Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and the entire “Peanuts” gang are a beloved part of our collective memory. But how well do you really know them? After all, the comic strip ran for 50 years! From its original name to the number of dogs in Snoopy’s family, there are surely a few details about “Peanuts” that you never knew.
Here are some fun and surprising facts about Snoopy, his friends, cartoonist Charles Schulz and their comic strip legacy:
1. “Peanuts” Used To Be Called “Li’l Folks”
In 1947, Charles M. Schulz began producing a comic strip for his hometown newspaper, the St. Paul Pioneer Press called “Li’l Folks.” United Features Syndicate (UFS) was interested in the strip, but the name was too similar to existing comics “Little Folks” and “Li’l Abner,” so they changed his strip to “Peanuts.”
2. Charles Schulz Didn’t Like The Name
The name “Peanuts” was selected by UFS executives to invoke the image of a peanut gallery, according to the author of a ‘Peanuts’ collector’s guide. However, Schulz didn’t like the name at all. In fact, he objected to the comic strip name for the remainder of his career.
3. Lucy, Linus And Sally Came Later…
According to a Wikia for “Peanuts” fans, the original comic strip featured a boy named Charlie Brown who looks nothing like the lovable loser we know. He was joined by Snoopy, Patty and Shermy. Violet and Schroeder appeared in 1951 and Lucy and Linus joined in 1952. Linus debuted his security blanket in 1954, which is the same year Pig-Pen joined the strip. Charlie Brown’s little sister Sally didn’t appear until 1959.
4. … And So Did Charlie Brown’s Shirt
The iconic yellow and black zigzag shirt that has become Charlie Brown’s trademark made its debut on December 21, 1950. According to the Schulz Museum, the cartoonist created all his comics in black and white and indicated what colors he wanted to be used by sending IDs for numbers on a color chart.
5. Snoopy Has Siblings
We usually think of Snoopy as a dog living on his own in his famous dog house. Some readers will recall the beagle’s brother, Spike, who visits from his desert home, and was named for Schulz’s childhood dog. However, Snoopy actually has a total of seven siblings, according to the Schulz Museum. Their names are Spike, Belle, Marbles, “Ugly” Olaf, Andy, Molly and Rover.
6. Charlie Brown Wasn’t Snoopy’s First Owner
A little girl named Lila originally brought Snoopy home from the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. She found a new home for Snoopy when her family had to move. He visits her in the hospital in the 1972 movie “Snoopy, Come Home.”
7. Snoopy Was Almost Named Sniffy
Schulz wanted to name the dog Sniffy, but discovered there was another comic strip character with the same name. According to History.com, he chose the name Snoopy after recalling his mother’s wish for a dog with that name. Woodstock, the yellow bird who is often seen hanging out with Snoopy, was named for the iconic 1969 music festival. Many other characters are named after Schulz’s real-life friends.
8. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Only Used A Few Child Actors
The voices of a lot of the characters in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” were children who lived in the director’s neighborhood and had no previous voice-over experience. The only professional child actors in the film were the ones who voiced Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy.
9. TV Execs Thought “Christmas” Would Bomb
Network executives didn’t want to air “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” according to New York magazine. They were certain it would flop, but agreed to run it once. However, when it aired on on December 9, 1965, half of American TV viewers tuned in to watch and the rest is history.
10. Schulz Wasn’t a Fan of Jazz
The trademark music we all associate with Charlie Brown and his friends was not a favorite of the ‘Peanuts” creator. However, he believed that musician and composer Vince Guaraldi’s bubbly, childlike music fit “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” The kids who sing “Christmas Time Is Here” are the children’s choir from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California.
11. Charlie Brown’s Dad Is A Barber
His father had the same occupation as Charles Schulz’s dad, according to the Los Angeles Times. Both of their mothers were homemakers, as well.
12. Charlie Brown Is Not Bald
Thanks to the squiggly tuft of hair on his forehead, Charlie Brown has gained a reputation as a bald kid. However, according to the “Peanuts” fan Wikia, Schulz described him as having very light hair cropped close to his head.
13. Schulz Drew 17,897 Comic Strips In Total
Charles Schulz created every one of the ‘Peanuts’ comic strips between October 2, 1950 and February 12, 2000 – a total of 15,391 daily strips and 2,506 Sunday strips. Following complications of colon cancer, the cartoonist died one day prior to the publication of the final Sunday comic strip.