“[I]n my high school years, I became a Sherlock Holmes fanatic and used to buy scrapbooks at the local five-and-dime and fill them with Sherlock Holmes stories in comic-book form. A friend of mine named Shermy was one of my faithful readres, and when I started Peanuts I used his name for one of the original characters.”
—Charles M. Schulz on naming Shermy
Shermy is a male character in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. Shermy began as one of the strip's main characters, being one of only three child characters who appeared in Peanuts when it started publication in October 1950. However, his personality was never very strongly developed and, as more characters were introduced to the strip, Shermy's appearances became much less frequent. By the time that the comic strip was first adapted for television in 1965, Shermy had already faded into relative obscurity and he ceased to appear in the strip four years later.
In the early years of the strip
Shermy was one of the three earliest characters of the strip, appearing in the very first strip on October 2, 1950. However, he was not given a name until December 18, 1950. In the early years of the strip, there were hints that he had a relationship with Patty. In his appearances in the strip, Shermy is often portrayed as Charlie Brown's superior at things that matter to Charlie Brown, especially athletics. Though he speaks the only line of dialogue in the first strip and was one of the strip's primary figures in its first few years, he was mainly utilized as a "straight man" for Charlie Brown. Shermy was sometimes said to play the position of first base on Charlie Brown's baseball team.
Gradual disappearance from the strip
Shermy's disappearance from the strip was even faster and more complete than those of the other early characters, Patty and Violet. As early as late 1952, his appearances were becoming noticeably rare because of the popularity of the newly introduced characters Lucy and Linus.
By 1969, Shermy had pretty much disappeared from the comic strip. His last official appearance is considered to be June 15, 1969, although a character who looks remarkably similar to him appears in the strip from November 9, 1975. Schulz said that he had no regrets about dropping Shermy from the cast. He stated, many years later, that it had gotten to a point where he only used Shermy in situations where he "needed a character with very little personality".
Shermy is referred to by name in the strip from March 13, 1977, in which Charlie Brown and Lucy are discussing players on their baseball team. He is referred to as the team's designated hitter, although in his days as a Peanuts regular (which predated the creation of the DH position) he usually played first base.
In the beginning, Shermy claimed to have hated Charlie Brown. However, he soon became Charlie Brown's best friend (before Linus). In earlier strips, Shermy often appears to be Charlie Brown's superior, as he carves a scarier jack-o-lantern than Charlie Brown (who has a pumpkin the size of an apple) and has a humongous train set while Charlie Brown has only a small train. Another example is in July 1955, where Shermy is riding a humongous wagon. Charlie Brown sighs in disappointment as he has a small, rusty train. He also seems to have many toys and usually shows them off to Charlie Brown and Linus. In later strips, Shermy is often the bystander of jokes and sometimes consults Charlie Brown at the wall when he is feeling low.
It was heavily insinuated that Snoopy was Shermy's dog in the early years. In the strip from September 29, 1951, Snoopy is running out of the rain, going up to a house where Shermy greets him, saying he is just in time for his bath. Snoopy also appears on leashes with Shermy. It is presumed that due to hanging around with him, Snoopy and Shermy have a good relationship.
In the early years, Shermy and Patty are a couple, often holding hands and talking about their feelings for one another. Patty mainly seemed interested in Shermy for his collection of comic books. In the strip October 21, 1950, Shermy and Patty walk and hold hands with Snoopy walks along with them. Charlie Brown is holding a flower stand, and Shermy asks for one. Patty believes it is for her, though it is actually Snoopy who receives the flower, much to her dismay.
Shermy also seemed to have a crush on Violet as well. In the strip from January 9, 1952, Shermy claims that Violet is the most prettiest girl in the world. However, Charlie Brown rides on a sled with Snoopy running, yelling "MUSH! MUSH!" It is presumed Violet thought Shermy was lying, as in the next panel Shermy beats up Charlie Brown. In another strip, Violet and Shermy are seen walking hand and hand. Lucy comments that their relationship is big enough to get through marriage, as Violet likes horses, and Shermy does not. However, in 1959, where Violet talks to Charlie Brown at the wall. She says that Shermy should be her friend, but he just is not.
AppearanceShermy has black hair and wears a long sleeved, buttoned down shirt with black shorts and brown tennis shoes. In the early fifties (in the summer, especially), he is shown wearing Hawaiian short-sleeved button shirts. In animation, his shirt is usually colored green, however, in some depictions (such as The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?, Why, Charlie Brown, Why?, and It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown), its color varies from light brown to blue. In The Peanuts Movie, Shermy has brown hair and wears a red short-sleeved shirt. Shermy's major physical characteristic is his short, dark hair, which he had styled in a crew cut on April 18, 1953, and kept that way permanently thereafter. Shermy sometimes makes reference to the fact he seems doomed to have that look; he complains to Charlie Brown that he got a new hairstyle one weekend only to shortly come down with an illness that kept him from attending school. By the time the illness subsided, Shermy's hair had returned to its normal look, to which Shermy exclaims "I wasted a good haircut!" in not getting to model it at school. Apparently Schulz himself was not a big fan of this look, even though he never changed it, as he once commented that he "disliked" the way he drew Shermy's hair.
In other media
Shermy appears in multiple Peanuts television specials (although sightings of him become rare after the 1960s), beginning with A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965, where he has one line of dialogue. Upon being cast as a shepherd in the gang's Christmas pageant, he laments, "Every Christmas it's the same: I always end up playing a shepherd." His appearances also include (sometimes with dialogue and sometimes without) Charlie Brown's All-Stars, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, You're in Love, Charlie Brown, It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown, You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?, Why, Charlie Brown, Why?, It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown, It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown, and I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown with many of the latter being produced several years after he had already disappeared from the comic strip. Shermy is mentioned briefly in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, in the song "The Doctor Is In", but does not appear or have a speaking part; and he also makes appearances in three feature films including A Boy Named Charlie Brown, as well as a cameo appearance in Snoopy Come Home. Shermy is also seen several times in The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show and is even mentioned by name in Episode 13 from television (as seen on the "Go Snoopy Go!" DVD).
Shermy returned to the animated specials in the 2011 Direct-to-DVD Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, which includes a scene based on the very first Peanuts strip, where Shermy notes how much he hates Charlie Brown. He also plays a supporting role in the 2015 computer-animated film The Peanuts Movie, where his last name is revealed to be "Plepler". It is also shown in the same movie that he has a younger sister, though this is not considered canonical.
Shermy's TV and film appearances
- A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
- Charlie Brown's All-Stars (1966)
- It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
- You're in Love, Charlie Brown (1967) [silent]
- It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown (1969)
- A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969)
- Snoopy, Come Home (1972) [silent]
- You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown (1972) [silent]
- Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975) [silent]
- It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (1977)
- Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? (1983)
- The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show (1983–1986)
- Why, Charlie Brown, Why? (1990) [silent]
- It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown (1996) [silent]
- It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown (1997) [silent]
- I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003)
- Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown (2011)
- The Peanuts Movie (2015)
- Along with many other Peanuts characters, Shermy appears in the video game Snoopy's Street Fair, in which, he owns a root beer booth.
- Shermy appears to like marbles, as he is seen playing with other characters regularly. He also likes to play "Cowboys and Indians" with Charlie Brown.