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Charlie Brown and Snoopy: A Brief History

Neatorama presents a guest post from actor, comedian, and voiceover artist Eddie Deezen. Visit Eddie at his website.

The comic strip Peanuts was originally called Li’l Folks. The great Charles M Schulz created it in 1950, and it soon became the most popular comic strip in history.

Like so many of the great cartoon characters we all love, the main characters went through a metamorphosis before they became the characters we are all so familiar with. Two characters in the comic became the “stars” of the strip, the runaway favorites. The two were, as we all know, Charlie Brown and his dog, Snoopy.

The original Charlie Brown character was not the wishy-washy loser we all now know. Amazingly, the original Charlie Brown was quite popular with the Peanuts gang. He was addressed, frequently, as “Good ol’ Charlie Brown.” Several of the Peanuts girls actually had crushes on him. And Lucy, who was to become his main nemesis, actually fantasized about getting married to him!!!

It even took a few months before he adopted that famous zig-zag shirt. Slowly but surely, Charlie Brown got more and more insecure. And eventually he evolved into the lovable loser we can all associate with.

Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s dog, soon became the comic’s runaway most popular character. But the early Snoopy was pretty much just an ordinary, slightly mischievous dog. Introduced almost immediately in 1950, Snoopy walked on all four legs, much like any other dog. It wasn’t until 1956, six years later, that Snoopy got up and started walking in his famous walk on two legs, like a human would.

Snoopy, again, very ordinarily, would sleep “inside” his dog house. It wasn’t until two years later, in 1958, that he started lying on top of the dog house, as we remember him. And the first time Snoopy tried that, he had a nasty fall. Eventually, Snoopy, who originally was a mute dog, developed the trademark “thought balloons” over his head. These enabled readers to follow his thoughts and responses, verbally as well as physically.

Over the years, almost in an inverse ratio to his owner Charlie Brown, Snoopy became cooler and more confident. Charlie Brown and Snoopy became a kind of yin-yang of the two sides of all of us.

One side, Charlie Brown, symbolized the lack of confidence, shyness, and insecurity we all harbor, to a greater or lesser degree. And the other half, Snoopy, is the confident, totally-in-control, cool character we all, in our hearts (and fantasies) want to be.

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July 21st, 2011

Stranger to the World


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