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|First appearance||August 22, 1966|
|Last appearance||January 2, 2000|
Priscila "Peppermint Patty" Reichardt is a fictional character featured in Charles M. Schulz' comic strip Peanuts. She 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 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 22, 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 Charlie Brown and since has had other adventures with him. Uniquely, she refers to Charlie Brown and Lucy as "Chuck" and "Lucille", respectively.
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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 part of a single-parent household.
Peppermint Patty was first voiced by Gail DeFaria in the CBS specials, then by various other child performers both male (such as Christopher DeFaria and Stuart Brotman) and female (including Donna Forman (1974), Linda Ercoli (1974), Victoria Vargas (1983), Gini Holtzman (1984–1985)).
"Peppermint Patty" was also the title of a song by pianist Vince Guaraldi, which is the theme music for the character in the animated specials (starting with her first appearance in You're in Love, Charlie Brown).
Peppermint Patty has short, auburn (sometimes brunette) hair and wears a striped, green T-shirt, black shorts with two white stripes and green ( sometimes brown ) sandals. She has freckles and is the most "tomboyish" girl in Charlie Brown's school.
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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." This was a recurrent gag in the strip until an incident (featured in a series of strips from March 1974) in which Patty declared she was through with school and planned to spend the rest of her days staying in "Chuck's guest cottage" (Snoopy's dog house). By the end of this particular story arc, Marcie, in a fit of exasperation, angrily informed Peppermint Patty exactly what the "funny looking kid with the big nose" actually was, which left Patty in stunned shock for several strips. In a later phone call to Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty finally accepted the truth: "Let's just say my pride had the flu, okay, Chuck?"
Peppermint Patty has brown chin-length hair, and she has freckles on her face. She almost always wears sandals with bare feet, even in wintertime. In one series of strips, in which she was forbidden to wear the sandals in school, it was revealed that these were a gift from her father because she was "a rare gem." For a time, Patty also put her candy cigarettes in her sleeve.
She also thought a school for gifted children meant that she would get free gifts if she enrolled. Likewise she once confused a dog obedience school with a human private school, going so far as to enroll and graduate with the other dogs. It was only later, when she tried to use that diploma to show that she did not have to go to regular school, that she discovered that she had publicly humiliated herself for a meaningless honor. Although initially angry with Snoopy, who had recommended the school to her, she forgave him after she got into a fight with the cat named "World War II" that lived next door to Charlie Brown (having mistaken it for Snoopy in a cat suit) and Snoopy came to her aid.
She is widely known for receiving a D− grade on every test or assignment in school (in 1999, the final full year of Peanuts, her teacher presented her with a certificate naming her to the "D-Minus Hall of Fame"). In one comic strip, Patty got a Z−, which she called "sarcasm". In a series of strips in 1984, Peppermint Patty was held back a grade for failing all of her classes—only to be allowed to return to her old class when her old desk in front of Marcie started to emit snoring noises, leading kids and faculty alike to suspect that the classroom was haunted by a "snoring ghost".
Peppermint Patty's bad grades are possibly exacerbated by her tendency to sleep through class. This was explained by the fact that her father works late, and Patty is too insecure to sleep until he returns home. In one series of strips, Marcie suggests that it is Patty's unrequited love for Charlie Brown (see below) which causes her to fall asleep. At Marcie's urging, Patty also went to a sleep disorders treatment center to be tested for narcolepsy; once again, though, it was determined that staying up too late at night, and not narcolepsy, was the cause of Patty's falling asleep in class.
Peppermint Patty hired Snoopy twice to serve as her watchdog so she could sleep better at night, but both incidents ended disastrously. The first time, Snoopy was unable to get off Peppermint Patty's waterbed in the guest room to catch the burglars who were robbing the house at that very moment, and the second time, Snoopy was distracted by a girl poodle who became his fiancee (the engagement was called off on the day of the wedding), leading Peppermint Patty to angrily call Charlie Brown in the middle of the night and demand that he come to her house to serve as watchdog in Snoopy's place. Besides guard duties, Peppermint Patty also retains Snoopy's services as an attorney, once even enlisting his help to openly defy the school's dress code. The first strip in which the character's full formal name, Patricia Reichardt, was mentioned, published January 15, 1972; her formal name appeared again at least one more time, in the February 5, 1993 strip, in which she reads to Marcie an ad she has placed in the paper:
- First panel: PP: See, Marcie? My ad is in the paper..
- Second panel: PP: "Help wanted...attractive young lady can't remember history dates."
- Third panel: PP: "Doesn't understand fractions. Call Patricia Reichardt at number below.."
- Fourth panel: PP: What do you think, Marcie? M: You are extremely weird, sir.
Patty is also a star athlete, especially in baseball, where her team regularly trounces Charlie Brown's squad. In the first series of strips in which Patty appeared in 1966, she actually joins "Chuck's" team as its new pitcher, relegating Charlie Brown to the outfield. However, she quits in disgust after only one game; despite tossing a no-hitter and slamming five home runs, her new team lost, 37–5, because of their somewhat porous defense. In another occasion she let Charlie pitch the last throw of the game (Patty pitched a no-hit, no-run game and were leading 50–0 on the 9th inning, 2nd out, 2nd strike), only to see Charlie lose the game. The final score was 51−50.
Peppermint Patty lives with her father and enjoys a particularly close relationship with him, 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. She has often lamented her lack of a mother to help her prepare for skating competitions and such:
- Peppermint Patty: "Skating mothers are like stage mothers and swimming mothers. They grumble and complain and gossip and fuss, but you really need them!"
- Marcie: "How do they get that way, sir?"
- Peppermint Patty: "Early rising and too much coffee."
Peppermint Patty mentions her mother over the course of the television special He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown, but Schulz repeatedly stated that the situations presented in the cartoon adaptations are not canonical to the strip.
Relationships with other characters
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". Marcie also called her "Priscilla" in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving; however, this is a continuation of a reference Linus had just made to Longfellow's poem The Courtship of Miles Standish in which Standish asks John Alden to speak to Priscilla Mullins on his behalf (just as Peppermint Patty has asked Marcie to speak to Charlie Brown).
The 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 annoyed her.
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 its pursued and received with varying degrees of projection, enthusiasm, and obliviousness, especially on the part of Charlie Brown. Peppermint Patty frequently plays lovers' games with Charlie Brown, and gets frustrated or even angry when he does not take the bait; he does like Peppermint Patty, but only as a friend (though their friendship is occasionally strained by her strong personality and bossiness toward him). Originally, Peppermint Patty played reverse psychology; she would often say, "You kind of like me, don't you, Chuck?" when it was clear that it was Peppermint Patty who had the crush on Charlie Brown, while he not only did not have a crush on her, he also did not quite know what to make of her. His true love was the unattainable Little Red-Haired Girl, and having a girl actually like him was unexplored territory, although Peppermint Patty once angrily expressed her jealousy to Charlie Brown for his affection of that girl. Patty frequently denied having a crush on Charlie Brown at first, writing him off as too wishy-washy and because she "could strike him out on three straight pitches", and during a game of Ha-Ha Herman crudely insulting him when she thought he was not listening. However, to her credit, she was shown to be visibly upset when Marcie pointed out that he had overheard her comments and apologized to him the very next day. Yet it was still obvious to Marcie that Peppermint Patty liked Charlie Brown as more than a friend, wishy-washy or not.
In one Sunday strip on July 22 from 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. Pierre only returned Marcie's affections, however, a fact to which Peppermint Patty remained oblivious even when they were holding hands right in front of her.
Peppermint Patty also had a strong friendship with Snoopy. For years, owing to Snoopy's often human-like behavior, Patty often referred to Snoopy as a "funny-looking kid with a big nose". The rest of the cast was often confused by Patty's obliviousness, but she was finally corrected in the strip from March 21, 1974, by Marcie. Patty has since accepted that Snoopy is a dog but often still treats him like a human, which pleases Snoopy as he is a dog who thinks he is not one. Snoopy acts as Peppermint Patty's ice skating coach. Although he is silent and grumbling most of the time, he acknowledges Patty's successes with a kiss on her nose.
- Gabrielle DeFaria Ritter (1967–1968)
- Christopher DeFaria (1969–1973)
- Donna Forman (1974)
- Linda Ercoli (1974)
- Stuart Brotman (1975–1977)
- Laura Planting (1977)
- Patricia Patts (1979–1980)
- Brent Hauer (1980-1983)
- Victoria Vargas (1983)
- Gini Holtzman (1984–1985)
- Kristie Baker (1985-1988)
- Jason Mendelson (1988–1989)
- Nicole Buda (1989)
- Phillip Lucier (1992)
- Haley Peel (1993)
- Brittan Reese (1995–1997)
- Rachel Davey (2000)
- Emily Lalande (2002)
- Daniel Hansen (2003)
- Rory Thost (2006)
- Venus Omega Schultheis (2015)
- Lily Zager (2016)
Peppermint Patty's mother is never seen or mentioned. (Her actual fate was never revealed in the strip.) Her dad's voice, like all adults, has "wah-wahs" (made by musician Dean Hubbard).
- Mansour, David (2005). From ABBA to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 359. ISBN 0740751182.
- Charles Schulz. "Peanuts Comic Strip, January 15, 1972 on GoComics.com". GoComics.
- Charles Schulz. "Peanuts Comic Strip, October 08, 1971 on GoComics.com". GoComics.
- Charles Schulz. "Peanuts Comic Strip, July 22, 1979 on GoComics.com". GoComics.
- Quotations related to Peppermint Patty at Wikiquote