Snoopy developed a variety of alter egos, most notably the World War I flying ace. For this character he would don goggles and a scarf and fly his Sopwith Camel (actually his doghouse), battling the Red Baron (who appeared vicariously through the bullet holes he left riddled in the doghouse).
Snoopy also became "Joe Cool," as he put on sunglasses and leaned
against the wall (in standard "cool" fashion) doing nothing. He has
also been a famous writer (who was never published), an 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"), and even an astronaut. Outside of his fantasy life he is the
shortstop for Charlie Brown's Little League team (and the best
player), and even owned a Van Gogh (later replaced by an Andrew
Wyeth after his first doghouse caught fire and burned down). He also
acts as the Beagle Scout leader with his bird friends. Other than
his owner Charlie Brown, Snoopy's best friend and confidante is the
undersized yellow bird Woodstock, who only speaks in apostrophes.
His arch-enemy (other than the Red Baron) is the cat next door named
'World War II' (and cats in general).
Snoopy has seven siblings: Andy, Belle, Marbles, Molly, Olaf, Rover, and Spike, most of whom rarely appear in the strip. Most often seen is Spike, who lives in the desert (near the real-life locale of Needles, California) and is friends with cacti. Spike is very thin, wears a fedora and has long whiskers. Andy looks like a disheveled version of Snoopy; Olaf is rotund in both body and face. Marbles has spots on his fur and wears shoes. Belle, who looks like Snoopy with long eyelashes, is most notable in that there was a Belle stuffed animal available for many years. Molly and Rover never appeared in the comic strip. Their only appearance was on the animated special Snoopy's Reunion.
Snoopy is the name of a pet beagle in the comic strip
Snoopy first made his appearance on the strip on October 4, 1950, two days after the strip premiered. Schulz was originally going to call him Sniffy until he discovered that name was used in a different comic strip. As a character Snoopy never talks (because he is a dog) but thinks (the first occasion the reader is shown his thoughts was in the strip of October 19, 1952); however, other characters have the uncanny knack of reading his thoughts.
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 (see e.g. 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."
Known as Joe Cool, World War I Flying Ace, Literary Ace, Flashbeagle, Vulture, Foreign Legionnaire and "that round-headed kid's dog," Snoopy symbolizes
the simple yet effective way Charles M. Schulz expressed the anxieties and joys of childhood in the PEANUTS comic strip. The United States Postal Service honored the comic strip and its creator with the issuance of the PEANUTS commemorative postage stamp.
The first day of issue ceremony was held at 10:30 a.m. (PT) on May 17 at Snoopy's Home Ice (the Redwood Empire Ice Arena), 1665 W. Steele Ln., Santa Rosa, California. The stamp was available at the ceremony and at Santa Rosa post offices on May 17, and available nationwide starting May 18. The event was free and open to the public, and attendees were invited to enjoy a free skate after the ceremony until 2:00 p.m.
Snoopy is central to the comic strip and extremely popular for his imaginative adventures from atop his doghouse. An ensemble cast of children, however, makes the strip complete. Among them are the lovable Charlie Brown, who never gives up despite unending failure; the philosophical, blanket-carrying Linus; the fussbudget Lucy, who dispenses psychological advice for a nickel from behind a concession stand; and toy-piano virtuoso Schroeder.
Charles M. Schulz began his fascination with comic strips early,
reading the Sunday comics from four different newspapers with his
father each week. With encouragement from his parents, Schulz
enrolled in a correspondence course in cartooning.
Illustrated by Schulz, and designed by Paige Braddock under the art direction of Carl Herrman of Carlsbad, California, the PEANUTS stamp depicts Snoopy in his role as the World War I Flying Ace. The name of the comic strip, PEANUTS, appears in the upper left-hand corner of the stamp.
This Snoopy Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub