Dec. 04, 1969
86 min.
CBS TV Network

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A Boy Named Charlie Brown tv show photo

A Boy Named Charlie Brown

Poor Charlie Brown. He can't fly a kite, and he always loses in baseball. Having his faults projected onto a screen by Lucy doesn't help him much either. Against the sage advice and taunting of the girls in his class, he volunteers for the class spelling bee...and wins! Now the pressure is on as he is off to New York City for the televised national spelling bee.

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Charlie Brown A Boy Named Charlie Brown
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Charlie Brown

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  Played by:
Peter RobbinsPeter Robbins
Birth Name Louis Nanasi Peter Robbins (born August 10, 1956; Los Angeles, California) is a former ...

Character Bio

Charlie Brown photo
Charles "Charlie" Brown is the protagonist in the comic strip Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.

Charlie Brown and his creator have a common connection in that they are both the sons of barbers, 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.

Character Charlie Brown is a lovable loser, a child possessed of endless determination and hope, but who is ultimately dominated by his insecurities and a "permanent case of bad luck," and is often taken advantage of by his peers. He and Lucy Van Pelt star in a running gag that recurs throughout the series: Lucy holds a football for Charlie Brown to kick, but pulls it away before he kicks it, causing Charlie Brown to fly into the air and fall on his back.

Appearance Charlie Brown is commonly misinterpreted as being bald, when in fact what many regard as a little bit of hair at the front is actually an artistic shortcut representing the front of his hairline. The back of his head has a few strings of hair which is called a tote. Linus has commented in A Charlie Brown Valentine that he is "kind of blond"; his sister Sally is blonde as well. However, in You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown, after winning the motocross race and getting a prize of five free haircuts, he mentions that he doesn't "have much hair to cut." He commonly wears a collared shirt with a black zigzag across the middle. The shirt originally tended to be red in the Sunday comics, blue on Peanuts merchandise items, and yellow on the animated television specials. With the influence of the television specials, the shirt now tends to be yellow in all media. He commonly wears black shorts, yellow socks and brown shoes. His original appearance was based on one of Schulz himself as a small child, but over time changed significantly.

Names and nicknames
Since the early strips, where Shermy mentions him and Patty refers to him directly, Charlie Brown is nearly always referred to or addressed by his full name by everyone whenever possible, and only otherwise for specific reasons. Umberto Eco has pointed out that the fact that Charlie Brown is invariably referred to by his full name follows a convention found in epic poetry giving Charlie Brown a sense of universal identification.[4] It was eventually revealed that the first person to have called him "Charlie Brown" was Poochie, a blonde little girl who played with Snoopy as a pup.[5] Peppermint Patty calls him "Chuck" most of the time, while her friend Marcie usually uses "Charles"; in 1979 they admitted to each other that each probably has a crush on him, explaining the familiarity. Snoopy usually only obliquely refers to Charlie Brown as "the round-headed kid," though in strips up to the mid-1960s, even Snoopy occasionally called him "Charlie Brown." Eudora also calls him "Charles". A minor character named Peggy Jean in the early 1990s who called him "Brownie Charles", because Charlie Brown, in his typical nervous and awkward fashion, messed up his own name when he introduced himself and couldn't bring himself to correct the mistake when it turned out he liked when she called him that. Also, Lucy called him "Charlie" at one point in A Charlie Brown Christmas. To avoid awkward-sounding dialogue, his sister Sally Brown simply calls him "big brother," though she has used his full name when discussing him with others. He is occasionally referred to as a "blockhead" by some characters, especially by Lucy.

First Peanuts strip, October 2, 1950Charlie Brown was one of the original cast members of Peanuts when it debuted in 1950, and the butt of the first joke in the strip. Aside from some stylistic differences in Schulz's art style at the time, Charlie Brown looked much the same. He did, however, wear an unadorned T-shirt; the stripe was added within the first year of publication (December 21, 1950), in order to add more color to the strip. Charlie Brown stated in an early strip (November 3, 1950) 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. 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. His name has been stated by various sources to be for a childhood friend of Schulz, or for author Charles Brockden Brown, author of Edgar Huntly.

Initially, Charlie Brown was more mischievous and playful than his character would later become: He would play tricks on other cast members, and some strips had romantic overtones between Charlie Brown and Patty and Violet. He would cause headaches for adults (knocking all the comic books off their stand at a newsstand, for instance), though he was from the start not especially competent at any skill.

Charlie Brown soon evolved into the Sad Sack character he's best known as: feeling enslaved to the care of Snoopy, beset by comments from everyone around him. Common approaches to the strip's story lines included Charlie Brown stubbornly refusing to give in even when all is lost from the outset (e.g., standing on the pitcher's mound alone on the baseball field, refusing to let a torrential downpour interrupt his beloved game), or suddenly displaying a skill and rising within a field, only to suffer a humiliating loss just when he's about to win it all (most famously, Charlie Brown's efforts to win the statewide spelling bee in the feature-length film A Boy Named Charlie Brown). Charlie Brown never receives Valentines or Christmas cards and only gets rocks when he goes trick or treating on Halloween but never loses hope. His misfortunes garnered so much sympathy from the audience that many young viewers in North America of the Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown TV specials have sent Valentine cards and Halloween candy respectively to the broadcasting television network in an effort to show Charlie Brown they cared for him. This also extended to protest letters when viewers felt the victimization of Charlie Brown went too far such as in It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown where Charlie Brown is publicly derided for making his football team lose when it is obvious that he is not at fault, since Lucy kept pulling the football out from under him.

Charlie Brown maintained this demeanor until the strip ended its run in 2000, and classic strips run in many newspapers today. He did have occasional victories, though, such as hitting a game-winning home run off a pitch by Roy Hobbs' great-granddaughter on March 30, 1993 (though she later admitted she let him hit the home runs) and soundly defeating "Joe Agate" in a game of marbles on April 11, 1995 (and in He's a Bully, Charlie Brown). Usually, Charlie Brown was a representative for everyone going through a time when they feel like nothing ever goes right for them; however, Charlie Brown refuses to give up. In the final weeks of his strip, determined to finally have a winning baseball season at last, Charlie Brown tried to channel Joe Torre, which made his sister think he was cracking up.

Despite all this, and despite the abuse he has often received, Charlie Brown has many friends, the best being Lucy's brother Linus, who may occasionally admonish Charlie Brown, but stands by him. Linus's brother, Rerun van Pelt, also seems young enough to look up to and admire Charlie Brown; in one comic strip, he wanted to watch him pitch in a baseball game, thinking that he was a master at it. Whether due to his compassion or harmlessness, Charlie Brown has no real enemies aside from intangible unluckiness, though practically all his friends are blithely critical of him at some point. His dog Snoopy seldom treats him with overt respect except when "That Round-Headed Kid" pleases him. Nonetheless though they are often shown hugging, particularly after they have been reunited after a separation, and Charlie Brown has implied he enjoys the fact he is depended on by someone.

A classic running gag in the strip involved Lucy taunting Charlie Brown by holding a football and promising to let Charlie Brown kick it. Initially, Charlie Brown claimed that he would not trust her because she has tricked him this way many times, but Lucy then gave some reasons why Charlie Brown should give her credence. For example, to give him a signed document stating that she would not pull the ball away from him (later to reveal that the document had never been notarized). His doubt undermined, Charlie Brown then sprints toward Lucy to execute the place kick. At the last possible second, Lucy snatched the ball out of Charlie Brown's path, causing him to be flung up into the air and land hard on his back. This even occurred during the Homecoming game in It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, which lead to Charlie Brown's teammates unfairly blaming him for costing them the game, even though Lucy was at fault. One notable exception occurs in A Charlie Brown Celebration when Charlie Brown is admitted to the hospital. At one point in the story, Lucy promises never to snatch the football again. Upon release, Charlie Brown hears of the promise and challenges Lucy to honor her word. This time, he misses the ball and kicks Lucy's arm. Another notable exception occurred during It's Magic, Charlie Brown, when he was briefly rendered invisible by a magic spell from Snoopy, and so was able to successfully kick the football out of a bewildered Lucy's hand, and he even teased her about it afterward.

Episode Screenshots

01x01 - A Boy Named Charlie Brown
Season 1, Episode 01
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Charlie Brown Photos

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