How to pen his name

Text: The Dirt on Pig Pen
A Charlie Brown Christmas

The alert… well the overly-alert… Peanuts reader knows that Pigpen’s name changed over the years, not in pronunciation, but in punctuations. When the character first appeared, his name would be written as…


…but when 1958 rolled around, those single-quote marks got expanded into double quotes.


That format lasted into 1965, in the one and only strip the dirty character would appear in that year. This was his first appearance in several years, I should note (Schulz considered him a one-gag character who had largely run his course.) When the character next appeared two years later, the quotation marks had been dropped altogeether…


…and that would last into 1980, after which the hyphen fell by the wayside as well, leaving…


…as the name.

Why am I bringing this up now? Well, if you look at your copy of my (and Benjamin L. Clark’s) new book, Charles M. Schulz: The Art and Life of the Peanuts Creator in 100 Objects, you will see (as item #61 of the 100) a page of the original script for A Charlie Brown Christmas, one that’s been all marked up and taped together as the script evolved.  One of those sections shows the late insertion of some “Pig-Pen” material, most of which didn’t end up in the final show (the missing portion is basically a reworking of the December 14, 1961 strip, where Violet had the lines given to “Pig-Pen”.)

Now, that addition appears to me to be in Schulz’s own handwriting…. and the character is referred to as

Pig Pen

…in a smallcaps hand font, but with a space clearly between the two words. Even when abbreviated, it’s P.P. rather than, say, P-P.

This is an important and vital discovery because… um… well, it isn’t. But dagnabbit, it’s interesting! Not to you, perhaps, but to overly-detail-oriented obsessives like myself! (If there are any like myself besides, of course, myself. But this is my blog, my obsession!)

By the way: that link to the 100 Objects book above is an ordering link. There’s still time to get the book for Christmas or even Chanukah giving… or to click on that link, buy something else, and help support the blog. Of course, you can also support the blog by telling someone else about it… or sending a nice word!

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