Peanuts is an American comic strip written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz which ran from October 2nd 1950 to February 13th 2000, continuing in reruns afterward. Peanuts is among the most popular and influential in the history of comic strips, with 17,897 strips published in all, making it "arguably the longest story ever told by one human being".
The first Peanuts strip from October 2nd, 1950
The most beloved breakout star from the Peanuts Gang is of course Snoopy. The wildly imaginative, supremely confident, world-famous beagle is a canine master of disguise. While pondering life from the top of his doghouse, he writes the great American novel, travels to the moon, and plots revenge on the cat next door.
Peanuts focuses entirely on a social circle of young children, where adults exist but are never seen and rarely heard. The main character, Charlie Brown, is meek, nervous, and lacks self-confidence.
It’s humour is psychologically complex and driven by the characters' interactions and relationships.
Peanuts achieved considerable success with its television specials, several of which, including A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, won or were nominated for Emmy Awards. The Peanuts holiday specials remain popular and had been broadcast on network television for over 50 years before moving to the Apple TV+ streaming service in 2020.
PEANUTS has inspired theme park attractions, public art projects, and every kind of consumer product from pj’s to popcorn makers. In 2018, Peanuts Worldwide partnered with NASA on a multi-year Space Act Agreement designed to inspire a passion for space exploration and STEM among the next generation of students. PEANUTS speaks a universal language—and has also introduced a vocabulary all its own: “Good grief!,” “security blanket,” “You blockhead!” and “Happiness is… .”
Schulz hated the title Peanuts, which remained a source of irritation to him throughout his life. Whenever Schulz was asked what he did for a living, he would evade mentioning the title and say "I draw that comic strip with Snoopy in it, Charlie Brown and his dog".
"Snoopy’s whole personality is a little bittersweet. But he’s a very strong character. He can win or lose, be a disaster, a hero, or anything, and yet it all works out. I like the fact that when he’s in real trouble, he can retreat into a fantasy." - Charles M. Schultz
Snoopy is loyal, funny, imaginative and good-natured. He is also a genuinely happy dog. The only thing that truly upsets him is a lack of supper. Snoopy has a strong hatred of cats, often making rude remarks to the cat next door.
Snoopy loves root beer and pizza, hates coconut candy and listening to balloons being squeezed, gets claustrophobia (which keeps him out of tall weeds and even his own doghouse), 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. He claims to hear chocolate chip cookies calling him. Snoopy is also capable of disappearing, like the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland, as shown in a series of strips ("Grins are easy. Noses are hard. Ears are almost impossible.").
Snoopy also loves sleeping and being lazy - a trait which often annoys Frieda. Snoopy often lies on top of his doghouse and sleeps, sometimes all day long. In one strip, Charlie Brown refers to him as a "hunting dog", because he always hunts for the easy way out of life.
Snoopy first appeared in the October 4, 1950 strip, two days after the strip began. Schulz originally planned to call him "Sniffy", but found out that name was used in a different comic strip. He then changed the dog's name to Snoopy. The name first appeared on November 10, 1950.
In 1951, Snoopy's birthday was celebrated on August 28. However, in 1968, his birthday was celebrated on August 10.
In the early days, it was unclear who was the owner of Snoopy. It was not necessarily Charlie Brown. For instance, in the strip from February 2, 1951, Charlie Brown yells at Snoopy for following him, until Patty tells him that Snoopy is not following him, but simply lives in the same direction. Other early strips show Snoopy on a leash with Shermy or Patty, and not Charlie Brown. However, other early strips show Snoopy in Charlie Brown's room at night, as he is going to sleep. It seems that in the early days of the strip, Snoopy was an ownerless dog who played with the various children. As the years went by, Snoopy began to interact with Charlie Brown more often than the other children. It is eventually shown that Snoopy's doghouse is in Charlie Brown's backyard, and Charlie Brown is responsible for feeding him. It is eventually confirmed that Charlie Brown is the owner when he says that his parents bought Snoopy for him when he was upset after a boy dumped a bucket of sand on him in a sandbox.
Snoopy has some little bird friends, the most loyal of which is Woodstock.
Snoopy also has seven siblings. The eight puppies were born at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm before being separated. Snoopy has recalled his family going to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm's chapel every day, and being part of a fifty-beagle choir. He also taught Sunday school there, a fact Charlie Brown sometimes forgets. He went to school at the Ace Obedience School.
For fans everywhere, happiness is PEANUTS.