Comic Strip Names: Charlie Brown, Linus and Frieda
For fifty years, Charlie Brown and his team of usual suspects made us laugh and learn life lessons. The last official episode of the Peanuts comic-strip appeared fourteen years ago this February. Gone but not forgotten, we’re honoring its memory with a survey of Peanuts’ most notable names. And while adorable pet names Woodstock and Snoopy will probably never translate into the baby-name scene, there are plenty of interesting choices you may have not expected, drawn from the real life of artist and creator Charles M. Schulz.
Charlie – It’s only fitting that the lovable, friendly four-year-old who stole hearts with his catchphrase “Good grief”! has the friendliest boy name. A diminutive of the German Charles, there have been lots of pop-culture Charlies over the years, from Charlie Chaplin to Charlie’s Angels, though none of them cuter than the Peanuts‘ protagonist.
Patty –“Peppermint Patty” was the freckle-faced tomboy who called her pal Charlie “Chuck” on the baseball field. Schultz named her after one of his cousins, and got the idea for her nickname after seeing peppermint candies in his house. Today Patty is usually a nickname for the “noble” Latin Patricia, whose short forms also include Patsy, Tricia, Trish, and Tish.
Violet – In the comic strip, Violet Gray was a girl with a ponytail and a trademark green dress. Now Violet, with its botanical purple connotation, is in the top 100 for girls’ names, joining other popular flowery names like Daisy, Lily, and Rose.
Linus – Linus van Pelt, who was named after a longtime friend of creator Schulz’s, was the best pal of Charlie Brown who often held onto his blue security blanket and sucked his thumb in the early 50’s and 60’s strips. A popular name in Germany, Sweden, and Norway, the ancient Linus was the inventor of rhythm and melody who taught music to Hercules, according to Greek myth.
Lucy – Linus’s big sister and famed Peanuts bully was Lucille “Lucy” van Pelt, the sassy eight-year- old. Suitably, the name Lucy is saucy yet solid, with associations to I Love Lucy and Beatles hit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Schulz named Lucy after his former neighbor, and modeled her after his wife.
Frieda – Though her last reign as a Peanut was in 1985, this short-lived character was memorable for her naturally curly hair, of which she was very proud. Schulz named her after a colleague from the Art Instruction Schools in Minnesota. Meaning “peaceful ruler” in German, this name is similar sounding to Freya, the Norse god of love.
Sally – Charlie Brown’s couch-potato younger sister was Sally Brown, who was madly in love with Linus, though the feelings weren’t mutual. Originally used as a diminutive for Sarah, this cheerful nickname has long since been used independently.
Franklin – The first African American Peanut was Franklin Armstrong, who appeared in 1968 when he met Charlie Brown at the beach. Schulz added Franklin to the Peanuts gang after a fan wrote to him in 1968, urging him to introduce a black character to the cast. This English name brings up images of the Roosevelt era.
Eudora – The last main character to join the cast of Peanuts was Eudora, who wore a knitted hat and earned the resentment of Sally Brown by charming baby-faced Linus. The name of five minor goddesses in Greek mythology, this euphonious girl’s name means “generous gift.”