Good grief! This year (2015) marks 50 years since “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was first released, and 65 years of the “Peanuts” comic strip.
Here are 10 fun facts about Charlie Brown and Peanuts that you may not have known:
- Peanuts was first called L’il Folks. In 1947 Charles Schultz first published his comic L’il Folks in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. L’il Folks is where Charlie Brown first appeared, and an unnamed dog resembling Snoopy.
- L’il Folks began as a single-frame comic. Schultz didn’t change the format to be a four-panel strip until two years later when he quit the St. Paul Pioneer Press. That is when he submitted the Peanuts strip to United Feature Syndicate, and they signed him.
- Schultz disliked the name Peanuts. The Syndicate already had two other similar comic names: Li’l Abner and Little Folks, so they changed the name of Schultz’s strip to Peanuts. Schultz disliked the name Peanuts; in an interview he said about the name: “It’s totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity—and I think my humor has dignity.” Of all the Peanuts TV specials, movies, and paperback collections of strips, that were produced while Schultz was alive, none were ever titled “Peanuts” because Schultz hated the name so much.
- The little red-haired girl is never shown in the comic strip. She does appear in the TV special “Its Your First Kiss Charlie Brown”.
- Charlie Brown’s parents are never shown. Neither are any other adults. His father is a barber. His mother is a housewife. Adults are occasionally heard from, but always off-panel.
- Schultz won five Emmy’s for his various Charlie Brown TV specials. Most notably, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown“.
- Charlie Brown never kicked the football. In a 1999 interview prior to his death, Schulz recounted when he finished the final Peanuts strip, “All of a sudden I thought, ‘You know, that poor, poor kid, he never even got to kick the football. What a dirty trick — he never had a chance to kick the football!'”
- Charlie Brown is not bald. Although he is only shown as having a small curl of hair on the front and back of his head, Schultz explained that Charlie Brown’s hair was so light, and cut so short, that it could not be seen very easily.
- Charles Schultz invented the Christmas TV special. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was the first 30-minute TV Christmas special; all others were inspired by this. Christmas staples such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Frosty The Snowman” for example, all came after this.
- “A Charlie Brown Christmas” killed the aluminum Christmas tree. Aluminum Christmas trees were a popular fad from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. Within just two years of the Charlie Brown special first being on the air (December 9, 1965), aluminum Christmas trees were no longer manufactured.
In celebration of 50 years since “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was first released, ABC will be running a full two-hour special hosted by Kristen Bell, this Christmas Eve, 2015 at 8:00 pm (check your local listings for show times).
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