Alert brother-of-the-blog Dave recently pointed out that the 1946 film Our Hearts Were Growing Up (a sequel to the more-beloved 1942 Our Hearts Were Young and Gay) has William Demarest playing a character named Peanuts Schultz. A little investigation told us why the character had that name which would echo oddly to us comic strip fans. Just why was he Peanuts Schultz?
The character was originally supposed to be Bananas Schultz, and his shtick would be that he was always eating a banana. Well, World War II caused many food shortages in the U.S., some due to a shortage of manpower as young men were sent off to war, some due to having preferred foods shipped off to our fighting forces, and some due to interruptions in the international supply chain. Bananas were in short supply, probably due to that last reason. And the thing with bananas is that they don’t stockpile well; you can’t just get a big pile of bananas at the start of the multi-week shoot and figure that you were good to go. Rather than risk coming up bananaless mid-shoot, they made the character a peanut-eater instead.
Or at least, that’s the Hollywood publicity from the time… and such publicity should always be taken with a grain of salt.