manipulate us. And things last for, what, a news cycle? A few minutes? This [album] is something that’s lasted 50 years. And not only lasted, but grown … I think there’s just a humanness. — Jerry Granelli 

As the Christmas season winds down, so too do marketing blitzes and consumerist frenzies that make it hard to see the holiday as anything but a year-end cash grab. But even the most cynical among us might admit to being moved each year by one Christmas classic, no matter our religious beliefs, capitalist sympathies, or lack thereof: that classic, of course, is The Charlie Brown Christmas Special. The talents of Charles Schulz, producer Lee Mendelson, and the Vince Guaraldi Trio combined to make a show not only bigger than its parts, but even more enduring, perhaps, than the juggernaut of Christmas commerce.

The choice of jazz for a primetime children’s Christmas special was inspired and edgy in 1965, though Guaraldi and his band weren’t originally booked for the holidays but for a never-completed documentary about Shultz that sparked the interest of corporate sponsor Coca-Cola. Mendelson realized the potential of the loose, breezy West Coast jazz of pianist Guaraldi, bassist Fred Marshall, and drummer Jerry Granelli for the newly-commissioned special, and the band imported much from their original music, improvising two new compositions and playing bluesy versions of “O Tannenbaum” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”


As Granelli remembers it, Coke execs weren’t pleased. “[A] little kid was going to come out and say what Christmas was all about, which wasn’t about shopping. And then the jazz music, which was improvised,” did not jive with the suits. Nonetheless the show aired, to the great delight of children and grown-ups everywhere for the past half century or so. Granelli himself feared pigeonholing and left the project with “some residual bad feelings over his paltry credit and royalties.” He later “spent decades avoiding any nostalgia trip to the land of Linus and Lucy,” Nate Chinen writes at WBGO. “But within the last decade” before his death in July 2021, “he leaned into Peanuts, recognizing the joy that Guaraldi’s soundtrack imparted, especially around the holidays.”

In the videos above, you can see Granelli play “Linus and Lucy” and “Skating” with his trio, with Chris Gestrin on Piano and Simon Fisk on bass, in 2014. Mentored by Dave Brubeck’s drummer, Joe Morello, Granelli toured the States in his early 20s, then joined the Vince Guaraldi Trio on returning to his home in the Bay Area. He “quickly found his footing, becoming an essential pat of the Guaraldi sound,” writes Chinen. Guaraldi’s original themes like “Linus and Lucy” and “Skating” “benefit immeasurably from Granelli’s whisper-soft brushwork.” The Trio went on to record with Brazilian bossa nova guitarist Bola Sete, and the drummer made his mark on the music world in other contexts, co-founding and teaching at the Creative Music Program of Naropa Institute (now Naropa University) in Boulder Colorado in the 1970s.

“Jazz is just a reflection of life,” Granelli told CBC Radio in 2020. “Life is improvised, life is uncertain. It’s not solid. It’s not permanent. The art I choose disappears after it’s played, it goes off into the ether. I love that.” That may be so, but Granelli’s contribution to the art of The Charlie Brown Christmas Special — music recorded in a 3-hour session when he was only 24 years old — has now outlasted him, the last member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio to pass away. May he skate on in peace, wherever he is now.

Related Content: 

How Innovative Jazz Pianist Vince Guaraldi Became the Composer of Beloved Charlie Brown Music

Peanuts Rock: Watch the Peanuts Gang Play Classic Rock Songs by Queen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey & More

Umberto Eco Explains the Poetic Power of Charles Schulz’s Peanuts

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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