- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium
Peanuts is a syndicated daily and Sunday
American comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz,
which ran from October 2nd, 1950, to February 13th, 2000, continuing
in reruns afterward. The comic strip is the most popular and
influential in the history of comic strips, with 17,897 strips
published in all, making it "arguably the longest story ever
told by one human being". At its peak, Peanuts ran in over 2,600
newspapers, with a readership of 355 million in 75 countries, and was
translated into 21 languages. It helped to cement the four-panel gag
strip as the standard in the United States, and together with its
merchandise earned Schulz more than $1 billion. Reprints of the strip
are still syndicated and run in almost every U.S. newspaper.
strip focuses entirely on a social circle of young children, where
adults exist but are rarely seen or heard. The main character,
Charlie Brown, is meek, nervous, and lacks self-confidence. He is
unable to fly a kite, win a baseball game, or kick a football held by
his cruel friend Lucy, who always pulls it away at the last instant.
Peanuts is one of the literate strips with
philosophical, psychological, and sociological overtones that
flourished in the 1950s. The strip's humor (at least during its '60s
peak) is psychologically complex, and the characters' interactions
formed a tangle of relationships that drove the strip.
Peanuts achieved considerable success with
its television specials, several of which, including A Charlie Brown
Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, won or were
nominated for Emmy Awards. The Peanuts holiday specials remain
popular and are currently broadcast on TV during the corresponding
seasons. TV Guide ranked the Peanuts television specials the fourth
Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time. The Peanuts franchise also met
acclaim in theatre, with the stage musical You're a Good Man, Charlie
Brown being a successful and often-performed production. A computer-animated
feature film based on the strip, The Peanuts Movie, was released on
November 6th, 2015.
Peanuts had its origin in Li'l Folks, a
weekly panel comic that appeared in Schulz's hometown paper, the St.
Paul Pioneer Press, from 1947 to 1950. He first used the name Charlie
Brown for a character there, although he applied the name in four
gags to three different boys and one buried in sand. The series also
had a dog that looked much like the early 1950s version of Snoopy. In
1948, Schulz sold a cartoon to The Saturday Evening Post which
published 17 single-panel cartoons by Schulz. The first of these was
of a boy sitting with his feet on an ottoman.
1948, Schulz tried to have Li'l Folks syndicated through the
Newspaper Enterprise Association, a firm run by the Scripps-Howard
newspaper chain. Schulz would have been an independent contractor for
the syndicate, unheard of in the 1940s, but the deal fell through.
Li'l Folks was dropped in early 1950. Later that year, Schulz
approached the United Feature Syndicate - also operated by
Scripps-Howard - with his best work from Li'l Folks. When his work
was picked up by United Feature Syndicate, they decided to run the
new comic strip he had been working on. This strip was similar in
spirit to the panel comic, but it had a set cast of characters,
rather than different nameless little folk for each page. The name
Li'l Folks was too close to the names of two other comics of the
time: Al Capp's Li'l Abner and a strip titled Little Folks. To avoid
confusion, the syndicate settled on the name Peanuts, after the
peanut gallery featured in the Howdy Doody TV show.
Peanuts was a title Schulz always
disliked. In a 1987 interview, Schulz said of the title Peanuts:
"It's totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing,
and has no dignity, and I think my humor has dignity." The
periodic collections of the strips in paperback book form typically
had either "Charlie Brown" or "Snoopy" in the
title, not "Peanuts", because of Schulz' distaste for his
strip's title. From November 20th, 1966, to January 4th, 1987, the
opening Sunday panels typically read Peanuts, featuring Good Ol'
Peanuts premiered on October 2nd, 1950, in
nine newspapers: The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The
Minneapolis Tribune, The Allentown Morning Call, The Bethlehem
Globe-Times, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times, The New York World-Telegram
& Sun, and The Boston Globe. It began as a daily strip. The
first strip was four panels long and showed Charlie Brown walking by
two other young children, Shermy and Patty. Shermy lauds Charlie
Brown as he walks by, but then tells Patty how he hates him in the
final panel. This was groundbreaking. Until then, rarely had children
expressed hatred for others in comic strips. Snoopy was also an early
character in the strip, first appearing in the third strip, which ran
on October 4th. Its first Sunday strip appeared January 6th, 1952, in
the half-page format, which was the only complete format for the
entire life of the Sunday strip. Most readers did not
know that they often missed one or more panels, so their newspaper
could save space.
Most of the other characters that
eventually became the main characters of Peanuts did not appear until
later: Violet (February 1951), Schroeder (May 1951), Lucy (March
1952), Linus (September 1952), Pig-Pen (July 1954), Sally (August
1959), Frieda (March 1961), "Peppermint" Patty (August
1966), Woodstock (introduced April 1967; given a name in June 1970),
Franklin (July 1968), Marcie (July 1971), and Rerun (March 1973).
Schulz decided to produce all aspects of
the strip himself from the script to the finished art and lettering.
Schulz drew the strip for nearly 50 years, with no assistants but did
hire help to produce the comic book adaptations of Peanuts. Thus, the
strip was able to be presented with a unified tone, and Schulz was
able to employ a minimalistic style. Backgrounds were generally not
used, and when they were, Schulz's frazzled lines imbued them with a
fraught, psychological appearance. This style has been described by
art critic John Carlin as forcing "its readers to focus on
subtle nuances rather than broad actions or sharp transitions."
Schulz held this belief all his life, reaffirming in 1994 the
importance of crafting the strip himself: "This is not a crazy
business about slinging ink. This is a deadly serious business."
While the strip in its early years
resembles its later form, there are significant differences. The art
was cleaner, sleeker, and simpler, with thicker lines and short,
squat characters. For example, in these early strips, Charlie Brown's
famous round head is closer to the shape of an American football or
rugby football. Most of the kids were initially fairly round-headed.
As another example, all the characters (except Charlie Brown) had
their mouths longer and had smaller eyes when they looked sideways. Charlie
Brown was also unique in appearing to have virtually no hair. Though
this is often interpreted as him being bald, Charles Schulz explained
that he saw Charlie Brown as having hair that was so light, and cut
so short, that it wasn't seen very well. Schulz described his style
as "The Toothpick School," i.e., as though drawn with a toothpick.
Peanuts did not have a lead
character from the onset. Its initial cast was small, featuring only
Charlie Brown, Shermy, Patty (not to be confused with Peppermint
Patty), and a beagle, Snoopy. The strip soon began to focus on
Charlie Brown, though. Charlie Brown's main characteristic is his
self-defeating stubbornness: he can never win a ballgame, but
continues playing baseball; he can never fly a kite successfully, but
continues trying to fly his kite. Others see this as the character's
admirable determined persistence to try his best against all odds.
Though his inferiority complex was evident from the start, in the
earliest strips he also got in his own licks when socially sparring
with Patty and Shermy. Some early strips also involved romantic
attractions between Charlie Brown and Patty or Violet, the next major
character added to the strip. As the years went by, Shermy and Patty
appeared less often and were demoted to supporting roles, while new
major characters were introduced. Schroeder, Lucy van Pelt, and her
brother Linus debuted as very young children - Schroeder and Linus
both in diapers and pre-verbal. Snoopy, who began as a more or less
typical dog, soon started to verbalize his thoughts via thought
bubbles; eventually he adopted other human characteristics such as
walking on his hind legs, reading books, using a typewriter, and
participating in sports.
The 1960s was the golden age for Peanuts
when some of the most well-known themes and characters appeared,
including Peppermint Patty, Snoopy as the "World War One Flying
Ace", Frieda and her "naturally curly hair", and
Franklin. Peanuts is remarkable for its deft social commentary,
especially compared with other strips appearing in the 1950s and
early 1960s. Schulz did not explicitly address racial and gender
equality issues so much as he assumed them to be self-evident in the
first place. Peppermint Patty's athletic skill and self-confidence is
simply taken for granted, for example, as is Franklin's presence in a
racially integrated school and neighborhood. The fact that Charlie
Brown's baseball team had three girls was also at least ten years
ahead of its time (and in fact, the 1966 TV special Charlie Brown's
All-Stars dealt with Charlie Brown refusing sponsorship of the team
because the sponsor said the league does not allow girls or dogs to play).
The 1960s also saw the
strip began to focus more on Snoopy. Many of the strips from this
point revolve around Snoopy's active, Walter Mitty-like fantasy life,
in which he imagined himself to be (most famously) a World War I
flying ace or a bestselling suspense novelist, to the bemusement and
consternation of the children who wonder what he is doing but also
occasionally participate. Snoopy eventually took on more than 150
distinct personas over the course of the strip, from "Joe
Cool" to Mickey Mouse.
Schulz would throw satirical barbs at any
number of topics when he chose. Over the years he tackled everything
from the Vietnam War to school dress codes to the "New
math." In 1963 he added a little boy named "5" to the
cast, whose sisters were named "3" and "4," and
whose father had changed their family name to their ZIP Code, giving
in to the way numbers were taking over people's identities. In 1958,
a strip in which Snoopy tossed Linus into the air and boasted that he
was the first dog ever to launch a human, parodied the hype
associated with Sputnik 2's launch of "Laika" the dog into
space earlier that year. Another sequence lampooned Little Leagues
and "organized" play when all the neighborhood kids join
snowman-building leagues and criticize Charlie Brown when he insists
on building his own snowmen without leagues or coaches.
Peanuts touched on religious themes on
many occasions, most notably the classic television special A Charlie
Brown Christmas in 1965, which features the character Linus van Pelt
quoting the King James Version of the Bible (Luke 2:814) to
explain to Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about (in personal
interviews, Schulz mentioned that Linus represented his spiritual
side). Robert L. Short wrote
several books in which he claimed he detected theological messages in
the strips. Additionally, he used them as illustrations during his
lecturing about the gospel. Schulz supported such interpretation but
ultimately attempted not to align himself with it. Although he was a
Christian who once taught Bible classes, and whose Linus character
routinely quoted scripture, Schulz referred to himself more than once
as a secular humanist.
In 1975, the panel format was shortened
slightly horizontally, and shortly after the lettering became larger
to accommodate the shrinking format. Previously, the daily Peanuts
strips were formatted in a four-panel "space saving" format
beginning in the 1950s, with a few very rare eight-panel strips, that
still fit into the four-panel mold. Beginning on Leap Day in 1988,
Schulz abandoned the four-panel format in favor of three-panel
dailies and occasionally used the entire length of the strip as one
panel, partly for experimentation, but also to combat the dwindling
size of the comics page. Later in the 90s, Schulz abandoned the early
characters Patty, Violet, Pigpen and Franklin (possibly because
Schulz focused more on the major characters Charlie Brown, Sally,
Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and Woodstock) due to his concentration on the
limit of the characters.
In the late 1970s, during Schulz'
negotiations with United Feature Syndicate over a new contract,
syndicate president William C. Payette hired superhero comic artist
Al Plastino to draw a backlog of Peanuts strips to hold in reserve in
case Schulz left the strip (above). When Schulz and the syndicate
reached a successful agreement, United Media stored these unpublished
strips, the existence of which eventually became public. Plastino
himself also claimed to have ghostwritten for Schulz, apparently
uncredited, while Schulz underwent heart surgery in 1983.
In the 1980s and the 1990s, the strip
remained the most popular comic in history, even though other comics,
such as Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes, rivaled Peanuts in
popularity. Schulz continued to write the strip up until announcing
his retirement, on December 14th, 1999, due to his failing health.
final daily original Peanuts comic strip was published on Monday,
January 3rd, 2000. The strip contained a note to the readers of the
strip from Schulz and a drawing of Snoopy, with his trusty
typewriter, sitting atop his doghouse deep in thought. Beginning the
next day, a rerun package premiered in papers that had elected to
pick it up. Although Schulz did not draw any daily strips that were
to run past January 3rd, he had drawn five extra Sunday strips and
these had yet to run. The first of these strips appeared six days
after the last daily on January 9th.
On February 13th, 2000, the day following
Schulz's death, the last-ever new Peanuts strip ran in papers. The
strip, which was three panels in length, began with Charlie Brown
answering the phone with someone on the end presumably asking for
Snoopy. Charlie Brown responded with "No, I think he's
writing." The panel next to shows Snoopy sitting at his
typewriter with the opening to a letter, addressed as "Dear
Friends". The final panel features a large blue sky background
over which several drawings from past strips are placed. Underneath
those drawings is a colorized version of Schulz's January 3rd strip,
with almost the same note he wrote to the fans which reads as follows:
I have been fortunate to draw Charlie
Brown and his friends for almost fifty years. It has been the
fulfillment of my childhood ambition.
Unfortunately, I am no longer able to
maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does
not wish "Peanuts" to be continued by anyone else,
therefore I am announcing my retirement.
I have been grateful over the years for
the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love
expressed to me by fans of the comic strip.
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy... how
can I ever forget them...
- Charles M. Schulz
Many other cartoonists paid tribute to
Peanuts and Schulz by homages in their own strips, appearing on
February 13th, 2000, or in the week beforehand. The comic was
reprinted the day after that, but only had the farewell letter. After
Peanuts ended, United Feature Syndicate began offering the newspapers
that ran it a package of reprinted strips under the title Classic
Peanuts. The syndicate limited the choices to either strips from the
1960s or from the 1990s, although a newspaper was also given the
option to carry both reprint packages if it desired. All Sunday
strips in the package, however, come from the 1960s.
Despite the end of the strip, Peanuts
continues to be prevalent in multiple media, through widespread
syndication, the publication of The Complete Peanuts, the release of
several new television specials (all of which Schulz had worked on,
but had not finished, before his death), and Peanuts Motion Comics.
Additionally, BOOM! Studios has published a series of comic books,
which feature new material by new writers and artists, although some
of the new material is based on classic Schulz stories from decades
past, as well as including some classic strips by Schulz, mostly
Sunday color strips.
Universal Uclick's website, GoComics.com,
announced on January 5th, 2015, that they would be launching
"Peanuts Begins", a feature rerunning the entire history of
the strip from the beginning, in colorized form. This was done to
honor the sixty-fifth anniversary of the debut of Peanuts.
On June 3rd, 2010, United Media sold all
its Peanuts-related assets, including its strips and branding, to a
new company, Peanuts Worldwide, LLC, a joint venture of the Iconix
Brand Group (which owned 80 percent) and Charles M. Schulz Creative
Associates (20 percent). In addition, United Media sold its United
Media Licensing arm, which represents licensing for its other
properties, to Peanuts Worldwide. United Feature Syndicate continued
to syndicate the strip, until February 27th, 2011, when Universal
Uclick took over syndication, ending United Media's 60-plus-years
stewardship of Peanuts. In May 2017, DHX Media announced that it
would acquire Iconix's entertainment brands, including the 80% stake
of Peanuts Worldwide and full rights to the Strawberry Shortcake
brand, for $345 million. DHX officially took control of the
properties on June 30th, 2017.
received the National Cartoonist Society Humor Comic Strip Award for
Peanuts in 1962, the Reuben Award in 1955 and 1964 (the first
cartoonist to receive the honor twice), the Elzie Segar Award in
1980, and the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. A
Charlie Brown Christmas won a Peabody Award and an Emmy; Peanuts
cartoon specials have received a total of two Peabody Awards and four
Emmys. For his work on the strip, Charles Schulz (along with Snoopy)
are credited with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a place in
the William Randolph Hearst Cartoon Hall of Fame. Peanuts was
featured on the cover of Time on April 9th, 1965, with the
accompanying article praising the strip as being "the leader of
a refreshing new breed that takes an unprecedented interest in the
basics of life."
The strip was declared second in a list of
the "greatest comics of the 20th century" commissioned by
The Comics Journal in 1999. Peanuts lost out to George Herriman's
Krazy Kat, a strip Schulz admired (and in fact was among his biggest
inspirations), and he accepted the positioning in good grace, to the
point of agreeing with the result. In 2002 TV Guide declared Snoopy
and Charlie Brown equal 8th in their list of "Top 50 Greatest
Cartoon Characters of All Time", published to commemorate their
The December 1997 issue of The Comics
Journal featured an extensive collection of testimonials to Peanuts.
Over forty cartoonists, from mainstream newspaper cartoonists to
underground, independent comic artists, shared reflections on the
power and influence of Schulz' art. Gilbert Hernandez wrote
"Peanuts was and still is for me a revelation. It's mostly from
Peanuts where I was inspired to create the village of Palomar in Love
and Rockets. Schulz' characters, the humor, the insight... gush,
gush, gush, bow, bow, bow, grovel, grovel, grovel..." Tom Batiuk
wrote: "The influence of Charles Schulz on the craft of
cartooning is so pervasive it is almost taken for granted."
Batiuk also described the depth of emotion in Peanuts: "Just
beneath the cheerful surface were vulnerabilities and anxieties that
we all experienced, but were reluctant to acknowledge. By sharing
those feelings with us, Schulz showed us a vital aspect of our common
humanity, which is, it seems to me, the ultimate goal of great art."
2001, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors renamed the Sonoma
County Airport, located a few miles northwest of Santa Rosa,
California, the Charles M. Schulz Airport in his honor. The airport's
logo features Snoopy as the World War I Flying Ace (goggles/scarf),
taking to the skies on top of his red doghouse (the Sopwith Camel). A
bronze statue of Charlie Brown and Snoopy stands in Depot Park in
downtown Santa Rosa.
Schulz was included in the touring
exhibition "Masters of American Comics" based on his
achievements in the art form while producing the strip. His gag work
is hailed as being "psychologically complex," and his style
on the strip is noted as being "perfectly in keeping with the
style of its times."
Despite the widespread acclaim generated
by Peanuts as a whole, some critics have alleged a decline in the
strip's quality in the later years of its run, as Schulz frequently
digressed from the more cerebral socio-psychological themes that
characterized his earlier work in favor of lighter, more whimsical
fare. For example, in an essay published in the New York Press at the
time of the final daily strip in January 2000, "Against
Snoopy," Christopher Caldwell argued that the character of
Snoopy, and the strip's increased focus on him in the 1970s,
"went from being the strip's besetting artistic weakness to
ruining it altogether".
PEANUTS IN TV AND MOVIES
In addition to the strip and numerous
books, the Peanuts characters have appeared in animated form on
television numerous times. This started when the Ford Motor Company
licensed the characters in early 1959 for a series of color
television commercials for its automobiles and intros for The
Tennessee Ernie Ford Show which they sponsored. While the show ended
in 1961, the deal lasted another three years. The ads were animated
by Bill Meléndez for Playhouse Pictures, a cartoon studio that
had Ford as a client. Schulz and Meléndez became friends, and
when producer Lee Mendelson decided to make a two-minute animated
sequence for a TV documentary called A Boy Named Charlie Brown in
1963, he brought on Meléndez for the project.
Before the documentary was completed, the
three of them (with help from their sponsor, the Coca-Cola Company)
produced their first half-hour animated special, the Emmy- and
Peabody Award-winning A Charlie Brown Christmas, which was first
aired on the CBS network on December 9th, 1965. This episode is
undoubtedly the most widely recognized of all Peanuts TV specials.
This came after Coca-Cola asked Mendelson if he had a Christmas
special. He said "yes." The next day he called Schulz up
and said they were making A Charlie Brown Christmas.
The animated version of Peanuts differs in
some aspects from the strip. In the strip, adult voices are heard,
though conversations are usually only depicted from the children's
end. To translate this aspect to the animated medium, the sound of a
trombone with a solotone mute was used to simulate adult
"voices." A more significant deviation from the strip was
the treatment of Snoopy. In the strip, the dog's thoughts are
verbalized in thought balloons; in animation, he is typically mute,
his thoughts communicated through growls or laughs (voiced by Bill
Meléndez), and pantomime, or by having human characters
verbalizing his thoughts for him. These treatments have both been
abandoned temporarily in the past. For example, they experimented
with teacher dialogue in She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. The
elimination of Snoopy's "voice" is probably the most
controversial aspect of the adaptations, but Schulz apparently
approved of the treatment.
success of A Charlie Brown Christmas was the impetus for CBS to air
many more prime-time Peanuts specials over the years, beginning with
Charlie Brown's All-Stars and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
in 1966. In total, more than thirty animated specials were produced.
Until his death in 1976, jazz pianist Vince Guaraldi composed musical
scores for the specials; in particular, the piece "Linus and
Lucy" which has become popularly known as the signature theme
song of the Peanuts franchise. Schulz, Mendelson and Meléndez
also collaborated on four theatrical feature films starring the
characters, the first of which was A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969).
Most of these made use of material from Schulz' strips, which were
then adapted, although in other cases plots were developed around
areas where there were minimal strips to reference.
The 1971 TV special Play It Again, Charlie
Brown was the first time that someone other than Peter Robbins voiced
Charlie Brown which in this case was Chris Inglis. The characters
voices were slightly deeper than usual. It would be like that for the
rest of the TV specials. In 1972, the second feature film Snoopy,
Come Home was released. This was the first time that Snoopy's
thoughts were communicated to the audiences. The film's theme of loss
made it have as much sadness as any animation centering on Charlie
Brown. Snoopy and Charlie Brown's parting, Charlie Brown's inability
to cope without his friend, and Snoopy's farewell to his former owner
Lila are often pointed out as poignant moments in the history of
Peanuts. Starting with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Phil Roman would
direct the specials. It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown was the last
special produced during Vince Guaraldi's lifetime as he died two
months before this special aired. It was dedicated to him.
Ed Bogas composed the musical scores of
Peanuts movies television specials 1977 until 1989. Judy Munsen
composed the musical scores alongside Ed Bogas from 1977 until 1992.
Desirée Goyette briefly composed the musical scores on and off
during the 1980s. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown was the first
project done after Guaraldi's death. It used the same voice cast as
You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown. It's Your First Kiss, Charlie
Brown and What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown! featured Linus & Lucy
arrangement's Ed Bogas and Judy Munsen.
Starting with A Charlie Brown Celebration
Bill Melendez would direct the specials again. A Charlie Brown
Celebration, It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown, and The Charlie Brown
and Snoopy Show all had vignettes while It's Flashbeagle, Charlie
Brown, You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and Snoopy!!! The Musical
were musicals though there were two songs in Happy New Year, Charlie
Brown!. It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown was the only
special during this period in which Ed Bogas, Judy Munsen, or Desiree
Goyette weren't involved in music production with Paul Rodriquez as
the composer. The former and latter would stop scoring the specials
David Benoit redid Vince Guaraldi's
musical scores from 1992 until 2006. Since then, various composers
have composed the musical scores in more recent productions. By the
mid-1990s, the specials' popularity had begun to wane, and CBS showed
disinterest in new specials, even rejecting It's Spring Training,
Charlie Brown completely. An eight-episode TV miniseries called This
is America, Charlie Brown, for instance, was released during a
writer's strike. Also, NBC aired You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie
Brown in 1994 (the first special not to air on CBS) ten days before
Super Bowl XXVIII. Eventually, the last Peanuts specials made during
Schulz' lifetime were released direct-to-video, and no new ones were
created until after the year 2000 when ABC obtained the rights to the
three fall holiday specials. The Nickelodeon cable network re-aired a
package of most of the specials produced before 1992, as well as The
Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show and This Is America, Charlie Brown,
under the umbrella title You're on Nickelodeon, Charlie Brown between
1997 and 2001.
Eight Peanuts-based specials have been
made posthumously. Of these, three are tributes to Peanuts or other
Peanuts specials, and five are completely new specials based on
dialogue from the strips and ideas given to ABC by Schulz before his
death. He's a Bully, Charlie Brown, was telecast on ABC on November
20th, 2006, following a repeat broadcast of A Charlie Brown
Thanksgiving. Airing 43 years after the first special, the premiere
of He's a Bully, Charlie Brown was watched by nearly 10 million
viewers, winning its time slot and beating a Madonna concert special.
In the 2010 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it was announced that a
new Peanuts animated special, Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie
Brown, would debut in 2011. The special was released on DVD first, on
March 29th, 2011, and later premiered on Fox, on November 24th, 2011.
Many of the specials and feature films
have also been released on various home video formats over the years.
To date, 20 of the specials, the two films A Boy Named Charlie Brown
and Snoopy, Come Home, and the miniseries This Is America, Charlie
Brown have all been released to DVD.
In October 2007, Warner Bros. acquired the
Peanuts catalog from Paramount for an undisclosed amount of money. As
aforementioned, they now hold the worldwide distribution rights for
all Peanuts properties including over 50 television specials, these
are originally managed by Warner Bros. Television and Warner Bros.
Television Animation. Warner has made plans to develop new specials
for television as well as the direct to video market, as well as
short subjects for digital distribution, and some of these have in
fact already been released via Warner Premiere. Paramount retains the
rights to the theatrical releases, as the first two movies (A Boy
Named Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Come Home) are owned by CBS and
distributed for home video through Paramount while CTD distributes
for television, and the other two (Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
and Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!)) were handled
in-house by Paramount, with Trifecta holding TV distribution rights.
Peanuts Worldwide has partnered with
Normaal Animation and France Télévisions to produce 500
90-second animated short films, adapted from the strip Peanuts, which
aired in fall 2014, including on French television station France 3.
In October 2012, it was announced that a
3D computer-animated feature film titled The Peanuts Movie would be
released on November 6th, 2015, coinciding with the 65th anniversary
of the debut of the comic strip and the 50th anniversary of the
television special, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Written by Charles
Schulz's son, Craig, his grandson, Bryan, and Cornelius
Ulianowho are also producing the film alongside Paul Feig, it
was animated by 20th Century Fox's Blue Sky Studios, and directed by
Steve Martino, the director of Horton Hears a Who! and Ice Age:
The Peanuts characters have been featured
in many books over the years. Some represented chronological reprints
of the newspaper strip, while others were thematic collections such
as Snoopy's Tennis Book, or collections of inspirational adages such
as Happiness Is a Warm Puppy. Some single-story books were produced,
such as Snoopy and the Red Baron. In addition, many of the animated
television specials and feature films were adapted into book form.
Peanuts characters even found their way to
the live stage, appearing in the musicals You're a Good Man, Charlie
Brown and Snoopy!!! - The Musical, and in "Snoopy on Ice",
a live Ice Capades-style show aimed primarily at young children, all
of which have had several touring productions over the years. You're
a Good Man, Charlie Brown was originally a successful Off-Broadway
musical that ran for four years (19671971) in New York City and
on tour, with Gary Burghoff (who would later play Radar in M*A*S*H)
as the original Charlie Brown (below back row right). An updated
revival opened on Broadway in 1999, and by 2002 it had become the
most frequently produced musical in American theatre history. It was
also adapted for television twice, as a live-action NBC special and
an animated CBS special. Snoopy!!! The Musical was a musical comedy
based on the Peanuts comic strip, originally performed at Lamb's
Theatre Off-Broadway in 1982. In its 1983 run in London's West End,
it won an Olivier Award. In 1988, it was adapted into an animated TV
special. The New Players Theatre in London staged a revival in 2004
to honor its 21st anniversary, but some reviewers noted that its
"feel good" sentiments had not aged well.
In 1962 Columbia Records issued an album
titled Peanuts, with Kaye Ballard and Arthur Siegel performing (as
Lucy and Charlie Brown, respectively) to music composed by Fred Karlin.
Fantasy Records issued several albums
featuring Vince Guaraldi's jazz scores from the animated specials,
including Jazz Impressions of a Boy Named Charlie Brown (1964), A
Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), Oh, Good Grief! (1968), Charlie
Brown's Holiday Hits (1998), and Peanuts Portraits (2010). All were
later reissued on CD.
Columbia Records released soundtrack
albums for the films A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) and Snoopy,
Come Home (1972), although neither has been reissued on CD.
Other jazz artists have recorded
Peanuts-themed albums, often featuring cover versions of Guaraldi's
compositions. These include Ellis Marsalis, Jr. and Wynton Marsalis
(Joe Cool's Blues, 1995); George Winston (Linus & Lucy, 1996);
David Benoit (Here's to You, Charlie Brown!, 2000, and Jazz for
Peanuts, 2008); and Cyrus Chestnut (A Charlie Brown Christmas, 2000).
The 1989 GRP Records release Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown! and
the 2005 Peak Records release 40 Years: A Charlie Brown Christmas
also include interpretations of Guaraldi's themes by various smooth
jazz and blues artists.
The 1960s American rock band The Royal
Guardsmen recorded several songs about Snoopy's fantasies of flying
against the Red Baron in World War I, including the hit singles
"Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron" and "Snoopy's
Christmas." The first song was released without Schulz's
consent, and he and UFS sued successfully for royalties but allowed
the group to make future songs and even contributed album artwork for
such releases as Snoopy and His Friends.
Cast recordings (in both original and
revival productions) of the stage musicals You're a Good Man, Charlie
Brown and Snoopy!!! The Musical have been released over the years.
Numerous animated Peanuts specials were
adapted into book-and-record sets, issued on the "Charlie Brown
Records" imprint by Disney Read-Along in the 1970s and '80s.
Also issued on Charlie Brown Records, via Disneyland Records, was the
soundtrack to Flashbeagle in 1984, which featured Desiree Goyette and
Joey Scarbury (of "Theme from the Greatest American Hero"
fame) on the title track and other songs written by Ed Bogas and Goyette.
In 1992, RCA Victor released an album of
classical piano music ostensibly performed by Schroeder himself.
Titled Schroeder's Greatest Hits, the album contains solo piano works
by Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and others, performed by John Miller,
Ronnie Zito, Ken Bichel, and Nelly Kokinos.
In 1983, Knott's Berry Farm, in Southern
California, was the first theme park to license the Peanuts
characters, creating the first Camp Snoopy area and making Snoopy the
park's mascot. Snoopy is also the official mascot of all the Cedar
Fair parks and operated a Camp Snoopy area at Dorney Park &
Wildwater Kingdom, Worlds of Fun, and Valleyfair. Snoopy and
Peanuts-themed attractions have also been featured at California's
Great America, Canada's Wonderland, Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Kings
Island and Valleyfair. The Peanuts characters can also be found at
Universal Studios Japan in the Universal Wonderland section along
with the characters from Sesame Street and Hello Kitty.
the years, the Peanuts characters have appeared in ads for Dolly
Madison snack cakes, Chex Mix, Bounty, Cheerios, A&W Root Beer,
Kraft Foods, and Ford automobiles. In 1994, Pig-Pen appeared in a
memorable spot for Regina vacuum cleaners. The characters (mostly
Snoopy) served as spokespeople in print and television advertisements
for the MetLife insurance company for 31 years.
The characters have been featured on
Hallmark Cards since 1960, and can be found adorning clothing,
figurines, plush dolls, flags, balloons, posters, Christmas
ornaments, and countless other bits of licensed merchandise.
In East Asia, RM Licensing has licensed
the Peanuts characters for fashion stores, children's apparel, and
restaurants including Charlie Brown Cafe, a Hong Kong-based fast
casual restaurant chain. There is also a Charlie Brown Cafe, themed
with Peanuts characters, in Hongdae, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea. The
Peanuts characters have been licensed to Universal Studios Japan
(while Peanuts merchandise in Japan has been licensed by Sanrio, best
known for Hello Kitty).
The Apollo 10 lunar module was nicknamed
"Snoopy" and the command module "Charlie Brown".
While not included in the official mission logo, Charlie Brown and
Snoopy became semi-official mascots for the mission. Charles Schulz
drew an original picture of Charlie Brown in a spacesuit that was
hidden aboard the craft to be found by the astronauts once they were
in orbit. This drawing is now on display at the Kennedy Space Center.
Snoopy's connection with NASA actually
began before Apollo 10. In 1968, NASA chose the beagle as an icon who
would "emphasize mission success and act as a 'watchdog' for
Established that same year, the agency's
"Silver Snoopy Award" is considered the astronauts personal
award, given for outstanding efforts that contribute to the success
of human space flight missions. Award winners receive a sterling
silver Snoopy lapel pin flown in space, along with a certificate and
letter of appreciation from NASA astronauts. Fewer than 1% of the
workforce is recognized with a Silver Snoopy annually, making it one
of the most prized awards in the industry.
Giant helium balloons of Charlie Brown and
Snoopy have long been a feature in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day
Parade in New York City. Snoopy first appeared in 1968 as the World
War I Flying Ace (below left, below right is Snoopy at the parade in 2014).
Peanuts on Parade is St. Paul, Minnesota's
tribute to Peanuts. It began in 2000, with the placing of 101
5-foot-tall (1.5 m) statues of Snoopy throughout the city of Saint
Paul. The statues were later auctioned at the Mall of America in
Bloomington, Minnesota. In 2001, there was "Charlie Brown Around
Town", 2002 brought "Looking for Lucy", and in 2003,
"Linus Blankets Saint Paul". Permanent bronze statues of
the Peanuts characters are found in Landmark Plaza in downtown Saint Paul.
A Peanuts World War I Flying Ace U.S.
commemorative postage stamp was released on May 17, 2001. The value
was 34 cents, First Class.
The Peanuts characters have appeared in
various video games, a special edition of the Funk & Wagnalls
children's encyclopedia called the Charlie Brown's 'Cyclopedia and
The Peanuts Collectors Edition Monopoly board game, released by
USAopoly. The game was created by Justin Gage, a prolific collector
and friend of Charles and Jeannie Schulz. The game was dedicated to
Schulz in memory of his passing.
Ol' Charlie Brown
Brown is the central protagonist of Peanuts. Depicted as a
"lovable loser," Charlie Brown is one of the great American
archetypes and a popular and widely recognized cartoon character
depicted as a person who frequently suffers, and as a result is
usually nervous and lacks self-confidence. He shows both pessimistic
and optimistic attitudes: on some days, he is reluctant to go out
because his day might just be spoiled, but on others, he hopes for
the best and tries as much as he can to accomplish things.
The character's creator, Charles M.
Schulz, has said of the character that he must be the one who suffers
because he is a caricature of the average person. Most of us are much
more acquainted with losing than winning." Despite this, Charlie
Brown does not always suffer, as he has experienced some happy
moments and victories through the years, and he has sometimes
uncharacteristically shown self-assertiveness despite his frequent nervousness.
Lee Mendelson, producer of the majority of
the Peanuts television specials, has said of Charlie Brown that,
"He was, and is, the ultimate survivor in overcoming bulliness,
Lucy or otherwise." Initially Charlie Brown suggests he lives in
an apartment with his grandmother occupying the one above his; a few
years into the strip, he moves to a house with a back yard.
name was first used on May 30th, 1948, in an early Schulz comic
strip called Li'l Folks in which one boy has buried another in a
sandbox and then denies that he has seen the other boy ("Charlie
Brown") when asked. He made his official debut in the first
Peanuts comic strip, on October 2nd, 1950. During the strip's early
years, Charlie Brown was much more playful than he is known today,
and often played pranks and jokes on the other characters. On
December 21st of the same year, his signature zig-zag T-shirt
appeared; formerly, he only wore a plain one. On the March 6th, 1951,
strip, Charlie Brown first appears to play baseball, as he was
warming up before telling Shermy that they can start the game;
however, he was the catcher, not yet the pitcher.
Charlie Brown is the manager and pitcher
of a baseball team which frequently loses. His entire team is not
skilled, especially his right fielder Lucy van Pelt, who is the worst
baseball player in the entire Peanuts universe. Charlie Brown's dog
Snoopy, who is his shortstop, is purported to be his best player, his
best friend Linus was his second baseman, and his next closest friend
Schroeder. Charlie Brown is often hit by a line drive back through
the box on the same ball he pitched, resulting in him being stripped
of all his clothes with the exception of his shorts, a literal
example of being "undressed" by a hard hit ball. Despite
the fact that his team almost always loses, usually with no runs
scored, he remained determined and acted as an ambitious commander of
a team of players who often appeared to be uncooperative; aside from
this, none of the other players seem to share his determination.
While the team frequently loses, it has some wins. While terrible
misfortune has placed some of Charlie Brown's team's wins when
Charlie Brown is not playing, there are times in which Charlie Brown
has heroically led his team to a championship.
Brown's relationships with other Peanuts characters initially
differed significantly before they reached their more established
forms. An example is his relationship with Violet Gray, to whom he
was introduced to on the February 7th, 1951, strip. The two
constantly remained on fairly good terms, a bit different from their
On the August 16th, 1951, strip, she
called Charlie Brown a "blockhead", and that is the first
time Charlie Brown was referred by that insult. November 14th of that
year, Charlie Brown is first unable to kick a football, and Violet is
responsible after letting go of the ball for fear of her hand being kicked.
Charlie Brown is introduced to Schroeder
on May 30th, 1951. As Schroeder is still a baby, Charlie Brown cannot
converse with him. On June 1st of the same year, Charlie Brown stated
that he felt like a father to Schroeder; in fact, for quite some
time, he sometimes acted like a father to him, trying to teach him
words and reading stories to him, and on September 24th of that year,
he taught Schroeder how to play the piano, thus allowing Schroeder to
become the piano prodigy he is known by Peanuts readers today. Then
on that year's October 10th strip, he told Schroeder the story of
Beethoven and set the piano player's obsession with the composer.
Charlie Brown placed the Beethoven bust on Schroeder's piano on
November 26th, 1951. Schroeder aged rapidly over time, catching up to
Charlie Brown in age, and Charlie Brown became less like a father
figure and more like a close friend to Schroeder. Charlie Brown had
Schroeder become his catcher for the first time on the April 12th,
1952, strip. Around this point, their final relationship has pretty
much been established.
Charlie Brown made his appearance on the
first Sunday Peanuts strip on January 6th 1952 and is first seen
interacting with the character Lucy van Pelt on March 3 of that year.
He was on better terms with her than later in the strip, as they
often made fun of each other out of mere playfulness. The November
16th, 1952, strip is the first strip in which Charlie Brown was
prevented by Lucy from kicking a football; on this strip she pulls it
away because she fears that Charlie Brown will get her new football
dirty, and then on the same strip, she holds it too tightly, so
Charlie Brown is unable to kick it for a second time.
Charlie Brown first began flying a kite on
the April 25th, 1952, strip. Another one of Charlie Brown's
characteristics is his inability to fly a kite. Almost every attempt
to fly a kite resulted in failure, usually due to his nemesis, the
Kite-Eating Tree and his lack of skills was often commented on by
other characters, most often Lucy. On the March 78th, 1958
strips, Charlie Brown got his kite to fly into the air, but it
spontaneously combusted, making his victory worthless.
Charlie Brown is first seen with Linus on
the September 19th, 1952. Charlie Brown was unable to talk to him
because he was introduced as an infant. Similar to Schroeder, Linus
caught up to Charlie Brown in age and settled as being slightly
younger than him., and on the January 18th, 1956, Linus befriended
Charlie Brown, and eventually he would become Charlie Brown's best
friend as their current relationship was established.
was on September 1st, 1958, that Charlie Brown's father was formally
revealed to be a barber (after earlier instances in the strip that
linked Charlie Brown to barbers by implication.)
Charlie Brown's traits and the events he
underwent are inspired by those of Schulz, who admitted in interviews
that he'd often felt shy and withdrawn in his life. In an interview
with Charlie Rose in May 1997, Schulz observed: "I suppose
theres a melancholy feeling in a lot of cartoonists, because
cartooning, like all other humor, comes from bad things
happening." Furthermore, both Charlie Brown's and Schulz's
fathers were barbers and their mothers housewives. Charlie Brown's
friends, such as Linus and Shermy, were named after good friends of
Schulz, and Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, one of
Schulz's cousins on his mother's side. Schulz devised the character's
name when he saw peppermint candies in his house. Even Charlie
Brown's unrequited love for the Little red-haired girl was inspired
by Schulz's own love for Donna Mae Johnson, an Art Instruction Inc.
accountant; When Schulz finally proposed to her in June 1950, shortly
after he'd made his first contract with his syndicate, she turned him
down and married another man.
Charlie Brown's general love interest was
dubbed "The Little Red-Haired Girl", as he didn't know her
name and had never even talked to her. Charlie Brown liked to watch
the little Red-Haired girl but hid from her sight because he is too
shy to let her see him. She was usually not shown, being outside the
panel, and her only actual appearance was silhouetted. Charlie Brown
did fall in love with Peggy Jean, a girl first featured in the July
23rd, 1990 strip. Most of the other girls call him
"wishy-washy"; however, the characters Peppermint Patty and
Marcie were both infatuated towards him. Peppermint Patty had
delusions that Charlie Brown liked her, though Charlie Brown
considered her as only a friend. Her delusions show when she asks
Charlie Brown on a Sunday Strip: "You kind of like me, don't
you, Chuck?"; her saying on another Sunday strip that Charlie
Brown "doesn't even understand who he likes"; her sending a
Valentine to Charlie Brown that said: "I know you like me."
Marcie, on the other hand, was usually too shy to admit her feelings.
is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Since his debut on October 4th, 1950,
Snoopy has become one of the most recognizable and iconic characters
in the world. The original drawings of Snoopy were inspired by Spike,
one of Schulz's childhood dogs.
Snoopy was originally named
"Sniffy," but the name was already being used in a
different comic strip. Schulz apparently remembered that his deceased
mother, Dena Schulz, had said if the family had ever gotten another
dog, it'd be named Snoopy.
Snoopy is a loyal, innocent, imaginative
and good-natured beagle who is prone to imagining fantasy lives,
including being an author, a college student known as "Joe
Cool" and a World War I Royal Flying Corps ace. He is perhaps
best known in this last alternate persona, wearing an aviator's
helmet and goggles and a scarf while carrying a swagger stick.
All of his fantasies have a similar
formula: Snoopy pretends to be something, usually "world
famous", and fails. His short "novels" are never
published, and his Sopwith Camel is consistently shot down by his
imaginary enemy, the Red Baron. Schulz said of Snoopy's character in
a 1997 interview: "He has to retreat into his fanciful world in
order to survive. Otherwise, he leads kind of a dull, miserable life.
I don't envy dogs the lives they have to live."
Snoopy can be selfish and/or lazy at
times, and had his share of moments where he is mocking his owner,
Charlie Brown, but through it all, he has shown great love, care, and
loyalty for his owner (even though he can't even remember his name
and always refers to him as "The Round-Headed Kid").
Snoopy imagines himself to speak, but
never actually does; much like with real life animals, the human
characters are unaware of his musings. Though very rarely, he talks,
but usually to himself. His (very articulate) thoughts are shown in
thought balloons. In the animated Peanuts films and television
specials, Snoopy's thoughts are not verbalized; his moods are instead
conveyed through growls, sobs, laughter, and monosyllabic utterances
such as "bleah" or "hey" as well as through
pantomime. The only exceptions are in the animated adaptions of the
musicals You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Snoopy!!! The Musical
in which Snoopy's thoughts are verbalized by Robert Towers and
Cameron Clarke respectively. (His dialogue, however, is not
"heard" by the other characters except Woodstock and other non-human
doghouse defies physics and is shown to be bigger on the inside than
the outside (like a Tardis). It is usually shown in a side view, so
you cannot see the inside, except for the May 13th, 2007 comic strip
in the second frame. It is also his "airplane" in his fantasies.
Snoopy appeared on the October 4th, 1950,
strip, two days after the first strip. He was called Snoopy for the
first time a month later, on November 10th. On March 16th, 1952, his
thoughts were first shown in a thought balloon. Snoopy first appeared
upright on his hind legs on January 9th, 1956, when he was shown
ice-skating across a frozen lake.
In early Peanuts strips, Charlie Brown was
not Snoopy's owner (as seen in the February 2nd, 1951, strip), and it
was initially not clear who his owner actually was. The September
29th, 1951 strip implied that Snoopy was owned by Shermy. Charlie
Brown was first portrayed as being responsible for Snoopy in the
strips of November 1st and 3rd, 1955; it was not until September 1st,
1958 that Snoopy was specifically said to be Charlie Brown's dog.
Snoopy frequently tries to kiss Lucy on
the cheek and/or nose, which Lucy, who is afraid of dog germs,
thoroughly hates. These actions occasionally result in Lucy hurting
Snoopy. Despite their rivalry toward each other, each seems to care
for the other: in Snoopy, Come Home, Lucy is sad to see him go and is
(momentarily) glad when he comes back home. In some strips, Lucy goes
to Snoopy for help, such as in the April 16th, 1961 strip, wherein a
jealous Lucy and Frieda are beating each other up at Schroeder's
piano, Lucy ends up winning, and shakes hands with Snoopy in the end,
looking slightly injured. Snoopy also commandeers Lucy's psychiatric
booth either in her absence or when she ends up being the one needing help.
Snoopy often tries to steal Linus'
blanket, leading to slapstick fights which Snoopy often wins.
Snoopy was often stated to have seven
siblings. Five appeared at various times in the strip: four brothers,
Andy, Marbles, Olaf, and Spike; and one sister, Belle. The two others
were never mentioned by name in the comic strip. According to the
1991 TV special Snoopy's Reunion, their names are Molly and Rover;
however, their appearance is not considered canonical in the comic
strip. In the June 6th, 1959 comic strip, following the birth of
Charlie Brown's sister Sally, Snoopy remarks that he has no brothers
or sisters, and is an "only dog." However, in a March 18th,
1971 strip, Snoopy writes in his autobiography: "I was born one
bright Spring morning at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. I was one of
Their mother is called Missy, but has
appeared only once in Peanuts, on July 26th, 1996. A t-shirt that was
sold for several years at Target and other stores shows Spike, Andy,
Snoopy, Marbles and Olaf in a parody of the famous dogs playing poker
print, despite the advertising copy which misidentified the
characters. Snoopy's father, Baxter, is said to have lived in
Florida, and he wears glasses and has a mustache. Snoopy's mother
looks like a female version of Snoopy (similar to Belle and Molly).
Andy, Marbles, Olaf, Spike, and Belle appear briefly in during the
credits of The Peanuts Movie.
Spike (below top left) appeared most
frequently in the strip. His appearance is similar to that of Snoopy,
but he is substantially thinner, has a perpetually sleepy look, and
sports a long, droopy mustache and a fedora. He sometimes wears
Mickey Mouse shoes which were a gift from Mickey Mouse. He is called
Snoopy's older brother during the first story in which he appears.
Spike lives alone in a cactus, in the middle of the desert near
Needles, California, only occasionally interacting with the principal
characters in the strip, generally in visiting Snoopy. When he was
introduced to the strip, it was revealed that Spike's exceptionally
low weight was because he had been living with coyotes. A large
statue of Spike resides in a Subway restaurant in Needles.
and Olaf live together on a farm. Andy is distinguished by his
shaggy coat, but otherwise looks like Snoopy. Olaf does not bear much
resemblance to Snoopy and is pretty chubby compared to his other
siblings. He also wears a hunting cap. Olaf now has taken residence
in Orange, California and works as a maintenance manager in a
department store. Olaf also says his favorite book is still "Joe
Bunny", which he has owned since puppyhood.
Olaf is first seen during a series on
January 19th, 1989, in which he visits Snoopy. During this sequence,
Lucy enters Olaf in an "ugly dog" contest, which he wins
(much to his disappointment). He He appears again in 1994 (beginning
February 14th), where he, Andy, and Spike visit Snoopy, who is in the
hospital. After Snoopy gets better, the three brothers leave without
saying good-bye. This is the first appearance of Andy in the strip.
After that, Olaf and Andy are shown four times in 1994. They are
sitting against a barn, contemplating what direction their lives
should go in. They appear sporadically after that. Olaf usually plays
the jug, and Andy has a full drum set, but is rather clumsy when
carrying it and drops it from time to time.
Andy and Olaf spent some time traveling to
Needles to live with Spike. However, after "two right turns and
twenty-three wrong ones" they eventually ended up back at
Snoopy's doghouse. After a brief stay and failure to become Rerun's
dogs, they continued to wander around and were considering buying
banjos in their last appearance on September 27th, 1999. Notably,
Andy is the only Peanuts character to have originated in animation
before appearing in the strip: his animated debut was the 1991 TV
special Snoopy's Reunion. Andy is based on a wire-haired fox terrier
(also named Andy) that Schulz owned from October 1988 to March 1994.
Both Olaf and Andy made their second animated appearance in I Want a
Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown via a flashback scene.
Belle (above bottom left) is Snoopy's
sister. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her teenage son,
whom Snoopy noted as resembling the Pink Panther. She is known for
making bows. Once she made a bow which looked like the British flag.
She also wore a beret in the Snoopy and his Siblings episode, "Ma
Cherie: The Trip to Paris". Belle herself resembles her
brother, but with longer eyelashes. In addition, she wears a lace
collar. Sometimes, she wears a pearl necklace an similar to Spike,
Belle also plays the violin.
Belle only made a few appearances in the
strip, but is remembered because of the Belle stuffed animal toys
sold in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many people who were not
regular readers of the comic strip mistakenly thought that she was
Snoopy's girlfriend, rather than his sister. In Snoopy's World War I
fantasies, Belle is a nurse.
sister made her first appearance in the comic strip on June 28th,
1976, though she was mentioned by Snoopy earlier on June 22nd, 1976.
Belle also appeared briefly in the opening sequence of The Charlie
Brown and Snoopy Show. While she was mentioned in the lyrics to the
opening theme song, Belle never made an appearance in the cartoon
series. Belle's only animated special was 1991's Snoopy's Reunion.
Also she was mentioned, but not seen, in 2003's I Want a Dog for
Christmas, Charlie Brown.
In 1984, Snoopy and Belle inspired fashion
designers around the world, including Lagerfeld, Armani, and de la
Renta to create one-of-a-kind outfits in their honor. Both beagles
modeled for the "Snoopy in Fashion" exhibition held that
year in Japan.
Marbles, reputedly the smartest of the
siblings, is a spotted beagle whose few appearances in the comic
strip were in 1982 from September 30th to October 9th. Unlike
Snoopy's siblings Spike and Belle, he does not share in Snoopy's
fantasy World War I scenery, seeing Snoopy's Sopwith Camel as his
doghouse, an "ambulance" as a shopping cart, etc. while
commenting that "...he [Snoopy] was always the quiet one in the
family." He was also seen to wear jogging shoes.
He also appeared in the 1991 animated
feature Snoopy's Reunion, and in a flashback from I Want a Dog for
Christmas, Charlie Brown, when Charlie Brown was talking to Rerun
about Snoopy's siblings. Marbles plays the banjo.
The two other siblings, Molly and Rover,
appeared in the 1991 TV special Snoopy's Reunion; however, Schulz
never depicted or named these characters in the comic strip, so these
names are not considered to be canonical. In the television show,
these two siblings play the dobro and the mandolin. Molly is shown to
be pampered because she has her own makeup.
Schulz attended Central High School in St.
Paul, Minnesota, where he failed Latin, English, algebra and physics.
In 1975, looking back at his time in school, Schulz said, "It
was not until I became a senior that I earned any respectable grades
at all." Although Ripley's Believe It or Not! accepted a drawing
of a dog from Schulz when he was just 15 (his first published
drawing), the yearbook committee at Central didn't see Schulz's work
as a good fit for its publication. Now Central High School has an
educationally themed 5-foot statue called "Scholar Snoopy."
the early 1960s, Snoopy began befriending birds when they started
using his doghouse for various occasions: a rest stop during
migrations, a nesting site, a community hall, or a place to play
cards. None of these birds were ever given names, although they did,
on occasion use speech balloons, lettered in what would become the
classic 'chicken scratch marks' of Woodstock's utterances. What set
Woodstock apart from all these earlier birds was the fact that he
attached himself to Snoopy and assumed the role of Snoopy's sidekick
and assistant. There had been no recurring relationships between
Snoopy and the earlier birds who visited the yard of the Browns, and
Snoopy was as often as not more hostile than friendly toward those birds.
In the Peanuts daily comic strip on the
March 3rd, 1966, a mother bird flew in while Snoopy was lying on top
of his dog house. She chose Snoopy's stomach as a good place to make
her nest, and Snoopy says "Why does this always happen to
me?" She then lays two eggs and flies away, leaving Snoopy alone
with the nest. Two babies hatch, and one of them becomes Woodstock.
Schulz began to establish character traits for Snoopy's new friend by
revealing that he could talk (more accurately that he could complain,
in the form of repetitive sounds in word form, "gripe, gripe,
gripe, gripe", "complain, complain, ..."), that,
unlike normal birds, he didn't like to fly south every winter, and
that his flying skills were not quite up to snuff (he flutters around
in an erratic fashion, often upside down, and frequently crashes into
things). By the end of this four-strip sequence, Snoopy, in character
as the World War I Flying Ace, learns that the bird is his new
mechanic, Woodstock's first supporting role.
After this introduction, the unnamed
Woodstock is seen with Snoopy on occasion, and other birds continue
to appear as they had for years. But Woodstock is singled out as the
bird who befriended Snoopy. On April 25th, 1968, the most important
aspect of Woodstock's relationship with Snoopy is made clear: Snoopy
first refers to this bird as his buddy. This identification was more
than enough for readers to know, if they hadn't already figured it
out, that this little bird, name or no name, had assumed the role of
a regular character in the Peanuts cast. Schulz did not give him a
name until June 22nd, 1970. Schulz acknowledged in several print and
TV interviews in the mid-1970s that he took Woodstocks name
from the rock festival. (The festivals logo shows a bird
perched on a guitar.)
only non-bird character who can understand Woodstocks speech
is Snoopy. When depicted in the comic strip, his speech is rendered
almost entirely in "chicken scratch" marks, with Snoopy's
either directly translating or allowing the reader to deduce
Woodstock's meaning in the context of Snoopy's replies.
Woodstock and his fellow yellow birds
(named Bill, Harriet, Olivier, Raymond, Fred, Roy, and Conrad) often
join Snoopy for group activities, with Snoopy as the 'de facto
leader. Most frequently they embark on Beagle Scout expeditions with
Snoopy as Scoutmaster - or as a patrol of the French Foreign Legion
on their march for Fort Zinderneuf, led by Snoopy as their sergeant.
They also have formed football and ice hockey teams (on one occasion
a football team composed of Snoopy and the birds defeated a human
football team led by Peppermint Patty). The birds and Snoopy
occasionally are shown playing bridge. Although all but Raymond (who
is darker) look alike, Snoopy seems to be able to tell them apart.
At one point Snoopy attempts to identify
what type of bird Woodstock is with the aid of a field guide, asking
Woodstock to attempt to imitate various birds: crow, American
bittern, Carolina wren, rufous-sided towhee, yellow-billed cuckoo,
Canada goose, warbler and mourning warbler. Snoopy finally gives up
trying to figure it out, and says, "For all I know, you're a
duck!" Woodstock then cries and Snoopy hugs him and apologizes.
"Lucy" van Pelt is the older sister of Linus and Rerun.
Lucy is characterized as a "fussbudget", crabby, bossy and
opinionated girl who bullies other characters in the strip,
particularly Linus and Charlie Brown. While she is not exactly
cold-hearted, and technically one of the main protagonists of the
series, she can be quite antagonistic, often playing the villain role
in a number of stories. She is also characterized as vain, as she
believes she is beautiful and thinks she is perfect (though she once
admitted complaining is the only thing she can do.
Christopher Caldwell has said about the
character: "Lucy is no 'fussbudget.' She's an American
nightmare, a combination of zero brains, infinite appetites and
infinite self-esteem, who is (for that reason) able to run roughshod
over all her playmates. At her best, she is the most terrifying
character in the history of comics [strips]."
she often bullies and makes fun of characters like Charlie Brown, he
still thinks of Lucy as a good friend and deep down, Lucy does have a
fondness of him, with a couple of times that she said that "he's
full of surprises." She has a strong unrequited crush on
Schroeder. Lucy also operates a psychiatric booth, parodying the
lemonade stand operated by many young children in the United States.
Here, she offers advice and psychoanalysis for five cents to the
other characters in the strip, most frequently an anxious Charlie
Brown; this "advice" is usually completely useless and nonsensical.
The third new character in Peanuts after
Violet and Schroeder, Lucy made her debut on March 3rd, 1952. She was
originally a goggle-eyed toddler who continually annoys her parents
and the older kids, but aged up over the next two years so that by
1954, she was the same age as Charlie Brown (the early strips with
toddler-age Lucy were not reprinted until after Charles Schulzs
death). Schulz then altered Lucy's eyes to have the same appearance
as that of the other characters, except for small extra lines around
them which were also sported by her two siblings.
Lucy has short, black hair and wears a
blue dress with blue socks and saddle shoes until the 1970s when
Schulz began showing the strip's female characters in pants and
shirts in order to keep their outfits more contemporary. By the late
1980s, she had switched to this look permanently.
Lucy was named after Louanne van Pelt, a
former neighbor of Charles Schulz in Colorado Springs and, according
to David Michaelis of Time Magazine, was modeled after Schulz's first
LINUS VAN PELT
van Pelt is the best friend of Charlie Brown and the younger brother
of Lucy van Pelt and older brother of Rerun van Pelt. He first
appeared on September 19th, 1952, but was not mentioned by name until
three days later. He was first referred to two months earlier, on
July 14th. Linus spoke his first words in 1954, the same year he was
first shown with his security blanket.
The character's creator, Charles M.
Schulz, has said of the character, "Linus, my serious side, is
the house intellectual, bright, well-informed which, I suppose may
contribute to his feelings of insecurity."
Though young, Linus is very intelligent
and very wise and acts as the strip's philosopher and theologian,
often quoting the Gospels. Juvenile aspects of his character are also
displayed; for example, Linus is almost always depicted holding his
blue security blanket, or which he is often mocked by other
characters, and often sucks his thumb. In the earlier strips, Linus's
relationship to his blanket was one of intense emotional attachment
to the point of manifesting physical symptoms if he was deprived of
it even for a short while. He suffered weakness and dizziness, for
example, when Lucy took it from him only long enough to have it
laundered, spontaneously recovering when it was restored to him.
He invented his own legendary being, the
Great Pumpkin, who, Linus claims, appears every Halloween at the most
"sincere" pumpkin patch, bearing gifts. Linus is the only
person who believes in the Great Pumpkin, although he occasionally
temporarily convinces other characters the Great Pumpkin is real,
only to stubbornly maintain his faith when they lose theirs. On one
occasion, Linus had a commanding lead in the polls for school
president, until he brought up the subject of the Great Pumpkin, at
which point he was nearly laughed out of the election. (He ended up
winning anyway by one vote, cast by his opponent, who decided that
Linus would make a better school president.) A similar occurrence was
featured in a strip with the same storyline; Charlie Brown asks him
why he had to bring up the Great Pumpkin and Linus gives his reasons.
After Linus says that Charlie Brown is looking at him as if he was
crazy, Charlie Brown responds, "I'm looking at you like I
could've been vice president!"
Linus has brown hair and normally wears a
red shirt with stripes on it, black shorts, and tennis shoes. On
February 5th, 1962, Linus began wearing eyeglasses after being
diagnosed with myopia, but after the Sunday strip of September 9th,
1962, the glasses were not seen again. In an earlier strip of July
17th, 1962, Linus had told Charlie Brown that his ophthalmologist
said he may not have to wear his glasses all the time: thus
explaining their eventual disappearance.
Linus is Charlie Brown's best friend.
Linus is sympathetic towards Charlie Brown, and often gives him
advice after listening to Charlie Brown's various insecurities.
Similarly, Charlie Brown generally observes Linus's faults, such as
his undying faith in the Great Pumpkin, his dependence on his
security blanket, or any of his other odd quirks. They are also
together in an allegiance over a common enemy: Lucy, who harasses and
bullies Charlie Brown as much as she does Linus. The two are often
seen having discussions while sitting on a street curb or leaning up
against the brick wall. At some point in the strip, Linus begins to
appear sitting behind Charlie Brown in school, despite being a year younger.
generally plays second base on Charlie Brown's baseball team, but
has substituted as pitcher for Charlie Brown when the latter has been
unable to pitch. On these occasions, Linus's skill has served to
propel the team onto an uncharacteristic winning streak.
Upon the introduction of Charlie Brown's
little sister, Sally Brown, in 1959, Linus had the desire to marry
her. However, as the strip progressed, he outgrew this idea, while
Sally on the other hand fell in love with Linus, calling him her
"Sweet Babboo", much to his displeasure. Linus in turn has
an innocent crush on his school teacher, Miss Othmar (later Mrs.
Hagemeyer). In some of the later 1990s strips he developed an
interest in Lydia, the girl who sits behind him, who keeps changing
her name and, as Linus is two months older than she asks him,
"Aren't you kind of old for me?" (This is a subtle
reference to cartoonist Schulz and his own second wife, who was
twenty years younger than him). It was also Linus who first
introduced Frieda, as "...a sort of a friend of mine" who
sat behind him in school. He also fell for several different girls in
various animated television specials, as well as a girl called
Truffles, whom he and Snoopy met while looking for the fungi bearing
Linus is often bullied by his older sister
Lucy, to which he responds by either giving in or taking revenge. He
often defuses and defeats Lucy's bullying through passive resistance
and clever use of his intellect, either logically talking Lucy out of
hitting him or confusing her into submission. Later in the strip, the
pair got a younger brother, Rerun, who looks nearly identical to
Linus, though smaller. Coincidentally, this occurred at the same time
Lucy kicked Linus out of the house, leading her to cry in dismay:
"A new baby brother? But I just got rid of the old one!"
is distinguished by his precocious skill at playing the toy piano,
as well as by his love of classical music and the composer Ludwig van
Beethoven in particular. Schroeder is also the catcher on Charlie
Brown's baseball team, though he is always seen walking back to the
mound with the baseball, never throwing it, admitting in one strip he
did not want the other team to discover his lack of ability. He is
also the object of the unrequited infatuation of Lucy van Pelt, who
constantly leans on Schroeder's piano, much to Schroeder's annoyance.
Charlie Brown, Frieda and Snoopy are also occasionally depicted as
leaning on Schroeder's piano.
After Linus and Snoopy, Schroeder is
probably Charlie Brown's closest friend; he once angrily berated
Violet for giving Charlie Brown a used valentine well after
Valentine's Day had come and gone, only to be undercut when Charlie
Brown eagerly accepted it. Schroeder also joined Linus in dressing
down the girls (Lucy, Patty, Violet and Frieda) and Snoopy in Charlie
Brown's All-Stars, when it was discovered Charlie Brown would not
sacrifice the girls and Snoopy just to get uniforms for the baseball
team. He also is one of the few players who has any respect for
Charlie Brown as a manager.
Schroeder was voted an honorary member of
the Epsilon Iota chapter at Florida State University of Phi Mu Alpha
Sinfonia music fraternity, the oldest and largest music fraternity in
the world. A stained glass window in New York's Buffalo Westminster
Presbyterian Church honoring Albert Schweitzer has a corner showing
him playing his toy piano. In honor of Schroeder's passion for
Beethoven, the Charles M. Schulz Museum (Santa Rosa) and the Ira F.
Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies announced the launching in
December 2009 of a permanent online exhibit of 60 of the 300 Schulz's
cartoons that involve Schroeder and Beethoven.
Schroeder's other distinguishing mark as a
character is his constant refusal of Lucy's love. Lucy is infatuated
with Schroeder, and frequently lounges against his piano while he is
playing, professing her love for him. However, Beethoven was a
lifelong bachelor, and Schroeder feels he must emulate every aspect
of his idol's life, even if it is insinuated that he reciprocates
Lucy's feelings. But that doesn't stop Lucy who regularly vexes and
perplexes Schroeder with speculations about what their lives would be
like if they were married.
For the most part, Schroeder and Charlie
Brown were the best of friends, with the exception of one argument
from the mid-1950s when the two were fighting over who was greater:
Beethoven or Davy Crockett.
Brown is the younger sister of Charlie Brown and was first mentioned
in early 1959 and throughout a long series of strips before her first
appearance in August 1959. Sally can be a somewhat complex character.
On one hand, she is good-hearted, sweet, and innocent. However, on
the other, she can be lazy, naive, slow, obsessive, greedy, insecure,
and sometimes even self-centered and manipulative.
Sally has a "take it easy"
approach to life, preferring to slide by while doing as little work
as possible. Her favorite pastime is sitting in her beanbag chair
watching TV. Sally has a good heart and a strong moral sense; like
her older brother she is extremely sensitive to the unfairness of
life. Charlie Brown usually goes to Lucy in her psychiatric booth
when he is feeling depressed, but Sally prefers to confide her
troubles to the school building, which is very protective of her and
will drop a brick on anyone who does not treat her nicely.
Sally has a lot of trouble in school. For
one thing, she has a problem with malapropisms, both in speech and
writing. For example, she says "violins broke out" rather
than "violence broke out," or "controversial
French" instead of "conversational French". One of the
strip's running jokes is the unintentionally humorous school reports
she gives at the front of the class, which are frequently inspired by
malapropisms and end with her feeling humiliated as all of her
classmates laugh at her. Some of the more memorable reports she has
given over the years include "Santa and His Rain Gear,"
"Footbidextrousers" people, and "The Bronchitis"
(a dinosaur which supposedly became extinct from coughing too much),
and her report on the oceans of the world, in which she reported that
there are no oceans in individual landlocked states in the U.S. She
often struggles with homework despite Charlie Brown's patient efforts
to help her, and she has a particular dislike for math, which she
largely finds both intimidating and incomprehensible. However, she
has expressed interest in becoming a nurse once she becomes an adult,
although this is due to her interest in wearing white shoes, as
opposed to the job itself.
Sally also can be very naive. In one
strip, she thinks her family is famous, because their name appears in
the telephone book. Another time, she is watching TV and wonders why
Monday Night Football is not on. When Charlie Brown tells her the day
is Wednesday, she says "That's no excuse".
Unlike most of the Peanuts gang, Sally
does not seem to have much interest in playing sports. On the rare
occasions when she does play, it is usually because Linus invites
her. She is one of the few children in the neighborhood who has never
played on Charlie Brown's baseball team, and her attempts to play
catch with a football usually lead to comic results. She joins a
"snow league" in a series of strips from November and
December 1973 in which the local adults turn snowman building into an
organized sport, but her team is not very good. They lose one match
when the referee penalizes them for "improper mittens," and
lose another because their snowman is offside.
Being Charlie Brown's sister, she refers
to him as "big brother", having called him by his full name
only on very rare occasions. Sally was born on May 26th, 1959, with
Charlie Brown receiving a telephone call from the hospital and
dashing out of the house yelling that he had a new baby sister. She
was given the name "Sally" on June 2nd, 1959. Although
Sally was often talked about and was the cause for a celebration that
included Charlie Brown passing out chocolate cigars, it was not until
August 23rd, 1959 that she finally made her first appearance in the
strip. Charlie Brown doted on her in the beginning, and was usually
very patient with her. Yet Sally has never developed proper respect
for her big brother, and invariably ends up disappointed in him when
he fails to protect her from being teased or threatened by bullies.
However, Sally constantly relies on Charlie Brown to help her with
her homework, which usually results in his doing her assignments for
her. Sally often annoys Charlie Brown and regularly complains to him.
She obviously thinks that Charlie Brown has a better bedroom than she
does because she often tries to take it over from him. However, deep
down Sally loves her big brother.
a baby Sally liked playing with empty baby bottles, which she used
for everything from building blocks to bowling pins, and being taken
out for walks. Like other characters, such as Linus and Schroeder
(who were also introduced to the strip as babies), Sally grew up
quickly. On August 22nd, 1960, she took her first steps, and in the
next day's strip she fell in love with Linus for the first time. Her
first day of kindergarten came on September 5th, 1962. Although the
first glimpse of her new school made her run away screaming, she had
a wonderful day once she got there. Unfortunately, her lack of
aptitude for formal education quickly became apparent, as she
nervously admitted in a later strip that she was sure they had made
her go through kindergarten again because she had failed flower-bringing.
Nevertheless, she did eventually complete kindergarten and settled
in at about first or second grade age for the remainder of the
strip's run. Interestingly, it was originally Linus who expressed a
possible romantic interest in Sally. In a strip appearing shortly
after Sally's birth, Linus is seen scribbling calculations on a
fence. When Charlie Brown wanders by, Linus asks him, "When I'm
22 and Sally is 17, do you think she'll go out with me?" When
Schulz revived the joke more than a year later, though, it was Sally
who fell for Linus rather than the other way around.
In a storyline which began on November
29th, 1965, Sally was diagnosed with amblyopia ex anopisa (lazy eye)
which required her to wear an eye patch for a while. Her eye patch
often went missing because Snoopy took it to play pirates. Sally gave
Snoopy the eye patch after her ophthalmologist told her that she did
not need to wear it anymore. Some of the strips in which Sally was
diagnosed with lazy eye were later reprinted in a comic book,
Security is an Eye Patch, which was published and distributed for
free by the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.
In the later years of the strip, Sally
started developing "Philosophies" on life. They were not
the most well thought out philosophies, basically being phrases such
as, "Who cares?", "Why me?", and "How should
Lucy Van Pelt, Sally does not care that much for Snoopy and often
calls him a stupid beagle. Sally usually complains when her big
brother asks her to feed Snoopy whenever he is away from home. When
she was still an infant, Sally had a friendly and playful
relationship with Snoopy.
In one comic strip, dated August 30th,
1959, Snoopy is shown happily playing with Sally, then stating that
he liked playing with her and felt that they had something in common
because, "She's the only one around here who knows how to walk
on four feet." During this time period, Snoopy and Sally were
also seen teaming up to snatch away Linus' blanket. In later years,
Sally occasionally enlists Snoopy's help in school assignments.
Sally has a strong crush on Charlie
Brown's friend Linus Van Pelt. She calls him her "Sweet
Babboo" and when Linus says something Sally finds especially
witty or intelligent, she expresses her admiration by asking,
"Isn't he the cutest thing?" Her crush is a frequent source
of embarrassment to Linus, but he endures it stoically for the most
part, although he is sometimes driven to yell in exasperation,
"I'm not your sweet babboo!" As Schroeder does with Lucy,
Linus often attempts to fend Sally off with a sarcastic remark. Her
devotion remains unwavering no matter how vigorously he protests,
although on one occasion she treats Linus with an air of indifference
leading to jealousy on his part, much to Sally's enjoyment.
Sally was the first character to befriend
Eudora, the last major character to be introduced to the strip. Sally
first met her during a trip to summer camp in 1978. She became a
pupil in Sally's class later that year and was Sally's closest friend
for most of her run in Peanuts. But Sally does get angry at her at
times, when Eudora shows feelings towards Sally's crush, Linus.
From 1983 to 1985, a not quite 10 year old
Stacey Ferguson (aka Fergie: vocalist for the hip hop/pop group the
Black Eyed Peas, R&B singer-songwriter, and actress below left)
provided the voice of Sally Brown for two Peanuts animated TV
specials: It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (1984), and Snoopy's
Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985), in which also voices Violet.
Fergie also voiced Sally, as well as Patty, in the 1985 season of The
Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.
"Peppermint Patty" Reichardt is one of a small group in
the strip who lives across town from Charlie Brown and his school
friends (although in The Peanuts Movie she, along with Marcie and
Franklin, lives in the same neighborhood and attends the same
school). She has freckles and auburn/brunette hair and generally
displays the characteristics of a tomboy. She made her first
appearance on August 22nd, 1966. The following year, she made her
animated debut in the TV special You're in Love, Charlie Brown and
began (in the comics) coaching a baseball team that played against
Uniquely, she refers to Charlie Brown and
Lucy as "Chuck" and "Lucille", respectively.
Schulz described in one interview how, "By 1966, I realized that
it had been quite some time since I'd introduced a new character,
five years since Frieda's debut and seven since Sally's. I got the
idea for her name after looking at a dish of candy on my desk and
decided that 'Peppermint Patty' was such a great name that I just had
to use it before some other cartoonist beat me to the idea." He
also stated that his original intention had been to develop
Peppermint Patty as the main character of a new comic strip, but
since he did not have the time to pursue the project, he instead
incorporated her into Peanuts. At the time, Schulz already had a
different character named Patty as a regular cast member in the
strip; the original Patty's role, already in decline because of
Schulz's inability to flesh out a unique role for her, was
consequently cut back to cameo appearances.
Schulz also said that Peppermint Patty was
created in response to the women's liberation movement in the late
1960s as part of an attempt to have a character that defied standard
gender norms. As a result, he gave her a tomboy personality in
addition to being the first female character in the strip to wear a
shirt and shorts instead of a dress. In addition, she was shown as
being raised by her father in a single-parent household. Peppermint
Patty enjoys a close relationship with her father, even though he
apparently has to do a lot of traveling. He refers to his daughter as
his "rare gem", a nickname with which Patty is extremely
pleased. Her mother apparently died long ago, for Peppermint Patty
has no memories of her. No siblings are ever mentioned, thus
Peppermint Patty is presumed to be an only child. In the comic strip
she has often lamented her lack of having a mother but mentions her
mother in the television special He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown. Schulz
repeatedly stated that the situations presented in the cartoon
adaptations are not canonical to the strip.
Peppermint Patty is noted for her
persistent habit of profoundly misunderstanding basic concepts and
ideas that most people would consider obvious, then blindly ignoring
any counsel against her latest fixation, which leads to ultimately
embarrassing situations for which she blames everyone who warned her.
For a long time she seemed unaware that Snoopy was a dog, referring
to him as "the funny looking kid with the big nose."
Peppermint Patty is widely known for
receiving a D- grade on every test or assignment in school and by her
tendency to sleep through class. Peppermint Patty hired Snoopy twice
to serve as her watchdog and retained his services as her attorney as well.
The first strip in which the character's
full formal name, Patricia Reichardt, was mentioned, appeared on
January 15th, 1972; her formal name appeared again at least one more
time, in the February 5th, 1993 strip, in which she reads to Marcie
an ad she has placed in the paper.
Peppermint Patty's closest friend, Marcie,
calls her "Sir". It is never revealed whether this
eccentric habit, dating to Marcie's first appearance in the strip in
1971, is the result of misguided manners, poor eyesight, a snarky
reference to Patty's tomboyish ways, or some other reason. For a long
time, this was a major annoyance to Patty, and she would continually
snap at Marcie, "Stop calling me Sir!" but, eventually, she
got used to it, although she still preferred that Marcie not call her "Sir".
first character to call Peppermint Patty "Sir" was not
Marcie, but a pigtailed girl named Sophie in Peppermint Patty's cabin
at summer camp, who appeared in the same series of strips in the
summer of 1968 that introduced Marcie's predecessor, Clara. When
Sophie and Clara (this time sans glasses) re-appeared in Peanuts in
the summer of 1987, they called her "ma'am", which also
Not until a few years after she was
introduced into the strip did it become apparent that Peppermint
Patty had a crush on Charlie Brown, although she frequently denied
it, the relationship is pursued and received with varying degrees of
projection, enthusiasm, and obliviousness, especially on the part of
Charlie Brown, whos true love was the unattainable Little Red-Haired
Girl, so having a girl actually like him was unexplored territory.
Peppermint Patty would occasionally employ reverse psychology; and
would often say, "You kind of like me, don't you, Chuck?"
In one Sunday strip on July 22rd 1979
(drawn as part of a storyline in which Charlie Brown was in the
hospital), Peppermint Patty essentially admitted her feelings for
Charlie Brown and, in the same strip, Marcie admitted loving
"Chuck," so far as to affirming her willingness to marry
Charlie Brown. Even this strip ended in a denial of sorts; Patty
brought Marcie up to the front desk of the hospital and tried to have
her admitted as a patient, saying, "I think she's sicker than he is!"
Peppermint Patty often tries to talk to
Charlie Brown about matters of the heart (often depicted with both
characters sitting under a tree) and even calls him often on the
phone (usually taking up the majority of the conversation), but
Charlie Brown usually manages to somehow evade the issue, often by
simply playing dumb. Patty often grumbles, "I hate talking to
you, Chuck!" whenever she tries to confide in him and he does
not tell her what she wants to hear.
Peppermint Patty also developed a crush on
Pig-Pen for a while in 1980, after Charlie Brown set them up on a
date for a Valentine's Day dance. Also, in the movie Bon Voyage,
Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!), both she and Marcie were shown
as being attracted to Pierre, the son of their host family in Paris, France.
(unofficially surnamed Johnson and Carlin), is a studious girl who
is sometimes depicted as being terrible at sports. She has befriended
the tomboyish, athletic Peppermint Patty, and she has a
mostly-unrequited crush on the underdog Charlie Brown.
Marcie made her first appearance in the
daily strip from July 20th, 1971, but her name wasn't mentioned until
the strip from October 11th. She first appeared on television in the
1973 special There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown. A forerunner of
Marcie's character, a girl named Clara, made an appearance in a
sequence at a girl's camp in June 1968. As Marcie became a part of
the regular cast, she appeared in the same class as Peppermint Patty,
sitting in the desk behind her.
In the animated special You're In the
Super Bowl, Charlie Brown, Marcie's surname is given as
"Johnson", but Schulz never gave her a surname in the comic
strip; therefore, Johnson is not considered to be her official name.
In the 2015 The Peanuts Movie, for which Schulz's son, Craig Schulz,
and Schulz's grandson, Bryan Schulz, were included among the film's
writers and producers, both had decided to include for the first time
the full name of the character "Marcie Carlin," which
appears on a bulletin board at the kids' school.
Marcie is best friends with Peppermint
Patty, constantly addressing her as "sir" (she called her
"sir" in her first line in the strip). Initially,
Peppermint Patty addressed Marcie as "dorky" and, when
talking to others, referred to her as"my weird friend from
camp". Because of the close friendship between Marcie and
Peppermint Patty, some have inferred a romantic relationship between them.
was a soft-spoken voice of reason to Peppermint Patty and though
Marcie is usually slow to anger, she can occasionally lose her temper
when provoked. Marcie is also portrayed as an overachiever (she once
quipped that she had already chosen her college and enrolled her
three children in preschool) and academically the brightest of the
Peanuts cast. Even so, she is possibly the most credulous and
naïve of the gang. She apparently is under a great deal of
pressure from her parents to excel in school, and, in a story in
1990, sought refuge from her demanding parents at Charlie Brown's
house and fell asleep on his couch.
Marcie is essentially the complete
opposite of Peppermint Patty: where Peppermint Patty is more
comfortable playing sports, the well-read Marcie prefers a quieter,
more studious existence. Although Marcie repeatedly professes her
dislike of sports, particularly baseball, she will occasionally take
part in whatever sport Peppermint Patty is involved in at the time,
though more often than not, Marcie, upon showing her lack of athletic
prowess and lack of knowledge of the game, usually only succeeds in
frustrating Peppermint Patty. Her ineptitude at sports was not
consistently carried over in the prime-time animated TV specials in
which the Peanuts cast was featured. In the special You're the
Greatest, Charlie Brown, she proved quite capable on the athletic
field, even winning the decathlon for the school. However, Schulz did
not consider these to be canonical.
Like Peppermint Patty, Marcie also has an
unrequited crush on Charlie Brown (whom she usually calls
"Charles", or occasionally "Chuck", as Peppermint
Patty does); she once confessed a fondness for Charlie Brown and
would be willing to marry him if he asked her. While Peppermint Patty
is more likely to flirt with Charlie Brown and play mind games with
him, Marcie is more frank in her admissions of her feelings, and
often asks Charlie Brown in plain language if he likes her. As he
does with Peppermint Patty, Charlie Brown often responds to Marcie's
inquiries by trying to evade the issue.
is the boy in the Peanuts who is, except on very rare occasions,
very dirty. "Pig-Pen" is a nickname, invariably written in
quotation marks in the strip. In the character's first appearance on
July 13th, 1954, in a strip directly parodying the first chapter of
Lord of the Flies, he declares, "I haven't got a name... people
just call me things... real insulting things." If he does have a
real name, it is never mentioned. In a 2000 Gallup Poll
"Pig-Pen" was found to be the fifth most popular Peanuts character.
"Pig-Pen" is known for his
perpetually filthy overalls and the cloud of dirt and dust that
follows him wherever he goes. When he takes a deep breath (to sing,
for example), the dust rises briefly around him. He sometimes refers
to the cloud that surrounds him with pride as the dust of ancient
civilizations. He cannot seem to rid himself of the dust for more
than the briefest of periods, indeed, in spite of his best efforts,
it appears that he cannot stay clean. He is referred to in an early
strip as the only person who can get dirty while walking in a
snowstorm. Nevertheless, on rare occasions he has very briefly
appeared clean, and hence unrecognizable. Once this was in order to
impress Violet. Once, after bathing and dressing in clean clothes,
"Pig-Pen" stepped outside his house, and instantaneously
became dirty and disheveled, whereupon he declared to Charlie Brown,
"You know what I am? I'm a dust magnet!" On another
occasion, "Pig-Pen" decided it was important to have clean
hands, but after failing to wash them, realized that he had
"reached a point of no return."
One notable exception is an earlier strip
where he gets caught in a brief but heavy rainfall, and while trying
to seek shelter, the storm ends, revealing him to be clean. He
responds with disdain, stating that "in one minute the rain has
washed away what took me all day to accomplish". Though
"Pig-Pen" is proud of his uncleanliness, Charlie Brown is
the only other Peanuts character to unconditionally accept
"Pig-Pen" for who he is, even defending
"Pig-Pen's" uncleanliness in one strip (which was re-used
in A Charlie Brown Christmas): "Don't think of it as dust. Just
think of it as the dirt and dust of far-off lands blowing over here
and settling on "Pig-Pen!" It staggers the imagination! He
may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or
Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!"
Schulz admitted that he came to regret "Pig-Pen's"
popularity, given the character's essentially one-joke nature; he
utilized the character very rarely in the later years of the strip's
run (though still appearing commonly in the TV specials and movies of
Like most of Schulz's characters,
"Pig-Pen" has (both with and without lines) appeared in
many of the animated Peanuts television specials beginning in the
1960s, as well as all five movies. One time his clean self was shown
in a miniseries titled This Is America, Charlie Brown, where he is an
astronaut aboard a futuristic space station, demonstrating how
personal hygiene would apply in zero gravity. True to form, the clean
"Pig-Pen" is immediately dirtied again when dirt is
attracted to him magnetically. In the 1990s, he appeared (in an
animated overlay against a live-action backdrop) in a series of
television commercials for Regina vacuum cleaners where all the dirt
is sucked off his body and filthy trousers by one of the company's
products, arguably one of the few times where "Pig-Pen"
remains clean. In 2015, "Pig-Pen" appeared in a commercial
for All laundry detergent for a tie-in with The Peanuts Movie. In the
commercial, Snoopy, dressed as a magician, puts a cloth over
"Pig-Pen" and instantly makes him clean, causing Snoopy to
"Pig-Pen" is very good at
playing the drums, as shown in the special Play It Again, Charlie
Brown. He is also shown playing the double bass, notably in "A
Charlie Brown Christmas", as well as in Happy New Year, Charlie
Brown!. He plays third base on the Peanuts baseball team. His last
appeared in the Peanuts comic strip on September 8th, 1999. That
strip was very uncharacteristic of him in that it showed him
embarrassed to the point of shame in his dirtiness, with none of the
pride or sense of destiny that he expressed in earlier strips.
character was inspired by Charles Schulzs' longtime friend Frieda
Rich, a local artist whom he met while taking classes at the Art
Instruction Schools in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was a regular in
Peanuts throughout the 1960s, but as newer characters were phased in
towards the end of the decade, she began appearing less often, and
she ceased to be a featured character after 1985, making only cameo
appearances since then in various television specials. She is known
for having naturally curly hair, of which she is extremely proud. Her
full name was revealed in the 2015 film The Peanuts Movie as 'Frieda
Rich', where she places 12th in the test results.
Frieda made her debut on March 6th, 1961,
when Linus introduced her to Charlie Brown. She was the eleventh
permanent character to join the cast, and the first since Sally was
born in 1959. She was initially presented, in both the advance press
release and the first few strips, as Linus' schoolmate. She sat
behind him in class, and although he considered her a friend, he also
confessed that because she was such a chatterbox, he hadn't heard a
word their teacher said the whole semester. Her most prominent
feature is her "naturally" curly hair, which she manages to
work into every conversation, to the dismay of those around her. This
self-love of her hair leads people to believe that she is rather
vain. In turn, Frieda herself believes that the other girls are
jealous of her hair (and often becomes disappointed or depressed when
the other girls tell her that they're not jealous of her hair), and
also that "people expect more of her" because she has it.
Journalist Christopher Caldwell described her as, "A fetching,
kind and charming girl, who throws her deeper goodness away because
she wants to be admired for such superficialities as 'being a good
conversationalist." She admitted that she used to be an avid
reader until she started getting too busy.
Frieda Rich, the character's namesake, was
once asked whether she bore any character resemblances to her cartoon
counterpart. She replied, "I recognize myself," adding as
an example that while talking to Schulz once about Universalists and
Congregationalists, she had jokingly called herself a
"conversationalist," and Schulz borrowed that for the strip.
was usually nicer to Charlie Brown than most of the other girls in
the neighborhood. Unlike Lucy, Patty, and Violet, she seemed to be
mindful of his feelings and never teased him or put him down to his
face (except for rare moments in the Peanuts specials), though she
did get mad at him a few times. She eventually joined Charlie Brown's
baseball team as an outfielder, but refused to wear a baseball cap
because it would hide her "naturally" curly hair. She
seemed to be one of the few characters that Charlie Brown felt
confident enough to stand up to, as he did once when she was
badgering Snoopy about chasing rabbits and he told her to mind her
Linus was the first character in the
series that Frieda met. She sat behind him in school, and after they
became friends he took her around and introduced her to some of the
other kids in the neighborhood. Not much is shown of their friendship
beyond those strips that introduce her, but even that early in their
relationship they seemed to look out for each other. Linus tried to
protect her the first time she unintentionally upset Lucy, and she in
turn was one of the few kids who didn't see his need for a security
blanket as a bad thing.
Frieda's relationship with Lucy got off to
a rocky start when Frieda, as usual, brought up her naturally curly
hair almost as soon as they were introduced. Lucy became visibly
offended by this, to the point where Linus (performing the
introductions) felt it necessary to beg Lucy not to slug her. Despite
Frieda's faux pas the two girls eventually became friends, and when
they played baseball for Charlie Brown's team they often spent their
time in the outfield chatting instead of paying attention to the
game. But Frieda has made Lucy jealous by leaning on Schroeder's
piano, who seemed to dislike her as much as he disliked Lucy.
Out of all the characters, Frieda has the
most trouble getting along with Snoopy, whom she frequently accuses
of being "lazy" and "useless." She has strong pre-conceived
notions of what a beagle should be doing with its time; she wants
Snoopy to be a working dog and a hunter (especially a hunter of
rabbits), and not spend so much time sleeping on top of his doghouse.
She often comes over and tries to goad Snoopy into chasing rabbits
with her, either by threat or persuasion, which he is always
reluctant to do. If he does consent to "hunt," he'll either
sandbag it and only pretend to look for the rabbits, or if he does
find rabbits he'll frolic and play with them once he's out of
is a male cat that Frieda's mother bought for her. Frieda believed
Snoopy was too smug for his own good, and decided that having a cat
in the neighborhood would take him down a few notches. Her choice of
cat ended up being more comical than intimidating; Faron is seemingly
boneless, and she carries him everywhere, draped over her arms. He
seemed to be as unpopular with the other neighborhood kids as he was
with Snoopy; Frieda tried to find someone to hold Faron for her
whenever she needed to go somewhere like the library that wouldn't
allow cats inside, but she usually had a lot of trouble finding a
willing volunteer. A running gag included Charlie Brown, Linus, and
even Snoopy getting trapped into holding Faron while Frieda ran her
errands. Faron was named for country music singer Faron Young, whom
Schulz "admired very much," but he only made a few
appearances in the strip. Schulz was not satisfied with his own
drawing of a cat; also, he wanted to continue exploring Snoopy's
fantasy life, and felt like having a cat in the strip brought Snoopy
back to being too much of a real dog. Schulz didn't even show Faron
for his last appearance, in which the cat got stuck in a tree. Faron
once spoke English to Snoopy in a thought balloon, making him one of
the few non-human or non-dog animals to do so.
Although Frieda was a regular character
from 1961 to the late 1960s, her appearances gradually began
dwindling. According to Charles Schulz, "I realized that Frieda
added relatively little to the strip and had few character traits
beyond bragging about her hair and her obsession with getting Snoopy
to chase rabbits." Frieda's last speaking role for many years
was in the March 20th, 1975 strip, although she would sometimes
appear as a background character into the 1980s. Frieda also
continued to make appearances in the animated Peanuts specials and
the Saturday morning series The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, even
being mentioned in the lyrics of the latter's theme song. She is also
featured as an unseen character in the musical You're a Good Man,
Charlie Brown, being mentioned several times, and yelled to at one
point after Lucy heard one of Charlie Brown's secrets. Also in this
show, her characteristic fondness for hunting rabbits is assumed by
Sally. Frieda appeared in 150 strips and appeared for the last time
on November 22nd, 1985. Frieda appears in The Peanuts Movie and also
makes multiple appearances in the Peanuts TV series. Frieda has a
brother Leland in the TV special It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown.
The comic strip itself never revealed whether or not Frieda has any siblings.
Franklin made his first appearance in the
Peanuts comic strip of July 31st 1968. At the time, the United States
was struggling with desegregation, and while the country had taken
several steps to integrate the population, issues about having black
and white people attend the same schools, use the same bathrooms, or
appear in the same comic strips were still matters of substantial controversy.
decided to add Franklin to the Peanuts gang after he began
corresponding with Harriet Glickman, a retired schoolteacher from Los
Angeles, who was concerned about race relations in America and wrote
him in 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated
about adding black characters to the strip. Though Schulz feared that
adding a black character would be seen as patronizing to the African-American
community, Glickman convinced him that the addition of black
characters could help normalize the idea of friendships between
children of different ethnicities. Glickman also wrote to a number of
other cartoonists and Schulz was not the only one who responded.
Allen Saunders, who along with Dale Connor produced the long-running
Mary Worth comic strip, responded with a "very thoughtful"
letter that they were considering including a black character in
their strip but ultimately demurred over fears that they would be
dropped by their syndicator.
Franklin made his debut less than two
months later, but as a full-fledged friend of Charlie Browns
rather than as the suggested background character appearing in a trio
of strips set at a beach (above). This was no small thing for a
nationally syndicated comic strip, especially at the peak of the
United States race-related civil unrest of 1968 and 1969.
However, Schulzs decision to add a black character to Peanuts
did meet with resistance from some quarters. The comic book artist
said in a 1988 interview that his editors continually wanted to
change the comics in which Franklin appeared:
"I finally put Franklin in, and
there was one strip where Charlie Brown and Franklin had been playing
on the beach, and Franklin said, Well, its been nice
being with you, come on over to my house some time. Again, they
didnt like that. Another editor protested once when Franklin
was sitting in the same row of school desks with Peppermint Patty,
and said, We have enough trouble here in the South without you
showing the kids together in school. But I never paid any
attention to those things, and I remember telling Larry at the time
about Franklin he wanted me to change it, and we talked about
it for a long while on the phone, and I finally sighed and said,
Well, Larry, lets put it this way: Either you print it
just the way I draw it or I quit. Hows that? So
thats the way that ended."
But for some Franklin is too perfect,
devoid of the quirks and idiosyncrasies that define the rest of the
cast, he is also, from a character-based perspective, the least
Peanuts-y character in the strip. Franklin ultimately joined the cast
as a peripheral character, usually playing the foil to other
characters and their problems. He didnt live in the Peanuts
universes "main" neighborhood; he lived across town
with Peppermint Patty, Marcie, and Roy, which affected the number of
times he could interact with Charlie Brown. But he did sit in front
of Peppermint Patty at school, a subtle endorsement of integration.
is a former major character that turned into a cameo part (due to
her supposedly lacking the distinguishing characteristics of
characters like Lucy, Linus, or Sally), she is often confused with
Peppermint Patty, a different and later character from the same
strip. Patty is best known as a girl who thinks highly of herself,
and because of her self-opinion, she often torments the hapless
Charlie Brown. She often accompanies her best friend Violet and
sometimes the abrasive Lucy. The character has appeared in numerous
Peanuts television specials, cinematic films, theatrical plays, and
video games and her last name was revealed to be "Swanson"
in the 2015 film The Peanuts Movie, where her full name appears 10th
on the list of test scores.
An early conception of the character was
created by Schulz for his comic strip Li'l Folks (which is like an
embryonic stage of Peanuts). Schulz then reused the character for
Peanuts, and there, he named her Patty. The first published strip in
which Patty was featured was in the very first Peanuts comic strip,
on October 2nd, 1950. Since her first published appearance, Patty's
character developed and appeared frequently until the character began
to suffer a decrease in usage. She became less and less prominent
until her succeeding appearances are reduced to mere cameos. Both
before and after she sank into the background, Patty usually appeared
either with her best friend Violet or with the rest of Charlie
Brown's baseball team, where she plays in the outfield. On an early
occasion she was seen as catcher on the team before Schroeder was
introduced. It was Patty who first introduced Charlie Brown to
Schroeder, claiming he lived next-door to her.
As the only female character in the
strip's very earliest days, Patty often acted as a sort of hen,
looking out for the younger characters; however, she also set the
tone for the strong female characters in the Peanuts universe. In her
(and the strip's) second appearance, Patty is shown walking down the
sidewalk reciting "Little girls are made of sugar and spice and
everything nice." She then punches Charlie Brown in the face
and, without missing a beat, continues, "That's what little
girls are made of!"
name was first mentioned on October 26th, 1950, 24 days after her
first appearance. She was apparently the oldest child in the strip
(possibly along with Violet and Shermy), as she attended school when
Charlie Brown did not. Eventually, she, along with Violet, became
best known for their social snobbery and combined cruelty to Charlie
Brown, although Violet was generally the more dominant of the two
(thus Patty's role, in her later appearances, was reduced to that of
a yes-girl). Patty is also known for asking "Pig-Pen" why
he is constantly so dirty.
Patty's hair color is light brown
(sometimes red, black, or blonde) and she customarily wears a checked
dress with a matching bow in her hair, usually colored orange
(colored light green in The Peanuts Movie), and Mary Janes shoes.
Patty had a major part in the original version of the stage musical
You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and made her television debut in
the 1965 classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, and appeared in many of
the succeeding specials and theatrical animated films.
By 1966, Schulz had recycled the
"Patty" moniker for a new character, "Peppermint
Patty". Although the original Patty, or at least unnamed girls
who bear a strong resemblance to her, would make cameo appearances
throughout the run of Peanuts, she had disappeared as a featured
character by the mid-1970s, but she continued making cameo
appearances as late as the 90's. Her last appearance was a rerun of a
1992 strip which was republished on November 27th, 1997. Schulz
claimed he drew Patty in the March 2th, 1994 strip in which she wants
Snoopy to chase rabbits with her (a role previously usually taken by
Frieda), although some fans have stated that the girl in the strip in
question does not resemble Patty.
Gray (her surname Gray was mentioned only once, on April 4, 1953)
was initially a major character, until she began to fade into the
background. Violet is best known as a jealous girl who likes bragging
and, along with her friends Patty (her best friend) and Lucy (the
ringleader of the trio), often teases and torments Charlie Brown. In
addition to the comic strip, Violet has appeared alongside other
Peanuts characters in numerous Peanuts television specials, cinematic
movies, theatrical plays, and video games.
Violet was first featured in the February
7th, 1951 Peanuts strip. From there on, Violet's character changed
and developed until she began to become less prominent than the other
major characters, with her forthcoming appearances reduced to mere
cameos. Her last comic strip appearance, discounting the reruns of
the strip, was on the November 27th, 1997 Peanuts strip.
As Violet's character developed over the
years, her appearance changed as well. On the early strips, Violet
has her shoulder-length dark hair kept in either pigtails, a bun, or,
sometimes, a ponytail. Later on, Schulz dropped the braids and kept
Violet's hair only in ponytails. Violet also wears front bangs and
often wears dresses which are originally depicted as purple; later
they were depicted as green, as well as black Mary Janes shoes.
During the winter (and during other seasons on the strip's later
years), Violet switches to pants. Violet wears a purple dress in The
is smart, popular, and a snob. She makes her opinions known to
everyone, and her haughtiness causes her to often torment other
people, whom she views as beneath her. Violet is supposedly of upper-class
upbringing, and she likes to brag about how her father possessing
something her friends' fathers don't; it is also implied, however,
that Violet's father is largely absent from her life, which her peers
use against her when she gets too obnoxious. For example, in a
Father's Day strip, her boasts are quelled by Charlie Brown when he
takes her to his dad's barber shop. After telling her about how his
dad would always smile at him no matter how bad a workday he was
having, a humbled Violet walked away, but not before quietly wishing
Charlie Brown a Happy Father's Day.
In the early strips, Violet often acted
like a preschool-age Suzy Homemaker: making mud pies, playing
"house," and being linked to romantic scenarios involving
Charlie Brown. She also collects stamps as a hobby. On some
occasions, Violet was shown walking and keeping company with Shermy.
Violet never really developed a strong
personality, especially compared to the next three characters who
would be introduced after her (Schroeder, Lucy, and Linus). She
tended to be used mostly as a straight woman to set up the punchline.
Schulz admitted as much in a 1988 interview. "Some characters
just don't seem to have enough personality to carry out ideas,"
he said, referring to Violet, Patty, and Shermy. "They're just
almost born straight men." Violet's appearances were eventually
reduced to mere cameos in the background.
In early strips, she was linked to
romantic scenarios involving Charlie Brown. She also feels bad for
him when he doesn't get a Valentine's Day card in Be My Valentine,
Charlie Brown, which hints that she cares about him deep down (this
caring is inconsistent; when he doesn't receive a Christmas card in A
Charlie Brown Christmas, Violet responds in her usual mocking tone).
Peanuts made its debut on October 2nd, 1950, Shermy had the first
lines of dialogue in the series, ending with "Good ol' Charlie
Brown . . . How I hate him!"
As Peanuts matured, however, Shermy became
an extraneous character who was used less and less frequently, until
his final appearance in 1969. Shermy's name was first mentioned on
December 18th, 1950, making him the last of the original characters
to have the name revealed. In Schulz's Peanuts-precursor strip Li'l
Folks, a character resembling Shermy went by the name "Charlie Brown".
Shermy was often portrayed as Charlie
Brown's superior at the things that mattered to Charlie Brown,
especially athletics. The relationship between Shermy and Charlie
Brown became more neutral, and often even friendly, as the strip
progressed and Shermy's role declined in prominence; Shermy, by
default, served as Charlie Brown's closest friend until Linus grew
old enough to fill that role. Shermy's major physical characteristic
was his short, dark hair, which he had styled in a crew cut.
Apparently Schulz himself was not a big fan of this look, as he once
commented that he "disliked" the way he drew Shermy's hair,
a possible reason for the character being removed. Shermy was
sometimes said to play the position of first base on Charlie Brown's
baseball team. In at least one early strip (September 29th, 1951),
Shermy is implied to be the original owner of Snoopy, several years
before Charlie Brown was established as the dog's owner in 1958.
disappearance from the strip was even faster and more complete than
those of Patty and Violet, who were also mostly gone from the series
by the late 1960s; as early as late 1952 his appearances were
becoming noticeably rare because of the success of newly introduced
characters Lucy and Linus. In 1968, his remaining role as straight
man was effectively overtaken by Franklin.
Shermy appears in multiple animated
Peanuts TV specials (although he becomes more of a minor character
after the 1960s), beginning with A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965,
where he has one line of dialogue. Upon being cast as a shepherd in
the gang's Christmas pageant, he laments, "Every Christmas it's
the same: I always end up playing a shepherd." His appearances
also include (sometimes with dialogue and sometimes without) Charlie
Brown's All-Stars, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, You're in
Love, Charlie Brown, It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown, You're Not
Elected, Charlie Brown, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, It's Your
First Kiss, Charlie Brown, Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?, Why,
Charlie Brown, Why?, It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown, It Was My
Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown, and I Want a Dog for Christmas,
Charlie Brown with many of the latter being produced several years
after he had already disappeared from the comic strip. Shermy is
mentioned briefly in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, in
the song "The Doctor Is In," but does not appear or have a
speaking part; and he also makes appearances in three feature films
including A Boy Named Charlie Brown, as well as a cameo appearance in
Snoopy Come Home. Shermy is also seen several times in The Charlie
Brown and Snoopy Show.
Shermy returned to the animated specials
in the 2011 Direct-to-DVD Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown,
which includes a scene based on the very first Peanuts strip, where
Shermy notes how much he hates Charlie Brown. He also plays a
supporting role in the 2015 computer-animated film The Peanuts Movie,
where his last name is revealed to be "Plepler". It is also
shown in the same movie that he has a younger sister, though this is
not considered canonical.
RERUN VAN PELT
van Pelt is Linus' and Lucy's younger brother who started as a minor
character in the Peanuts universe, only becoming a main character in
the last decade of the comic strip. Rerun was first mentioned in the
strip on May 23rd, 1972, during a storyline in which Lucy threw Linus
out of the house only to learn that yet another little brother had
just been born. Upon learning the news, Lucy exclaimed "A new
baby brother?!! But I just got rid of the old one!!!" With that,
she let Linus back in, uttering in misery, "You can't shovel
water with a pitchfork." The irony of the situation was not lost
on Linus, who laughed himself silly over his sister's scheme being
defeated, thus causing her to lose her temper and tie his blanket
over his mouth.
Lucy, who always wanted to be an only
child (or to have a younger sister), is less than thrilled at the
prospect of having a second younger brother, and comments that
getting one was like watching reruns on television; thus, Linus comes
up with the idea of calling the family's new addition
"Rerun". "Rerun van Pelt! Good Grief!" mutters
Lucy with a less-than-thrilled look on her face.
Rerun's first appearance was on March
26th, 1973, depicted as a nearly identical but smaller version of
Linus. Over time, Lucy warmed up to Rerun and became something of a
mentor to him, more kind with him than she had ever been with Linus.
Linus also took Rerun under his wing in later years, unsuccessfully
attempting to "convert" Rerun to his belief in "The
Great Pumpkin", and taking his skeptical and embarrassed little
brother along on door-to-door "missions" to spread the word
of the Great Pumpkin.
The first storyline in which Rerun is
featured involves a still pre-verbal Rerun becoming a player on
Charlie Brown's baseball team and being involved in a gambling
scandal (he bet a nickel with Snoopy that Charlie Brown's team would
win) that ends in the team having to forfeit one of their rare
victories. Occasional appearances in the 1970s and 1980s have him
verbalizing in thought balloons and feature him as a nervous
passenger on the back of his mother's bicycle. Rerun was rarely used
in the 1980s; by that time, Schulz had run out of ideas about how to
use him. However, in the early 1990s, he resurfaces, having grown to
where he is almost equal in height to his siblings and the other
kids. To distinguish him from his almost identical brother, Linus,
Schulz added overalls and a flattened hair style. Re-introduced
through a number of appearances in 1993 and 1994, Rerun is shown
being taught how to tie his shoes by Lucy, being introduced to
basketball by Linus, and playing cards with Snoopy. Beginning in
1994, Rerun is regularly shown on Charlie Brown's doorstep, asking to
Schulz made Rerun into a main character in
the strip's final years, and much of the focus during this time is
from Rerun's perspective; Schulz admitted in a 1997 interview with
Gary Groth that the character virtually "took over" the
comic. In the 2009 documentary, "Sibling Rivalry: Growing Up Van
Pelt", included on the I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown
DVD, Schulz's widow, Jean Schulz, speculated that Rerun's expanded
presence in the comic strip may have resulted from the presence of
grandchildren in Schulz's life. Most of his story lines involve his
anxieties and struggles with being a "little kid" among big
kids, and his desire to play with Snoopy and have a dog of his own.
As the other Peanuts kids were older than
Rerun, he was usually excluded from their squabbles and rivalries,
and several of them were shown as protective or mentoring towards
him. On different occasions, Charlie Brown was shown teaching Rerun
how to deliver newspapers, and winning back Rerun's marbles from the
bully, Joe Agate. Even Sally Brown, herself younger than the other
children, was shown giving Rerun a tour of the bus stop and school
just weeks before he started kindergarten.
having his age advanced to five years old in 1996, a running gag in
the strip has Rerun hiding under his bed in an attempt to get out of
going to school, a ploy that usually does not work. Though
intelligent, Rerun displays a rebellious streak in school, always
drawing "underground comics" (usually referring to them as
"basement comics") instead of painting flowers, as his
teacher instructs, and suggesting that the teacher read Anna Karenina
instead of children's books. Rerun is also often shown flirting with
an unnamed pigtailed girl in his kindergarten class. In a series of
strips that ran from January 13th, 1997, to January 18th, 1997, he
jokes about taking her away to Paris, and is suspended from school
for harassment (long term suspension for one day). But he thinks he
Rerun's animated debut is in the animated
television special It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown, and his first major
appearance in the strip was adapted in the first produced episode of
The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. Rerun only made one other
appearance in a television special before 2000, Happy New Year,
Charlie Brown! from 1986, where his attempts to blow up balloons for
the New Year's party ended in failure, as he blew them up as cubes
rather than spheres (a scenario adapted from a comic strip story
involving Linus from December 1954, when Linus was roughly the same
age). Rerun was mentioned, but not seen, in the 1985 special
"Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown" when Charlie
Brown informed Snoopy that he could not back out of his wedding
because Rerun had already been chosen as ring-bearer. Rerun briefly
appeared in Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales, and the 2003 animated
television special I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown. This
episode uses Rerun as its primary character. Rerun's most recent
television appearance is in the 2006 television special He's a Bully,
Peggy Jean was the girlfriend of Charlie
Brown during the 1990s. Charlie Brown first met her at summer camp in
1990, and she appeared intermittently in the strip until mid-1999, a
few months before the strip ended. Because of Charlie Brown's extreme
nervousness upon meeting her, he mistakenly gave his name as
"Brownie Charles," which she continued to use thereafter.
Peggy Jean and Charlie Brown's
relationship hit a brief snag almost immediately after it began,
however. At summer camp, Peggy Jean once held the football down for
Charlie Brown, who apparently declined, worried that she would pull
it away like Lucy did. The fact that he took so long to make up his
mind led Peggy to think that he did not trust her and she allegedly
went home enraged. She later came back and made up, kissing Charlie
Brown in the process. Charlie Brown went so far as to call Linus on
the phone and tell him that she kissed him. But the phone was
actually answered by Lucy who asked "What is this, an obscene
Later, Charlie Brown wanted to buy her
some gloves for Christmas but didn't have the money for them (Linus
suggested he send her a card advising her to keep her hands in her
pockets). Charlie Brown sold his entire comic collection in order to
buy the gloves, only to meet Peggy Jean in the shop and her telling
him that her mother had bought her the same sort of gloves; in the
end, Charlie Brown gives the gloves he bought to Snoopy. This
storyline was adapted as a portion of the animated special It's
Christmastime Again. Curiously, Peggy was depicted there as a redhead
instead of having brown hair as she did in the strip, which may have
led to viewers confusing her with the Little Red-Haired Girl (the
original VHS release of the special even mistakenly referred to her
as the latter character).
On July 11th, 1999, the last strip Peggy
Jean appeared in, it is revealed that she had found a new boyfriend,
leaving Charlie Brown heartbroken.
THE LITTLE RED-HAIRED GIRL
The Little Red-Haired Girl is an unseen
character in the Peanuts comic strip who serves as the object of
Charlie Brown's affection, and a symbol of unrequited love. While
never seen in the strip, she appears onscreen in several television
specials, in which her name has been revealed as Heather Wold.
Charlie Brown most often notices her while eating lunch outdoors,
always failing to muster the courage to speak to her. She figures
prominently in Valentine's Day strips, several of which focus on
Charlie Brown's hope of getting a valentine from her. Charlie Brown
typically attempts to give her a valentine but panics at the last minute.
Charlie Brown first catches sight of her
in the November 19th, 1961 strip, saying he would "give anything
in the world if that little girl with the red hair would come over
and sit with me." In July 1969, a story arc ran depicting the
Little Red-Haired Girl moving away. Charlie Brown despaired that he
would never see her again. He saw her from a distance later that year
while skiing. Peppermint Patty and Marcie encountered her at summer
camp a few years later in 1972, where it is stated that she is aware
of Charlie Brown (despite his belief that she does not know he
exists) and is talking about him to the other girls at camp, although
what she says of him and how she feels about him are not stated.
Eventually, the Little Red-Haired Girl moved back to Charlie Brown's
neighborhood, with no further mention of her ever having been away.
The 1967 Peanuts animated TV special
You're in Love, Charlie Brown revolved entirely around Charlie
Brown's obsession with the Little Red-Haired Girl. After several
failed attempts at making conversation with her on the last two days
of school, she stuffs a note into Charlie Brown's hands as students
rush past him to board the school bus. Thinking he has ruined his
final chance at meeting her, he reads the letter, which
affectionately states, "I like you, Charlie Brown. Signed, the
Little Red-Haired Girl." Ecstatic, Charlie Brown skips his way
home, realizing he has triumphed against what he considers all odds.
Throughout the entirety of You're in Love, Charlie Brown, the Little
Red-Haired Girl is not seen once.
Little Red-Haired Girl returned in the 1977 special It's Your First
Kiss, Charlie Brown, making her first ever onscreen appearance. Linus
tells Charlie Brown that her name is "Heather", and that
she is the Homecoming Queen. Charlie Brown becomes a wreck, trying
desperately to impress her once he learns that he has been chosen to
escort her to the dance after the football game. After spending
nearly the entire duration of the special stressing about meeting
her, he eventually musters up the courage to give her a kiss. Heather
appeared onscreen again in the 1985 special Happy New Year, Charlie
Brown! She did not have a speaking role in either of the
Schulz did not consider these animated
appearances to be canonical, although he wrote the screenplay
himself. The Little Red-Haired Girl was once seen in the comics in
silhouette on May 25th, 1998, dancing with Snoopy. When the storyline
was adapted as part of the 2002 special A Charlie Brown Valentine,
she was seen unshadowed but had a different design than suggested by
the silhouette, and completely different from her two previous
appearances in It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown and Happy New
Year, Charlie Brown! A third animated version of the Little
Red-Haired Girl is briefly seen in the introduction sequence used in
the second season of The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, in which she
again looks different from her other appearances. Another appearance
includes the 1988 special Snoopy!!! The Musical (albeit a brief
cameo). She also appears in A Charlie Brown Valentine. In The Peanuts
Movie, she has a much different design based on the earlier mentioned
silhouette, and on the test score sheet, it is revealed her name is
Heather Wold, after her name in the specials and the last name of
Donna Wold, the real-life inspiration behind the character. The film
marked the first time the Little Red-Haired Girl spoke in all
Peanuts-related media, with Charlie Brown finally succeeding in
talking to her.
former co-worker, Donna Mae Wold (born Donna Mae Johnson January
3rd, 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, died August 8th, 2016 in
Richfield, Minnesota), was Schulz's inspiration for the character. A
1947 high school graduate, Johnson was working in the accounting
department of the Art Instruction, Inc., a correspondence school
where Schulz worked. Johnson and Schulz eventually became
romantically involved and dated for three years, but in 1950 when
Schulz proposed to her, she turned him down, saying she was already
engaged. Schulz was devastated, but he and Donna remained friends for
the rest of his life. Said Schulz of the relationship, "I can
think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by
someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you
down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter
blow that is."
Only one known Schulz drawing (aside from
the aforementioned silhouette) of the little red-haired girl exists.
It was drawn in 1950, long before she was mentioned in Peanuts. The
girl in the drawing strongly resembles Patty (not to be confused with
the later character Peppermint Patty), a character who was prominent
in the early days of the strip. A book containing the sketch also has
a photo of Johnson with Schulz. "I'd like to see Charlie Brown
kick that football, and if he gets the little red-haired girl, that's
fine with me," Donna said around the time Schulz announced his
retirement in 1999. On Valentine's Day 2011, the Schulz Museum gave
free admission to all redheaded girls and boys in honor of the Little
is a female Peanuts character with long, straight black hair and
usually wears a knitted hat. Eudora moved to Charlie Brown's
neighborhood from another state, though which state was never specified.
The first other Peanuts character Eudora
met was Sally, on the bus to summer camp on June 13th, 1978. Eudora
then showed up in Sally's class at the school that fall. The two
girls quickly became friends, and became even better friends when
Eudora moved into Sally's neighborhood. However, Sally gets angry at
Eudora when she shows feelings toward Linus and is able to charm him
into giving her his blanket, since she has a crush on Linus herself.
Eudora gives the blanket to Snoopy's nemesis, the "stupid cat
who lives next door," and it takes the combined forces of Linus,
Snoopy and Woodstock to get the blanket back.
In some strips Eudora appears to be even
more ditzy than Sally, such as when she tries to give a book report
on the TV Guide and coming to school on Saturdays without realizing
what day it is.
Eudora is shown playing on Charlie Brown's
baseball team in some strips, taking the outfield spot next to Lucy
that had once been held by Frieda before the latter disappeared from
the strip. She was also one of the girls who was nicer to Charlie
Brown often hanging out with him and playing board games. Eudora
would eventually disappear as well, with her swan song coming on June
13th, 1987, exactly nine years to the day after her introduction.
Eudora was the last new character to join
the Peanuts world who could arguably be classified as a major
character. Any new characters introduced after her only made limited
appearances as part of specific storylines.
Eudora only appeared in A Charlie Brown
Celebration (1982), The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show episodes
"Snoopy's Cat Fight" and "Sally's Sweet Babboo",
and had a quick cameo in A Charlie Brown Valentine, where she is seen
walking with Sally. Eudora is also featured in the whole episode of
"A New Best Friend," part of the new Peanuts cartoon on Boomerang.
Braun first appeared on November 30th, 1954 and was originally
intended as a female counterpart of the strip's protagonist, Charlie
Brown (hence her self-applied nickname "Good Ol' Charlotte
Braun"). In the few comic strips that she appeared in, Charlotte
Braun had the trait of speaking too loudly, a trait uncomfortably
similar to Lucy van Pelt, although the two characters never appeared
together (Charlotte did appear with Linus). Schulz decided to abandon
Charlotte Braun after only ten appearances because "he had run
out of ideas" for her, didn't think that the character's
personality was very developed, and realized that fans were not
particularly liking this character, the latter thanks to a letter
from Elizabeth Swaim, a fan who wrote to him to complain about
Charlotte Braun. On January 5th, 1955, he sent a letter back to Miss
Swaim, saying in reply, "I am taking your suggestion regarding
Charlotte Braun, & will eventually discard her... Remember,
however, that you and your friends will have the death of an innocent
child on your conscience. Are you prepared to accept such
responsibility?" The letter ended with a sketch of Charlotte
Braun standing with an axe in her head (an original drawning that
would be worth a fortune on ebay we suspect). The last time she
appeared was on February 1st, 1955.
An unnamed girl was an antagonist in the
1972 movie Snoopy, Come Home but was identified as Clara (below left)
in the film's theatrical release poster. Clara briefly kidnapped
Snoopy (and later Woodstock), renamed him "Rex", and gave
him a forced and painful bath. In her last scene of the film, Snoopy
and Woodstock escape in a wild chase.
This character, like Lila, had appeared
only one time in the comic strip before the release of the film. She
kidnapped Snoopy in a similar way in the strip of November 12th, 1970
(above center), when Snoopy was helping Woodstock to travel south for
winter (Charlie Brown rescued him a few days later). A similarly
behaving girl, presumably the same character, made another brief
appearance in the comic strip in August 1997 as part of a year-long
story arc about Snoopy's brothers, Andy and Olaf, who are on their
way to meet Spike, Snoopy's other brother. She takes Andy, puts him
into a baby pram and ties him onto a tree until Olaf breaks him out
two days later. The character was not given any name in either of her
appearances in the strip.
In 1968, Peppermint Patty becomes tent
monitor for a trio of little girls, during a summer camp session
(above right). The girls are introduced on June 18th as Sophie, Clara
and Shirley. The Clara here bears a strong resemblance to the
character we would later know as Marcie, with two key distinctions:
she's shorter, younger, and her eyes show through the lenses of her glasses.
Lila is a female character in Peanuts and
is Snoopy's previous owner. She got him from the Daisy Hill Puppy
Farm and they loved each other very much, but her family couldn't
keep him because the apartment they moved to did not allow dogs. In a
daily strip sequence from June 3rd to 8th, 1968, Lila comes to visit
Snoopy, although she's never actually seen during this episode. That
August, Snoopy visits Lila in the hospital, wherein she makes her
only appearance in the strip, on August 24th. Snoopy's hospital visit
is also depicted in the second Peanuts movie, Snoopy Come Home, where
it leads to his decision to return to her; but he goes back to
Charlie Brown after reading the No Dogs Allowed sign where she lives.
Miss Othmar served as Linus's teacher
starting in 1959. As with most adults in the strip, Miss Othmar was
never seen. In the strip she is never heard even though the children
have conversations with her. She was given an unintelligible speaking
voice in TV specials in the form of trombone sounding
"wah-wahs" (recorded by trombonist Dean Hubbard. In The
Peanuts Movie, her "talking" is provided by New Orleans
trombonist Trombone Shorty). This became her trademark and all other
voices of adult characters off camera in the cartoons and is
sometimes parodied in other programs. Miss Othmar talks briefly to
Sally in the TV special You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown.
Linus developed a long-lasting crush on
her. As a result, Linus held her in unreasonable esteem, which made
his discovery that she earned a salary for her profession a crushing
disillusionment he tried to rationalize away. When Lucy tells Linus
that it is wrong to worship a teacher, Linus denies worshipping Miss
Othmar, but he does admit to being "very fond of the ground on
which she walks."
Eventually, Miss Othmar married, assuming
her married name of Mrs. Hagemeyer; Linus, however, continued to call
her Miss Othmar, and other characters in the strip began referring to
her as Miss Othmar again as well. (As Linus said, "In real life
she's still Miss Othmar!")
Although Miss Othmar quit teaching after
she got engaged, she returned to teaching a few years later, much to
Linus' delight. However, in 1969, Miss Othmar was fired following a
teacher's strike, and Linus was devastated. Miss Othmar's replacement
was Miss Halverson ("Halverson" being the maiden name of
Charles M. Schulz's first wife, Joyce), whom Linus initially refused
to accept as his new teacher, although he eventually seemed to learn
to live with it.
Marcie mentions that she is taking organ
lessons from a "Mrs. Hagemeyer" in a 1979 strip, but it is
unclear whether this Mrs. Hagemeyer and Miss Othmar are one and the same.
Aside from Miss Othmar and Miss Halverson,
few other teachers were mentioned by name in Peanuts (and none were
ever drawn), with the children most often addressing their teacher as
"Ma'am" (only once was a male teacher mentioned, in the
infamous "GEORGE WASHINGTON!!!" storyline from 1967
featuring Sally and Charlie Brown).
In the 1966 strip storyline about Charlie
Brown's competing in the class spelling bee (later adapted into the
movie A Boy Named Charlie Brown), Charlie Brown mentions that his
teacher's name is Mrs. Donovan, but he was later shown in Miss
Othmar's class with Linus. Peppermint Patty and Marcie's teacher was
named Miss Swanson in the early 1970s, but had changed to Miss Tenure
by 1978, in a storyline in which Peppermint Patty disguised herself
as a janitor to investigate the theft of Miss Tenure's box of gold
star stickers and to clear her name of said theft. On August 24th,
1993, in conversation with Marcie, Peppermint Patty refers to her
book report as being written for Miss Davis. Marcie reveals to her
that Miss Davis quit two years previous to have a baby.
After some early anomalies,
adult figures never again appeared in the strip. Peanuts had several
other recurring characters who were similarly absent from view. Some,
such as the Great Pumpkin or the Red Baron, may or may not have been
figments of the cast's imaginations. Others, such as the Little
Red-Haired Girl (Charlie Brown's perennial dream girl), Joe
Shlabotnik (Charlie Brown's baseball hero), World War II (the vicious
cat who lives next door to Snoopy), and Charlie Brown's unnamed pen
pal, were real. In a strip series in 1994, the Pen Pal was revealed
to be a girl in Scotland named Morag. Peanuts also saw several
secondary characters come and go throughout the strip's fifty-year run.
Lydia is the presumed name of the girl
that sits behind Linus in school. She is two months younger than
Linus but always asks "Aren't you kind of old for me?" She
also goes by a different name every day, leading an exasperated Linus
to stick with the name Lydia. Her antics drive Linus crazy, but at
the same time he finds her fascinating. In Charlie Brown's Christmas
Tales, he once tried to send her a Christmas card, but she never gave
him her correct address. Her feelings towards Linus remain ambiguous.
Jo was another of Charlie Brown's "true loves" in Someday
You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown. He first saw her during the broadcast
of Super Bowl XVI; she was in the audience and the TV camera zoomed
in on her face. The only difference between her and any other of his
loves is that, while he is extremely nervous about the others (so
nervous, in fact, that he cannot even bring himself to speak to some
of them), he sought after her in a wild-goose chase attempt to find
her and win her heart.
Maynard was Marcie's cousin, who appeared
in the strip July 21st, 1986, when Peppermint Patty's father hired
him as her tutor to help her in school.
Maynard's condescending attitude was
apparent from the start when he asked her, "Hi, are you the dumb
one?" upon first meeting her, and when he said, "Well,
there were these numbers on the houses, see..." when she asked
him how he had found her house.
In turn, Maynard couldn't stand Peppermint
Patty's own condescending attitude, when she kept calling him
"Captain Tutor" and he kept having to remind her that his
name was Maynard.
When Marcie revealed to Peppermint Patty
that her cousin was getting paid to tutor Peppermint Patty, she threw
Maynard out of the house, because she thought he was tutoring her
"out of the kindness of his heart." However, Maynard
justified his recompense with a Biblical passage: "The laborer
is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7, mistakenly attributed by
Maynard as Luke 10:4). Having been fired as Peppermint Patty's tutor,
Maynard never appeared again in the strip.
Mimi is a female character in the animated
TV special It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown (below left).
Poochie (below second from the left) was a
female character who made her first and only appearance on January
7th, 1973, though she had been mentioned by name in previous strips.
She was almost the first person to adopt Snoopy but was distracted by
an English sheepdog while Snoopy was fetching a stick Poochie threw;
Snoopy held a grudge against Poochie for this for years afterward.
Clara (below second from
the right) was a female character who first appeared in June 18th,
1968. The first Clara, a prototype of the later character, Marcie,
was one of the three little girls that included Shirley and Sophie
who were under the tutelage of Peppermint Patty during one of her
Summer Camp adventures.
Roy (above right) was a male character who
first appeared on June 11th, 1965. Roy first meets Charlie Brown in
camp, where Charlie Brown quickly befriends him. He meets Linus van
Pelt at camp the following summer. He later introduces Peppermint
Patty to Charlie Brown and his friends. Though still a minor
character, Roy was apparently Peppermint Patty's closest friend until
Marcie came into the picture. Roy appeared in the television specials
He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown (1968), It Was a Short Summer, Charlie
Brown (1969), Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? (1983), Snoopy's
Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985), and He's A Bully, Charlie
Brown, (2006) and the films Snoopy, Come Home! (1972) and Race for
Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977). He disappeared in the comic strip in
1975 but he was shown once more in 1984.
Molly Volley (above left) was a female
character who first appeared on May 9th, 1977, and was often Snoopy's
doubles partner in tennis. A hyperaggressive tennis player, she did
not suffer fools gladly, and had a bad temper, a great aversion to
losing and a reputation for beating up others (including other
doubles partners). She also had a tendency to be highly sensitive
about her weight: when one of her opponents, a bully called
"Bad-Call" Benny (above right panel), called her "Fat
Legs", she hit him in the mouth. She measured all her
ground-calls in centimeters. She did get along well with Charlie
Brown; in fact, he and Linus were the only ones who usually watched
Molly Volley and Snoopy play.
Her most constant opponent was a
loudmouthed girl named "Crybaby" Boobie (above right
panel), who joined the strip in 1978. "Crybaby" had a
tendency to cry and complain about absolutely everything. This trait,
as well as the car horn honking antics of her stage-door mother,
always tended to drive Molly crazy. Tired of always losing while
playing doubles with Snoopy, she eventually refused to be his doubles
partner and then she disappeared from the strip.
Royanne Hobbs was a female character who
first appeared on April 1st, 1993. Royanne, who claimed to be
"Roy Hobbs' great-granddaughter", and was a pitcher on the
opposing team when Charlie Brown hit a game-winning home run. Showing
up later that summer, she is again pitching when Charlie Brown hits
one of her pitches for an inside-the-park home run. Later that
summer, Royanne confesses that she let Charlie Brown hit those home
runs because she liked him; Charlie Brown retaliates by informing her
that "Roy Hobbs" is a fictional character.
Shortly afterwards, Royanne appears in a
story arc where she tries to sell "the bat used by Roy
Hobbs", despite her revelation that Roy Hobbs is a fictional
character Lucy purchases this bat and lashes out at her upon being
informed by Charlie Brown that Roy Hobbs is fictional. Royanne then
admits that she wanted to play on Charlie Brown's team, but utterly
refuses to play with Lucy. After she refused to play with Lucy,
Royanne sold the bat and she never appeared in the strip again.
Royanne resembles Eudora but with longer hair covering her eyes and
usually wears a baseball cap.
Russell Anderson (above left) is a boy
with blonde hair. He appeared in the television special You're Not
Elected, Charlie Brown, as Linus' rival for school president. Russell
eventually ended up voting for Linus, because Russell thought Linus
could do a better job as school president than he, Russell, could.
Emily (above center) was a
female character who was Charlie Brown's partner in a school dance.
She first appeared on February 11th, 1995. It was revealed that Emily
was merely a figment of Charlie Brown's imagination as the teacher
said that there was no one in the class named Emily. However, in her
later appearances, Emily was never mentioned to be an imaginary
character and Snoopy was also able to see her as well. The question
of whether Emily was an imaginary character or not was never resolved.
Ethan (above right) was
Charlie Brown's bunk mate. He first appeared on July 14th, 1993. He
made an Indian arrow in art class, but it was not a weapon. The next
day, he says that when he grows up, he wants to be a newspaper
columnist, because he has strong opinions about everything. As an
example, he says that the shirt Charlie Brown is wearing is stupid.
"Shut Up and Leave Me Alone" was
all this nameless, faceless kid ever said whenever Charlie Brown
tried to be friendly with him. He was Charlie's bunkmate at the
summer camp where Marcie was introduced in 1971. He did nothing but
sit on his bed and look at the wall so we could see only the back of
his head. He even said those words to Peppermint Patty when she
visited their cabin and was about to introduce herself and Marcie,
making Peppermint Patty angry at Charlie Brown. Those were even his
parting words to Charlie when camp was over. After camp, Charlie
wrote him a letter, but the response was, of course, "Shut up
and leave me alone." Finally, later, during the following school
year, out of the blue, Charlie Brown received an unexpected letter
from his old bunkmate. He tells Charlie Brown in the letter response
to "shut up and leave me alone."
Floyd (above left) appeared
July 26th, 1976, at a summer camp Peppermint Patty and Marcie were
attending, flagging Marcie's attention by calling her
"Lambcake" as an expression of his immediate infatuation
with her. But whenever he called her "Lambcake," Marcie
retaliated by pushing Floyd off the dock or into poison oak, or
hitting him with a first-aid kit and landing him in the infirmary.
But he kept stalking her with that same pet name until Marcie and
Peppermint Patty left camp, leaving him heartbroken that he never
even knew his heartthrob's name. Floyd never surfaced again in the strip.
Austin, Leland, Milo, and Ruby (above
right) appeared in 17 strips of a 1977 storyline in which Charlie
Brown ran away from home to flee the United States Environmental
Protection Agency after taking revenge on the Kite-Eating Tree. He
soon found himself coaching a baseball team of diminutive toddlers:
Milo and Leland, half Charlie Brown's height, were two years old,
while "the two biggest" on the team, Austin and Ruby, might
have been three. They always addressed Charlie Brown as
"Charles" and respected him as a wise elder, something he
was completely unused to. The team was named the "Goose
Eggs" after the baseball term for a zero score. The story ended
when the visiting team turned out to be Charlie Brown's original team
from home (Lucy: "We can't play them! They're too little! We'd
step on them!") and it was revealed that the evidence against
him was destroyed in a storm.
Janice Emmons is a girl who only appears
on the 1990 TV special Why, Charlie Brown, Why?. She has blonde hair,
goes to the same school that Charlie Brown and Linus go, and has a
particularly close friendship with the latter. She also loves playing
in the swings with Linus. Unfortunately one day, she gets
hospitalized and diagnosed with a kind of cancer called leukemia,
leaving Linus sad and shocked. After some time, Janice manages to
recover and returns to school. Janice shares some similarities with
Joe Agate (above) was a male character who
first appeared on April 7th, 1995. He usually wore an orange sweater
and a green hat. He bullied Rerun Van Pelt by stealing his marbles.
He was the adversary in the animated TV special He's a Bully, Charlie
Brown, voiced by Taylor Lautner.
Peterson (left) was introduced in 1967 as a friend of Peppermint
Patty's whom she recommended to Charlie Brown to be on his baseball
team. José Peterson was a very good hitter, but Peppermint
Patty was disappointed in the quality of the rest of Charlie Brown's
team, so she and José Peterson decided to start a team in
their own neighborhood.
José Peterson is notable in that
his mixed ancestry - a Swedish-American father and Mexican-American
mother - made him one of the first characters of Hispanic descent in
U.S. comics. His mother apparently combined her and her husband's
ethnicities in cooking, serving tortillas with Swedish meatballs.
Before moving to Peppermint Patty's neighborhood, José
Peterson had lived in New Mexico and North Dakota.
After his initial appearance, José
Petersen was only ever seen again as a bystander in one panel on
September 24th, 1969, and in the back cover illustration for the 1975
book Peanuts Jubilee. He was briefly visible in the Peanuts animated
movie released in 2015.
In that book, Schulz noted that the
character's name came to him in a dream, and he found the combination
of a Mexican given name and a Swedish family name hilarious.
Pudding (right) first appeared on September 4th, 1986. Tapioca is
Linus's classmate and has a small crush on him, which annoys Sally.
Sally is jealous of the friendship. Tapioca is also keen on licensing
of brand names. Tapioca Pudding once had what was "planned"
by Snoopy (who was portraying a Hollywood agent for Tapioca) an
appearance at the Olympics in L.A. (only for her to find out from
Linus that the Olympics were two years ago). Tapioca's last
appearance was December 1, 1986.
Her dessert-based name and association
with merchandise may peg her as a parody of Strawberry Shortcake.
Thibault was a male character who first
appeared on June 4th, 1970. Thibault is a bully on Peppermint Patty's
baseball team. He borrowed Charlie Brown's baseball glove (as a favor
for Peppermint Patty), and after the game refused to give the glove
back, telling Charlie Brown "I know your kind. You come around
thinking you're better than us." Charlie Brown, thrilled that
anyone would think of him as superior in any way, let Thibault keep
(left top) also ran afoul of Peppermint Patty and Marcie in 1973
after he chauvinistically told the latter that she should not be
playing baseball simply because she was a girl. After insulting
Marcie one too many times, she told Thibault that if he said one
word, she would slug him. When he said, "Oh?", Marcie made
good on her threat. Thibault's role as troublemaker is reflected in
his name, a variation of "Tybalt", the hostile troublemaker
in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Thibault made an animated
appearance on The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.
Truffles (left bottom) was a female
character who first appeared on March 31st, 1975. She has a larger
nose and eyes than other Peanuts characters. Named by her grandfather
after the fungus that grows underground, she was the second girl who
caught Linus's heart (his slight crush on Sally Brown being the
first). However, Linus's blossoming relationship with Truffles would
be thwarted twice; first in 1975 by Snoopy as he and Linus go on a
truffle hunt. Two years later, when Linus found her again while on a
school field trip in 1977, Sally, who would call him her "Sweet
Babboo" for the first of many times to his annoyance, saw to it
that his reunion with Truffles was short-lived with Snoopy's help.
She made two appearances in A Charlie Brown Celebration and The
Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. Truffles may be based on a young
French girl in a family Charles Schulz met and befriended after the
liberation of France during the Second World War.
555 95472, or 5 for short, debuted in the
September 30th, 1963, strip, and appeared occasionally until the
1980s. A boy close in age to Charlie Brown and Linus van Pelt, 5 had
brown spiky hair, and he wore an orange shirt with the number 5 on
it. 5 was given a numerical name by his father, who was upset over
the preponderance of numbers in people's lives; when questioned, 5
clarified that this was not his father's way of protesting, it was
his way of "giving in." His last name, 95472 (the accent is
on the 4), was taken from the family's ZIP code; it is also the zip
code for Sebastopol, California, where Schulz lived at the time. 5
had twin (presumably older) sisters, dark-haired girls named 3 and 4.
5 was largely phased out of the strip by
the late 1960s, except as a background extra. Despite this, he
appears in multiple animated Peanuts television specials, mainly as a
background character, and is also briefly seen in the films A Boy
Named Charlie Brown, Snoopy Come Home, and Race for Your Life,
Charlie Brown. 5 and his twin sisters also appear in the famous dance
sequence in A Charlie Brown Christmas. In his animated appearances
during the 1960s, the number 5 on his shirt was generally absent,
though he was still distinguished by his thin, spiky hair and orange
T-shirt, which remains the color orange throughout the majority of
his appearances. Despite having few speaking appearances, 5 is seen
much more frequently in the television specials and movies than any
other minor character from the Peanuts comic strip and was considered
a regular character until the 1980s, after which his animated
appearances ceased. However, he did make a cameo appearance in
Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown along with Frieda, Faron,
and his twin sisters 3 and 4. His name also appears on the test
scores sheet in The Peanuts Movie, and he also has a cameo appearance
in the film's dance sequence.
Schulz added some
additional fantastic elements, sometimes imbuing inanimate objects
with sparks of life. Charlie Brown's nemesis, the Kite-Eating Tree,
is one example. Sally Brown's school building, that expressed
thoughts and feelings about the students (and the general business of
being a brick building), is another. Linus' famous "security
blanket" also displayed occasional signs of anthropomorphism.
Schulz continued with the
strip for nearly 50 years, with no assistants, even in the lettering
and coloring process and over the years tackled everything from the
Vietnam War to school dress codes to the "new math" and
lampooned Little Leagues and "organized" play, when all the
neighborhood kids join snowman-building leagues and Charlie Brown
insists on building his own snowmen without leagues or coaches.
Peanuts reached its peak in
American pop-culture awareness between 1965 and 1980. During the
1980s some other strips surpassed Peanuts in popularity, most notably
Doonesbury, Garfield, The Far Side, Bloom County, and Calvin and
Hobbes, however, Schulz still had one of the highest circulations in
daily newspapers, and still remains popular with licensing and
marketing products to this day.