A Peanuts Prospectus : Linus Van Pelt finds Truffles
In February of 2013, I was inspired to write a small piece on Charlie Brown’s short relationship with a little girl named Peggy Jean. The concept of love within the Peanuts strips has often been a fascination for me (the hopeless romantic inside is alive, somewhere in there), and I was surprised when several other people enjoyed the read.
Following that train of thought, I thought I’d cover a relationship that occurred with another main cast member of the series: Linus Van Pelt.
Though many know of Sally Brown’s infatuation with Linus, he has rarely ever returned her feelings, often leaving her with a bad case of unrequited love for her “Sweet Babboo.”
There have been several little girls over the years that Linus showed interest in, and one of the more famous ones will be discussed today.
In March of 1975, Linus recruited Snoopy to go truffle-hunting with him. After wandering a ways into the nearby countryside, the two were surprised to come across a little girl leaning against a tree on a farm.
When Linus explains that he and Snoopy are hunting for truffles, the little girl happily tells him that he has “found one,” as that is her name too (of which even Snoopy thinks is rather ridiculous). Apparently, it was a nickname that was given to Truffles by her Grandfather, who claimed she was “as rare as a truffle.”
Of the different character designs done over the years, Truffles’ is one that is a little more ‘bizarre’ than most. While most of the Peanuts characters have simple dots for eyes, Truffles is one of the few with pupils inside large circles. Schulz used such a design in his early renderings of Lucy, making her seem cuter and more innocent, before he rendered her in the normal dots.
As Linus talks with Truffles, it starts to rain, and the three retreat to a barn on her Grandfather’s farm. During the storm, the three explore the barn, where Linus is fascinated by the construction materials, as well as numerous other sights.
Once it stops raining, Linus and Snoopy return home, both having been affected by their meeting with Truffles. Charlie Brown encounters both of them writing letters to her, but doesn’t go further into examining the love triangle that’s developing.
When Linus finds out what Snoopy is doing, he gets defensive, claiming that Truffles loves him. It is shortly after this that Linus encounters a problem:
Though he wants to see Truffles again, he doesn’t know where she lives. Given Snoopy’s hunting dog skills, he most likely could lead Linus there…but naturally, Linus wouldn’t want him to come along.
When he tells Snoopy about this predicament, Snoopy does the most natural thing possible: chuckles at Linus’ situation.
Snoopy then continues to rub Linus’ nose in his predicament, when he goes to visit Truffles, and returns with a note from her, telling how they had a fun time.
Linus eventually calls Truffles (where did he get her number?), but upon reaching her at her Grandfather’s house, she tells him that she is going home. Linus is distraught about this, claiming he didn’t know how to get to her. “Somebody else didn’t have any trouble,” she replies, as the next panel shows Snoopy resting on her lap.
Linus then berates Snoopy for ‘ruining his love life.’ The two then sit thinking of Truffles, with Linus claiming his love for her was genuine…while Snoopy only liked her because she gave him cookies. Linus’ mind continues to be focused on Truffles for the next few days, which even causing him to miss a fly ball on Charlie Brown’s team, when the thought of ‘lost love’ clouds his judgement.
It looked like this was the end forTruffles, but 2 years later, she resurfaced in another story arc.
Linus and Sally’s class end up taking a field trip out to a farm. Naturally, Sally complains during the entire trip, but Linus is struck by a strange sense of deja vu. Seeing a barn, he suddenly recalls that it was the same one where he, Snoopy, and Truffles stayed in during the rain storm 2 years ago! And it just so happens that inside, he finds Truffles!
Truffles tells him that she’s visiting her Grandfather, but the moment is interrupted when Sally finds the two of them. However, when she claims Linus is her boyfriend, Truffles suddenly starts to argue with her. The verbal sparring between the two finally gets to be too much for Linus, and he climbs up onto the roof of the barn, claiming he won’t come down until they stop fighting.
It is then that Sally notes the school bus is leaving, and Linus finds that it was easier to get up onto the barn roof, than get down. Sally calls out that she’ll “send a helicopter” for Linus, and utters a phrase that would then become a staple of Peanuts’ verbal “lore.”
After Sally and the school bus leaves, Truffles continues to talk to Linus (yet doesn’t consider telling her Grandfather that there’s a boy on his barn roof). Even so, she then reveals that even after their first meeting, she still thought about him. Though there is some continuity issues, such as her saying she’s thought about him ‘all year,’ and that he never ‘wrote or called her.’ Personally, I’d chalk this up to Truffles’ slip-up, since she never did give Linus information as to where she actually lived. It is also about now that she starts using “the L word” (at a most inopportune time).
However, the sound of a helicopter catches their ears. And, if you had been reading most of Schulz’s strips during this time, you’d have a pretty good idea just who/what kind of helicopter Sally sent to rescue Linus: Snoopy (being piloted by Woodstock)!
There is a strange bit of comic strip continuity that goes on during the rescue. On January 29, 1977, we see Linus reacting to the helicopter (but we don’t see it).
Startng on January 31, 1977, we get 3 days worth of strips, showing how Sally gave Woodstock instructions to bring Linus back, before the little bird took off in Snoopy, on his rescue mission. Pretty much no words are spoken, as Linus grabs hold of Snoopy’s tail, and is hoisted off the roof. However, Linus is then airlifted away from the farm, and Truffles.
There is a rather “questionable” joke that came about on February 3rd’s strip. I kind of wonder what people at the time thought of it (see below).
The final strips returned Linus to the Peanuts neighborhood. However, when he realizes just where his pilot is going to drop him, he pleads for Woodstock to stop. But as in most cases, money talks. Seeing as how Sally was the one who paid off Woodstock and Snoopy, Linus is jettisoned…right into Sally’s waiting arms! And thus, Linus’ latest adventure came to a sad end, falling back into the arms of his best friend’s sister, whom he has no interest in.
This also meant the end of Truffles’ appearance within the comic strips. There were no further attempts by Linus to locate her (or vice-versa), and one can assume that Linus probably has her buried deep within him, a symbol of a lost love from his youth (I think many us have several of those).
However, when it comes to some Peanuts comic strips, the story arcs did find a second life in the world of animation. Though in a strange way for the strips involving Linus and Truffles, they were presented out of context.
The first appearance of Truffles in animated form, was the hour-long 1982 television special, A Charlie Brown Celebration. The opening of the show had an introduction by Schulz himself, before delving into smaller episodes, and simpler vignettes. One of the episodes told, was the second appearance of Truffles. This was a rather shocking continuity issue, as those seeing the episode for the first time had almost no back story as to whom Truffles was, and she and Linus were being very expressive towards each other.
A Charlie Brown Celebration showcased a format that would then be streamlined down into a half-hour showing. This would then become The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, which began to appear on Saturday Morning Television, in 1983.
It was during the first season of the Saturday Morning show, that Truffles’ “first appearance” finally saw the light of day. Much like the segment in Celebration, this episode didn’t stray far from the source material. However, much of Snoopy’s involvement was streamlined (most likely since one couldn’t understand the Beagle without his comic strip’s word balloons).
It is notable that both of Truffles’ animated appearances show her to have been streamlined from Schulz’s pen-and-ink stylings. If you look at the images of Truffles both right and above, there were some subtle character differences in how she was drawn.
Over the years, there have been several characters within the series that Linus has had crushes on. One of the more popular storylines took place in the 1960’s, when he was infatuated with a teacher named Miss Othmar.
In the mid-80’s, Linus met a new girl in his class named Lydia. However, Lydia proved to be frustrating, as when she found out Linus was 2 months older than her, claimed he was “too old.” She soon after developed a habit of randomly changing her name day-by-day. In the end, it became less of a relationship, and more of a ‘trial of romance’ with Linus, as it seemed Lydia enjoyed getting him riled up about something or other.
When looking over the series, I often moreso associate Truffles with Linus, the way I do Peggy Jean, with Charlie Brown. Both Truffles and Peggy Jean had a small amount of time with their respective “boyfriends,” before fate/life/etc intervened, returning our characters back to their regular lives.
In a sense, maybe it was for the best that Linus was taken away from Truffles, with her telling how she loved him. It would have probably been sadder had she grown tired of him, or admitted she had a boyfriend (something that happened between Charlie Brown and Peggy Jean during her last appearance in 1999). Many times we want to remember the good things moreso than the bad. One can only hope that Linus and Truffles somewhere in their own lives (however they may have turned out), probably still remembered those moments on her Grandfather’s farm with warm memories.