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Revision as of 09:23, 10 March 2008

Template:Peanuts character Snoopy is a fictional character in the long-running comic strip Peanuts, by Charles M. Schulz. He is Charlie Brown's pet beagle. Snoopy began his life in the strip as a fairly ordinary dog, but eventually evolved into perhaps the strip's most dynamic character — and among the most recognizable comic characters in the world. The original drawings of Snoopy were based on Schulz's childhood dogs, Snooky and Spike.[1]

Character

Snoopy, while born on October 2nd, first made his appearance on the strip on October 4, 1950, two days after the strip premiered and was identified by name on November 10. Schulz was originally going to call him "Sniffy" (as described in 25th anniversary book), until he discovered that name was used in a different comic strip. He changed it to "Snoopy" after remembering that his late mother Dena Schulz had commented that if their family were ever to acquire a third dog, it should be called Snoopi.[2] In earlier strips it is not clear who Snoopy belongs to; for instance in the February 2, 1951 strip, Charlie Brown accuses Snoopy of following him, only to be told by Patty that Snoopy isn't following Charlie Brown but merely lives in the same direction.[3]. Indeed many early strips show Snoopy interacting with Shermy and Patty without Charlie Brown, making Snoopy appear to belong to all of the neighborhood kids, similar to the dog Pete in the Our Gang comedies, who is everyone's dog.

Snoopy was a silent character for the first two years of his existence, but on May 27, 1952 he verbalized his thoughts to readers for the first time via a thought balloon; Schulz would utilize this device for nearly all of the character's appearances in the strip thereafter. In addition to Snoopy's ability to "speak" his thoughts to the reader, many of the human characters in Peanuts have the uncanny knack of reading his thoughts and responding to them. In the animated Peanuts films and television specials, Snoopy's thoughts are not verbalized; his moods are instead conveyed through growls, sobs, laughter, etc., as well as through pantomime. The only exceptions are in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown and Snoopy!!! The Musical, in which Snoopy's thoughts are verbalized through voiceovers (by Robert Towers and Cam Clarke, respectively). Animation producer Bill Meléndez voiced both Snoopy and (eventually) Woodstock in numerous television specials from 1965 to 2006.

File:Peanuts 4 Oct 1950.png
October 4, 1950 - Snoopy's first appearance.

Oddly enough, the first time a beagle is mentioned in the strip (December 5, 1960), Snoopy denied being one. As Snoopy dozed, Charlie Brown paraphrased Gertrude Stein: "Beagles on the grass, alas." To this, Snoopy replied, "I am not a beagle."[citation needed] (Years later, Snoopy would paraphrase the Stein expression himself: "Birds in the grass, alas; beagle on the roof, aloof.")[citation needed]

Many of Peanuts' memorable moments come in Snoopy's daydream as a writer: his eternal opener on the typewriter "It was a dark and stormy night..." is taken from Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's 1830 novel Paul Clifford. The contrast between Snoopy's existence in a dream world and Charlie Brown's in the real world is central to the humour and philosophy of Peanuts (e.g., the Peanuts book title Life's a dream, Charlie Brown).

Schulz summed up Snoopy's character in a 1997 interview: "He has to retreat into his fanciful world in order to survive. Otherwise, he leads kind of a dull, miserable life. I don't envy dogs the lives they have to live."[4]

Developments

Schulz once said that the best idea he ever had in the strip was to move Snoopy from inside his doghouse to the rooftop. Preceding that, there was a gradual evolution of the character, from something like an actual dog to an anthropomorphic character, more like typical cartoon animals.

His earliest impersonation was of a bird on August 9, 1951. Later (starting November 17, 1955), Snoopy engaged in dead-on imitations of Violet, a pelican, Lucy, a moose, Beethoven and Mickey Mouse. He would also pretend to be various other animals, including a snake, rhinoceros, and vulture. But his eccentricities did not stop there.

On January 9, 1956, Snoopy walked on his two hind legs, like a human, for the first time. This soon became so commonplace as to be almost unnoticeable, as Snoopy developed a variety of Walter Mitty-esque alter egos. Snoopy's transformation to walking to two feet also was accompanied by his larger snout and great body length.

Possibly his most famous alter-ego is as the World War I Flying Ace, often seen battling his arch-enemy, Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron). For this, he would climb to the top of his doghouse, don goggles and a scarf (trailing behind in the "wind"), and thus fly his Sopwith Camel (the type of plane flown by Arthur "Roy" Brown, who was credited with shooting down the Red Baron in World War I, and whose surname matches that of Snoopy's owner). The Red Baron, like other adult figures in Peanuts, was never drawn in a strip; his presence was indicated through the bullet holes that would riddle the doghouse in a dogfight, and Snoopy's angry outbursts in German: (usually accompanied by fist-shaking and a salute to German Führer Paul von Hindenburg while his "Sopwith Camel" doghouse plummets to earth trailing smoke). In I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown Charlie Brown's sister Sally Brown jumps on the doghouse and flies with Snoopy.

File:Joe cool.jpg
Joe Cool as depicted at the Universal Studios in Osaka, Japan

Snoopy also became "Joe Cool", as he put on sunglasses and leaned against the wall doing nothing. A song called Joe Cool was sung by Vince Guaraldi. Snoopy has also been a famous writer (who was actually published once, in an October 1995 storyline, in which one copy of his unnamed novel was written, but it failed to sell); a bow-tie wearing attorney (who once defended Peter Rabbit), a hockey player, an Olympic figure skater (who used to skate with Sonja Henie before he became "big time"); a world famous grocery checkout clerk who operated from the top of his dog house in an apron; the "Lone Beagle" (the first dog to fly solo across the Atlantic - a play on Charles Lindbergh, "The Lone Eagle"); and even the first astronaut to land on the moon. In "It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown", Snoopy becomes a Flash dancer named "Flashbeagle".

Outside of his fantasy life he is the shortstop for Charlie Brown's Little League team (and the best player, nearly passing Babe Ruth on the career home run list). Snoopy is also a "Beagle Scout", the Peanuts version of Eagle Scout and is the Scout leader for a troop comprised of Woodstock and his other bird friends. This Scouting theme reappears throughout the comic strip.

Snoopy is also a tennis player, although he tends to double-fault a lot of times, which causes him to scream and destroy his tennis racket, numerous times. He is also in mixed-doubles, having played with a certain car garage; and later on with the short-tempered Molly Volley.

Snoopy loves root beer and pizza, hates coconut candy, gets claustrophobia in tall weeds, and is deathly afraid of icicles dangling over his doghouse. One of his hobbies is reading Leo Tolstoy's epic novel War and Peace at the rate of "a word a day". Snoopy also has the uncanny ability to play fetch with soap bubbles, and can hear someone eating marshmallows or cookies at a distance, or even peeling a banana. Snoopy is also capable of disappearing, like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, as shown in an extended strip, whenever Charlie Brown reads the book to him. ("Grins are easy. Noses are hard. Ears are almost impossible.")

He can also use his ears to fly about as a "whirlydog". Snoopy even became a canine helicopter, with Woodstock piloting. This gag appeared in the strip several times, most famously rescuing Linus from the top of a barn after being commissioned by Sally. When asked by Linus where he learned to pilot, Woodstock replied in his usual apostrophes, which Linus interpreted as meaning "'Nam".

Snoopy "understands a little French." His dog food brand is called "For Dogs who flew in World War I and understand a little French." He later was also depicted as a sergeant in the French Foreign Legion, with Woodstock and his avian friends as members of his patrol. He failed his high school geometry course, which was his excuse for not being able to follow a golf course's 90 degree golf cart driving rule.

Snoopy has his own little dance, variously known as The Beagle, the Suppertime Dance, or simply the Snoopy Dance. Most often he dances at suppertime and has broken his foot from being too excited. One strip includes a joke that he has forgotten the steps.

At least twice Snoopy climbed trees -- once to rescue Schroeder's piano and once after Frieda's cat Faron. Both times he fell out of the tree.

Every Veterans Day, Snoopy dresses as an army veteran and goes to army cartoonist Bill Mauldin's house to "quaff root beer and tell war stories."[5]

Snoopy wears contacts, as explained in a strip where he lost them.[6]

Puppyhood and siblings

Over the course of the strip's run, it was revealed that Snoopy had been born and raised at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. His father used to run with hunting dogs, but would secretly run ahead and warn the rabbits. His mother is famous for her tapioca pudding, and in a 1990s Peanuts strip, came over on a WWI-era troopship to visit Snoopy and Spike, who had been ill with the flu. Out of all his siblings, Snoopy's brother Olaf was sold last. Before they were sold, Snoopy and his brothers and sister made a band and one by one each was sold. Snoopy's original owner was a little girl named Lila, who had to return him to Daisy Hill after her family moved to an apartment where dogs were forbidden. In the television special Snoopy's Reunion, Snoopy and his siblings get together at Daisy Hill Puppy Farm for a picnic, but sadly find out that it was demolished for a parking garage.

Shortly after his return to the farm, Snoopy was selected by Charlie Brown's parents as a companion for him. At one point in the series, Charlie Brown said that his parents bought Snoopy for him to cheer him up after another child threw sand in his face while they were playing in a sandbox. In the late 1970s, Snoopy embarked upon a journey to visit Daisy Hill, only to find that the puppy farm had been replaced by a five-story parking garage, causing Snoopy to wail, "You stupid people! You're parking on my memories!"

Snoopy is usually depicted as having seven siblings, five of whom appear at some point in the strip: Andy, Belle, Marbles, Olaf, and Spike. Most often seen is Spike, who lives in the desert (near the real-life locale of Needles, California). Sharing Snoopy's penchant for a fantasy life, he is friends with saguaro cacti. Spike is very thin, wears a fedora and has long whiskers. (Spike was the name of one of Schulz's childhood pet dogs.)

Andy looks like a disheveled version of Snoopy. Olaf, who wears a fur cap, is round in both body and face. Marbles is the smartest in the group. He has spots on his fur, wears shoes, and considers some of Snoopy's behavior very odd. Belle, who looks like Snoopy with long eyelashes, is most notable in that there was a Belle stuffed animal available for many years. Although Snoopy often mentions that he was one of eight puppies, the two other siblings never appeared in the comic strip. According to the animated special Snoopy's Reunion, they are named Molly and Rover. They all play in a country band in that special, with Snoopy on the acoustic guitar.

Many years before his siblings appeared, Snoopy referred to himself as an "only dog" who had no brothers or sisters.

Other relationships

Snoopy's owner is Charlie Brown. Early in the strip, he appeared to be a stray dog whom Charlie Brown and his friends had adopted — or vice versa — but eventually it became clear that he was Charlie Brown's dog. Snoopy has a fairly indifferent relationship with Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown's tormentor Lucy once demanded to know when he would be taking Snoopy to obedience classes; Snoopy wondered what would be the point, since Charlie Brown already did everything that Snoopy wanted. Snoopy almost never remembers his owner's name, usually referring to him as "that round-headed kid". Though rarely conveyed, it is clear that Snoopy does actually love Charlie Brown, or at the very least acknowledges that he is completely dependent on the boy, and, in precious occasions, shows him genuine affection, particularly if they reunite after long partings.

His relationship with the other human characters is no more cordial than with Charlie Brown. Snoopy's deft and droll throwaway lines are an effective foil to Lucy's barbed remarks, making him less put-upon than the besieged Charlie Brown or the slightly hapless Linus. He often torments Linus by grabbing one end of the blanket, twirling Linus around and letting him go flying. On March 2, 1958, he declared himself the first dog to launch a human being. Other times Snoopy would zoom by Linus and wrest the blanket away. When Linus began to wear eyeglasses, Snoopy would abscond with them also. ("With a little practice, I bet I could get the shoes, too.")

Snoopy's best friend and confidante is the undersized yellow bird Woodstock, who only "speaks" in apostrophe marks.

His arch-enemy (other than the Red Baron) is the unseen, vicious cat next door, aptly named "World War II". During one series of daily strips, Snoopy antagonized the cat each day, and the cat's paw made one giant slash move that, day by day, decimated Snoopy's freshly-rebuilt doghouse to a greater extent than the day before. The cat also has impressive control of the slashing, as demonstrated when Snoopy insulted him about his knowledge of musical instruments saying "You wouldn't know a violin from a bass drum. At that jibe, World War II instantly carved a hole on the dog house that was an exact outline of a Stradivarius violin. In fact Snoopy reviled all cats generally, once remarking that they were "the crab grass on the lawn of life" and taking umbrage at the expression "cats and dogs", insisting that the proper expression was always "dogs and cats". Before "World War II" there was Frieda's cat "Faron" who appeared in a few strips with Snoopy. One time to Snoopy's embarrassment he found himself "babysitting" "Faron". The cat was named for Faron Young. Schulz stopped drawing the "boneless cat" that would droop over Frieda's arms, as he said, because he could not properly draw a cat.

For a while in 1977, Snoopy was engaged to an unseen female dog he met while on guard duty at Peppermint Patty's house. However, she ran off with his best man and brother Spike before the wedding had started, then eventually leaving Spike and running off with a coyote. (This story was later adapted as the animated special Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown, albeit his bride-to-be ran off with a golden retriever in the special.)

He had also been engaged to another unseen dog, a "cute little girl-beagle", who Snoopy met at an ice skating rink. In this case, Snoopy nearly got married, and even said he would hire his wife a French Poodle maid, but the girl beagle's father forbade it, saying he could never allow his daughter to marry an obedience school dropout. Snoopy was heartbroken, and tried to forget his love by eating, but for the first time, food failed him. He later saw her out surfing on the beach. Trying to impress her, he wiped out while trying to surf. Charlie Brown later told him that the last he saw her, she was running with a Golden Retriever on the beach. [7]

And, in 1971, while getting caught in the middle of a riot at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm while making a patriotic speech, Snoopy met another unseen female dog "with soft paws", but, again, heartbreak was inevitable for Snoopy, as Charlie Brown broke the news to him that a love letter he'd sent her never got to her; she'd been sold away and therefore was no longer at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. Snoopy was devastated: "What do you do when the girl you love more than anything else is taken away from you and you know you're never going to see her again for as long as you live?? What do you do??" Snoopy immediately answers himself: "Back to eating!"

He is the mascot of MetLife since its name change in the 1980s. He is also featured in logos for Cedar Point, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, and Michigan's Adventure amusement parks, which are owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. He is also featured at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. He was the main character in "Camp Snoopy" in Minnesota's Mall of America until the mall's contract with Knott expired.

Doghouse

In the early years of the strip, Snoopy's doghouse was typically seen from the front or front plus one side, with the standard arched doorway of a doghouse, and Snoopy's name arched over the door. Snoopy would sleep in the doghouse.

On December 12, 1958, Snoopy slept on top of his doghouse, rather than inside it, for the first time. Thereafter, Snoopy was seldom seen to venture inside the doghouse, except to retrieve something, instead spending the bulk of his time sitting or lying on its pitched roof. One strip ascribed Snoopy's ability to sleep there to his ears, which "lock" him to the top so that he doesn't fall.

At this point, the side view of the doghouse became standard in the strip, which allowed the imagination of Schulz (and Snoopy) to expand this dwelling beyond the limits of a normal doghouse.

Despite Snoopy's tendency to stay outside in all weather (in some cases even allowing snow to accumulate on his supine body, or wearing a snorkel when it rains), a running gag established that the interior of Snoopy's doghouse was something extraordinary. It defied physics, being dramatically larger on the inside than the outside, with a carpeted foyer, a den, a library, a guest room, a stairway and a basement. The first indication of the doghouse's unique layout occurred on January 31, 1954 when Charlie Brown was puzzled to see all his neighbourhood friends crawling into it for a visit. The doghouse was destroyed several times over the years, being hit by a tree due to a chase over Linus' blanket (July 26, 1959), crushed by a large icicle (February 13, 1960), and finally burned to the ground (September 19, 1966). In each case the doghouse was soon rebuilt. Although individual items were lost in the fire, each replacement doghouse appears to have retained the spaciousness and opulence of its predecessor.

The interior was decorated with several pricey acquisitions including a painting by Van Gogh, first mentioned on February 29, 1964. After the fire destroyed the Van Gogh, it was replaced by an Andrew Wyeth. At various times the interior of Snoopy's doghouse also held bunk beds, a pool table, a ping pong table, a television, a mural (painted by Linus), a shower, a cedar closet, a grandfather clock, and a jacuzzi.[5]

Features established in the television specials include a fine kitchen (A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving), and sound equipment (A Boy Named Charlie Brown). In It's Magic, Charlie Brown, Snoopy enters his dog house and the underground interior is depicted as spacious and well equipped for anything he needs.

The doghouse also serves as a prop for Snoopy, often imagined as a World War I "Sopwith Camel" fighting plane in Snoopy's battles with the Red Baron. During these aerial fights, Snoopy's house often suffers from bullet holes and occasionally crashes. However, this seems to take place solely in Snoopy's imagination, as the house is in perfect shape later.

Snoopy and aviation

  • Following the disastrous Apollo I fire, Snoopy became the official mascot of aerospace safety, testing and the rebuilding of the Apollo Program, due to his refusal to accept defeat and his "'outside the doghouse' way of looking at things." A series of Snoopy-in-Space ("Astrobeagle") products arrived with this campaign, and originals are still prized.
  • The Apollo 10 lunar module was nicknamed "Snoopy" and the command module "Charlie Brown". While not included in the official mission logo, Charlie Brown and Snoopy became semi-official mascots for the mission, as seen here [8] and here. Schulz also drew some special mission-related artwork for NASA , and several regular strips related to the mission; one showing Snoopy enroute to the moon atop his doghouse with a fishbowl on his head for a space helmet; one where Snoopy is on the moon beating everyone else there, including "that stupid cat that lives next door"; one where Snoopy is returning to Earth, and explains to the audience, "You can tell I'm headed back because I'm pointed the other way"; and one where Charlie Brown consoles Snoopy about how the spacecraft named after him was left in lunar orbit.
  • The Silver Snoopy is a special NASA honor, in the form of a sterling silver pin with a engraving of Snoopy in a spacesuit helmet. It is given by an astronaut to someone who works in the space program that has gone above and beyond in pursuit of quality and safety.[9]
  • A series of postage stamps featuring Snoopy as a World War I flying ace was released on May 17, 2001 in Santa Rosa, California.
  • Snoopy, piloting his "Sopwith Camel" (i.e. his doghouse), is featured in the logo of Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport.
  • Snoopy is the US Air Force Technical Control mascot. He can be seen on the Tech Control emblem holding an old analog patch cord above his head as he walks on water.
  • During the Gulf War Snoopy appeared as nose art on several aircraft. He remains a popular image in air forces that still allow crews to customize the appearance of their planes.
  • Snoopy is the name of a U.S. Air Force B-58 Hustler bomber modified to test a radar system. [10]
  • Snoopy is the name of the primary research vehicle of Check-Six.com.
  • The black-and-white communications helmets that are worn as part of NASA spacesuits, carrying radio earphones and microphones, are universally known as "Snoopy caps," due to the resemblance of the white center and black outer sections to Snoopy's head.
  • In 1966, the "Ace" was immortalized in song by the Royal Guardsmen with their hit, Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron. This was followed in 1967 by Snoopy's Christmas, in which the two foes temporarily set aside their differences for a Christmas toast, as per the Christmas Truces that occurred during World War I. Snoopy's Christmas continues to be played as a holiday favorite on most "oldie" radio stations. Two additional songs were released by the Guardsmen in 1968 during the Presidential election, "Snoopy for President", in which Snoopy's bid for the nomination of the Beagle party is tipped in his favor by the Red Baron, and "Down Behind the Lines", which does not mention Snoopy specifically but describes the attempts of a World War I pilot to fly his damaged Sopwith Camel back to friendly territory.
  • Snoopy One and Snoopy Two are two airships owned and operated by MetLife and provide aerial coverage of American sporting events. [11]

References

  1. ^ "Snoopy, Charlie Brown et les autres. L'album de famille de Schulz. ISBN 978-27-3242-681-5
  2. ^ Michaelis, David Schulz and Peanuts: a Biography, Harper, 2007, p. 220.
  3. ^ The Complete Peanuts Volume 1
  4. ^ Groth, Gary (December 1997). "Charles Schulz at 3 o'clock in the morning". The Comics Journal, p. 27 (flip).
  5. ^ a b Bang, Derrick (2006-11-12). "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Charles Schulz and his Peanuts cartoon strip" (text). Peanuts Collectors Club. Retrieved 2006-12-29.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  6. ^ The Complete Peanuts: 1965-1966, page 38 - strip dated March 28, 1965
  7. ^ The Complete Peanuts: 1965-1966, page 94-97
  8. ^ "Picture of Charlie Brown and Snoopy on Apollo 10". Retrieved 2006-10-01. 
  9. ^ "Space Flight Awareness Awards: SFA Silver Snoopy". Space Flight Awareness, NASA website. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  10. ^ http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/B-52s_in_the_desert.htm
  11. ^ http://www.metlife.com/Applications/Corporate/WPS/CDA/PageGenerator/0,4132,P322,00.html

External links

right first it was charle then bill