On October 2, 1950, the comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz premiered in 9 newspapers. Here are five things you didn't know about one of the most popular and influential comic strips of all time...
Schulz Didn’t Choose the Comic Strip’s Name Schulz had originally named his comic strip starring Charlie Brown as “Li’l Folks,” but when he checked into having it syndicated in 1950, the people who ran it didn’t like that name because there were several others that were similar. So, they changed the name to “Peanuts.” Schulz never approved of the name because he thought it sounded insignificant. Even after the comic strip became a huge success, Schulz said he wanted the cartoon to be called “Good Old Charlie Brown.”
Schulz Was Very Particular About The Pens He Used To Create His Comic Strip The Peanuts strips were drawn on Strathmore 3-ply paper with India ink. For lettering, Schulz used a Speedball C-5 pen and for drawing the strip he used an Esterbrook 914 radio pen. When Schulz learned that the company that manufactured the nibs for this pen was going out of business, he purchased their entire inventory of nibs.
A Trombone Was Used For Charlie Brown’s Teachers’ Voice Charlie Brown and his friends are the focus of the original comic strips, with teachers and other adults consigned to the background. When the popular comic was turned into an animated series, however, producers understood they'd have to figure out a method to give adults a "voice" while also honoring Schulz's wishes to keep adults out of the main picture. Composer Vince Guaraldi, who scored all of the early classics including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, came up with the solution: Use a trombone with a mute in the bell to stand in for any adult dialogue. The result was what’s now widely referred to as the “wah-wah” voice.
Charlie Brown’s Dad Is A Barber, Just Like Schulz’s Dad Although adults only play a small role in the Peanuts universe, Charlie Brown's parents are two characters who are given the faintest hint of personality in the comic strip. And by personalities, we mean job descriptions. Charlie Brown's mother is a homemaker (and one of the few characters that refers to him as "Charlie"), and his father, like Schulz's father in real life, is a barber. Although Charlie Brown's father does not appear in the comic strip, he is frequently mentioned.
Charlie Brown Didn’t Always Wear His Trademark Zigzag Shirt According to the Charles M. Schulz Museum, Charlie Brown went just over two months without wearing his now-famous yellow zigzag shirt. Peanuts launched on October 2, 1950, but Charlie’s recognizable attire didn’t appear until December 21, 1950. Before that, the black-and-white comic just clothed him in black shorts and a white t-shirt.