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|First appearance||February 7, 1951
A Charlie Brown Christmas (television special)
A Boy Named Charlie Brown (film)
|Last appearance||November 27, 1997
Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown (film)
He's A Bully, Charlie Brown (television special)
Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (television special)
|Voiced by||Sally Dryer (1963, 1965)
Karen Mendelson (1966)
Ann Altieri (1966-1969)
Linda Ercoli (1972-1975, 1976)
Lynn Mortensen (1974)
Linda Jenner (1974)
Roseline Rubens (1980)
Stacy Ferguson (1985)
Deanna Tello (1992)
Ashley Edner (2000)
Kaitlyn Maggio (2003)
Jolean Wejbe (2006)
Taya Calicetto (2008-2009)
Blesst Bowden (2011)
Violet has shoulder-length dark hair, and she frequently wears green dresses (switching to pants and jeans in the winter and in later years). Schulz changed her hairstyle between pigtails, a ponytail, and a bun in the early strips, but after a few years she dropped the braids and went exclusively with the ponytail, which became arguably her most famous trademark. Violet also wears front bangs. It became so rare to see her without a ponytail, in fact, that when she showed up without it on the way to school one day, Linus was startled enough to ask why she was wearing her hair down. She yelled that it was because her mother hadn't had time to comb her hair, since she was in such a hurry to go to Linus's house to play pool with his mother. Based on the character of Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet, she only wears braids when she is wearing blue jeans.
Her birthday is unofficially celebrated by Peanuts fans on June 17, as Charlie Brown and Pig-Pen attended her birthday party on that date in 1962. This appears to be a retcon; prior to 1962, earlier strips implied that her birthday was January 28 (in the February 22, 1951, strip, she had said her birthday was a month ago, and in the January 29, 1955, strip, Charlie Brown claimed her birthday was "yesterday").
One of the strip's earlier characters dating from 1951, Violet was seen less frequently after other female characters such as Lucy, Sally and Peppermint Patty were introduced and developed in the 1950s and 60s. Post-1960s appearances by Violet are rare, and after that she was usually seen only as a background character. Her last appearance was in 1997.
Role in Peanuts
Violet and Patty are best friends, and the two began appearing together almost from the beginning of the strip. Patty was one of the four original characters (along with Charlie Brown, Shermy, and Snoopy), and Violet was the first new major character to join the cast, debuting on February 7, 1951. Her surname (Gray) was mentioned only once, on April 4, 1953. 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 rare 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."
A good example has Violet setting up a toy farmyard, including a house, barn, tractor and tree which is suddenly hit by Charlie Brown's kite. Charlie Brown looks embarrassed but not so worried as he was when his kite had hit Lucy's hand in a previous strip.
As the cast of characters grew, Violet was left with very little to do besides antagonizing Charlie Brown. She also played outfield (and sometimes third base) on Charlie Brown's baseball team, and popped up in that capacity from time to time in later strips.
Violet's most consistent personality trait is that she tends to be a snob, very conscious of appearances and status. It is implied that her family enjoys a considerably higher class position than the other characters'. Both of her parents are college graduates and her father makes more money than Charlie Brown's, a barber. When walking with Linus once, she insisted she was not going to be seen walking with a boy holding a blanket, whereupon he quickly transformed his blanket into an ascot (May 18, 1956). She also frequently criticizes Pig-Pen for his inability to keep himself clean. Violet often looks down on people who fail to meet her social standards, especially Charlie Brown, to whom she once stated flatly, "It simply goes without saying that you are an inferior human being." His adroit reply to that was, "If it goes without saying, why did you have to say it?!"
Being supposedly of upper class upbringing, Violet also makes it a point to brag frequently about her father, especially to Charlie Brown, sometimes driving him to the point of aggravation. Violet's fatherly boastings were always comparative; to wit, she would say, "My dad is taller than your dad", or "My dad has more credit cards than your dad". However, in a Father's Day strip, her boasts are quelled (at least momentarily) when Charlie Brown 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. Her bragging about her father backfired another time (when a character named "5") fired back at her with "My dad goes to PTA meetings!" Charlie Brown once managed to deflate her with the comeback: "My dad has a son."
Her abuse of Charlie Brown
Violet's verbal assaults of Charlie Brown (sometimes in tandem with Patty, although Patty wasn't as dominant as Violet) could be quite cruel—sometimes exceeding even the severity of Lucy's insults.
She thoroughly disliked Charlie Brown and clearly made no bones about it. Violet would insult him viciously and with the utmost cruelty, and was very remorseless and even shameless about it.
On occasion, she and Patty will talk about how gentle and kind girls are, then, in the same breath, lash out at Charlie Brown to leave them alone after he showed up. They would also talk about how people should understand others more, especially children, and then, again showing their hypocrisy, cruelly scream at Charlie Brown to go away and leave them alone.
A classic example of her attitude was where Violet is lashing out at Charlie Brown, and then finishes him off with "And I don't care if I ever see you again, do you hear me?!" Apparently, this tongue lashing was quite vicious, as Linus walks in and notices that Charlie Brown was really hurt. Charlie Brown said that Violet hadn't taken all the life out of him, "but you can number me among the walking wounded." (May 3, 1961)
Schroeder, like Linus, also doesn't like the idea of Violet and Patty insulting and yelling at Charlie Brown all the time. He comes in while the vicious girls insulted him again. (In this one, they called him weak, a real jellyfish; also saying that he was dumb, stupid, ignorant and had a silly face!) As the girls walked off with cruel smiles on their faces, Schroeder calls them "the cats" who had once again used Charlie Brown to sharpen their claws on. Charlie Brown said to Schroeder, "I am sort of a spiritual scratching post."
In the December 4, 1959 daily strip, Violet and Patty basically see Charlie Brown's mere presence, even if he doesn't do anything to them, as an affront to their supposed and self-professed superiority. Because of this, they viciously yell at him to go home. After completely demoralizing him, Violet said, "You know, it's a strange thing about Charlie Brown, you almost never see him laugh."
In the August 16, 1951 strip Violet was the first to call Charlie Brown a "Blockhead," an insult Lucy would later use far more frequently and with other characters.
Another example had Patty and Violet reciting a very mean-spirited poem basically pointing out that "Boys are rotten filled with cotton" and that "Girls are dandy filled with candy!" and then walking off smugly, where Charlie Brown retaliates with the phrase, "Generalities!!!"
Still another involved the two shamelessly berating Charlie Brown about a wrong answer Charlie Brown gave to a teacher's question, both going so far as to call him "stupid" and then walking off laughing at him. ("The teacher asked him why they have so much rain in Oregon... and [Charlie Brown] said, 'Because they have a lot of clouds!'")
Once, after yet another one of Violet's verbal assaults on Charlie Brown (wherein this time she called him, weak, spineless and wishy-washy), Charlie Brown remarked to Linus that she took him down "step by step, line by line, verse by verse". Linus replied, "It sounds like you are a victim of higher criticism!".
In A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Violet, Patty and Lucy gleefully taunted Charlie Brown with the derisive song "Failure Face", in a cold-hearted attempt to stop him from entering a spelling bee and to solidify in his psyche that he was nothing more than a born loser.
However in the new mobile Peanuts game, Snoopy's Street Fair. she acts much more nicely to him and when he walks over to her stand, she offers him a free cookie.
"We're having a party, and you're not invited!"
While Lucy's insults tend to be fairly blunt—calling Charlie Brown names like "blockhead" and making sarcastic remarks at his expense—Patty and Violet preferred to use social exclusion as their weapon, sometimes going to extremes to make him feel like an outcast. For example, they once invited him to join their "secret club", then rejected him after he accepted. In one early Sunday strip, Patty and Violet forced Charlie Brown and Shermy to build a clubhouse for them, without even a break, and then hung a "No Boys Allowed" sign on the door.
On many other occasions, especially in the early years of the strip, Patty and Violet went out of their way - sometimes with unconcealed glee, to make sure Charlie Brown knew that they were throwing a party and he was not invited. But Charlie Brown sometimes managed to turn the tables on the two girls. For example:
- November 23, 1951: When they mentioned excluding Charlie Brown from their party, he let it roll off his back saying he did not want to go to their "dumb ol' party" anyway. After he left, they pondered whether he meant it. Violet was convinced he did, so Patty suggested "In that case, maybe we'd better invite him."
- January 29, 1954: Charlie Brown replied to them saying if they did not like him they were better off not inviting him. Stunned to silence, the girls just walked away, with Charlie Brown smiling after them.
- September 1, 1954: Charlie Brown uncharacteristically threatened to strafe, then bomb their house if he was not invited, to which both girls replied, "Okay, you're invited."
Violet often adds a series of Nyah's when she teases Charlie Brown.
In another instance, Charlie Brown pretended to not care about not being invited until Patty and Violet were out of earshot, when it is revealed that he is in fact very depressed about it.
Another contrast to Lucy was physical violence; Violet's physical attacks, especially on Charlie Brown, were much fewer and further between. In one 1963 Sunday strip, an angry Violet was chasing Charlie Brown threatening to "knock (his) block off". Before she could throw the punch, Charlie Brown stopped her and tried to reason with her that there were better ways to solve problems than with violence. Violet ended up punching him anyway in the middle of his speech, and in the final panel admits to Patty, "I had to hit him quick. He was beginning to make sense!"
Her verbal abuse was not only confined to Charlie Brown. At one point, Violet berated Linus for liking the Great Pumpkin. She called him "just plain stupid crazy," said he was talking "like someone who had just fallen out of a tree" and also called him "stark raving stupid!"
But Violet's fighting side backfired on her at times, too; in one particular Sunday strip Violet tries matching her in-fighting prowess against Lucy's by throwing a barrage of insults at her - from a distance. But when Violet physically gets in Lucy's face, Lucy blasts back with, "You're a no-good, tale-tattling, little sneaking snip-snap pony-tailed ape!!" Visibly shaken, Violet retreats, as Lucy smiles smugly. (The whole incident was observed by Linus and Charlie Brown, the latter remarking on Violet's choice of words saying "I'm glad it's not me she's yelling at. I'd never be able to take it!")
Notably, Violet was the first character ever not to let Charlie Brown kick a football. However, her reason for pulling away was for fear of him kicking her hand, whereas Lucy's motivation was usually sheer malice.
Violet also appeared in several of the animated Peanuts television specials. Voice actors who played Violet over the years include Ann Altieri (who also voiced Frieda) from 1965 to 1969, Linda Ercoli (who also voiced Peppermint Patty and Frieda) from 1972 to 1975, and most recently Jolean Wejbe (who also voiced Patty and Frieda) in 2006's He's a Bully, Charlie Brown.
Violet's TV appearances
- A Boy Named Charlie Brown (TV special) (1963)
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
- Charlie Brown's All-Stars (1966)
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
- You're in Love, Charlie Brown (1967)
- He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown (1968)
- It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown (1969)
- A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)
- Snoopy, Come Home (1972) [silent]
- You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown (1972)
- There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown (1973) [silent]
- Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975)
- You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown (1975) [silent]
- Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown (1976)
- It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown (1976) [silent]
- Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) [silent]
- It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (1977) [silent]
- Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don't Come Back!!) (1980)
- Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? (1983) [silent]
- The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (1983) [silent]
- Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown (1985)
- Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (1986) [silent]
- Snoopy!!! The Musical (TV special) (1988) [archival footage]
- Why, Charlie Brown, Why? (1990) [silent]
- It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992)
- It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown (1997) [silent]
- It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown (2000)
- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003)
- He's a Bully, Charlie Brown (2006)
- Peanuts Motion Comics (2008)
- Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (2011)
- Sally Dryer (1963, 1965)
- Karen Mendelson (1966)
- Ann Altieri (1966-1969)
- Linda Ercoli (1972-1975, 1976)
- Lynn Mortensen (1974)
- Linda Jenner (1974)
- Roseline Rubens (1980)
- Stacy Ferguson (1985)
- B.J. Ward (1990-1992)
- Shannon Farnon (1991-1994)
- Deanna Tello (1992)
- Ashley Edner (2000)
- Kaitlyn Maggio (2003)
- Jolean Wejbe (2006)
- Taya Calicetto (2008-2009)
- Blesst Bowden (2011)
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