Wednesday, June 15, 2011

April 7, 1954: Snoopy doesn't "do" fetch

Read this strip at

Snoopy is both centered a bit more as being owned by Charlie Brown here, he uses a thought balloon, and shows some of the Snoopy-like personality at the end.

On the matter of Snoopy's ownership, there is a quite informative, unofficial FAQ on Peanuts hosted on  It is item 4.29.  It is detailed and informative and is probably the definitive statement on the growing certitude over who owns Snoopy, and I'm pasting that item here.  It's seems to be pretty much the last word on the matter:

Casual fans generally assume that Snoopy always has belonged to Charlie Brown, at least since the beagle was returned to the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm after briefly being taken homeby his first owner, a little girl named Lila (this story lending itself to the second big-screen Peanuts film, "Snoopy Come Home").

But it didn't start out that way. When Peanuts first began in late 1950, with its small roster of characters, Snoopy was more a "neighborhood dog" who might pop up with any of the newspaper strip's first stars: Charlie Brown, Patty or Shermy. On October 25, 1950, for example, Snoopy can be seen eavesdropping as Patty makes a call from her toy telephone ... which definitely seems to be inside her house. In the November 7 strip that year, Snoopy is in Charlie Brown's house; and on several occasions Snoopy is shown keeping company with Shermy. On February 2, 1951, Patty quite clearly tells Charlie Brown that Snoopy lives in "that direction" ... which does NOT point to Charlie Brown's house.

The first suggestion that Snoopy might have a specific connection to Charlie Brown comes on April 11, 1951, when the beagle shows up dressed in a zig-zag shirt just like Charlie Brown. But even here, it's hard to be sure; Snoopy might simply be making fun of poor ol' Chuck.

Stronger evidence comes September 12, 1951, when we see that Charlie Brown has a picture of Snoopy in his room ... which seems to suggest that the beagle is, at last, specifically bonded with Chuck. (Or maybe not. A few weeks later, Snoopy goes "home" ... to Shermy's house!)

On December 15, 1951, Charlie Brown repairs Snoopy's doghouse ... which certainly suggests that our beagle's home is in Chuck's yard. Unfortunately, on April 3, 1953, Patty and Schroeder ask a passing Charlie Brown what color he thinks THEY should paint Snoopy's house!

That latter incident notwithstanding, by 1953 Snoopy still is visiting other kids in their homes, but there are no strong indications that he lives with anybody except Charlie Brown. On November 28, 1953, for example, Charlie Brown tells Snoopy to go to bed, and both definitely are in Chuck's house.

But ambiguity creeps in once more. On December 5, 1954, after slipping Snoopy a piece of candy that came from Pig Pen's pocket, Charlie Brown says, "Psst ... Snoopy, ol' pal ... you'd better come home with me, and have a drink of water." Take note of the words "with me" ... one would think, if Snoopy lives with Charlie Brown, that Chuck would simply say, "You'd better come home."

Finally, on October 15, 1955, Charlie Brown gives Snoopy some food from the dinner table, while saying, "There you are, old friend" ... a phrase that strongly suggests ownership. A few weeks later, on November 1, Charlie Brown gives Snoopy his dinner in front of the family TV set ... definitely in Chuck's house. On November 3, Charlie Brown tells Violet that "All the dogs in the city [now] have to be kept tied up." Violet asks if he has tied up Snoopy, and Charlie Brown says "Of course ... what else could I do?" Clearly, at this point, Violet is identifying Snoopy as Charlie Brown's dog. And a few weeks later, on November 18, Charlie Brown tells Patty that he has Snoopy (who's no longer roped to a tree) "tied up with a sense of obligation" ... another strong indication of ownership.

Feeding Snoopy becomes more of a habit; on December 8, Charlie Brown tells Shermy that he'll be out in a minute, after he "attends to the hound." On March 10, 1956, Charlie Brown tells Lucy that Snoopy always brings his supper dish to him when he (Snoopy) is hungry.

On December 14, 1956, Charlie Brown buys Snoopy a new collar ("...something more masculine"). On November 14, 1957, Charlie Brown refers to Snoopy as "My pal" and says that "Everyone should have a dog to greet him when he comes home."

And finally -- FINALLY -- we get the smoking gun on September 1, 1958, as Charlie Brown is writing a letter to his pencil-pal. As his faithful friend peers onto the table to see what's going on, Charlie Brown adds, "Oh, yes, I also have a dog named Snoopy. He's kind of crazy." As of that moment, Snoopy is -- without question -- Charlie Brown's dog!

Wow, not until September, 1958 huh?

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