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Snoopy

Back when I first joined social media I listed my interests including “Peanuts Books”. This caused some confusion with a work colleague she thought that I meant books about amusingly shaped peanuts, the sort of thing that would appear on ‘That’s Life’. It wasn’t until I mentioned Snoopy that she realized what I actually meant.

Charles M. Schulz who drew every one of the 17,897 daily and Sunday strips hated the name ‘Peanuts’. It was not his choice. His previous single pane comic for local newspapers had been called ‘Li’l Folks’ but he couldn’t reuse that name nationally as it was deemed to close to Al Capp’s ‘Li’l Abner’, so suggested naming the new strip after its main character ‘Good Ol’ Charlie Brown’, but instead the publisher went with ‘Peanuts’ named after the peanut gallery in the ‘Howdey Doodey’ TV show. Schulz said of the title: “It’s totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity—and I think my humor has dignity.”

Of course over the years the most recognizable character became Charlie Brown’s dog, Snoopy. Originally Snoopy was just a curious puppy who walked on all fours, it wasn’t till 1955 that he first walked upright, his thoughts had been seen before then, over the years he became the Walter Mitty of Beagles. Many people say that Snoopy represents Schulz himself. However the artist often stated that it was Snoopy’s brother Spike whom he was closest to.

Many of the collections of strips are published under the title ‘Charlie Brown and Snoopy’ although the books I was talking about on Social Media in 1995 were ‘The Complete Peanuts’ a collection that will bring together all of the 17,897 daily and Sunday strips. This collection started with all the strips from 1950-1952 in April 2004 and will finish with the 1999-2000 volume in 2016.

These books (I get the American editions) feature introductions from famous fans. Some of whom were friends with Schulz. They are very diverse from ‘Simpson’s’ creator Matt Groening, TV personality and civil rights campaigner Al Roker and Tennis ace Billie Jean King to Broadway Star Kistin Chenoweth, Author Lemony Sicket and actor Patten Oswalt. All of them have been touched by the trials and tribulations of Charlie Brown and his friends.

It is hard to imagine a world with out ‘Peanuts’, however much the name is inappropriate and just plain wrong, Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy,Snoopy, Woodstock, Spike, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Franklin, Sally Brown and even Frieda with the Naturally Curly Hair, Molly Volley not forgetting the unseen Little Red Headed Girl are part of everyday life.

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