Will Snoopy, America’s Dog, Make a Comeback?
Pup Culture By Bud Boccone
The “Peanuts” franchise was long overdue for a reboot, so I was happy to hear that Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the gang will be back in a brand-new animated 3-D movie. A press release announcing the project says the joint production from Twentieth Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios is slated for a Thanksgiving 2015 release.
Charles M. “Sparky” Schulz (1922–2000) began his “Peanuts” comic strip in 1950. The nominal star was Charlie Brown, but the big breakout character was his dog. By the mid-1960s, Snoopy had transformed Schulz from a working cartoonist to an iconographer in the class of Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss.
It’s hard to overstate Snoopy’s prevalence during the ’60s and ’70s. The strip was syndicated to 355 million daily readers in 75 countries. It spawned books, toys, posters, movies, songs (“Snoopy vs. the Red Baron” was a top-40 hit of 1966), and a series of much-loved TV specials.
Snoopy was at peak popularity in 1979, when he became the only dog—fictional or otherwise—to ever receive an honorary AKC registration number: beagle-1.
Schulz was delighted by the tribute. From his studio at 1 Snoopy Way, in Santa Rosa, California, he told us that he asked Snoopy if he would like to enter a dog show. “Don’t be ridiculous,” was Snoopy’s response. “I don’t even own a dog.”
Schulz also mentioned that he had only just grasped the magnitude of Snoopy’s fame. His epiphany came at ground zero of American culture, the Ice Capades:
“A girl in a Snoopy costume skated onto the ice. Suddenly all the kids in the arena started yelling, ‘Snoopy, Snoopy! Hey, look over here!’ He was real to them, and it came as sort of a shock to me to realize that it was my creation, that I had thought of it, and at one time there was no Snoopy. Now here they were, yelling at him like he was Mickey Mouse. It gives you a lot to think about.”
Will the new movie give Snoopy his mojo back and reestablish him as pop culture’s undisputed top dog? The movie’s creative team is banking on it. “We have been working on this project for years,” says Craig Schulz, the son of Carl Schulz and co-author of the screenplay. “We finally felt the time was right and the technology is where we need it to be to create this film.”