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10 Peanuts Characters You’ve Probably Forgotten

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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.
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What other little-known members of the Peanuts gang deserve a mention?

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12 Surprising Facts About Bela Lugosi
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On October 20, 1882—135 years ago today—one of the world's most gifted performers was born. In his heyday, Bela Lugosi was hailed as the undisputed king of horror. Eighty-five years after he first donned a vampire’s cape, Lugosi's take on Count Dracula is still widely hailed as the definitive portrayal of the legendary fiend. But who was the man behind the monster?

1. HE WORKED WITH THE NATIONAL THEATER OF HUNGARY.

To the chagrin of his biographers, the details concerning Bela Lugosi’s youth have been clouded in mystery. (In a 1929 interview, he straight-up admitted “for purposes of simplification, I have always thought it better to tell [lies] about the early years of my life.”) That said, we do know that he was born as Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó on October 20, 1882 in Lugoj, Hungary (now part of Romania). We also know that his professional stage debut came at some point in either 1901 or 1902. By 1903, Lugosi had begun to find steady work with traveling theater companies, through which he took part in operas, operettas, and stage plays. In 1913, Lugosi caught a major break when the most prestigious performing arts venue in his native country—the Budapest-based National Theater of Hungary—cast him in no less than 34 shows. Most of the characters that he played there were small Shakespearean roles such as Rosencrantz in Hamlet and Sir Walter Herbert in Richard III.

2. HE FOUGHT IN WORLD WAR I.

The so-called war to end all wars put Lugosi’s dramatic aspirations on hold. Although being a member of the National Theater exempted him from military service, he voluntarily enlisted in the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1914. Over the next year and a half, he fought against Russian forces as a lieutenant with the 43rd Royal Hungarian Infantry. While serving in the Carpathian mountains, Lugosi was wounded on three separate occasions. Upon healing from his injuries, he left the armed forces in 1916 and gratefully resumed his work with the National Theater.

3. WHEN HE MADE HIS BROADWAY DEBUT, LUGOSI BARELY KNEW ANY ENGLISH.

In December 1920, Lugosi boarded a cargo boat and emigrated to the United States. Two years later, audiences on the Great White Way got their first look at this charismatic stage veteran. Lugosi was cast as Fernando—a suave, Latin lover—in the 1922 Broadway stage play The Red Poppy. At the time, his grasp of the English language was practically nonexistent. Undaunted, Lugosi went over all of his lines with a tutor. Although he couldn’t comprehend their meaning, the actor managed to memorize and phonetically reproduce every single syllable that he was supposed to deliver on stage.

4. UNIVERSAL DIDN’T WANT TO CAST HIM AS COUNT DRACULA.

The year 1927 saw Bela Lugosi sink his teeth into the role of a lifetime. A play based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker had opened in London in 1924. Sensing its potential, Horace Liveright, an American producer, decided to create an U.S. version of the show. Over the summer of 1927, Lugosi was cast as the blood-sucking Count Dracula. For him, the part represented a real challenge. In Lugosi’s own words, “It was a complete change from the usual romantic characters I was playing, but it was a success.” It certainly was. Enhanced by his presence, the American Dracula remained on Broadway for a full year, then spent two years touring the country.

Impressed by its box office prowess, Universal decided to adapt the show into a major motion picture in 1930. Horror fans might be surprised to learn that when the studio began the process of casting this movie’s vampiric villain, Lugosi was not their first choice. At the time, Lugosi was still a relative unknown, which made director Tod Browning more than a little hesitant to offer him the job. A number of established actors were all considered before the man who’d played Dracula on Broadway was tapped to immortalize his biting performance on film.

5. MOST OF HIS DRACULA-RELATED FAN MAIL CAME FROM WOMEN.

The recent Twilight phenomenon is not without historical precedent. Lugosi estimated that, while he was playing the Count on Broadway, more than 97 percent of the fan letters he received were penned by female admirers. A 1932 Universal press book quotes him as saying, “When I was on the stage in Dracula, my audiences were composed mostly of women.” Moreover, Lugosi contended that most of the men who’d attended his show had merely been dragged there by female companions.   

6. HE TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER.

Released in 1931, Dracula quickly became one of the year's biggest hits for Universal (some film historians even argue that the movie single-handedly rescued the ailing studio from bankruptcy). Furthermore, its astronomical success transformed Lugosi into a household name for the first time in his career. Regrettably for him, though, he’d soon miss the chance to star in another smash. Pleased by Dracula’s box office showing, Universal green-lit a new cinematic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Lugosi seemed like the natural choice to play the monster, but because the poor brute had few lines and would be caked in layers of thick makeup, the actor rejected the job offer. As far as Lugosi was concerned, the character was better suited for some “half-wit extra” than a serious actor. Once the superstar tossed Frankenstein aside, the part was given to a little-known actor named Boris Karloff.

Moviegoers eventually did get to see Lugosi play the bolt-necked corpse in the 1943 cult classic Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. According to some sources, he strongly detested the guttural scream that the script forced him to emit at regular intervals. “That yell is the worst thing about the part. You feel like a big jerk every time you do it!” Lugosi allegedly complained.

7. LUGOSI’S RELATIONSHIP WITH BORIS KARLOFF WAS MORE CORDIAL THAN IT’S USUALLY MADE OUT TO BE.

It’s often reported that the two horror icons were embittered rivals. In reality, however, Karloff and Lugosi seemed to have harbored some mutual respect—and perhaps even affection for one another. The dynamic duo co-starred in five films together, the first of which was 1934’s The Black Cat; Karloff claimed that, on set, Lugosi was “Suspicious of tricks, fearful of what he regarded as scene stealing. Later on, when he realized I didn’t go in for such nonsense, we became friends.” During one of their later collaborations, Lugosi told the press “we laughed over my sad mistake and his good fortune as Frankenstein is concerned.”

That being said, Lugosi probably didn’t appreciate the fact that in every single film which featured both actors, Karloff got top billing. Also, he once privately remarked, “If it hadn’t been for Boris Karloff, I could have had a corner on the horror market.”

8. HE LOVED SOCCER.

In 1935, Lugosi was named Honorary President of the Los Angeles Soccer League. An avid fan, he was regularly seen at Loyola Stadium, where he’d occasionally kick off the first ball during games held there. Also, on top of donating funds to certain Hungarian teams, Lugosi helped finance the Los Angeles Magyar soccer club. When the team won a state championship in 1935, one newspaper wrote that the players were “headed back to Dracula’s castle with the state cup.” [PDF]

9. HE WAS A HARDCORE STAMP COLLECTOR.

Lugosi's fourth wife, Lillian Arch, claimed that Lugosi maintained a collection of more than 150,000 stamps. Once, on a 1944 trip to Boston, he told the press that he intended to visit all 18 of the city's resident philately dealers. “Stamp collecting,” Lugosi declared, “is a hobby which may cost you as much as 10 percent of your investment. You can always sell your stamps with not more than a 10 percent loss. Sometimes, you can even make money.” Fittingly enough, the image of Lugosi’s iconic Dracula appeared on a commemorative stamp issued by the post office in 1997.

10. LUGOSI ALMOST DIDN’T APPEAR IN ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN—BECAUSE THE STUDIO THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD.

The role of Count Dracula in this 1948 blockbuster was nearly given to Ian Keith—who was considered for the same role in the 1931 Dracula movie. Being a good sport, Lugosi helped promote the horror-comedy by making a special guest appearance on The Abbott and Costello Show. While playing himself in one memorable sketch, the famed actor claimed to eat rattlesnake burgers for dinner and “shrouded wheat” for breakfast.

11. A CHIROPRACTOR FILLED IN FOR HIM IN PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.

Toward the end of his life, Lugosi worked on three ultra-low-budget science fiction pictures with Ed Wood, a man who’s been posthumously embraced as the worst director of all time. In the 1953 transvestite picture Glen or Glenda?, Lugosi plays a cryptic narrator who offers such random and unsolicited bits of advice as “Beware of the big, green dragon who sits on your doorstep.” Then came 1955’s Bride of the Monster, in which Lugosi played a mad scientist who ends up doing battle with a (suspiciously limp) giant octopus.

Before long, Wood had cooked up around half a dozen concepts for new films, all starring Lugosi. At some point in the spring of 1956, the director shot some quick footage of the actor wandering around a suburban neighborhood, clad in a baggy cloak. This proved to be the last time that the star would ever appear on film. Lugosi died of a heart attack on August 16, 1956;  he was 73 years old.

Three years after Lugosi's passing, this footage was spliced into a cult classic that Wood came to regard as his “pride and joy.” Plan 9 From Outer Space tells the twisted tale of extraterrestrial environmentalists who turn newly-deceased human beings into murderous zombies. Since Lugosi could obviously no longer play his character, Wood hired a stand-in for some additional scenes. Unfortunately, the man who was given this job—California chiropractor Tom Mason—was several inches taller than Lugosi. In an attempt to hide the height difference, Wood instructed Mason to constantly hunch over. Also, Mason always kept his face hidden behind a cloak.

12. HE WAS BURIED IN HIS DRACULA CAPE.

Although Lugosi resented the years of typecasting that followed his breakout performance in Dracula, he asked to be laid to rest wearing the Count’s signature garment. Lugosi was buried under a simple tombstone at California's Holy Cross Cemetery.

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The First Known Uses of 6 Common Typographic Symbols
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Many of the most common symbols on our keyboards have fascinating origin stories. Some, such as the zero, we now take for granted—yet the idea of denoting an absence of value was not present in Western mathematics until introduced from the East. Other symbols, such as the hashtag or at-sign, had a variety of uses until the internet ushered in a new way of communicating and fixed them with the meanings we know today. Below are six examples of the first known usage and subsequent history of some of the most common typographic symbols.

1. AT SIGN // @

The @ (or at-sign) is usually dated to 1536 in a letter from a Florentine merchant, Francesco Lapi, who used it to mean a unit of wine called “amphorae.” But a Spanish researcher claims to have found an even earlier usage in a 1448 document, where the symbol also referred to a unit of measurement (even today, Spaniards call the @ symbol arroba, which is also a unit of weight, and some other Romance languages have similar dual meanings). Either way, the researchers think that the symbol then moved to Northern Europe, where it eventually gained the meaning of “at the price.” Other explanations have also been offered, but whatever the exact root of the symbol, its meaning eventually became known as shorthand for at, and it was generally used in written financial transactions—for example, in noting “Bob sells James 4 apples @ $1.”

The sign had largely fallen out of use by the early 1970s, when computer scientist Ray Tomlinson was working at what is now BBN Technologies, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Tomlinson, who was working for the government on a forerunner of the internet, was trying to figure out how to address messages sent from one computer to another when he noticed the little-used @ on his computer keyboard, and used it to send a prototype email. This precedent was soon adopted as the internet developed, and the at-sign is now, of course, central to our lives.

2. ZERO // 0

The absence of a value is a complex concept, one that many ancient civilizations struggled with. The idea of a zero ultimately came to the West from the mathematicians of India, where, as in a few other cultures, zero was initially used as a placeholder, for example to indicate a lack of units, as in the number 101.

The earliest surviving usage of a zero in India has been traced to an ancient mathematical text known as the Bakhshali manuscript, which is held at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. In September 2017, radiocarbon dating indicated that the manuscript was produced as early as the 3rd or 4th century—providing us with the first known usage of zero some 500 years earlier than previously thought. As Oxford’s Bodleian Library says, “the symbol in the Bakhshali manuscript is particularly significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is this dot that evolved to have a hollow centre and became the symbol that we use as zero today. Secondly, it was only in India that this zero developed into a number in its own right, hence creating the concept and the number zero that we understand today."

The manuscript itself was discovered buried in a field in 1881 in what is today Pakistan. Written on 70 delicate leaves of birch bark, historians think it represents a training manual for Silk Road traders, teaching them concepts of arithmetic.

3. HASHTAG // #

Hashtag on an old typewriter key
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The origin of the hashtag (or pound sign as it's traditionally known in the U.S.) comes from scribes writing shorthand for the Latin libra pondo, which translates as "pound by weight." The abbreviation they used was lb, which was sometimes misread as 16. So, scribes took to drawing a line through the top of the two letters, which over time developed into the now familiar #. In the 1960s, the pound sign was chosen by Bell Laboratories to be a function key on their newly designed telephone keypad. (The Bell Labs team fondly nicknamed the symbol the “octothorpe,” possibly in honor of athlete Jim Thorpe.) Fast-forward to 2007, when early Twitter users wanted to be able to group and filter their feeds, so developer Chris Messina suggested they appropriate the method used in IRC (Internet Relay Chat) whereby users employed the pound sign or "hashtag" to signpost what they were chatting about. (Programmers knew the symbol as the hash, which was now being used to "tag" content.) This simple method soon caught on, and today the hashtag has become indelibly linked to the rise of social media.

4. ELLIPSIS // …

Originally, periods of silence were marked textually with a series of hyphens, but today the symbol of choice is the , a.k.a. the ellipsis. Dr. Anne Toner of Cambridge University spent years researching the ellipsis and finally discovered what she thinks is its first use—an English translation of Roman dramatist Terence’s play Andria printed in 1588. Although the play used hyphens instead of dots, the general idea caught on rapidly. (Toner notes that although there are only four “ellipses” in the 1588 translation, there are 29 in the 1627 version.) By the 18th century, dots started to replace the dashes, which an assistant professor from Southeastern University suggests may be connected to a medieval piece of punctuation called subpuncting or underdotting, which generally indicated something was incorrectly copied.

5. AMPERSAND // &

Ampersand symbol on an old metal block
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The ampersand originated in Latin when the word et (meaning and) was written in cursive script as a ligature (in which one or more letters are written together as a single glyph). One of the earliest examples was found daubed in graffiti on the walls of a house in Pompeii, where it was preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE. By the 8th century the ampersand became a recognizably distinct character, but the word ampersand did not come into use until the late 18th/19th century, when English school children would recite "and per se and" meaning “and by itself means and” to help remember the symbol (per se being Latin for "by itself"). One of the most thorough investigations into the typographic history of the ampersand comes courtesy of German graphic designer Jan Tschichold, who in 1953 published The am­persand: its ori­gin and de­vel­op­ment, in which he collected numerous examples of the ampersand from the 1st century onwards, visually charting its developing form.

6. PLUS SIGN // +

A variety of ceramic plus signs
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The plus sign used for addition in mathematics likely derives from a shorthand ligature for the Latin et meaning “and” and was probably in use for a long time before a surviving example appeared in print. One candidate for the earliest surviving usage is in French philosopher and polymath Nicole Oresme's Algorismus proportionum, a manuscript handwritten between 1356 and 1361, although scholars debate whether it's a true plus symbol. The first use of a plus sign in a printed book is more definitive, and can be found in a 1489 edition of Johannes Widmann’s Mercantile Arithmetic. Widmann also uses the minus sign for the first time in print in this volume—although both plus and minus signs relate not to addition and subtraction but to surpluses and deficits in business accounting. After this usage, the plus sign began to appear more frequently in German mathematical texts, and first appeared in an English text in 1557 in Robert Recorde’s The Whetstone of Witte—which also introduced the equals sign.

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