Friday, September 12, 2008

Snoopy was Joe Cool - The Dog That Could

Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s every kid wanted a dog as cool as “Snoopy”, the adorable little beagle in the Peanuts cartoons. Our dogs had to be able to take their place as a fighter pilot and battle it out with the red baron on top of their flat dog house roof. Our dogs had to befriend a bird, not chase it and not eat it. Our dogs had to be able to decorate their plain dog house with Christmas lights.

Try as hard as we could to train our dogs we never did find a dog that could do anything as amazing as Snoopy. While we thought our dogs would live forever, they never did and neither did Snoopy.

The man that supplied Snoopy’s laughs, sobs and howls has died. Animator, director and producer Bill Melendez passed away earlier this month in a Santa Monica Hospital. He was 91.

Melendez ended up serving as Snoopy’s voice in 63 half-hour specials, five one-hour specials, the Saturday morning TV shows and four feature films. In 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted on television and viewers fell into a love/hate relationship with the main character Charlie Brown. With his above average dog, Snoopy it always seemed that Charlie Brown with his big heart wanted to do a good dead, but was less than capable at whatever he tried.

The Peanuts animated cartoons continued into the 70’s with three sequels “Snoopy Comes Home: (1972) “Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown” (1977) and “Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!)” (1980).

While the character of Snoopy will live on for future generations the voice that entertained us as kids and the special warmth, charm and laughter that Bill Melendez brought to Snoopy will never sound the same again. In a moment as memorable as this, the quote from famous comedian Bob Hope says it all “Thanks for the memories.”