Trivia: Peanuts

Peanuts is the Trope Namer for:


Trivia for the franchise in general:

  • Based on a Dream: José Peterson debuted after Charles Schulz had a dream about creating a half-Swedish, half-Mexican character. He later admitted that the humor of the idea didn't really translate well from dream to actual strip.
  • Creator Breakdown: Physical example. As late as early 1999, Schulz publicly stated he had no intention of stopping the strip anytime soon. He wanted to continue into at least 2002, but his rapidly failing health convinced him to retire when he did.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Peppermint Patty was voiced by a young boy in several of the cartoons.
    • For the This is America, Charlie Brown mini-series (if you want to call it that) from the 1988/89 season, Erin Chase became the only female voice for Charlie Brown.
    • Marcie, "Pig-Pen" and Franklin have also been subject to this trope.
  • The Danza: In the Mexican Spanish dubs of the recent specials, Peppermint Patty is voiced by Patricia Acevedo. (Sailor Moon, ChiChi and Lisa Simpson)
  • Dawson Casting: Averted with the animated productions, which traditionally used actual children to play most of the main characters (a mandate from Schulz himself). Whether those children were actors depended. Charlie Brown was the only character that would always have a working child actor doing his voice.
  • Executive Meddling: Schulz was never particularly fond of the title "Peanuts", an invention of the syndicate. He was originally going to call it "Lil' Folks", the title of his proto-Peanuts strip, but had to change it because it sounded too much like names of two other strips from the time, Al Capp's Li'l Abner and the now-unknown Little Folks.
    • He specifically worried the title was confusing – that people would just ask "Who's Peanuts?", or refer to it as "Charlie Brown" or "Snoopy". And of course, he was completely right.
      • Not that it's justified, but the strip started in the 1950s, when the most popular kids' show was The Howdy Doody Show. And where did kids sit on Howdy Doody? The peanut gallery. The person who chose the title fails logic forever.
    • Schulz's authorized biographer Rheta Grimsley-Johnson argued that it really wasn't that bad of a name. A generic title works well for a strip with Loads and Loads of Characters; and given the direction the strip eventually took, Li'l Folks would have wound up being too awkwardly cutesy.
  • He Also Did: In the 1950s, Schulz drew numerous religious-themed cartoons for magazines and books published by The Church of God, featuring characters that could be seen as teenage versions of the Peanuts gang.
    • Schulz also co-created a short-lived late 1950s Sunday comic strip about sports called It's Only a Game, though after a while he pretty much let the other co-creator, Jim Sasseville, handle everything.
    • Then there were the non-Peanuts-related illustrations he did for paperback humor books by Art Linkletter and Bill Adler.
    • Hilary Momberger, who voiced Sally from 1969-1973, is now a prolific Hollywood script supervisor.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!:
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Some specials have still not received a DVD release, notably the live-action/animation blend, It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown. Though it was critically panned, some believe it's So Bad, It's Good.
    • You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown! is another instance. It was released on VHS in 1993 exclusively at Shell gas stations (then sponsoring the NFL). Warner Home Video owns the rights to the Peanuts catalog, but this will probably never see a DVD release because it features NFL insignia and team logos… and the NFL is known to be extremely aggressive about suing for unauthorized use (or no-longer-authorized use in this case).
    • Not entire specials themselves, but a handful of the earliest specials had Product Placement from Coca-Cola and Dolly Madison cakes – such as It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown's All-Stars, and, most famously, A Charlie Brown Christmas. These only appeared in the first few airings (i.e. when the sponsorship deals were still in place), and any remnants of these are pretty much relegated to ancient filmstrip recordings of the specials when they first aired. Thankfully, several of these have been uploaded to YouTube, albeit in varying qualities.
  • Network to the Rescue: Though their relationship with Schulz grew strained over the years (as noted below), United Feature Syndicate deserves credit for sticking with Peanuts even after a poor start. It debuted in just seven newspapers, two of which dropped it within the first six months.
    • The first Peanuts book appeared in 1952. It was published mainly because the publishing house's editor-in-chief was an early fan of the strip.note 
  • The Other Darrin: Since the specials and movies used actual children to voice the characters, there was of necessity a great deal of cast turnover through the years. Averted with Bill Melendez, who continued to voice Snoopy and Woodstock through the years (and will even appear, posthumously, in the 2015 Peanuts movie).
  • Recycled Script: Many of the animated specials have gags, dialogue, and even entire storylines lifted from the newspaper strip. To be fair, some of this was at Schulz's insistence.
  • Screwed by the Network: Although Charles Schulz became a very rich man from the strip, he was never able to buy the copyright back from the syndicate – the price was always just a bit more than he could afford (the standard contract has changed since 1950; now the copyright for Newspaper Comics automatically reverts to the creator after 20 years).
    • Syndicates owning rights to the comics they distributed was largely standard practice until the 1980s and Bill Watterson's famous fight to prevent Calvin and Hobbes merchandise. After that happened, Creators' Syndicate was founded and comic strip creators owning their work become more common.
    • During a late 1970s contract dispute, the syndicate secretly hired DC Comics vet Al Plastino as a possible replacement for Schulz. Plastino drew some spec strips that were shelved after a deal was reached with Schulz. Schulz didn't learn about the situation until long after the fact, and he was understandably ticked off. A couple of Plastino's strips have been leaked, and they're just as cringeworthy as you'd expect.Explanation 
  • Talking to Himself: Bill Melendez voiced both Snoopy and Woodstock, so...
  • Tribute to Fido:
    • Snoopy was based on Charles Schulz's childhood dog, Spike. In the 1970s, we meet Snoopy's brother, who is named Spike.
    • Snoopy's brother Andy was named after a dog that Schulz had in his later years.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • Some of the animated specials come off as this, especially during The Seventies. Two examples are "It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown", where Sally wants to buy platform shoes, and "There's No Time For Love, Charlie Brown", where Peppermint Patty comments that the metric system will probably be official by the time she reaches high school• . There's also It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, which could not more obviously be tied to the 1983 film Flashdance.
    • Many strips refer to real world events, but these were rarely reprinted (precisely because they were dated) until The Complete Peanuts. Occasionally some slipped through when the reference was sufficiently obscure: for example, a series of strips in which Snoopy observes birds having furious (but unintelligible) political arguments while holding signs depicting different punctuation marks. This accompanied the bitter polarized political discourse in the US in the run-up to the 1964 election.
  • Write Who You Know: Both of Schulz's major biographies (Good Grief by Rheta Grimsley-Johnson and Schulz and Peanuts by David Michaelis) agree that, for a man who preferred his privacy, Schulz put much of his personal life subtly in the strip. Grimsley-Johnson pointed to real people and situations that inspired Schulz. Michaelis went much further, arguing that the mean, restless Lucy was based on Schulz's first wife, and after their divorce (represented in the strip as Lucy getting kicked off the baseball team), Lucy became Lighter and Softer to reflect Schulz's happier second marriage, plus that he revealed his affair with another woman during his first marriage through Snoopy falling in love with another beagle and sending love notes and getting scolded for making long-distance phone calls. There has been some debate over how much of that is legitimate and how much is Wild Mass Guessing on the part of Michaelis.