With a new "Peanuts" gang cartoon special in the offing on CBS tonight, it's time to get snoopy about Snoopy.
Cartoonist Charles Schulz' beloved big-nosed beagle is the subject of "Snoopy's Reunion" (at 8 on Channel 11), in which are recounted his origins at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm and his eventual adoption by that round-headed kid, Charlie Brown.
But did you know that Snoopy almost wasn't Snoopy? That's one of the findings about America's favorite animated animal in Media Monitor's latest trivia quiz:
1. The dog was one of the original characters of "Peanuts" when the strip premiered in seven newspapers in October, 1950, but Schulz says he almost picked a different name. What was it?
2. There is more to Snoopy's doghouse than can be seen. Can you name two surprising items contained therein, as revealed over the years?
3. Long a frustrated novelist, Snoopy always begins his books the same way. What are the lines? (This is an easy one.)
4. In his frequent flights of fancy as the World War I Flying Ace, Snoopy dogfights in his Sopwith Camel, and the recurring story-line generated a hit record in the late 1960s, "Snoopy Versus the Red Baron." What was the name of the group that recorded it? (A toughie.)
5. In 1968, Snoopy's popularity soared to out-of-this-world heights. Do you know how?
While you mull the answers (soon to follow), it's worth noting the remarkable string of "Peanuts" shows on television dates back to 1965. That was when "A Charlie Brown Christmas" first appeared.
"Snoopy's Reunion" seems a return to lighter fare after two more serious turns by the Schulz team, including last year's "Why, Charlie Brown, Why?" (in which a schoolmate had cancer) and the 1988-'89 history series, "This Is America Charlie Brown."
THE ANSWERS, PLEASE: (With thanks for some information to Fred Worth's "Complete Unabridged Super Trivia Encyclopedia.")
1. Snoopy was almost Sniffy, until Schulz learned another comic strip already had a dog with that name.
2. There's a pool table in Snoopy's basement and a Van Gogh painting on the stairwell.
3. "It was a dark and stormy night..." is Snoopy's perpetual novelistic opening.
4. The pop band that recorded "Snoopy Versus the Red Baron" was The Royal Guardsmen.
5. And on the Apollo 10 space mission, which preceded 1969's lunar landing, Snoopy was the nickname of the module that flew to within nine miles of the moon's surface and redocked with its command module -- dubbed, naturally, the Charlie Brown.