Charlie Brown starts out as a much more normal kid than the mellow philosopher and loser he gradually came to represent. He hated baths. He taunted girls and ran laughing. Or was just plain mean sometimes. His catchphrase for bad social experiences seems to have been That's the way it goes, and instead of "Good grief!" he seems to have preferred Great Scott! And girls liked him. (But could still be capricious about it.)
Snoopy was originally Sherm's dog. Maybe. He tends to show up wherever he's needed, and he seems to have his own house - Charlie Brown mows his lawn for him because he can't do it himself. Sometimes Sherm has him on a leash, but maybe he lives with Patty (in her pre-Peppermint incarnation). Or maybe with Charlie Brown.
The original few months had only four characters: Charlie Brown, Sherm, Patty, and of course Snoopy. Snoopy has a run-in with a bird that I suspect may evolve into Woodstock eventually.
So anyway, as I read through the early opus, I thought it would be fun to record some landmark dates, as "Charlie Brown firsts".
- Oct 2, 1950 - First strip.
- Oct 4, 1950 - Snoopy appears.
- Dec 25, 1950 - First bemoaning of loss of tradition to modern life. Not by Linus, he hadn't been introduced yet.
- Feb 7, 1951 - Violet introduced.
- Mar 6, 1951 - First baseball game.
- Apr 17, 1951 - First Woodstock-like behavior on the part of a bird. (The bird flew over Snoopy the previous day, so if this is Woodstock, Apr 16 would have been his first appearance.)
- May 30, 1951 - Schroeder is introduced, as a baby.
- Sep 24, 1951 - Charlie Brown introduces Schroeder to the piano.
- Oct 2, 1951 - Schroeder is frightened of real pianos.
- Oct 19, 1951 - Violet buys a very small Christmas tree that kind of reminds me of later days.
- Nov 11, 1951 - Charlie Brown misses the football for the first time. Note that the holder is Violet (Lucy hadn't come on the scene yet) and that she pulls the ball not because Chuck is a loser, but because she's afraid he'll kick her hand.
- Nov 26, 1951 - Charlie Brown orders a Beethoven bust for Schroder's piano.
- Mar 3, 1952 - Lucy introduced. Really a manipulative little jerk right from the get-go.
- Apr 4, 1952 - Snoopy first gets the idea of walking on two legs; it comes to him in a dream.
- May 27, 1952 - Snoopy first thinks in words.
- Jun 6, 1952 - Chuck says "Good grief" for the first time.
- Jul 6, 1952 - Lucy says the sun is in her eyes for the first time.
- Jul 14, 1952 - Lucy mentions Linus for the first time.
- Sep 19, 1952 - Linus first appears.
- Oct 19, 1952 - First Snoopy dance.
- Nov 2, 1952 - Lucy "gets the best" of Charlie Brown for the first time.
- Nov 16, 1952 - Aaaand Lucy does the football thing.
- Dec 3, 1952 - Wishy-washy.
- Jan 27, 1952 - Lucy crushes on Schroeder.
- Jan 31, 1954 - Snoopy's house is bigger inside than out.
- Apr 11, 1954 - "It's going to clear up."
- Jun 1, 1954 - Linus's blanket is introduced.
- Jul 13, 1954 - Pig-Pen introduced; doesn't like the name Pig-Pen.
- Nov 30, 1954 - Introduction of well-known character Charlotte Braun. Yep, good ol' Charlotte Braun... Wait, what?
- Apr 19, 1956 - First appearance of the kite-eating tree. (I think. Certainly Sunday, Jun 6, 1956 makes it look like it, though.)
- Nov 23, 1958 - First mention of the cat next door.
- Dec 12, 1958 - Snoopy sleeps on top of his doghouse for the first time. Up until now he'd either slept with his head pillowed on a rock, or with it in his water bowl.
- Dec 21, 1958 - First Christmas pageant.
- Mar 27, 1959 - First psychiatric help stand.
- May 25, 1959 - Chuck's mother goes to the hospital for Sally's birth. (With a five-day planned stay; how times have changed.)
- Jun 13, 1959 - First appearance of bird language.
- Jul 5, 1959 - First time shoes are knocked off by a baseball.
- Aug 23, 1959 - Sally actually appears. She's so cute.
- Oct 26, 1959 - The Great Pumpkin is invented.
- Dec 13, 1959 - Snoopy dances for suppertime for the first time.
- Mar 14, 1960 - Snoopy flies like a helicopter with his ears for the first time. The whole rest of that week is fantastic.
- Apr 25, 1960 - Happiness is a warm puppy.
- Jul 31, 1960 - Snoopy has a boxing mitt on his nose.
- Oct 30, 1960 - Snoopy rises out of the pumpkin patch to freak Linus out.
- Mar 6, 1961 - Frieda is introduced. She has naturally curly hair.
- May 15, 1961 - Frieda, irritated that Snoopy refuses to chase rabbits, plans to get a cat to take him down a couple of notches.
- May 23, 1961 - Frieda's cat Faron appears.
- Aug 30, 1963 - A boy named "5" is introduced.
- Oct 17, 1963 - 5's sisters 3 and 4 show up - they seem to be twins and look suspiciously like Peppermint Patty.
- Nov 11, 1963 - Peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth.
- Nov 12, 1963 - Whoa! Little red-haired girl!
- Mar 12, 1965 - Linus's blanket has a life of its own.
- Mar 14, 1965 - First actual use of the phrase "kite-eating tree".
- May 4, 1965 - The Daisy Hill Puppy Farm.
- Jul 12, 1965 - It was a dark and stormy night! (And the sequence is great.)
- Oct 10, 1965 - Here's the WWI flying ace and his Sopwith Camel.
- Mar 4, 1966 - Maybe Woodstock is born.
- Mar 11, 1966 - Baby birds flying like Woodstock. After this, all birds in the strip look like these baby birds.
- Jul 24, 1966 - WWI flying aces drink root beer when in Paris.
- Aug 22, 1966 - "Peppermint" Patty at last!
- Feb 19, 1967 - The kite-eating tree transitions from epithet to cold reality.
- Mar 20, 1967 - Introduction of good ball player José Peterson.
- Apr 14, 1968 - (Easter Sunday) Snoopy dances around and gives Linus eggs for the first time.
- Jun 18, 1968 - Marcie! Whoops, maybe not.
- Jul 31, 1968 - Franklin! This storyline is a little trippy; it's at the beach instead of at home, and he's kind of playing with the medium a little. When Franklin says his dad is over in Vietnam, Chuck tells him his own dad was in a war, too, but he doesn't know which one. That's because in 1968, Charlie Brown has been six years old for 18 years. His dad fought in WWII.
- Aug 24, 1968 - Lila, Snoopy's old owner.
- Aug 30, 1969 - Suddenly, a shot rang out!
- Nov 30, 1969 - It was a dark and stormy night.
Suddenly, a shot rang out. A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly, a pirate ship appeared on the horizon.
While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
End of Part I
A light snow was falling, and the little girl with the tattered shawl had not sold a violet all day. At that very moment, a young intern at City Hospital was making an important discovery.
- Apr 5, 1970 - The mysterious patient in room 213 had finally awakened. She moaned softly. Could it be that she was the sister of the boy in Kansas who loved the girl with the tattered shawl who was the daughter of the maid who had escaped from the pirates? The intern frowned.
- Jun 22, 1970 - Woodstock finally gets a name.
- Apr 11, 1971 - The Easter Beagle? (First use of that epithet.)
- May 27, 1971 - The first appearance of Joe Cool.
- Jul 20, 1971 - Marcie! For real this time.
- May 23, 1972 - Rerun!
- Jul 29, 1972 - The clouds got in my eyes.
- Aug 04, 1975 - Spike! Living in Needles already in 1975.
- Nov 01, 1975 - All I got was a rock.
- Jan 13, 1976 - Charlie Brown starts going to Peppermint Patty's after his own commits suicide (they live in different parts of town).
- Feb 22, 1976 - First time Snoopy is the scout leader with Woodstock as the scout. (I think.)