The blanket was first introduced in the comic strip of June 1, 1954, and was featured throughout the remainder of the strip's run. In the Peanuts strips in which it appears, Linus can be seen carrying the blanket around and sucking his thumb. Storylines involve Lucy trying to do away with the blanket, disapproval of it from Linus and Lucy's unseen grandmother, and Snoopy frequently trying to take it for himself. Toward the end of the strip's run, however, the security blanket appeared less and less, usually only when a crucial plot point in the strip required it, and it seems that Linus was starting to outgrow it.
Linus' blanket has the ability to be reshaped into nearly any form and be put to many different uses, including:
- Security blanket (primary use)
- A stylish neck scarf
- A quilt for Lucy's doll's bed (she cuts a square out from the middle of the blanket)
- A whip or insect swatter ("fastest blanket in the West")
- A grappling hook (Linus uses this to open a mailbox to deliver his letter to the Great Pumpkin after his sister denies him any assistance in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.)
- Two sports coats (one for Snoopy and one for Woodstock)
- Linus makes a wish to make his blanket into a sport coat in the future.
- Various representational shapes for a "flannelgraph" (Lucy at work with her scissors)
- Flannel squares to clean Linus' glasses (Lucy and her scissors)
- A monster that hisses at Lucy and attacks her (the blanket's own transformation)
In the world of the television specials, Linus most famously turns his blanket into a shepherd's headdress, in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Characters' opinions on the blanket
In strips from the early years, Linus loves his blanket, carries it everywhere, and is not embarrassed by it. He can not survive without it and really suffers when it is being washed. However, in strips from the later years, Linus seems to want to get rid of it, even though he knows he is a mess without it. In one strip he tries to get Charlie Brown and Snoopy to take his blanket and not give it back no matter how much he begs for it. He is upset when Charlie Brown gives in and returns the blanket, and becomes a mess when Snoopy does not return it. However, when he realizes he is cured of dependency on his blanket, he is thrilled, and upset when Charlie Brown buys him a new one. In another storyline, beginning in the strip of April 11, 1983, Linus cures himself of the need for his blanket. He is so proud of himself, that he starts going door to door to tell everyone he is cured. He even opens up a clinic to help children get rid of their security blankets. His only patient is a child named "Randolph" whose head is covered by a blanket. When asked to remove the blanket, "Randolph" is revealed to be Sally Brown, who had tricked her way into the home of her "Sweet Babboo". Linus is so horrified by the experience that he return to using his security blanket once again.
Lucy hates Linus' blanket. She always tries to get Linus to get rid of it. In the strip of January 3, 1961, she buries it, making Linus go crazy. Charlie Brown suggests to Linus that he just use a dishtowel, but Linus says to that, "Would you give a starving dog a rubber bone?" Linus and Snoopy both dig up the town, and eventually Snoopy finds it. Linus thanks him, upon which Snoopy thinks, "Every now and then I feel that my existence is justified!"
Lucy makes a kite out of Linus' blanket in the strip of June 12, 1962, but then accidentally lets go of it. It is eventually saved by the Coast Guard while floating over the Pacific Ocean and is returned to Linus.
In a series of strips from March 1965, the security blanket comes to life and starts attacking Lucy after she threatens to throw it in the trash burner; she and the blanket sign a peace treaty afterwards.
In one series of strips, Lucy uses Linus and his blanket as a science fair project. She shows how Linus gets dizzy, nauseous, and eventually, passes out when he is deprived of his blanket. Charlie Brown disapproves but Lucy's project wins first prize.
Rerun has often expressed embarrassment at Linus' dependency on his blanket. In one strip, he tells Linus and Lucy that when other children ask him if his older brother carries a security blanket, he responds by claiming to be an only child. In other strips, he has told both Linus and Snoopy that he is unable to view Linus as a role model because of the blanket. Rerun has even gone so far as to taunt Linus by referring to the blanket as his "sucking rag." Rerun also refuses to bring a blanket for nap time to his kindergarten class, telling his teacher that Linus is the only one in his family to carry a blanket, and that he does not wish to end up like his brother.
In one particular strip, when Linus manages to avoid letting Snoopy grab his blanket, Rerun shows up and steals the blanket in his own mouth while his guard is down.
Charlie Brown has a more neutral opinion of the blanket. He does not care that much if Linus has his blanket or not. He just wants Linus to be comfortable. One example of this is, Linus tells Charlie Brown to take his blanket and not give it back no matter how much he begs for it. Charlie Brown agrees, but gives it back to Linus as soon as he asks for it, which gets Linus upset. However, on the first occasion where the blanket is shown, Charlie Brown states that he feels like an idiot while holding it.
On some occasions, Charlie Brown has actually used the blanket for his own personal security. For instance, in the strip of August 13, 1955, when Violet insults him, Charlie Brown holds onto Linus' blanket with him. In May 13, 1966 when Linus gives Charlie Brown his blanket to him, he holds it and sucks his thumb. In the strip of March 26, 1997, after losing the first baseball game of the season, Linus lends Charlie Brown his blanket, because Charlie Brown feels insecure.
Sally Brown was initially accepting of Linus' blanket. In a comic strip of March 20, 1960, Linus is shown teaching Sally how to suck her thumb and hold a security blanket. An infuriated Charlie Brown criticizes Linus for attempting to teach her such a habit.
In the February 20, 1966 strip, Sally tells Linus that she would like him better if he did not carry a blanket. When told that he does not care, Sally angrily throws his blanket up in a tree.
Sally is often disgusted with Linus' security blanket habit, and on several occasions has actually yanked his blanket away from him, declaring that no future husband of hers would hold a blanket.
Snoopy often tries to take Linus' blanket by running up and trying to grab it out of his hand. This really annoys Linus.
Snoopy also does the same thing to Charlie Brown when he holds it in the May 19, 1966 strip, with Charlie Brown saying he has confused him for Linus. In a storyline from November 1971, Linus asks Snoopy to take his blanket and not to give it back no matter how much he begs for it. Snoopy loves watching Linus beg. The beagle then makes the blanket into two sport coats (one for him and one for Woodstock). The next day, Linus realizes he is cured but then Charlie Brown feels bad about what happened, and buys Linus a new blanket. Linus screams and says "Now I'm hooked again!" to which Charlie Brown just replies, "I thought I was doing the right thing."
As noted out above, only once has Linus actually returned the blanket to him after noticing that Linus was digging up the whole neighborhood (and his doghouse) to find it, so Snoopy took the chance to dig it up himself and return it, to which he replies that every now and then his existence is justified.
Linus's blanket hating grandmother
As her name suggests, Linus' blanket-hating grandmother hates Linus's security blanket. Any time she visits the Van Pelt house, Linus must hide his blanket so she does not take it. Linus always dreads her visits. Sometimes, she is successful in stealing it, but Linus will always find a way to take it back. Linus also has tricks so she will not find it, such as using a decoy blanket.
Like most of the other characters, Violet dislikes Linus' habit of carrying a blanket around. In one strip, she tells Linus that she is not going to be seen walking with a boy holding a blanket, whereupon he quickly transforms it into an ascot.
Unlike many characters, Frieda liked Linus' blanket. In the strip of March 8, 1961 she says "If it makes you feel secure, then you should carry it with you", Linus responds by kissing her. However a few weeks later she says that even if she likes the blanket, Linus's thumb sucking makes her nauseous.
Even though Linus really likes Miss Othmar, he does not like her attitude towards his blanket. In the strip of October 15, 1959, following the storyline in which Linus falls in love with Miss Othmar, he finds out that she does not like his blanket. Charlie Brown says to Lucy "This means Linus is going to have to choose between his blanket and Miss Othmar, doesn't it?" Just then Linus walks by holding his blanket and says, "Who's Miss Othmar?" so it is clear which one he chooses. However, Linus' crush on his teacher continues.
In another storyline, which originally ran from January 4 to January 13, 1962, Miss Othmar says that she does not like Linus constantly bringing his blanket to school. Linus tells Charlie Brown he made an agreement with her, saying, "I'd give up my blanket if she gave up biting her nails" to which Miss Othmar puts down her head in shame. However, Miss Othmar does give up biting her nails, but lets Linus keep his blanket anyway. Miss Othmar tells Linus that he should not take it to school anymore, but it is all right to have it at home. As a result, Linus goes back to loving Miss Othmar.