Charles M. Schulz (the 'M' stands for Monroe) was one of the most popular and influential cartoonists that ever lived – Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin and Hobbes said about Schulz: “Peanuts pretty much defines the modern comic strip. In countless ways, Schulz blazed the wide trail that almost every cartoonist since has tried to follow).
For 50 years he designed and wrote the Peanuts strip, making household names of its stars Charlie Brown and Snoopy, and now, 15 years after his death, Peanuts is finally heading the the big screen in Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie. Here's a selection of the big stars making the transition from print to cinema…
First appearance: 1947 (Li'l Folks)
Charlie trivia: Charlie Brown actually appeared in a Charles M. Schulz cartoon strip called L'il Folks in 1947, three years before the creation of Peanuts. Charlie is the hero of the Peanuts strip, and the only character to appear in the first strip and also the last one (in 2000). Considering that his catchphrases are 'Sigh' and 'Good grief' it probably comes as no surprise that he's a pessimist! He is very fond of kite flying though, and also his 'unique' dog, Snoopy.
First appearance: 1959
Sally trivia: Sally has a massive crush on Charlie Brown's friend, Linus – who she calls her 'Sweet Babboo'.
As her surname suggests, Sally is Charlie Brown's kid sister, and her birth was announced in the strip by Charlie getting a phone call to let him know he had a sibling. While some would say Sally is lazy, we prefer to think she has a relaxed attitude to life. Like her brother, she is sensitive and caring – although she can be considerably louder than the quiet Charlie.
First appearance: 1950
Snoopy trivia: It's hard to imagine him now with any other name, but apparently Snoopy was originally going to be called 'Sniffy'.
Snoopy the beagle is Charlie Brown's dog and one of the most recognisable Peanuts characters. Classic Snoopy moments include his 'happy dance' (which he does frequently, as he's a very happy dog) and when he straps on the flying goggles, climbs on top of his kennel and fantasizes about being a World War 1 flying ace! Who better to sum up Snoopy than his creator, Charles M. Schulz: “Snoopy’s whole personality is a little bittersweet, but he’s a very strong character. I like the fact that when he’s in real trouble, he can retreat into a fantasy and thereby escape.”
First appearance: 1966
Patty trivia: Patty has a massive crush on Charlie Brown, but unfortunately he doesn't feel the same towards her – maybe it has something to do with the fact that she constantly refers to him as 'Chuck'.
A real tomboy, Patty isn't strong academically (there's a common thread running through the Peanuts strip where she frequently gets a 'D' in school tests) but she is a strong athlete. Baseball is her favourite sport of all, and her team regularly thrashes Charlie Brown's one.
Linus van Pelt
First appearance: 1952
Linus trivia: Linus is rarely seen with his security blanket – which is a term that originated in the Peanuts cartoon.
Linus is one of the most popular characters in the Peanuts strip, and is the brother to the dominating Lucy – which may contribute to his insecurity and need to go everywhere with his security blanket. “Linus, my serious side, is the house intellectual, bright, well-informed which, I suppose may contribute to his feelings of insecurity,” said Schulz.
Lucy van Pelt
First appearance: 1952
Lucy trivia: Lucy is the character who always pull the football away from Charlie Brown just as he's about to kick it – causing him to over-dramatically somersault through the air and land in the dirt.
Loud, proud and probably dangerous to know, Lucy is a big character and always has to be the centre of attention. Usually bad tempered and shouting at anyone within earshot, she can be calmed by the piano playing of Schroeder. And although she's no expert in psychology, she's happy to dish out advice through her psychiatry booth for a nickel a time.
Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie will bring Schulz to the big screen on 21 December.