A Guide to the ‘Peanuts’ Kids Snoopy Doesn’t Even Remember
We all know Linus and Lucy, Schroeder and Pig Pen, but there are dozens of kids from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts strips that the ol’ blockhead himself would have trouble identifying. Like Shermy — Charlie Brown’s one-time best friend and original enemy — and Violet, who was basically Lucy before Lucy. These are characters that Schulz created, toyed around with and eventually discarded or relegated to the background. But if you’ve got a big exam coming up about obscure Peanuts characters, here’s your study guide to the 10 most notable of them…
Again, from 1950 to 1953, Shermy was Charlie Brown’s best friend, or pretty much before Linus and his blanket towel-snapped him out of the limelight. Linus first appeared in 1952, and by 1954, Shermy was more or less gone, becoming a background character for the rest of the series, including various movies and specials. What’s particularly crazy about Shermy’s demise is that he was the very first character to speak in a comic strip, when he talked about how much he hated Charlie Brown in Schulz’s debut comic.
No, not Peppermint Patty, this is just regular, flavorless Patty. Along with Shermy, Charlie Brown and Snoopy, Patty was one of the four original Peanuts characters, debuting in that same first strip on October 2, 1950. She didn’t have much of a personality, and within a few years, she was easily overshadowed by the likes of Lucy and Violet (see below). By 1966, Patty was so irrelevant that Schulz introduced a new, more peppermint-y Patty and never looked back.
Violet isn’t that obscure, but you probably don’t know her name, she’s just that other black-haired girl that isn’t Lucy. She debuted a year before Lucy, in 1951, and had something of a snobby, mildly obnoxious personality. But then Lucy arrived a year later being a hell of a lot more obnoxious and a hell of a lot funnier, which meant Violet would usually only appear in strips where they needed a handful of girls.
If, like so many other people, you watch A Charlie Brown Christmas every year, you’ll recognize Frieda as the redhead who brags about her “naturally curly hair” while Lucy is casting the Christmas play. This ties back to her origin story from 1961 when she was introduced with a distinct joke about her “naturally curly hair.” By 1965, when the Christmas special came around, she was still going strong, but her hair — and her pride in it — remained her only personality trait. In time, the joke got old, and by 1985, the character was gone completely, not even appearing in the backgrounds of strips for the last 15 years of its run.
Like Frieda, Charlotte Braun was a one-note character who got tiresome, though her entire run was merely 10 strips from 1954 to 1955. She was intended as a counterpart for Charlie Brown, which is why her name is a female take on his, but Schulz never really knew what to do with her. Charlotte would talk loudly and was somewhat obnoxious, but Lucy already had both of those personality traits in spades. Schulz finally decided to eschew the character entirely when he got a letter from a fan complaining about Charlotte. In reply, Schulz hilariously wrote back to the fan, saying, “I am taking your suggestion regarding Charlotte Braun, & will eventually discard her... Remember, however, that you and your friends will have the death of an innocent child on your conscience. Are you prepared to accept such a responsibility?”
He also included a picture of Charlotte literally being axed, which is quite a bit darker than the strip ever got.
The most recent character on this list first appeared in 1990, giving her only 10 years to make an impact before the strip concluded. She was Charlie Brown’s girlfriend for most of that time and she appeared in some specials from that period, but her late arrival meant she never had the impact of other prominent characters. Her design was eventually handed over to “The Little Red-Haired Girl” in the excellent The Peanuts Movie in 2015, though it’s worth mentioning that Schulz had made The Little Red-Haired Girl an unseen object of Charlie Brown’s affection beginning way back in 1961.
The Little Red-Haired Girl
Speaking of The Little Red-Haired Girl, she was mentioned off and on from 1961 until the late 1990s. In the actual comic strip, she is never seen, though Schulz did sketch the character once in 1950 (above). In other Peanuts-related media, The Little Red-Haired Girl has appeared a number of times, but she always looks different.
Eudora was a ditzy kid who was Sally’s best friend from 1978 to 1987. The Peanuts fandom generally considers her to be the last “major” character to join the cast, even if she only lasted a decade in the strip.
Rerun Van Pelt
Lucy and Linus have a younger brother named Rerun, who debuted in 1979. However, Schulz soon ran out of ideas for him and relegated him to the background. Schulz admitted that he regretted creating the character in 1984, but given that Rerun was a sibling of two of the star children, he couldn’t be disappeared like some of the other kids above (this isn’t Family Matters, after all). He remained a background character until 1996, when he was aged up to five years old and depicted entering kindergarten.
The weirdest entry on this list is a kid whose name was the number 5, which was short for “555 95472” (95472 being his last name). 5 also had two siblings named 3 and 4. As strange as it sounds, 5 was used as a way for Schulz to criticize the creation of zip codes, which were first introduced in 1963 (95472 was Schulz’s zip code). Schulz’s unusual protest didn’t have a whole lot of impact, of course, and 4 and 3 were last seen in 1968 and 5 never appeared after 1983, which, coincidentally, was the same year “zip +4” was introduced.