Lucy Van Pelt Was From Mariemont
This is a great story. Lucy Van Pelt, the popular "Peanuts" character, got her name from a Mariemont woman? I thought I knew a lot about Charles Schulz cartoons, but this one is new to me. (I never cease to be amazed at
My blog about PBS' "American Masters: Good Ol’ Charles Schulz" Monday prompted several e-mails from Jan Watkins of
Louann and her husband, Fritz, were interviewed for by "American Masters," but cut from the show. In fact, the 90-minute Schulz show didn't mention his year-long stay in
So in the PBS show you met the real-life Charles F. Brown and Linus Maurer, whose names were used by Schulz, but not Louann Van Pelt. Here's her story:
"Sparky created Lucy while in
"He actually tacked on the Van Pelt surname after they moved back to
Louann was 11 in 1940, when her family moved from
"Fritz and Sparky were in the same 20th Armored Infantry Division during WWII. Sparky made Sergeant and Fritz was the Company Bugler. When we accidentally found them in
"Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography," a new book by David Michaelis (HarperCollins, $34.95), says the newlywed Schulzes went four months without making any friends in Colorado Springs until they met the Van Pelts, "an attractive, witty couple around whom laughter and conversation came easily."
Louann Van Pelt agrees with "American Masters" and Schulz biographers that Lucy's blunt, domineering personality came from Joyce, the humorist's first wife.
"We have always felt and said that Lucy is fashioned after Joyce. She was very opinionated," Van Pelt says. "I always hasten to tell people I'm actually much kinder than her, and would never snatch that football away" when Charlie Brown wanted to kick it.
Linus was named after Schulz's old Art Instruction college buddy Maurer because Schulz "thought the fact that his name began with the letter 'L' would help to fit it with Lucy’s name," he later wrote to Fritz, according to the Michaelis book.
Louann figures her PBS interview was cut because of her severe hearing loss. "I'm so nearly deaf I couldn't answer questions or respond to Fritz with anything like casual chat," she says. "Good Ol' Charlie Brown" producers David Van Taylor and Ali Pomery have told the Van Pelts that a tape of their interview has been donated to the