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.' "
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.
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
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
Chronology of "Peanuts" books, from Peanuts Collector Club
Test your "Peanuts" knowledge with tons of quizzes, from Timothy Chow
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
Information on the Broadway musical, from You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
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
Limitations on use of material in this Web package: This content is
owned by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services and contains material
that is derived in whole or in part from material supplied by KRT or its
contributors. The entire Web package and all material in it are protected
by international copyright and trademark laws. You may not copy, reproduce,
republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute in any way any material
from this Web package, including code and software without our permission.
KRT is a joint venture of Knight Ridder and the Tribune Co.