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Today we celebrate Snoopy’s 50th birthday! Read on to learn the life story of everyone’s favorite beagle.
Many of the PEANUTS characters came from people in creator Charles Schulz’s actual life, and Snoopy was one of his earliest creations. As a young boy, Schulz loved drawing and reading comic strips, and at 15 he drew a picture of his black-and-white dog Spike and sent it to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (the drawing below says “drawn by Sparky” because of Schulz’s nickname). The drawing appeared in their newspaper feature, and Spike later inspired Snoopy in Schulz’s PEANUTS comic strips.
When creating a dog that would appear in his regular comics, Schulz thought of the name “Snoopy” after remembering a name his mother wanted to give to the family’s next dog (see why you should always listen to your mother?) On October 4, 1950, Snoopy first appeared in a PEANUTS comic, two days after the strip’s initial debut:
But wait! I thought you said his birthday is August 10! Well, we recognize his birthday as August 10 because although Snoopy was “born” earlier, on this day in1968 the PEANUTS gang threw him a surprise birthday party with a cake and candles:
Now 50 years later, PEANUTS officials still give him a candle-topped cake to blow out on this day every year!
In his more than half a century of comic strips, Snoopy has transformed from quirky sidekick to American icon. With toys, video games, T-shirts, a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon, and more, he’s pretty much all over the world…and beyond. In 1967 after a disastrous fire on Apollo 1, NASA made Snoopy a safety mascot. During the later Apollo 10 mission, a lunar module nicknamed “Snoopy” helped workers rehearse for the eventual first moon landing of Apollo 11.
It’s actually fitting that Snoopy became a NASA icon. The daredevil of his own story, Snoopy has a vivid imagination that lets him escape to other worlds. One of his most famous adventures began in a 1965 comic when he became the World War I Flying Ace and flew his dog house to fight the Red Baron, named after an actual WWI German pilot. Other stories of the Flying Ace followed, and eventually Snoopy’s alter ego appeared in the 1966 cartoon It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:
From all of us at Kings Island, happy birthday, Snoopy! Here’s to 50 more years of adventures and dog kisses…just maybe not for Lucy.
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