And you thought Elmo was in trouble…
Peter Robbins, now 56, who was the voice of Charlie Brown on the TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” as well as other “Peanuts” television shows, has been arrested and charged Wednesday with stalking and threatening his ex-girlfriend and the plastic surgeon who gave her breast implants—no, this was not the little red-headed girl. I don’t think…
He’s accused of terrorizing her, calling her as many as 37 times in a 24-hour period on her cellphone and threatening to kill her and her son if she did not give back his dog and car. In the most recent and ugliest incident, Robbins allegedly confronted his former girlfriend in a hotel room and began beating his dog—no, not Snoopy!…at least, gee, I hope not… and threatened to continue hurting the dog, not to mention killing her, if she did not promise to get a refund for the breast enhancement.
I have two observations.
1. This sad story illustrates one of the ways in which children are harmed by premature exposure to pop culture fame before they can understand the ramifications to their future. Robbins’ meltdown and shame, as well as his face and name, are all over the national media today, as the idea of Charlie Brown turning into a stalker is too strange and juicy to ignore. Without the link to the lovable “Peanuts” gang, such an item would barely be local news, much less national water-cooler fodder, but thanks to Robbins’ parents’ decision, made for him, not by him, although his life was the one most affected, his reputation is branded far and wide. Parents have an obligation to consider these things with their children’s best interests in mind. Today’s momentary stardom mat be tomorrow’s shame and permanent handicap.
2. Did Robbins have an obligation to avoid this kind of public embarrassment because it would necessarily drag the iconic, lovable character he is identified with down in the mud with him? Yes, I think so. Although he wasn’t responsible for being made a life-time avatar for the “Peanuts” character, he was, he is, and he’s now old enough to know it. I believe it was the late Clayton Moore, the stiff, sonorous and oddly sublime actor when playing his career-defining role as “The Lone Ranger” on TV, who spoke movingly about this special duty in an article I read long ago. He said that he had resolved to live his life by the same high ethical code as the hero he was identified with. It wouldn’t do, Moore said, for the “Lone Ranger” to be arrested for DUI or beating his wife. “I have an obligation to live up to the standards the Lone Ranger stood for, because I’m the trustee for his image, and I can’t let him down. In return, he makes me a better human being than I was before I met him,” Moore said. (I’m paraphrasing. It was an old newspaper feature, and it’s long gone.)
It’s a shame that Robbins couldn’t strike the same deal with Charlie Brown. Then I wouldn’t have this image in my head of Charlie Brown beating Snoopy while demanding that the busty little red-headed girl give him his car keys.
Facts: Fox News
Graphic: AM NY