Charlie Brown

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For other people named Charlie Brown, see Charles Brown (disambiguation).
Charlie Brown
Peanuts character
Charlie Brown.png
First appearance 1947 (in Li'l Folks)
October 2, 1950 (comic strip)
Last appearance February 13, 2000 (comic strip)
Voiced by Peter Robbins (1963–1969)
Chris Inglis (1971)
Chad Webber (1972–1973)
Todd Barbee (1973–1974)
Duncan Watson (1975–1977)
Dylan Beach (1976)
Arrin Skelley (1977–1980)
Liam Martin (1978)
Michael Mandy (1980–1981)
Grant Wehr (1981)
Brad Kesten (1983-1985)
Michael Catalano (1983)
Brett Johnson (1984–1986)
Kevin Brando (1984-1985)
Chad Allen (1986)
Sean Collins (1986-1988)
Erin Chase (1988–1989)
Kaleb Henley (1990)
Phil Sanfran (1991)
Justin Shenkarow (1992)
Jamie E. Smith (1992)
Jimmy Guardino (1993)
Steven Hartman (1995-1997)
Christopher Ryan Johnson (2000)
Quinn Beswick (2000)
Wesley Singerman (2002–2003)
Adam Taylor Gordon (2003)
Spencer Robert Scott (2006)
Alex Ferris (2008-2009)
Trenton Rogers (2011)
Information
Gender Male
Family Sally Brown (sister)
Unnamed parents
Unnamed grandparents
Unnamed uncle

"Charlie Brown 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." -Charles M. Schulz on Charlie Brown

Charlie Brown is one of the four leading characters-and central protagonist- of the syndicated daily and Sunday comic strip Peanuts. Like the majority of the other human child characters in the strip, he often spoke and acted like an adult. Praised as the strip's richest and best character, he is hailed as one of the greatest cartoon characters of all time.

Personality[edit]

"What makes Charlie Brown such a rich character is that he's not purely a loser. The self-loathing that causes him so much anguish is decidedly not self-effacement. Charlie Brown is optimistic enough to think he can earn a sense of of self-worth, and his willingness to do so by exposing himself to humiliations is the dramatic engine that drives the strip. The greatest of Charlie Brown's virtues is his resilience, which is to say his courage. Charlie Brown is ambitious. He manages the baseball team. He may be a loser, but he's, strangely, a leader at the same time. This makes his mood swings truly bipolar in their magnificence: he vacillates not between kinda happy and kinda unhappy, but between being a "hero" and being a "goat"." -Christopher Caldwell on Charlie Brown in an essay for The New York Times

Charlie Brown is simple, kind-hearted with many many anxieties, and is really shy.[1] [2] He is a child possessed of endless determination and hope, but is ultimately dominated by his insecurities.[3] Charlie Brown is always referred to by his full name (with the exception of Peppermint Patty who calls him 'Chuck,' and Marcie and Eudora who calls him 'Charles') and his usual catchphrase is "good grief".Like Schulz, Charlie Brown is the son of a barber; but whereas Schulz's work is described as the "most shining example of the American success story", Charlie Brown is an example of "the great American un-success story" in that he fails in almost everything he does.

On early strips, Charlie Brown was much more playful than he would become in later strips, as he often played with the characters Patty and Violet Gray. Charlie Brown then, quite quickly, became a sad and lonely character, often abused by his companions. For the rest of the strip's run, Charlie Brown became the character who had an almost continuous streak of bad luck, but tried with large efforts and work, resulting either in more losses or great victories; some of such victories are hitting a game-winning home run off a pitch by a minor character named Royanne on a strip from March 30, 1993, and his victory over Joe Agate(another minor character) in a game of marbles on a strip from April 11, 1995.

Charlie Brown cares very deeply for his family and friends, even if he took abuse from them. His care for his sister was shown on a strip from May 26, 1959(the strip in which his little sister Sally was born), when he exclaimed:"A BABY SISTER?! I'M A FATHER! I mean my DAD's a father! I'M a brother!I have a baby sister! I'M a brother!"at her birth, and 2 strips later threw a celebration over it by handing over chocolate cigars to his friends. When Charlie Brown took abuse from his companions (most often Lucy, Violet and Patty), he usually didn't take out his anger on them. However, he often retaliated and even managed to turn the tables. An example is a strip from November 23, 1951, which featured Violet and Patty telling Charlie Brown that they're not going to invite him to their party (as they very frequently do), with Charlie Brown replying that he didn't want to go their "dumb ol' party" anyway, leading the two girls to invite him. Another time Violet and Patty's bullying backfired was featured on the January 29, 1954 strip, with Charlie Brown saying that since they don't like him, the are better of not inviting him anyway, stunning them away as Charlie Brown smiles at his victory. A third example is the September 1, 1954 strip, which featured Charlie Brown threatening that he will take a squadron and bomb their party if they didn't invite him, resulting in the bullies inviting him.

The football gag[edit]

Charlie Brown is known for being unable to kick a football, with the most well-known and most significant gag of the strip involving Charlie Brown attempting to kick a football before the ever-sadistic Lucy pulls it away to make him feel miserable and powerless. The two often talk before the actual gag, portraying Lucy trying to convince Charlie Brown to kick it. This football gag was featured every year, usually during the autumn season. This act was first featured on the November 14, 1951; this strip, however, involved the character Violet, and it was merely out of fear about Charlie Brown accidentally kicking her hand. The next year, on November 16, 1952, Lucy performed it for the first time, taking over from Violet and did it out of fear that Charlie Brown's shoes are dirty and might ruin her new football, then on the same strip,Charlie Brown attempted to kick it again, and the strip concluded with Charlie Brown accidentally tripping over the football, and thus being unable to kick it even though Lucy held it tightly. For the remainder of the strip's run, Lucy will annually pull away the football before Charlie Brown could kick it to gleefully bring torment and misery to Charlie Brown (the years 1984, 1985 and 1990, for some unknown reasons, did not feature this gag.) This gag is often parodied in pop culture, especially in satires, frequently involving Charlie Brown kicking Lucy instead of the football, or other people hurting Lucy out of pity for Charlie Brown.

Charlie Brown's baseball team[edit]

Charlie brown was shown to be the leader of a baseball team who frequently loses. His entire team was not skilled, with his right fielder Lucy being the worst baseball player in the entire Peanuts universe. There was a gag that involved Charlie Brown being hit by the same ball he pitched, resulting in him being stripped of all his clothes, with the exception of his shorts. Despite the fact that his team almost always loses, usually with a score of zero, he remained determined and acted as a strict and ambitious supreme commander of a bunch of players who sometimes were uncooperative. His strength as a reigning leader was shown in his commands, scoldings and advice to his players; an example of his strict attitude was shown when he yelled at Lucy "Go back to right field where you belong!' when she once annoyed him. His dog Snoopy was stated to be his best player, his best friend Linus was his second baseman, and his next closest friend Schroeder once commanded the team on Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) when Charlie Brown and Linus traveled to France.

Charlie Brown's love life[edit]

Charlie Brown frequently becomes involved in love. His main love interest was dubbed "The Little Red-Haired Girl", as he didn't know her name or even talked to her. When he observes the Little Red-Haired Girl, he often did it by hiding behind an object, as he was too shy to let her even see his bald, round face. She was usually not shown, hidden outside the panel, and her only actual appearance was silhouetted. 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 and, in fact, almost always oblivious towards her feelings for him. Examples of her delusions are her telling 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 say "I know you like me." Marcie, on the other hand, was usually too shy to admit her feelings. However, she was sometimes shown as being able to confess her "fondness" for him. On the special There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown she told him about Peppermint Patty's crush on him, kissed Charlie Brown, and said "If you don't want it to come from me, think of it as having come from Peppermint Patty!"

From July 23, 1990 to July 11, 1999, Charlie Brown had a girlfriend named Peggy Jean. Charlie Brown was so nervous at meeting her that he introduced himself as "Brownie Charles', and his nervousness led him to even temporarily forgot about the Little-Red Haired Girl. Initially uncomfortable about this, he quickly grew to like this nickname. On the same day they met, she offered to hold a football for Charlie Brown to kick, but was afraid that she will pull it away, and ended up not kicking it at all. Peggy Jean was initially upset that he did not trust her, but they made up, said to Charlie Brown she loves him. The two then held hands, and kiss. The next panel showed Charlie Brown calling Linus to tell him that a pretty girl whom he adored actually kissed him, but the strip concluded by revealing that Lucy answered the phone, and she replied:"What is this, an obscene phone call??!!" Before they went home, Peggy Jean promised to write letters to him every day. However, Charlie Brown did not received any letters from Peggy Jean; it was revealed that they are addressed to "Brownie Charles" and that Sally had made the mailman return the letters to Peggy Jean as Sally thought there was no one in the household who had the name Brownie Charles. Charlie Brown then called her to apologize about all the letters returning to her house, and she replied that she was still thinking about him and promised that she will continue to write letters to him. A series of strips once showed that Charlie Brown wanted to give her gloves as a Christmas gift, but did not have enough money, leading Linus to suggest that Charlie Brown give her a card advising her to keep her hands in her pockets to protect them from the cold as a gift instead. Charlie Brown eventually decided to sell all his comic books to get enough money to buy the gloves. However, when he went to give them to her, her mother had already bought her the same sort of gloves, leading Charlie brown to give them to Snoopy so they wouldn't go to waste. Peggy Jean made her final appearance on the July 11, 1999 strip, when she told Charlie Brown that she has found another boyfriend, leaving Charlie Brown heartbroken.

On a series of strips from September 1994, Charlie Brown learned that his pen-pal was a girl named Morag from Scotland, and fantasized having a romance with her, but then learned that she had 30 other pen-pals.

Charlie Brown's kite-flying skills[edit]

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 7–8, 1958 strips, Charlie Brown got his kite to fly into the air, but it spontaneously combusted, making his victory worthless.

Halloween and Valentine's Day[edit]

During Halloween, like other kids, Charlie Brown went trick-or-treating along with most of his friends. During this holiday, he always wore a ghost costume by making two oval holes on a white blanket to give the impression of a ghost with two hollow eyes. Sometimes, Charlie Brown wore this costume after Halloween, usually due to a screw-up, like his laundry coming in late. Charlie Brown got rocks whenever he goes trick-or-treating, resulting in depression, but he remained hoping that he will get a chance to receive candy on the next year's Halloween. When the special It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was first aired in 1966, the viewers sympathized so much with Charlie Brown that they sent Halloween candy to the studio in order to show their sympathy towards him. Charlie Brown's best friend,Linus frequently got him to wait in a local pumpkin patch in order to see Linus's mythological being, "The Great Pumpkin". Charlie Brown was always shown trying to convince Linus that The Great Pumpkin didn't exist, but Linus was always shown to hope that The Great Pumpkin will arise from a "sincere" pumpkin patch and bless him with toys, making Charlie Brown's efforts in vain.

On Valentine's day, Charlie Brown was frequently shown waiting at his mail box to get a Valentine from a girl, but, in almost every case, Charlie Brown doesn't receive any, though on the special Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, he received a Valentine from Violet out of pity, and he accepts it, even though Schroeder(Charlie Brown's best friend after Linus) scolded Violet for trying to appease her and her female companions' guilty conscience. The special's viewers, similar to the viewers of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, sent Valentine's day cards to the studio out of sympathy.

Christmas[edit]

On the first Peanuts television special, Charlie Brown sought to know the true meaning of Christmas, as even though the jolly season was approaching, he was still depressed. It involved him directing a Christmas play with his uncooperative companions, and eventually Linus told him the meaning that he had always wanted to know.

Birthday and Age[edit]

Charlie Brown stated in an early strip (November 3, 1950[4] that he was "only four years old", but he aged over the next two decades, being six years old as of November 17, 1957 and "eight-and-a-half years old" by July 11, 1979. Later references continue to peg Charlie Brown as being approximately eight years old.[5] Another early strip, on October 30, 1950, has Patty and Shermy wishing Charlie Brown a happy birthday on that day, although they are not sure they have the date right.[5]

History[edit]

First Peanuts strip, October 2, 1950. From left-to-right: Charlie Brown, Shermy, (original) Patty.

He first appeared in 1947, three years before Peanuts started, in a comic strip by Charles M. Schulz called Li'l Folks. He later appeared in the first Peanuts comic strip, on October 2, 1950.

Reception[edit]

Along with Snoopy, he was ranked eighth on TV Guide's 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The World Encyclopedia of Comics edited by Maurice Horn, ISBN 0-7910-4854-3, ISBN 978-0-7910-4854-2
  2. ^ Mendelson, Lee (1970). Charlie Brown & Charlie Schulz. New York: World Publishing Company. LCCN 75107642.  The dust jacket describes the book as "The warmhearted biography of a wonderful man (real) and a wonderful boy (almost-as-real) who proved that being a loser could be the biggest success story of all."
  3. ^ Furness, Adrienne (2008). "Peanuts". St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture, BNET. CNET Networks, Inc. Retrieved 30 March 2008. 
  4. ^ "Peanuts Cartoon 3 November 1950". 3 November 1950. Retrieved 18 September 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Bang, Derrick (11 March 2011). "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Charles Schulz and his Peanuts cartoon strip" (text). FiveCentsPlease.org. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "TV Guide's 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters". 30 July 2002. Retrieved 17 September 2013.