Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sunday, July 5, 1953: First use of "real" extras


We've seen one-use animals other than Snoopy before (a dog and two birds), and we had one strip in which we saw other kids from a distance. But this here is the first time in Peanuts we've seen entirely non-regular character designs as throwaways. Also included: the first kid with glasses, and a kid with a "Jughead" hat.

Note: of all the extras in that sandbox, only two of them are girls, and both are cast members. Also, Violet wears her hair down this time; she's got it in a bob most appearances now.

The tiers of Peanuts characters:
"Cast" characters are the main guys. There are some characters who, once they arrive, are frequently seen for a while. Some of these are long-term characters (like Charlie Brown, who was in the first strip and the last).

We might call "understudy" characters those who join for a little while, like Frieda, but then digress into occasional appearances, usually disappearing completely some time later. Eudora is also one of these, I'd say.

Some never seem to progress beyond being bit characters. These guys are usually introduced as part of a story, and sometimes get used as extras in group scenes. Roy is a good example; he's not quite an extra, and in fact has an important place in Peanuts history for introducing Charlie Brown to "Peppermint" Patty, but he never really joins the main cast. I think "5" and his sisters, the twins "3" and "4," are also in this category. (The digit kids aren't much remembered now, but are notable for appearing in the dance scenes in A Charlie Brown Christmas.)


  1. I've always considered Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy and Linus to be the "core" characters of the Peanuts universe; at least one of them appears in nearly every strip, and they're the focus of the main story lines. They're followed by the "regulars" who appear a lot (Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, Violet [in the early days], and Woodstock [later on]) and who support the core characters. Then you have the "secondary" characters who appear occasionally (Shermy, Non-Peppermint Patty, Franklin, Marcie), followed by the one-offs who appear only briefly, then vanish.

    BTW, has any actual kid ever worn a Jughead cap??

    1. I agree with you on core but regulars are id say Violet now is secondary add Sally, Marcie, Franklin and Rerun as 2 of them you didn't even call secondary and take Shermy and Patty out and put Pig-Pen Spike the Beagle Scouts Eudora and Freida next would be Minor characters which are characters who aren't to important but appear every once in awhile like Shermy,Patty,5,4,3 but those aren't all just a few and the one-offs

  2. I think I see Schroeder (2nd in on the right).

  3. One thing that fascinates me about Peanuts--nearly all the major characters could have carried a strip on their own. Plenty of cartoonists would have come up with one funny, quirky character, and then wrung it for every laugh they coud get. However, during the first 20 years or so, Schulz was gradually building up an All-Star team of comic strip characters, who he could rotate the focus on to help keep Peanuts from getting too stale (at least, compared to other strips in their fourth and fifth decades).

  4. The kind of hat Jughead wore was called a Whoopee Cap. They were a fad back when beanies were popular head-gear for college students. Goober Pyle wore one too on The Andy Griffith Show.