The term "Peanut Gallery" became popular in the late 19th century and referred to the rear or uppermost seats in a theater, which were also the cheapest seats.
People seated in such a gallery were able to throw peanuts, a common food at theaters, at those seated below them.
It also applied to the first row of seats in a movie theater, for the occupants of those seats could throw peanuts at the stage, stating their displeasure with the performance.
National Peanut Board nationalpeanutboard.org
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