5 facts you probably didn't know about Snoopy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2014 05:52 PM | Updated as of Oct 06 2014 02:29 AM

MANILA -- More than half a decade ago, Snoopy made his first appearance on the widely beloved comic strip "Peanuts."

Arguably the world's most famous beagle, Snoopy was originally drawn by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz on October 4, 1950 walking on all fours instead of the carefree and dancing character he came to be known for.

Schulz, in an interview with Liberty Magazine back in 1973, described Snoopy as having a contradicting personality. He is seen to be independent and quite selfish, and despite knowing that he cannot live without the help of Charlie Brown, does not give his owner the "love and affection he deserves."

"That's part of the humor," Schulz added.

To commemorate Snoopy's 64th anniversary, here are five facts about the iconic beagle:

1. Meet the dog Snoopy was based on

The first appearance of Snoopy. Artwork by Charles M. Schulz

Snoopy was patterned after a dog Schulz had when he was 13 years old. His name was Spike. He was sporting the same colors Snoopy has -- black and white -- but was a mixed breed of "a little pointer and some other kind of hound."

In the book "Peanuts: A Golden Celebration" published on 1999, Schulz recalled some of his fondest memories of Spike.

"He had a vocabulary of about 50 words, and he loved to ride in the car. He waited all day for my dad to come home from the barbershop and on Saturday evenings, just before 9:00, he always put his paws on my dad's chair to let him know it was time to get the newspapers," he said.

Schulz added that Spike would "eat almost anything" and that he sent a drawing of the pup to "Ripley's Believe It Or Not," which became the cartoonist's first published drawing.

2. Snoopy wanted to be everything

One of the early appearances of Snoopy as the 'Flying Ace.' Artwork by Charles M. Schulz

Snoopy was not satisfied with just being a beagle. Throughout the strip's history, the iconic pup has made more than a hundred alter-egos.

His most famous one appeared in October of 1965, where he was dressed as fighter jet pilot carrying the moniker of the "Flying Ace." He had an invisible archenemy named the "Red Baron" and their rivalry became a pop culture phenomenon, inspiring a song by the Royal Guardsmen in 1966 entitled "Snoopy vs the Red Baron."

Snoopy also appeared as college student going by the name of "Joe Cool" in 1971. He wore turtleneck sweater matched with sunglasses, and had the sudden penchant for leaning against a wall. In the same year, he also took on the role of the "Easter Beagle" -- a play on the Easter Bunny -- for a brief period.

He also pretended to be over 50 other animals such a shark, a penguin, and a vulture. He also became an author in 1965 and a foot soldier in a strip dated June 6, 1993. It was an homage to "D-Day" or the day the allied forces landed in Normandy during World War II. It was drawn with the words "To Remember."

3. Snoopy the World Famous Astronaut

Snoopy lands on the moon inside the pages of Peanuts. Artwork by Charles M. Schulz

But perhaps one of the best achievements in Snoopy's colorful life was when he became the first comic strip character to land on the moon on March 10, 1969 -- and it wasn't just a piece of fiction. The Apollo 10 crew actually named their command and lunar modules after the beagle.

The Apollo 10 was the 'dry run' before the first moon landing mission, Apollo 11.

"I think that's one of the best things that's ever happened. Snoopy was the first character in comic strip history to land on the moon! It wasn't just a story!" said Schulz in an interview with Comic Book Marketplace magazine published on 2003.

"No, he was there! And they brought back all sorts of beautiful little lapel pins which were given as safety awards to people on the assembly line. It was a wonderful thing, very flattering," he added.

4. Meet Snoopy's siblings and his only nephew

One the first appearance of Snoopy's sister and nephew. Artwork by Charles M. Schulz

In 1975, Schulz introduced Snoopy's skinny brother, Spike, who lives in the Mojave Desert in California. In the book "Celebrating Peanuts: 60 Years," it was explained that the location was actually Schulz's boyhood home for about a year at the beginning of the Great Depression.

A year later, Schulz gave another member of Snoopy's family her debut -- this time a female beagle named Belle. A single mother who was left by a "worthless hound" of a husband, Belle made her first appearance in a strip dated June 28, 1976. She has a teenage son, which was Snoopy's only nephew.

Three of Snoopy's other siblings were then introduced in 1982, 1989, and 1994, respectively. Marbles, the first to be drawn of the two, appeared for one story line that ran for less than a month. Olaf and Andy, likewise, did not play a major part in the comic strip.

Snoopy's unnamed father made an appearance in 1989 for a strip in commemoration of Father's Day.

5. The beginning of Snoopy's iconic pose

Snoopy first tries to sleep on top of his doghouse. Artwork by Charles M. Schulz

Snoopy first attempted to sleep on top of his doghouse in December 12, 1958. In it, Snoopy was drawn to have fallen off its side and thinking: "Life is full of rude awakenings."

According to Schulz, he wasn't entirely sure how Snoopy ended up on top of the doghouse, but he was glad he did. He wrote in "Peanuts: A Golden Celebration" that it was important for the doghouse to remain on its familiar side-on profile as Snoopy moves into his fantasy world.

"You simply cannot have a dog doing and thinking the things Snoopy does on a realistic doghouse. The image is much more acceptable when the doghouse is drawn only from the side. Snoopy's typewriter could never balance on the peak the way it does, and of course, Snoopy himself is somewhat a mystery when one examines his sleeping pose more closely," he said.

BONUS: In a strip dated January 31, 1954, Charlie Brown, along with Violet, Shermy, and Schroeder all took a peek inside Snoopy's doghouse. It was big enough to hold all four children and was even described to have a recreation room.