Are You A Snoopy Fan?
Many of the Peanuts characters were inspired by real people and events.
Snoopy was one of Schulz’s earliest Peanuts characters, appearing for the first time on October 4, 1950, two days after the comic strip’s debut. Schulz loosely based Snoopy on a black-and-white dog named Spike he had as a teenager. The cartoonist originally planned to call his cartoon dog Sniffy, but shortly before the comic strip launched Schulz was passing a newsstand and noticed a comic magazine featuring a dog with the same name. Now in need of a new name, Schulz remembered his mother’s suggestion that the family should name their next dog “Snoopy.”
After serving in World War II, Schulz worked as an instructor at the Minneapolis correspondence school where he’d taken art classes as a teen. It was there where he befriended Charlie Brown, whose name would later become that of his main character. Also while employed at the school, Schulz became romantically involved with a redhead named Donna Johnson, who worked in the accounting department. She eventually rejected him for another man, leaving Schulz crushed. However, the experience inspired the cartoonist to develop a character called the Little Red-Haired Girl, Charlie Brown’s unrequited love.
In 1968, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Schulz introduced his comic strip’s first black character, Franklin, whose father was a soldier in the Vietnam War. Another character, a yellow bird called Woodstock, was named for the 1969 landmark music festival.
(Credit: Elizabeth Nix)