Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and seventy-first week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Peanuts was named without actually looking at the comic strip itself.
As I noted in the previous legend involving Peppermint Patty, Charles Schulz REALLY hated the name Peanuts for his famous comic strip.
I mean, he REALLY hated it.
From that article, check out this quote from Schulz about it being called Peanuts, "What an ugly word it is. Say it: Peanuts! I can't stand to even write it. And it's a terrible title. Now 'Peppermint Patty' is a good title for a strip. I introduced a character named that into the strip to keep someone else from using it. Funny, people don't tell you how to draw or write but everybody's an expert on titles."
The strip that would become Peanuts was Schulz's Li'l Folks comic strip. This is what he brought to United Feature Syndicate to get them to agree to hire him to do a nationally syndicated comic strip for them...
They liked the strip, but they did not like the name. There was a strip called Little Folks by Tack Knight that, while then currently defunct, was still considered too similar of a name (plus, of course, there was the famous comic strip, Li'l Abner, avoiding confusion with that strip might have also been an issue).
So longtime UFS production manager Bill Anderson came up with some possible new names for the strip. Here's the thing, though, Anderson had not even READ the strip when he came up with the name!! He literally just came up with ten names based on the idea that it was a strip about little kids. So he came up with the list and one of his ideas was Peanuts, named in reference to the "peanut gallery," the name used on the then-hit children's television show, The Howdy Doody Show, for where the show's audience of children would sit.
And so it became Peanuts. Here's the very first strip...
Here is the first Peanuts Sunday strip from 1952...
Schulz, though, continued to hate the name. When the strip exploded in popularity in the mid-1960s, with the TV specials and all that, Schulz finally had enough leverage to get them to add an addendum to the title for the Sunday strips....
The "Good Ol' Charlie Brown" part (which is what Schulz wanted to name the strip if he couldn't call it Li'l Folks) addendum remained until the late 1980s, where I guess Schulz finally figured, "Screw it, everyone knows the deal by now" and the strip was just Peanuts from that point forward.
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Which of the main South Park kids was going to be killed off for good in Season 5 before the episode became "Kenny Dies"?
OK, that's it for this week!
Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week's covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don't even actually use on the CBR editions of this column, but I do use them when I collect them all on legendsrevealed.com!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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See you all next week!