Lucy van Pelt


Lucy van Pelt

Peanuts character
name=Lucy van Pelt


age=8
gender=Female
family= Middle brother, Linus van Pelt, youngest brother Rerun van Pelt, "Blanket Hating Grandmother", and unnamed parents
Original Voice Actress=Tracy Stratford
Other Voice Actresses=Ami Foster, Sally Dryer, Pamelyn Ferdin, Stephanie Patton
birthday= Unknown (debut date is March 3)

Lucille "Lucy" van Pelt is a fictional character in the syndicated comic strip "Peanuts", written and drawn by Charles Schulz. She is the older sister of Linus and Rerun. Lucy is a crabby and cynical eight-year-old girl, and is often mean to the other characters in the strip, particularly to Linus and Charlie Brown. She is often referred to as the world's greatest fuss-budget. [cite book |last=Nelson |first=Roy Paul |authorlink= |title=The Art of Cartooning |publisher=Courier Dover Press |year=2004 |pages=4 |isbn=048643639X] [cite book |last=Altshuler |first=Thelma C. |authorlink= |title=Prose as Experience |publisher=Houghton Mifflin |year=1965 |pages=374 |isbn=]

History

Lucy was introduced into the strip on March 3, 1952 as a wide-eyed baby who constantly tormented her parents. Very early on, Schulz eliminated the circles around her eyes and allowed her to mature to the age of the other characters. She soon grew into her familiar persona of a bossy, crabby, selfish girl.

Perhaps Lucy's most famous gimmick in her long existence as a character is as the one who pulls the football away from Charlie Brown right as he is about to kick it. The first occasion on which she did this was November 16, 1952, taking over for Violet, who had previously (yet, unintentionally) subjected Charlie Brown to this trick on November 14, 1951 due to her fear that Charlie Brown would accidentally kick her instead of the ball while Lucy, later on, would intentionally pull the football away from Charlie Brown to trick him. The first time Lucy did this, she feared that Charlie Brown's shoes were dirty; and the second time (in the same strip) she, for once, did not pull the ball away, but Charlie Brown tripped when Lucy firmly held the ball in place with unexpected strength.

In one of the final strips, she's called inside while trying to convince Charlie Brown to kick the ball. She has Rerun do the trick this time, and Rerun later walks in holding the football. Lucy wondered if he pulled it away, and Rerun says that she'll never know.

A few years before the strip ended, Charlie Brown was finally granted the opportunity to kick the ball after Lucy had lost a bet, and was obligated to swear not to pull it away for once. To her credit, Lucy followed through on her part of the bargain. Ironically, Charlie Brown -- due to lack of proper kicking practice, and not intentionally -- ended up missing the football and kicked Lucy's arm instead, resulting in her arm being encased in a cast.

For all her crabbiness and bad temper, Lucy did have a romantic side: she was in love with Schroeder, but he did not return the affection. In this Lucy is seen as insecure, as she shows a need for assurance from Schroeder and Charlie Brown that she is pretty (consistently asking them of their opinion of her appearance), and is known to react harshly when she receives an unfavorable, or even hesitant, answer.

Relationships with other characters

Lucy and Linus

Lucy is frequently irked by her younger and more passive brother, Linus. In particular, she wants Linus to stop his addiction to his security blanket, and has even gone so far as to steal it. She once made a kite out of it and "accidentally" let go of it. The blanket flew around the country and people wrote Linus to let him know they saw it. It was rescued by the Air Force when it flew out over the Pacific Ocean. Another time Lucy buried the blanket, causing a frantic Linus to dig up almost the entire neighborhood before Snoopy found it.

Lucy annoys Linus in other ways: stealing all the crayons (except black, white and gray), changing the channel or turning the TV off while Linus is watching it, and forcing him to shower her with lavish words of praise before she'll even consider sharing anything with him ("Thank you, dear sister, greatest of all sisters, without whom I'd never survive!" is what Linus was once forced to say before receiving a piece of toast. Then, he said, "How can I eat when I feel nauseated?") Lucy also forces Linus to bring her a snack or something to drink while she watches TV. Lucy once bragged that she played Linus "like a pianist plays a concert grand." Lucy has made no secret of the fact that she wishes she were an only child, and has actually tried to throw Linus out of the house a few times (in one such incident, when Lucy got the news of Rerun's birth in 1972, she exclaimed, "A new baby brother?! But I just got rid of the old one!").

By contrast, Linus' attempts to stand up to his sister typically result in a verbal or physical beatdown, including getting knocked out by her in a boxing match, but he sometimes gets by her, getting his revenge on Lucy in more subtle ways. In one strip, he awards her with a printed scroll and congratulates her on being "crabby" for 1,000 days in a row - to which she, completely blindsided and stunned at the sheer audacity of this creative insult, could only respond, "One rarely gets a chance to see such carefully planned sarcasm." In another instance, Linus created an effigy out of snow that looked like Lucy. Lucy came out and commented, "You're going to get great satisfaction out of building a snowman that looks just like me just so you can stand there and kick it!" To this, Linus replied, "On the contrary! That would be crude. I'm just going to stand here and watch it slowly melt away!" while Lucy stood stunned at the philosophical contempt behind that statement.

On one occasion, however, Lucy was seen to acknowledge Linus' genuine affection for her. When Lucy demands to know what she has to feel grateful for on Thanksgiving Day, Linus replies, "Well, you have a brother who loves you ..." Lucy immediately bursts into tears.

Another occasion showed Lucy in a moment where she showed caring and concern for her brother Linus. In "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown", when Linus did not return home from the pumpkin patch late in the evening, Lucy got out of bed, put her coat on, walked out to the pumpkin patch and led her sleeping brother home. Also in this episode, while Linus was waiting for the Great Pumpkin in the pumpkin patch with Sally and the others were trick or treating, she requested an extra piece of candy for her brother exclaiming, "It's so embarrassing to have to ask for something extra for that blockhead Linus." (The book adaptation says she asked for an extra apple, but this has yet to be confirmed.)

Lucy and Charlie Brown

Her treatment of Charlie Brown is just as bad (although in the early days, she seemed to have a crush on him). Aside from her infamous football trick, she gives "psychiatric advice" by insulting and belittling him. In the earlier years, Lucy came up with silly theories (e.g. "Snow comes up out of the ground") and laughed at Charlie Brown's efforts to tell her otherwise. When Charlie Brown finally proves that Lucy's theory is false, Lucy makes an insensitive remark about the way he looks. (A similar thing happens when Lucy laughs at Charlie's assertion that birds fly south for the winter; upon learning the truth from her teacher, she wonders if she can change to a different teacher.) Lucy delivers devastatingly mean remarks with the greatest of ease, usually showing no emotion whatsoever, then moving on with whatever she was doing. She also specializes in setting Charlie Brown up and then knocking him down ("Are you going to miss your friends while you're away at camp, Charlie Brown?" "Yes I will." "What friends??"). When Charlie Brown fails at something, Lucy is quick to point it out, as illustrated by the series of strips in early 1964 (later adapted into the script of "A Boy Named Charlie Brown") in which she put together a slide presentation of all of Charlie's faults (and subsequently demanded that he pay her a sum of $143.00 for her services). Lucy will often trivialize Charlie Brown by saying something completely inane and off topic while he's pouring his heart out to her about something important to him.

Lucy and Rerun

By contrast, Lucy's relationship with her youngest brother, Rerun (who entered the strip as a baby in the early 1970s but didn't become a major character until the late 1990s), is much less turbulent. Despite her initial dismay over his birth (lamenting that she was experiencing a "rerun" with another baby brother, thus giving him his nickname), Lucy in fact took on something of a mentor role for Rerun, teaching him important things he needs to survive in life, such as how to tie his shoes - in contrast to the outrageous misinformation she has been known to tell Linus (e.g. telling him that leaves falling off trees in autumn were "flying south for the winter"). As a result, Lucy's personality seemed to mellow a bit in the final years of the strip, though she never did become totally "nice." Rerun often shows a knack for getting around Lucy and weakening her defenses, whereas Linus is apt to give up and just let Lucy dominate him.

Lucy and Snoopy

Lucy is terrified of being licked or kissed by Snoopy, and usually runs off screaming whenever he does kiss her. Snoopy is naturally infatuated with her and likes to tease her about it. One time she asked Schroedor to kiss her, and he left. She didn't see, and Snoopy heard her talking about a kiss. He kissed her ear, and she ran off screaming: "Germs! Disease! Infection!"

Lucy and Snoopy have also occasionally found themselves in not-so-friendly competition - the two faced off in an arm-wrestling tournament once (the competition ended abruptly after Snoopy kissed Lucy on the nose and she recoiled in horror), and more than once in the course of the strip have actually come to fighting (again, Snoopy often wins by default by trying to kiss or lick Lucy's face). As it turns out, Snoopy is perhaps one of the few characters in the strip who usually winds up outsmarting Lucy.

However, one of the most famous Peanuts strips of all time shows a rare moment of Lucy showing affection towards Snoopy by hugging him and then saying one of the most famous quotes in the strip's history, "Happiness is a warm puppy."

Lucy and Schroeder

Lucy is in love with Schroeder, who constantly rejects her advances. She spends much of her time leaning against his toy piano as he plays, striving to gain the attention Schroeder gives to his music. Schroeder often responds to her flirting with a sarcastic quote.

Lucy constantly sees herself as being in competition with the piano, which she has even tried to steal and destroy, and sometimes succeeding, earning her none of Schroeder's love or affection. To an extent, she also believes she is competing with Schroeder's favorite composer, Beethoven, and often makes a point to make rude comments about Beethoven to Schroeder's face (which angers Schroeder immensely). In one strip, Lucy tossed Schroeder's piano up into the Kite-Eating Tree which always eats Charlie Brown's kites, and in another strip, she threw his piano down a sewer. Schroeder, for his part, has on occasion exacted revenge by yanking his piano out from under Lucy, causing her head to strike the floor. Schroeder is also annoyed by Lucy's repeated hinting about gifts, such as when she says that Beethoven's birthday is an ideal day to buy girls gifts.

On occasion during the 1960s, Lucy and naturally-curly-haired Frieda were shown as rivals for Schroeder's affections; Lucy once spotted Frieda taking her (Lucy's) place at Schroeder's piano, and Snoopy taught her how to jump up into the air and look vicious. Frieda was beat up. Another time both Frieda and Lucy are leaning on Schroeder's piano-and Schroeder yanks the piano from both of them, when Lucy said that "you need to like Beethoven to hang around here", when Frieda commented, "Sure, but I'll just have a small glass."

Other personality traits

Psychiatric booth

Lucy is also the manager of a psychiatric booth, parodying the lemonade stand operated by many young children in the United States. Here, she gives advice for five cents (except in the early 80s when the rising cost of hot chocolate one winter where Lucy increased her fee to seven cents) to the other characters in the strip, most frequently an anxious Charlie Brown. Of course, the advice that Lucy offers often leaves Charlie Brown feeling even worse than before. The psychiatric booth is a prime example of the more adult-oriented humor that Schulz incorporated into his comic strip, making it accessible to people of all ages. In the early years of the psychiatric booth, another of Lucy's most frequent clients was her own brother, Linus; Schroeder, Sally, Frieda, and Snoopy have also been beneficiaries of Lucy's psychiatric wisdom, which is usually of little actual help and accompanied by "5 cents please."

Baseball

On Charlie Brown's baseball team Lucy plays right field (or occasionally center field), and is characterized as a bad player, who, when temporarily kicked off the team, turns to heckling the games. Lucy has a knack for coming up with a novel excuse for every fly ball she misses (for example: "The moons of Saturn got in my eyes", or "I think there were toxic substances coming from my glove, and they made me dizzy", or "I was having my quiet time."). Other times, she finds an excuse to have one-sided conversations with Charlie Brown at the pitcher's mound, often over some trivial thing she noticed, which usually result in Charlie Brown blowing his top and yelling at her to "Get back in center field where you belong!". Once, Charlie Brown traded Lucy to Peppermint Patty's baseball team for Marcie (and a pizza), but once Patty discovered what a terrible player Lucy really was, she traded her back. Even on the diamond, Lucy flirts with Schroeder, who plays catcher on Charlie Brown's team: once she called for a "squeeze play...I'll squeeze the catcher!" Only once has Lucy ever produced on the baseball diamond: in one game, Lucy (using a bat signed not by a ballplayer, but by actress Liv Ullmann) slammed a home run, after Schroeder jokingly suggested that he would kiss her if she hit a four-bagger. (Lucy let him off the hook: "If that's the only way I'll get you to kiss me, forget it! Another victory for women's lib!")

Ironically, during the younger years of the comic strip, Lucy is seen with wide physical prowess. She is seen catching all kinds of baseball hits, from grounders to fly balls.

Portrayals

1960s child actress Tracy Stratford first voiced Lucy in 1965 and since then many actresses including sisters Robin (from 1972 to 1973) and Melanie Kohn (from 1974 to 1977) have voiced her. Actress Sally Dryer provided Lucy's voice from 1966-1968. Pamelyn Ferdin also provided a voice to Lucy in "Play It Again, Charlie Brown". 1980s child actress Angela Lee voiced her in 1982 and 1983. Heather Stoneman voiced her in 1984 and 1985. Jessica Lee Smith voiced her in the animated version, of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown". Erica Gayle and Ami Foster both voiced her in "This Is America, Charlie Brown" (1988-1989).

In the stage musical "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown", Lucy was portrayed by Reva Rose in the original off-Broadway cast in 1967, and by Ilana Levine in the 1999 Broadway revival.

References

External links

* [http://www.snoopy.com/comics/peanuts/meet_the_gang/meet_lucy.html Lucy at Snoopy.com]


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