Charles M Schulz’s Peanuts debuted on October 2, 1950, and earned the famous cartoonist millions of dollars during his five-decades-long career. Peanuts grew out of L’il Folks, a weekly cartoon series that found a place in Charles M Schulz’ hometown newspaper St. Paul Pioneer Press. When the first Peanuts strip appeared in newspapers, America had already joined the Korean War and the general sentiment among the public was that communists in China and the Soviet Union would soon overtake the entire world. In times like these, Peanuts, which was harmless, simple and amiable in every way, became a wonderful escape for the average American. In other words, Peanuts did during the Korean War what Beatles would do for the American people after John F Kennedy’s assassination.
Over the years, the comic strip that revolves around a young boy named Charlie Brown has become an integral part of the American culture — one can find its various characters in theme parks as well as Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. By 1999, the strip was a part of 2600 newspaper across 75 countries and in 2015, it made its way to the big screen in 3D. The Peanuts Movie, written by Craig and Bryan Schulz, grossed close to $250 million on the box office. In this video, we tell you some interesting facts about Charles Schulz’s Peanuts comics.
Charlie Brown Is Charles Schulz
Charles M Schulz once said in an interview that he had deliberately made Charlie an average child because most of us lose more often than we win in life. More recently, Craig Schulz, the son of Charles M Schulz, has revealed in the book The Art and Making of the Peanuts Movies that his father modelled the character of Charlie Brown after himself. Charlie Brown denotes what Charles was in real life and Snoopy is what Charles inspired to be.
Charles Schulz Never Liked the Name Peanuts
Charlie Brown made his first appearance on May 30, 1948, in the comic strip L’il Folks, a weekly panel that appeared in St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 1950, Schulz decided to give Charlie his comic strip and therefore approached United Feature Syndicate to get him a publishing deal. The syndication service agreed to help Charles. However, they believed that the name L’il Folks was very similar to some of the other comic strips and therefore, they decided to change the name of Schulz’s comic strip to Peanuts. Though Schulz never liked the name, he decided to listen to the syndication service.
The First Peanuts Strip Featured Charlie, Shermy and Patty
The first Peanuts strip appeared in seven newspapers — Chicago Tribune, Evening Chronicle, Globe-Times, Minneapolis Tribune, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times and The Washington Post — on October 2, 1950. The first strip featured Charlie Brown and two other kids — Shermy and Patty. Snoopy made his first appearance in the third strip that appeared in newspapers on October 4, 1950. Not many people know that many of the strip’s most popular characters, including Lucy and Linus, appeared in the strip much, much later.
Lucy Was Introduced as a Toddler
Linus and Lucy share the bond of blood. Lucy made her first appearance in March 1952 and at the time, Schulz had introduced her as a toddler. However, he later decided to make Lucy the same age as Charlie. He made Lucy opinionated, overconfident and bossy but gave her the virtue of being able to see life as is. Lucy is the character behind one of the Peanuts’ most iconic lines: Happiness is a warm puppy.
Schulz Gave Linus His Security Blanket After Observing His Own Children
If Lucy is bossy and opinionated, Linus is the exact opposite of her and Schulz often used Linus to divulge his opinion on crucial and sensitive topics, such as art, literature and religion. Linus holds on to his security blanket for comfort and according to Schulz, Linus’ security blanket is one of the best things the legendary cartoonist gave to the strip. Schulz got the idea of giving Linus his safety blanket after observing his first three children, all of whom tugged onto their blankets for comfort. Though Linus was introduced in 1952, he didn’t get his first line until 1954.
Are you enjoying these facts about Charles M Schulz’s Peanuts? The comic strip is an integral part of the American culture. However, not many people know that the strip wasn’t an instant hit. In fact, it ranked last on various ratings during its first years. We will give you more details on this, so stick around. In the meanwhile, do not forget to like and subscribe to our channel.
Franklin’s Inclusion Led to Schulz Receiving Many Angry Letters
On July 29, 1968, Schulz introduced Franklin, the first African American character to the comic strip. Schoolteacher Harriet Glickman was the person who convinced Schulz about this. Harriet believed that introducing a black character would normalize the friendship between children of different ethnicities. Schulz, however, was worried that the move would draw criticism and Schulz was right. After he introduced Franklin into the strip, the cartoonist received many angry letters regarding the character.
Charles M Schulz Came Very Close to Getting an EGOT
There are very few people in the world who have the distinction of getting an EGOT and Charles Schulz came very close to having this distinction. Different Peanuts projects won him four Emmys, two Tonys and two Grammies. However, he could not get an Oscar. The film A Boy Named Charlie Brown got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song Score, but unfortunately did not win the award.
The First Musical Piece That Schroeder Played in the Comics Was Not Beethoven
Schroeder, a massive fan of Beethoven, lives on 1770 James Street and often appears in the strip playing his toy piano. He is also the love interest of Lucy. Though he is a big fan of Beethoven, the first musical piece he played in the comic strip was Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor.
Readers Saw Marcie’s Eyes Almost Never
Schulz introduced Peppermint Patty and Marcie as two girls who attend the same school as Charlie Brown. Marcie often appears with a book in her hands and Charlie finds her intelligent and perceptive. Marcie also appears almost always with her glasses on and thus, it is not very surprising that her eyes are rarely seen ever. Her eyes were shown in a May 1980 strip in which Patty tries to convince her to take off her glasses and wear them over her head.
Readers Never Get to See Charlie Brown’s Love Interest
The Little Red-Haired Girl is Charlie Brown’s love interest and Brown often sees her eating lunch outdoors. She first appeared in the strip on November 9, 1961, but the readers never got to see her face. She often appeared in Valentine special strips and Charlie tries often to give her a gift but panics and backs out at the last minute. Though the readers never saw her face in the strip, she made an appearance on the television special It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown. In the special, her name was revealed to be Heather Wold.
Snoopy Had Seven Siblings but the Readers Were Introduced to Only Five
Schulz often mentioned in the comic strip that Snoopy had seven siblings and while five of them — Andy, Belle, Marbles, Olaf and Spike — appeared in the various Peanuts strips, the remaining two siblings never appeared in the strip. In 1991 came the TV special Snoopy’s Reunion, which revealed the name of these two remaining Snoopy Siblings — they were called Molly and Rover. Spike was the first Snoopy sibling to make an appearance in the comic strip — he made an appearance in 1975.
Snoopy Has Both His Eyes on the Same Side of His Face
One of the most conspicuous features of Snoopy is that he has both his eyes on the same side of his face. Though this particular feature never looked odd in the comic strips, the 3D team had a tough team including this particular idiosyncrasy on screen.
The Strip Has Also Given Us 45 TV Specials
Between 1965 and 2011, Peanuts was adapted into 45 specials. In 1959, Ford Motor Company licensed all characters of Peanuts for a total of almost five years. After the deal ended, Bill Melendez, the popular Mexican-American character animator, and Schulz combined hands with Lee Mendelson, a TV producer, to create a two-minute special for a documentary called A Boy Named Charlie Brown. The three came together in 1965 to create the first Peanuts TV special called A Charlie Brown Christmas, which won an Emmy as well as Peabody Award.
USPS Released Peanuts Commemorative Stamps in 2001
In 2015, to mark the 65th anniversary of the comic, the United States Postal Service launched Peanuts stamps featuring images like Charlie Brown checking his mail for a Christmas card and Snoopy indulging in some ice skating. USPS also released a Peanuts commemorative stamp in 2001.
Drawing Charlie Brown’s Head Isn’t Easy
Paige Braddock, the Chief Creative Officer at Charles M. Schulz Associates, was once asked which part of Charlie Brown was most difficult to draw. He answered instantly, his head. In The Art and Making of the Peanuts Movie, Braddock further revealed that when he started working with Peanuts characters, it took him the maximum amount of time to get Charlie Brown’s noggin right.
All Peanuts Characters Are Modelled After Only Two Different Head Types
Funnily, all the characters in the strip are modelled after two head types — the first one depicts the Browns and the other type indicates the Van Pelts. San Jun Lee, the lead character designer for The Peanuts Movie revealed that it is the hair that makes the different characters in the strip instantly recognizable.
Charlie Brown Got 219 Hair Follicles in CGI
In the cartoon strip, Charlie Brown was always drawn with a single decorative curl. However, in The Peanuts Movie Brown appears with a lot of hair on his head.
The Strip Took Some Time to Become so Popular
As mentioned before, Peanuts made its debut in 1950 in seven U.S. newspapers and though it has become an integral part of the American culture now, earning its creator billions of dollars, the comic strip actually came last in the Telegram’s reader survey of cartoons that year. The comic strip eventually became so popular that in 1958, Hungerford Plastics Corporation launched plastic dolls of various Snoopy characters, all of which sold out within only a few days, leading to a sudden influx of various Peanuts merchandise in the U.S. market.
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