Snoopy Turns 60! How the Cartoon Dog Became the Ambassador for 'Peanuts'
It was 1956, six years after creator Charles Schulz's first comic strip featuring his landmark characters from Peanuts, which turns 60 on Saturday, appeared. Snoopy, inspired by and modeled after Spike, a terrier from Schulz's childhood, had until then been more like a regular dog.
When he stood up, and then climbed up on the doghouse ... good grief! Snoopy started to become the beloved beagle he is today.
"When he was doing his happy dance, with his feet just going like a bandwagon, he was expressing a completely different personality than a dog," Schulz's widow, Jeannie Schulz, tells PEOPLEPets.com. "He ceased to be a real dog and he became an abstraction of a dog, with human characteristics."
Both Charles and Jeannie were dog lovers, and the cartoonist always carried dog biscuits in his pockets. Some he would give to his pets at home, and others he would save for the stray he encountered every morning in a parking lot.
"Sparky thought a lot like a dog," Jeannie says. "He had a very intuitive feeling. He wrote about how when you walk down the street and you pass a dog, he looks at you. Your eyes meet, and for a little while, you're communicating."
By the time the comic strip had turned 25, Schulz said that he could probably do an entire comic strip about Snoopy. "His personality gives me so many ideas," he told Jeannie. He recognized, too, that Snoopy was his comic strip's international ambassador.
"You didn't have to read the story to love Snoopy," Jeannie says. "Snoopy was what they all loved. His black-and-whiteness, he's just a beautiful design."
For more information on Peanuts' 60th anniversary celebration, check out greatpumpkincountdown.com.