Canadian company buys Peanuts licensing rights

- A Canadian company spent $345 million for an 80 percent majority stake in licensing rights for the Peanuts.

Creator Charles Schulz's family still owns a 20 percent stake, but the characters will always be priceless to Minnesota.

From the original artwork to the pictures on the walls, it's easy to see Charles Schulz holds a special place at O'Gara's Bar and Grill in St. Paul.

"He's the most impressive person I ever met in person. And as great as a cartoonist as he was, he's an even better person," owner Dan O'Gara said.

Schulz created what became known as the Peanuts while living an apartment above his dad's barbershop in what is now O'Gara's in the late 1940s.

His cartoons about Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang eventually ran in some 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries.

But Schulz's time growing up in Minnesota was reflected in his work.

"All of the characters were based on people he grew up with here. Linus Mauer, he named Linus after him. Charlie Brown, there was actually a real Charlie Brown he worked with," art historian and cartoon buff David Mruz said.

In addition to the Peanuts on Parade statues scattered across the Twin Cities, there are plenty of tributes to St Paul's hometown hero.

Schulz's other passions were hockey and golf, so the Highland Park Ice Arena, a few blocks from where he used to live is named after him. Also, a sand trap at the Highland Park Golf Course where he caddied as a young man looks suspiciously like a certain cartoon beagle.

"He is the Minnesota cartoonist, ok?" Mruz said.

While visiting his old apartment with his family before he died, Schulz drew a sketch of Snoopy on the wall. But it's the legacy his body of work left on the city he loved that is the real work of art.

"He's probably the biggest thing to come ever come out of the city. I can't imagine anybody else that has had a more positive impact on the world," O'Gara said.

Even though St. Paul claimed Schulz as one it's favorite sons, he was actually born in Minneapolis.

His nickname was Sparky and that's how many people in the neighborhood around O'Gara's refer to him today.

Schulz was also inducted into the Minnesota Hockey Hall Of Fame.

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