'Peanuts' Family Tree

Charlie Brown
The "blockhead" loser everybody loves is a clear reflection of his creator's self-image. His father is a barber, just like Schulz's dad. And his unrequited crush on the little red-haired girl mirrors Schulz's young love, who devastated the budding cartoonist by rejecting his marriage proposal. Charlie Brown taught us that it's OK to fail. Schulz, who named the character after an art school buddy, once said, "I never realized how many Charlie Browns there were in the world. I thought I was the only one."

Patterned on a spunky dog that Schulz had as a child, Snoopy lets the cartoonist live out his fantasies. Snoopy can do just about anything, from taking on a hockey team of birds to writing a world-famous novel to gunning for the Red Baron as a World War I flying ace (Schulz credits the military with raising his self-confidence). Schulz has said making Snoopy stand upright and giving him an active imaginary life marked his strip's most important development.

Schroeder can usually be found with his head buried in Beethoven. Schulz, a classical music lover, likes to have fun with Schroeder and his piano. "I like drawing the various complicated scores, although it does get kind of tedious now and then," he told National Public Radio. "And there have been a few times when I'm drawing them and I've made a mistake and I think, 'Well, I'll just leave it in and see if any readers ever notice it. And nobody's ever said anything.' "

Pig Pen
A self-described dust magnet who doesn't have a real name, Pig Pen is a happy mess. In 1993, Pig Pen hit paydirt, earning just one of many of the lucrative contracts that have made Schulz wealthy. (For Pig Pen, it was a series of TV ads for Regina vacuum cleaners.) But Schulz doesn't make commercial deals only for the money. He just can't say no. Perpetually insecure, he constantly fears people will think he's unworthy.

Wise beyond his years, Linus has shown the world that carrying a security blanket isn't so strange. He serves as the spiritual outlet for his creator, a devout Christian who isn't afraid to let Linus utter biblical quotations. In fact, Schulz insisted on Linus' passionate recitation of a passage from St. Luke in "A Charlie Brown Christmas," which has aired every year since 1965. Linus' undying belief in the coming of the Great Pumpkin is a demonstration of Schulz's faith.

Book-smart and loyal but a bit naive, Marcie and best friend Peppermint Patty have nothing in common except their secret crushes on Charlie Brown. What do they each get out of their sincere friendship? Peppermint Patty protects Marcie, and Marcie lets Peppermint Patty copy her homework. Her overachieving nature has made her Schulz's poster kid for childhood stress.

Charlie Brown's malapropism-prone little sister gives him a lot of grief. School has never been her best subject; she's constantly in conflict with her squawking teachers. But she sure is sweet on Linus, the subject of her unwanted affection. She calls him her "Sweet Baboo."

Without much fanfare, thoughtful Franklin was introduced in 1968 as the strip's first black character. Schulz never meant for him to be a political statement. Franklin, who met Charlie Brown on the beach and then showed up as a player on Peppermint Patty's baseball team, is well-versed in the Old Testament, and he's the most stable of the whole bunch.

Linus' big sister is a chronically crabby girl who uses her clever mind and tart tongue to hold her ground. Her creator uses her to vent his own grouchiness and dispense smart-alecky bits of wisdom, 5 cents at a time. Lucy always jerks the football away from Charlie Brown because Schulz doesn't think letting him kick it would be funny. The only warm place in her heart is reserved for Schroeder, who'd rather be playing his piano than paying attention to her.

He looks a lot like older brother Linus, but basketball buff ReRun endures harrowing rides on the back of his mother's bicycle without benefit of a security blanket. Mom and dad won't let him have a dog, so he tries to "borrow" Snoopy by bribing him with cookies.

Peppermint Patty
She's no scholar, often turning to best pal Marcie for help getting through the school day. But watch out for tough, brash Peppermint Patty on a baseball field. Though she can be tough on "Chuck," as she calls Charlie Brown, she has made it clear she really has a soft spot in her heart for him.

Snoopy's klutzy confidant has been given some handy skills to help him survive in the modern world. He types and takes dictation in shorthand. Schulz, whose characters have never grown up, has even drawn Woodstock an accessory to subtly reflect at least one sign of changing times: a cell phone.


Snoopy.com & Other Links
Editor's note: These links will take you to Web sites with content we do not control or endorse.

'Peanuts' Home Page
Biography of Charles Schulz, character profiles, history, comic strip library, gallery and gift shop, from Snoopy.com

All About 'Peanuts'
News, hard-to-find items, just-for-fun stuff and lots of links, from Peanuts Collector Club

Book List
Chronology of "Peanuts" books, from Peanuts Collector Club

Test your "Peanuts" knowledge with tons of quizzes, from Timothy Chow

Project Linus
Donate a security blanket for an ill child, from Project Linus

Inside the World of 'Peanuts'
Collection of "Peanuts" news stories, features and trivia, from Scripps Howard News Service

In the Classroom
Teaching with educational "Peanuts" shows, from teachers.nick.com

On the Move
Art of the "Peanuts" animator, from Bill Melendez Productions

The Musical
Information on the Broadway musical, from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown Online


Snoopy.com; United Media; United Feature Syndicate; Chicago Tribune/KRT; The Philadelphia Inquirer/KRT; The Dallas Morning News/KRT; Newsweek; Time; National Public Radio

Producer: Michelle Buzgon/KRT
Designer: Adam Mark/KRT

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