|First appearance||July 13, 1954|
|Last appearance||September 8, 1999 (comic strip)|
|Voiced by||Various voice actors|
"Pig-Pen" is a fictional character in the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. Whilst amiable, he is a young boy who is, except on rare occasions, extremely dirty and attracts a permanent cloud of dust.
"Pig-Pen" is a nickname. In a 2000 Gallup Poll "Pig-Pen" was found to be the fifth most popular Peanuts character. In strips up through 1980, Schulz spelled the character's name "Pig-Pen", with a hyphen; starting in 1981, the name is spelled "Pigpen". He is also mocked by other characters, because of his dirtiness.
"Pig-Pen" is known for his perpetually filthy overalls and the cloud of dirt and dust that follows him wherever he goes. When he takes a deep breath (to sing, for example), the dust rises briefly around him. He sometimes refers to the cloud that surrounds him with pride as "the dust of ancient civilizations". He cannot seem to rid himself of the dust for more than the very briefest of periods — indeed, in spite of his best efforts, it appears that he cannot stay clean. He is referred to in an early strip as the only person who can get dirty while walking in a snowstorm. Nevertheless, on rare occasions he has briefly appeared clean, and hence unrecognizable. Once this was in order to impress Violet, of whom he was a bit fond. On another occasion (September 6, 1954), he managed to keep one side of his body clean and presented this clean side to Patty, causing her to believe that he was completely clean. In The Peanuts Movie, although Patty seems to have a crush on Pig-Pen, he seems to have no interest towards her.
Once, after bathing and dressing in clean clothes, "Pig-Pen" stepped outside his house, and instantaneously became dirty and disheveled, whereupon he declared to Charlie Brown, "You know what I am? I'm a dust magnet!" On another occasion, "Pig-Pen" decided it was important to have clean hands, but after failing to wash them, realized that he had "reached a point of no return."
One notable exception is an earlier strip where he gets caught in a brief but heavy rainfall, and while trying to seek shelter, the storm ends, revealing him to be clean. He responds with disdain, stating that "in one minute the rain has washed away what took me all day to accomplish".
Though "Pig-Pen" is proud of his uncleanliness, Charlie Brown is the only other Peanuts character to unconditionally accept "Pig-Pen" for who he is, even defending "Pig-Pen's" uncleanliness in one strip (which was re-used in A Charlie Brown Christmas and Peanuts (TV series)):
Don't think of it as dust. Just think of it as the dirt and dust of far-off lands blowing over here and settling on "Pig-Pen!" It staggers the imagination! He may be carrying the soil that was trod upon by Solomon or Nebuchadnezzar or Genghis Khan!
Charles Schulz admitted that he came to regret "Pig-Pen's" popularity, given the character's essentially one-joke nature; he utilized the character very rarely in the later years of the strip's run (though still appearing commonly in the TV specials and movies of the franchise).
Like most of Schulz's characters, "Pig-Pen" has (both with and without lines) appeared in many of the animated Peanuts television specials beginning in the 1960s, as well as all five movies. One time his clean self was shown in a miniseries titled This Is America, Charlie Brown, where he is an astronaut aboard a futuristic space station, demonstrating how personal hygiene would apply in zero gravity. True to form, the clean "Pig-Pen" is immediately dirtied again when dirt is attracted to him magnetically. In the 1990s, he appeared (in an animated overlay against a live-action backdrop) in a series of television commercials for Regina vacuum cleaners where all the dirt is sucked off his body and filthy trousers by one of the company's products, arguably one of the few times where "Pig-Pen" remains clean. In 2015, "Pig-Pen" appeared in a commercial for All laundry detergent for a tie-in with The Peanuts Movie. In the commercial, Snoopy, dressed as a magician, puts a cloth over "Pig-Pen" and instantly makes him clean, causing Snoopy to get dirty. This is also one of the few times where he remains clean.
Geoffrey Ornstein first voiced "Pig-Pen" in the 1965 movie A Charlie Brown Christmas. Although he also later played the role in Charlie Brown’s All Stars!, other various actors have voiced him ever since.
He last appeared in the Peanuts comic strip on September 8, 1999. That strip was very uncharacteristic of him in that it showed him embarrassed to the point of shame in his dirtiness, with none of the pride or sense of destiny that he expressed in earlier strips.
"Pig-Pen" is very good at playing the drums, as shown in the special Play It Again, Charlie Brown. He is also shown playing the double bass, notably in "A Charlie Brown Christmas", as well as in Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!. He plays third base on the Peanuts baseball team.
- Geoffrey Ornstein (1963–1966)
- Gabrielle DeFaria Ritter (1966–1969)
- Christopher DeFaria (1969)
- Chris Inglis (1971)
- Tom Muller (1974)
- Carl Steven (1984–1986)
- Jacob Ferry (1994)
- Brandon Taylor (1997)
- Corey Padnos (2000)
- Jake Miner (2003)
- Shane Baumel (2011)
- AJ Teece (2015)
- Sage Correa (2016)
- David Stone (2017–present)
- Schulz, Charles M. (2004). Gary Groth (ed.). The Complete PEANUTS: 1953 to 1954. Seattle, Washington: Fantagraphics Books. ISBN 1-56097-614-4.
- Gallup, Jr., George (2001). The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion, 2000. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 48. ISBN 0-8420-5000-0.
- "Pigpen: Character Facts, Comics and Videos - Peanuts". PEANUTS Worldwide LLC. 4 September 2020.
- Weiss, Irving (1980). Thesaurus of Book Digests, 1950–1980. Crown Publishing Group. p. 351. ISBN 0-517-54175-0.