CLOSE
Original image

10 Peanuts Characters You’ve Probably Forgotten

Original image

Everyone knows Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy and Linus. But do you recall these less-celebrated members of the Peanuts gang?

1. 555 95472

One of the most bizarre characters in the Peanuts universe was “555 95472,” or “5” for short. Introduced in September 1963, 5 explained that his father was so upset about people being seen as “just a number,” he renamed the entire family as a series of digits. The family's last name is taken from their ZIP Code, though when spoken, 5 insists there's an accent on the 4. The ZIP Code, by the way, is the real one for Sebastopol, California, where Charles Schulz lived at the time.

5’s sisters 3 and 4 made a few appearances in the strip before disappearing, but 5 was occasionally a background character until 1981. You've probably seen 3, 4, and 5 already and didn't even know it—all three appear in the famous dance sequence in A Charlie Brown Christmas. 3 and 4 are the twin girls in purple dresses, while 5 is the spiky-haired kid in orange.

2. Charlotte Braun

Charlotte Braun was written as a female version of Charlie Brown.

In fact, she looked just like him, except she had curly hair. She, too, was ostracized by her peers, but it was because she was loud and obnoxious, a fact she constantly pointed out during her appearances in the comic strip.

Shortly after her introduction in 1954, Schulz received a letter from Elizabeth Swain, a young fan in Pittsburgh, who told him to get rid of Braun because Swain found the character annoying and unfunny. Schulz wrote Swain a letter (which is now in the Library of Congress) saying that he would soon “discard” Braun as requested. He added a touch of dark humor by saying that Swain would “have the death of an innocent child on your conscience. Are you prepared to accept such responsibility?” Next to his signature, he included a sketch of Charlotte Braun with an ax stuck in her head. Braun showed up in the comic one more time, but then never returned.

3. Snoopy's Fiancée (Genevieve)

After disappearing one night, Snoopy returns in the morning to say he has met the “beagle of his dreams” and he’s getting married. But on the day of the nuptials, Snoopy’s fiancée runs off with Snoopy’s brother, Spike, who was set to be the Best Beagle at the ceremony. Soon after, a heartbroken Snoopy receives a letter from Spike saying that his ex-fiancée ran off with a coyote.

Snoopy's fiancée was never seen in the comic strip. But when the storyline became the basis for the 1985 TV special, Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown, she's both seen and given a name—Genevieve. A few other changes were made as well - instead of a beagle she’s a poodle, and she doesn't run off with Spike, but with a golden retriever.

4. Tapioca Pudding

When Tapioca Pudding was introduced in September 1986, she said that, with her blond hair, smile, and catchy name, her father believes they could make a million dollars by licensing her image for products like t-shirts, lunch boxes, and greeting cards. It's all she ever talked about.

Tapioca was a jab at the many cartoon characters in the 1980s created purely to be licensed for use on products. Her name, as well as other hints throughout the storyline, suggest that the real target of Schulz’s satire was probably Strawberry Shortcake, a character originally featured on a line of greeting cards. When the cards became big sellers, 32 similar food-themed cartoon friends were created and appeared on everything from toys to clothing to a Saturday morning cartoon.

5. Shut Up and Leave Me Alone

When the Peanuts gang attended summer camp in 1971, Charlie Brown introduced himself to his tentmate, a boy sitting on a cot, with his back to the reader. “Shut up and leave me alone,” he responded. Throughout this series of summer camp strips, Charlie Brown repeatedly tried to get his tentmate to come to lunch, to join him at an astronomy lesson, or to meet Peppermint Patty. But the kid never moved, and all he ever says is, “Shut up and leave me alone.”

Despite the cold shoulder, Charlie Brown writes to his tentmate after camp is over. He's surprised to get a letter back, but the single sentence reply is entirely predictable.

6. The Goose Eggs

After Charlie Brown took a bite out of his old nemesis, the Kite-Eating Tree, he received a stern letter from the Environmental Protection Agency. Convinced he’s headed to jail, Charlie Brown went on the lam. He met a group of Little Leaguers—Austin, Ruby, Leland and Milo—who asked him to coach their team, The Goose Eggs.

The kids are young and small—the catcher's mask completely covers Leland's head, Milo can't even lift the bat to swing it, and Austin asks how he's supposed to get down from the pitcher's mound—so they're underdogs to be sure. Of course their first game is against Charlie Brown's friends, who refuse to play because they're afraid they'll step on the little kids. It's here that Charlie Brown learns he can go back home, as the evidence against him was destroyed when the Kite-Eating Tree blew over in a storm.

7. Truffles

While hunting for truffles in the countryside, Snoopy and Linus found the next best thing—a young girl named Truffles, who was visiting her grandfather's farm. Linus instantly likes her, but he can’t find his way back to the farm to see her again. They talk on the phone a few times, but Truffles soon goes back home and they lose touch.

Then, in 1977, Linus went back to the farm where he met Truffles, and the two picked up where they left off. Sally was jealous and the girls start arguing. Unwilling to be part of the squabble, Linus climbed to the roof of the barn, but was too scared to come down. So Sally hired Woodstock and Snoopy—who can fly by spinning his ears like helicopter blades—to rescue her “Sweet Babboo.”

Sadly, Truffles was never seen again.

8. Emily

In February 1995, Charlie Brown met a girl named Emily who asked him to be her partner in a dance class. After they shared an “enchanted afternoon,” Charlie Brown was smitten.

But at the next class, Emily was absent. When Charlie Brown asked the instructor where Emily is, he's told there's no one by that name in the class. It turns out Charlie Brown was dancing alone and talking to himself the whole time; Emily was merely a figment of his lonely imagination.

Emily and Charlie Brown danced again in 1996 and 1999. There was never any mention of her being imaginary, and in one instance, Snoopy even joins them. But with no other characters meeting her – and Snoopy having a pretty wild imagination himself – many fans believe that Emily never actually existed.

9. Peggy Jean

Charlie Brown and his girlfriend, Peggy Jean, met on the boat docks at summer camp in 1990. Peggy Jean gave Charlie Brown his first kiss, said she loved him, and wrote letters to him after camp was over. Sadly, he never received those letters. That's because upon meeting her, he was so nervous that he introduced himself as “Brownie Charles,” a mistake he was too embarrassed to correct. So when the mailman tried to deliver Peggy Jean's letters, Sally turned them away, saying no one by that name lived at the address.

After appearing periodically for many years, the last Peggy Jean comic was on July 11, 1999, when the two met on the docks at summer camp once again. But this time, Peggy Jean told Charlie Brown she can't stay because she had to go meet her boyfriend. Devastated, Charlie Brown used a pay phone to call the one friend he could always count on—Snoopy.

10. Joe Shlabotnik

It’s fitting that Charlie Brown's favorite baseball player would be a guy whose career was anything but spectacular. After batting .004 in one season in the majors, Joe Shlabotnik was sent back down to the minor leagues, where his most notable highlight was throwing out a runner who'd fallen down between first and second base.

When Shlabotnik became the manager for the Waffletown Syrups, Charlie Brown finally got to meet his hero. While in the stands, Charlie Brown snagged a foul ball, and he wanted Shlabotnik to sign it. Unfortunately, Shlabotnik had been fired in the middle of the game.

By the way, don't bother looking for pictures of Shlabotnik. Like all adults, he's never actually seen in Peanuts.
* * * * *
What other little-known members of the Peanuts gang deserve a mention?

Original image
iStock
arrow
Pop Culture
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Original image
iStock

At its best, Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’ Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY

John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of this year and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In June, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE

Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

Original image
iStock // Lucy Quintanilla
arrow
Words
10 Pieces of Lying Lingo from Across the United States
Original image
iStock // Lucy Quintanilla

Maligner. Fabricator. Fibber. Con artist. There are all sorts of ways you can say "liar," but in case you're running out, we’ve worked with the editors at the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) to come up with 10 more pieces of lying lingo to add to your storytelling stash.

1. HASSAYAMPA

This term for a liar originally referred to a gold-rusher in Arizona, according to DARE. It can also be used to describe an old-timer, especially one who likes to exaggerate. The word hassayampa (also hassayamper) comes from the Hassayampa River, which is located in the Grand Canyon State. According to the Dictionary of American Folklore, “There was a popular legend that anyone who drank of the Hassayampa River in Arizona would never again tell the truth.”

2. JACOB

“You’re a Jacob!” you might say to a deceiver in eastern Alabama or western Georgia. This word—meaning a liar, a lie, and to lie—might be based on the Bible story of twin brothers Jacob and Esau. Esau, the elder and firstborn, stood to inherit his parents' estate by law. At the behest of his mother, Jacob deceived their father, blinded in old age, into thinking he was Esau and persuaded him to bestow him Esau’s blessing.

3. LIZA

Liza or Liza Jane can mean a lie or a liar. Hence, to lizar means to lie. Like Jacob, Liza is an eastern Alabama and western Georgia term. However, where it comes from isn’t clear. But if we had to guess, we’d say it’s echoic of lies.

4. STORY

“What a story you are,” you might say to a prevaricator in Virginia, eastern Alabama, or western Georgia. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), story, meaning a liar, is mainly used in the phrase, “You story!” Story as a verb meaning “to give a false or malicious account, lie, tattle,” is an English dialect word, according to DARE, and is chiefly used in the South and South Midland states. “You storied to me about getting a drink,” you might tell someone who stood you up.

5. LOAD

To load or load up means to trick, mislead, or “deceive by yarns or windies,” according to cowboy lingo in northwest Texas. The term, which can also be a noun meaning a lie or liar, might also be heard in northwest Arkansas and the Ozarks.

6. YARN

To spin a yarn, or to tell a long tale, began as nautical slang, according to the OED, and comes from the idea of telling stories while doing seated work such as yarn-twisting. (The word yarn comes from the Old English gearn, meaning "spun fiber, spun wool.") By extension, a yarn is a sometimes marvelous or incredible story or tale, and to yarn means to tell a story or chat. In some parts of the U.S., such as Arkansas, Indiana, Maryland, and Tennessee, to yarn means to lie or tell a falsehood. “Don’t yarn to me!” you might say. Street yarn refers to gossip in New York, Kentucky, and parts of New England.

7. WINDY

Telling a windy in the West? You’re telling an “extravagantly exaggerated or boastful story,” a tall tale, or a lie, says DARE. Wind has meant “vain imagination or conceit” since the 15th century, says OED.

8. LIE

In addition to being a falsehood or tall tale, a lie in the South and South Midland states can refer to the liar himself.

9. STRETCH THE BLANKET

You’ve probably heard of stretching the truth. How about stretching the blanket? This phrase meaning to lie or exaggerate is especially used in the South Midland states. To split the blanket, by the way, is a term in the South, South Midland, and West meaning to get divorced, while being born on the wrong side of the blanket means being born out of wedlock, at least in Indiana and Ohio.

10. WHACK

In the South and South Midland, whack refers to a lie or the act of lying. It might come from the British English colloquial term whacker, meaning anything abnormally large, especially a “thumping lie” or “whopper,” according to the OED. In case you were wondering, wack, as in “crack is wack,” is probably a back-formation from wacky meaning crazy or odd, also according to the OED. Wacky comes from whack, a blow or hit, maybe from the idea of being hit in the head too many times.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios