LINUS VAN PELT
Listen, Charlie Brown, Ignoring what my sister Lucy says has enabled me to make it this far in life.
Charlie Brown’s loyal and trustworthy friend Linus made his debut as the baby brother of Lucy on September 19, 1952, but did not actually speak until 1954. Over the years, Schulz progressed his age to match that of the other characters. Whether on the baseball field (where Linus plays second base), at the neighborhood wall or showing unwavering faith in the Great Pumpkin, Linus is always there for Charlie Brown. “You like to think that sometimes you might have just a little bit of that wisdom that Linus had,” says director Steve Martino. “I always loved that about him. Here’s the kid with the security blanket, but he possesses wisdom years beyond any of the other kids.”
Although Linus’s trusty blanket does not take on a personality in the movie like it does in the specials, multiple rigs were created so that the blanket could be animated and posed to do whatever the animators needed it to do. “There was the classic pose of Linus sucking his thumb while holding the blanket,” recalls supervising animator Nick Bruno, “crumbled on the floor, over his head like a shepherd, and being dragged along on the ground.”
For fur supervisor Jon Campbell, Linus’s hair, or more accurately, lack thereof, proved rather challenging when it came to defining the character’s look.
“In some of the reference from the strip, he basically just has three ribbons or strands of hair,” says Campbell. “Translating those ribbons into a full head of hair became our problem to solve.”
Turning to the work of Tom Eberhart, the team’s primary goal was to stay true to Schulz’s pen line. By closely examining the work of Everhart, the artists were able to fill in the blanks, or in this case, hairs.
“We explored a lot of iterations on Linus, settling on three layers of different kinds of hair,” Campbell says. “Two layers are actually two varying degrees of fuzz with a final layer of different lengths and sizes of strands rigged in a similar manner to Charlie Brown’s hair.”