meaning and origin of ‘curse you, Red Baron!’

The phrase curse you, Red Baron! is an emphatic, colourful way of railing at someone.

For example, the following by Jim bishop was published in The Corpus Christi Times (Corpus Christi, Texas) of Monday 15th February 1971:

When I admonish the girls to complete their homework, or do the dishes, they wait until my back is turned, then they clench both fists in the air and mutter: “Curse you, Red Baron!” To comprehend what my daughters are talking about, at any time, requires the services of an interpreter they call “Mom.”

The phrase curse you, Red Baron! refers to the comic strip Peanuts (1950-2000), by the U.S. cartoonist Charles Monroe Schulz (1922-2000): the pet beagle Snoopy, in his persona of World-War-One fighter pilot, always falls victim to the tactics of the unseen German ace Manfred von Richthofen (1892-1918), who fought in a red-painted plane.
—Cf. also origin of ‘Linus blanket’ (security blanket).

This, for example, is from the instalment of Peanuts published in many U.S. newspapers on Saturday 5th February 1966—for instance in the Salinas Californian (Salinas, California):

'curse you, Red Baron' Peanuts - Salinas Californian (Salinas, California) - 5 February 1966

It’s the “Red Baron”! He’s got me again!
Curse you, Red Baron!

The earliest allusion that I have found to the phrase used by Snoopy is from The Brandon Sun (Brandon, Manitoba) of Thursday 3rd March 1966:

On, Snoopy!
A former Israeli fighter pilot has failed in his one-man mission to achieve peace between Israel and Egypt. He failed to reach Cairo for the audience he sought with President Nasser. His 40-year-old monoplane did not get past Port Said. It sounds a bit as if the Red Baron has been up to his old tricks again. After all, Snoopy had to make a forced landing too. Curse you, Red Baron!

The phrase curse you, Red Baron! soon became ubiquitous. For example, the following by Sally Ryan, from Associated Press, New York, was published in many U.S. newspapers on Monday 8th May 1967—for instance in The Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana):

Hard-buying teen-agers and hard-selling businessmen have taken to sweatshirts to convey messages.
Once a sweatshirt was something shotputters warmed up in and you could get them in any color—as long as they were locker room gray.
Now book stores, fashion stores and mail order catalogs are full of red, blue, yellow, pink and green numbers saying “Curse You Red Baron,” “Legalize Pot,” “I’m Cute.” That last one comes with winking eyes.

The phrase has sometimes been used with no particular meaning—as in this advertisement from the Houses For Sale section of The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) of Tuesday 18th April 1967:

'curse you, Red Baron' - The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona) - 18 April 1967

                                                     “CURSE YOU RED BARON!
FHA Says only $9,000 (was $10,900) for this lovely, lovely view home high on Shaw Butte, Nice new carpet and mostly furnished. $350 down, Emerald Trust “West” 277-4771.

The following cartoon by Payne illustrates this article, published in The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) of Thursday 18th May 1967:

The N.C. Highway Patrol has two airplanes which it used briefly in 1963 to help in its enforcement efforts. That step so upset the lawyer-dominated legislature that a bill in the 1963 session to limit the plane’s use only to observation and other ineffective purposes (ineffective so far as catching law violators is concerned) won easy approval.
Now there is another bill. Originally, it would have let the Highway Patrol use the planes to catch any and all violators. […]
The House, after days of debate, has finally passed the bill. The patrol can use the plane, says the House, for anything except to catch speeders.

Titled ‘Curse You, Red Baron!’, the cartoon depicts the North-Carolina House as the Red Baron’s plane, flying away after shooting down one of the North-Carolina Highway Patrol planes:

'curse you, Red Baron' - The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) - 18 May 1967

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