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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Remember Woodstock: The Peanuts Bird Is The Word


The Charles M. Schulz Peanuts comic strip debuted in 1950.  Snoopy's bird friend, Woodstock, was introduced in 1966 (though he was not named "Woodstock" until later---and yes, he was named after the famous music festival).  By the time Snoopy and Woodstock were a team, the focus of the Peanuts empire of merchandise shifted to the adventures of Snoopy and his little yellow friend.  Woodstock has always been a favorite of mine (I like his spiky hair, especially on this puppet that I've had since I was a kid).

Woodstock, like Snoopy, has been incredibly popular in plush toy form. (This particular vintage version, which is similar to my puppet, can stand up!).



For many years, only the animal Peanuts stars were transformed into stuffed toys.

Aviva made lots of Woodstock (and Snoopy) toys in the 70s and 80s.


In addition to wind-up toys, Aviva sold Snoopy cars.  LOTS of cars.


Snoopy cars outnumber any other character.  But Woodstock is next in line.

These days, the Peanuts gang can be found in Cedar Fair amusement parks across the United States.  "Planet Snoopy" and "Camp Snoopy" sections of the parks feature rides, most of which are themed to Snoopy or Woodstock.


These cars are some of the rare toys from the time that feature Snoopy's human co-stars.

Merchandise gave the characters a life of their own.


Flying Trapeze toys used to be all the rage.


There is something hilarious to me about this Woodstock toy.


Trapeze Woodstock is kinda buff.

Woodstock: Now with Climbing String Action.


Woodstock toys that chirp and flap their wings was a thing for some time.


In addition to a hard plastic Flapping Woodstock, there was a feathered version.


This is hilarious.

One of the most interesting characters in Peanuts Merchandising History is Belle.  Belle is the "girl Snoopy".  Belle is Snoopy's sister, but many people probably thought she was Snoopy's girlfriend.  Snoopy and Belle were kind of the Donny and Marie Osmond of Peanuts toys.  Belle was a very minor character, but toy companies latched on to her, turning Belle into a superstar of toys.


Snoopy and Belle took on Barbie and Ken, entering the world of fashion dolls in a 1980s toy line called "Snoopy & Belle".  The dogs were given new, clothing-friendly proportions and an extensive wardrobe.

Look out, Barbie.  There's a new b*tch in town.  A literal b*tch.  And her name is Belle.


9 comments:

  1. Nice post, Dan! I remember most of those items, including the trapeze toy. I had a Mickey Mouse version, but it's long gone now.

    At first, I was going to ask how you got Woodstock's hair to stand up in that first pic, but then I figured it out! ;-)

    I've always wondered if any of Woodstock's little bird friends that looked just like him had names, or was he the only one with a name?

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  2. Thanks, TokyoMagic! I had the Woodstock Trapeze, but it is long gone (I do have a "Goofy" one someone gave me though). Woodstock puppet's hair does indeed stand up on its own---I did not do anything special to it---it is just really well made (he was made by Determined Productions in Japan, with a 1972 Copyright). Woodstock's bird friends DO have names. I remember a couple of them: Conrad, Bill and Oliver.

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    1. And Harriet, who made angel food cake with seven minute frosting.

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  3. Oh, wow! I thought the first pic was turned 90 degrees to the right after being taken! The tree branches/trunks in the background made me think that....along with Woodstock's gravity defying hair! They really made things better back then!

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  4. Puppet Woodstock has the best hair ever! He's spent decades in boxes and attics and is always camera ready. The Japanese know how to make puppet bird hair.

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  5. I got the Chirping Woodstock with feathers for Christmas in 1979. It actually hung in the living room of the house my family lived in from 1979 to 1983. But at some point in the 1980's the chirping part started malfunctioning. Instead of playing from beginning to end, pausing, then starting at the beginning again, it would get "stuck" in one place and keep repeating the same part of the audio over and over, like a broken record. (If I turned it off, then back on, it would start at the beginning, but then would get "stuck" in the same place again.) Part of the orange plastic feet broke off at some point as well. It probably got thrown out when my mom moved in 2002.

    Have you ever seen any of the Monogram Snoopy model kits from the 1970's? I had 5 of the 7 of them, but one day in the late 1970's all of them disappeared from my toy box, except for the stand for "Snoopy And His Bugatti Race Car". I bet my dad threw them out; he probably thought they were "sissy toys". And now they're very expensive. (This was also true when I saw them in the classified publication Toy Shop in the 1990's.)

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  6. Cool, Bobby! I never saw the Monogram model kits. We did inherit a "vintage" Snoopy Red Baron Doghouse marble chute game when we were kids. It is long gone, but it was fun. I do still have an old "build Snoopy's Doghouse" Game (a rare chance to see the front of the doghouse!).

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    1. I found a YouTube video of someone showing off her collection of 6 of the 7 Monogram Snoopy model kits. (She doesn't have the Red Baron, which I didn't have either. The other one I didn't have was "Snoopy And His Motorcycle".)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYayiauZg0o

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    2. And here are YouTube videos of 5 of them in action:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32vOCKyZQQg

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66reIs2p6IM

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxOerCrZowE

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhXyy-VRD-g

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i47dmMCIwis

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