Adults are (almost) never seen in Charles Schulz’s kid-dominated Peanuts universe, and when they are heard, it is only through the sounds of a muted trombone. Schulz was simply not interested in depicting grownups, so he denied them the luxury of intelligible speech in his strips. When it came time to animate the Peanuts gang, it was producer Lee Mendelson, operating on a suggestion from musician Vince Guaraldi, who came up with the trombone gimmick. This is a tradition dating back nearly half a century, to the 1967 television special You’re In Love, Charlie Brown, which featured some dialogue with a teacher named Miss Othmar. The tradition continues in 2015 with The Peanuts Movie, the full-length animated film coming out on November 6. Now, fans who have grown up with Charlie Brown and his seemingly indecipherable teachers can have some fun with the Wah Wah Machine, which takes phrases and translates them into that unmistakable Peanuts teacher talk. A press release explains:
In time for The Peanuts Movie, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox have debuted The Wah Wah Machine! The famous “wah wah” voice of Miss Othmar, beloved teacher of the Peanuts gang, is now just a click away. Simply type your message into The Wah Wah Machine and Miss Othmar (voiced by Trombone Shorty in the film and the machine) will say it for you in her famous, musical voice. You can even share your Wah Wah message with you friends on Twitter and Facebook.
Simple yet amusing, the Wah Wah Machine works well and does what it promises. Just type in a twee-length phrase, click “SAY IT,” and a corresponding series of “wah”s will emerge from a yellow-and-black-striped speaker, matching the cadence of the original words. Never has the sound of adult authority been so comforting.