Everyone has their rituals and and milestones to mark the passage of the year, but for me, the holidays aren’t fully in force until I’ve watched ‘Rudolph, The Red-Nose Reindeer’ and ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas.’  (My mastery of pop culture required long hours with my babysitter, Maggie Navox, after all.)  This year marked the first time that my kid was old enough to ask why it was so important that we see it on network TV, since we also own the DVD version of the classic ‘Peanuts’ tale (to which the answer was “You’re grounded.  Go to your room.”)  She also asked who the background characters in the iconic dancing scene were (for the record: Shermy, Patty, Violet, 555 95472 and his twin sisters 3 and 4) and why the collections on the bookshelf are called ‘Peanuts,’ anyway.  (I’ve never had a good answer to that one.)

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) doesn’t deal in reality (anybody can do an internet search, after all) but wants your best conspiracy theories, tin-foil hat speculation and epileptic trees on this one, asking:
Why WOULD they call a strip about a friendless boy and his imaginative dog ‘Peanuts?’

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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6 Comments

  1. December 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm — Reply

    The strip was called ‘Lil folks, it was the syndicate that named it Peanuts, allegedly after the peanut gallery on Howdy Doody. Schulz never cared for the name, and felt it made no sense. That is the reason you usually see ‘Charlie Brown’ in the name of media outside the newspaper strip. Strip collections and the TV Specials for instance.

  2. December 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm — Reply

    I’ve always worked under the assumption that all the names he wanted were taken or shot down, so he just picked the first random thing he could think of as the title. I know there is no truth to that, but it amuses me.

  3. ArcticPhoenix
    December 8, 2012 at 3:59 pm — Reply

    Thats a good question

  4. Josh "Spaceboot" Treleaven
    December 9, 2012 at 9:52 am — Reply

    Duh, it was called peanuts because Charlie Brown was deathly allergic to peanuts. The moment a peanut came close enough to appear in a strip, he would have died a horrible death. “Peanuts” was the watchword, the hidden unspoken menace that lurked behind every story.

  5. Josh "Spaceboot" Treleaven
    December 9, 2012 at 9:56 am — Reply

    It was called Peanuts because this was the Late Great Age of American Advertising. Kelloggs tried to get it called “Cornflakes” but the American Peanut Company got to Schultz first, threatening his family unless he named the strip after their product.

  6. Josh "Spaceboot" Treleaven
    December 9, 2012 at 10:00 am — Reply

    Peanuts is a reference to the brains and mental spaces of all the characters.

    Peanuts is a reference to the size of the strip, comparing it to a light and quickly enjoyable snack, while the rest of the newspaper was “serious” content. It had to be peanuts (and not something sweeter like cupcakes) because this was the era when people thought sugary things were associated with sex.

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