'"Woodstock knows that he is very small and inconsequential indeed. It’s a problem we all have. The universe boggles us…Woodstock is a lighthearted expression of that idea."

Charles M. Schulz on Woodstock

Woodstock,

Woodstock is a major animal character in the Peanuts comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. He is best known as Snoopy's sidekick and best friend. He is named after the 1969 music festival in New York state. He first appeared in Peanuts in 1966 but did not have a name until the early 1970s.

History

Snoopy started befriending birds in the early 1960s. His bird friends appeared occasionally, and, unlike Woodstock, looked like actual birds. Woodstock made his debut, in March 1966, when one of Snoopy's bird friends made her nest on Snoopy's stomach. After the mother bird left and did not come back, Snoopy decided to care for the birds until they hatched (which proved to be very difficult). When the eggs hatched two baby birds were born. Snoopy soon made them fly away, but one bird, who would later be named as Woodstock, who had a lot of trouble flying, came back. The undertalented bird stayed by Snoopy and his doghouse. At first, Snoopy was annoyed by the winged pest, but eventually warmed to him.

Woodstock first appears, together with his unnamed sibling, in the strip from March 4, 1966.

Woodstock is named in the strip from June 22, 1970.

The bird was named Woodstock on June 22, 1970. Since then, Snoopy and Woodstock have been close friends. Snoopy even became friends with Woodstock's friends, who do not look like normal birds either. Woodstock and his bird friends together form Snoopy's Beagle Scouts.

Woodstock joins in many of Snoopy's fantasy games. The pair sometimes argue but they always hug and make up and their disagreements are quickly forgiven and forgotten.

Woodstock never speaks normal words.The only non-avian character who can understand Woodstock's speech is Snoopy. When depicted in the comic strip, his speech is rendered almost entirely in "chicken scratch" marks, with Snoopy either directly translating or allowing the reader to deduce Woodstock's meaning in the context of Snoopy's replies. Woodstock does make non-verbal noises such as yawns,[1] laughter, sighs[2] and "Z"s or snores to indicate sleep. He also uses punctuation marks like "!" or "??" to indicate emotions. In the movies and television specials, the chicken scratches are rendered audibly as a staccato series of high-pitched honks and squawks by Snoopy's voice actor, Bill Melendez.

Despite being a bird, Woodstock is a very poor flyer. It may be because of his small wings, or it may be because, due to his mother abandoning him, Snoopy had to teach him to fly. He flitters around in erratic fashion, often upside down, and frequently crashes into things. In one storyline, Woodstock actually walked South for the winter, with help from Snoopy. He usually manages to get where he wants to go, though, as long as he does not have to fly too high.

It is interesting to note that prior to Woodstock being named a "Bird Hippie" (whom Woodstock resembles greatly, minus the long hair and peace necklace) appeared in the strip from November 1, 1967.[3] Considering that Woodstock is named after the eponymous music festival, which is normally associated with the hippie culture, one must wonder whether there is some sort of connection between these two characters.

Species

Strip from January 26, 1972.

Snoopy has often wondered what type of bird Woodstock is. In a series of strips from September and October 1980, Snoopy attempts to identify him using his Guide to Birds. The birds which Snoopy suggests and Woodstock attempts to imitate are: crow, American bittern, Caroline wren, rufous-sided towhee, yellow-billed cuckoo, Canada goose, warbler, and a mourning warbler. Snoopy finally gives up trying to figure it out in the strip from October 11, 1980, and hurts Woodstock's feelings by saying, "For all I know, you're a duck". Snoopy takes it back with a quick hug, at which point it becomes clear that it does not matter what type of bird Woodstock is; the only important fact is that he is Snoopy's best friend.

Strip from September 13, 1980.

Woodstock is sometimes assumed by Peanuts readers to be a canary due to his resemblance to Tweety Bird but has never been named as such in the strip.

Some readers consider that because Woodstock was named after the music festival, which had a dove as its icon, that Woodstock must therefore be a dove.

Schulz never definitively answered the question of what type of bird Woodstock was supposed to be.

Gender

Woodstock is the only Peanuts character whose gender has changed. Schulz originally considered the bird to be a female but changed his mind after naming it in June 1970. In an interview in 1987 Schulz said; "I had been reading the Life magazine article about the Woodstock festival and I had the little bird in the strip. It was a she and she was Snoopy's secretary and I was doing secretary jokes quite often so then I thought Woodstock would be a good name for this bird and also, it will get the attention of these people that liked that kind of thing. Suddenly she was not a secretary; she became Woodstock, the boy. It just happened. But that's what's good about a comic strip - you can just do it."[4]

In the Norwegian translation of Peanuts the bird is named Fredrikke - a female name - and it is always referred to as a female.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Woodstock is one of the many Peanut characters to appear in the game Snoopy's Street Fairin which he owns a marshmallow booth.
  • In interviews, Schulz remarked that it would take him about twenty years to learn to draw Woodstock perfectly.

References

External links


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Media

Films: A Boy Named Charlie Brown | Snoopy, Come Home | Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown | Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don't Come Back!!) | The Peanuts Movie
Television: The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show | This Is America, Charlie Brown | Peanuts | Snoopy in Space
Specials: A Charlie Brown Christmas | Charlie Brown's All-Stars | It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown | You're in Love, Charlie Brown | He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown | It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown | Play It Again, Charlie Brown | You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown | There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown | A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving | It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown | It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown | Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown | You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown | It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown | It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown | What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown | You're the Greatest, Charlie Brown | She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown | Life is a Circus, Charlie Brown | It's Magic, Charlie Brown | Someday You'll Find Her, Charlie Brown | A Charlie Brown Celebration | Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown? | It's an Adventure, Charlie Brown | What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? | It's Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown | Snoopy's Getting Married, Charlie Brown | You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown | Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! | Snoopy!!! The Musical | It's the Girl in the Red Truck, Charlie Brown | Why, Charlie Brown, Why? | Snoopy's Reunion | It's Spring Training, Charlie Brown | It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown | You're in the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown | It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown |It's the Pied Piper, Charlie Brown | A Charlie Brown Valentine | Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales | Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown | I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown | He's a Bully, Charlie Brown | Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown
Books: The Complete Peanuts | Other Peanuts reprint books

Characters

Main characters: Charlie Brown | Patty | Shermy | Snoopy | Violet Gray | Schroeder | Lucy van Pelt | Linus van Pelt | "Pig-Pen" | Sally Brown | Frieda | Woodstock | Peppermint Patty | Franklin | Marcie | Rerun van Pelt | Eudora | Peggy Jean
Minor characters: Charlotte Braun | Clara | Shirley | Sophie | Clara | Cormac | Emily | Ethan | Faron | Floyd | The Goose Eggs | Janice Emmons | Joe Agate | Joe Shlabotnik | José Peterson | Lila | Little Red-Haired Girl | Lydia | Mary Jo | Maynard | Mimi | Miss Othmar | Molly Volley | Charlie Brown's pen(cil) pal | Poochie | Roy | Royanne Hobbs | Russell Anderson | "Shut Up and Leave Me Alone" | Tapioca Pudding | Thibault | Truffles | Snoopy's Beagle Scouts | Snoopy's siblings | Snoopy's mother | Joe Cool | Kite-Eating Tree | Great Pumpkin | Red Baron | Easter Beagle | Harold Angel | Faron

Locations

Ace Obedience School | Brick wall | Brown house | Daisy Hill Puppy Farm | Lucy's garden | School building | Setting | Snoopy's doghouse | Lucy's psychiatry booth

Songs

20th Century Fox Fanfare | The Book Report | Bows | Cha Cha Slide | Christmas Time Is Here | The Doctor Is In | Don't Be Anything Less Than Everything You Can Be | Easter Theme | Glee Club Rehearsal | Great Pumpkin Waltz | Happiness | Hark! The Herald Angels Sing | Heartburn Waltz | Hurry Up Face | I Know Now | Joe Cool | Just One Person | The Kite | Linus and Lucy | Little Birdie | Little Known Facts | Lucy Says | Musical Chairs | My Blanket and Me | My New Philosophy | Over the River and Through the Woods | Queen Lucy | The Red Baron | Schroeder | She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain | Slow, Slow, Quick! Quick! (Doin' the Foxtrot) | Snoopy | Suppertime | Thanksgiving Theme | We're Gonna Have a Party Tonight | You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown | You're in Love, Charlie Brown

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