Even more than 60 years later, Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters are still famous for their beloved Christmas special, new feature film, and for turning the Today Show crew into a gang of terrifying mutants.
We're gonna need about $5,000 for the psychiatrist.
The Horrible Backstory:
Fans of the strip will be delighted to know that there was, in fact, a real Snoopy owned by Schulz. Less delightful: He traded the dog away. For "a load of gravel."
The Milwaukee Journal
"We also traded Woodstock for some ketchup packets and Linus for a soiled napkin."
Thankfully, readers were spared a comic where Snoopy vanishes but Charlie Brown suspiciously has a new gravel-filled driveway. Or a Christmas special where Charlie realizes that the true meaning of the season is getting a sweet deal on large quantities of tiny rocks.
If that isn't enough to depress you, the inspiration behind Charlie Brown's unrequited love, the little red-headed girl, probably will. In real life, she was Schulz's red-headed girlfriend, Donna Johnson. Because romance is so often like having a football pulled away at the last minute, Johnson rejected Schulz's marriage proposal, choosing another man.
Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center
And the Great Pumpkin? Died of esophagus cancer.
So Charlie Brown's obsession over his crush isn't just a cute childhood story; it was an outlet for deep-seated regret -- he even peppered the stories with inside jokes for Johnson. "It was the story of his life and mine," she later stated. Of course, if they had ended up together there was always the very real possibility that he'd trade her for some gravel, so maybe she made the right choice.
J.M. McNab co-hosts the pop culture nostalgia podcast Rewatchability, which can also be found on iTunes. Follow him on Twitter @Rewatchability.
Deep inside us all -- behind our political leanings, moral codes, and private biases -- there is a cause so colossally stupid that we surprise ourselves with how much we care. Whether it's toilet paper position, fedoras on men, or Oxford commas, we each harbor a preference so powerful that we can't help but proselytize about it to the world. In the next live episode of the Cracked podcast, guest host Soren Bowie is joined by Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and comedian Annie Lederman to discuss the most trivial things we will argue about until the day we die. Get your tickets here!
For more unfortunate origin stories, check out 4 Insane Unknown Backstories Behind Famous Movies and 7 Classic Video Games With Horrifying Backstories.
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