Released in 1972
, Snoopy Come Home
was the second feature film
made out of the Peanuts franchise
, following on the heels of A Boy Named Charlie Brown
. It was directed by Bill Melendez
and based on a storyline originally penned in the comic strip
by Charles M. Schulz
The story goes like this:
Snoopy, through a collection of mishaps, manages to become ostracized several times over. Right after the opening credits, he gets kicked off a beach where a sign is posted saying "No Dogs Allowed." Then, Charlie Brown cuts his finger while opening a can of Snoopy's dog food, and lectures the dog about lying on top of the doghouse all day. Then, Snoopy tries to steal Linus' security blanket, and gets into a heavy round of mortal combat over the blanket's fate. And so on.
Once it seems like Snoopy has ticked off everyone in Peanuts-ville, he gets a mysterious letter from a girl named Lila, and runs off. Charlie Brown and everyone else assume that they were too hard on Snoopy, and immediately enter a deep guilt trip funk. Linus, always the resourceful Peanut, is the first one to get over this: he calls up the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm and discovers that Lila had taken Snoopy home when he was a puppy, but had to return him after her family moved, at which point Charlie Brown came by, found the Doggmeister, and brought him home.
Lila is now in hospital, and when Snoopy finally gets to her (after nearly being taken in by a psychotic girl strikingly similar to Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures), it cheers her up so much that she asks Snoopy to come and live with her after she gets out. Snoopy decides that first, he will go home and settle his affairs, so he packs up and heads back to see Charlie Brown.
Charlie Brown finds Snoopy perched on top of his doghouse, banging away at his typewriter. But he's not writing another "It was a dark and stormy night" novel... this is his last will and testament, and he divides all his worldly possessions up among Linus and Schroeder. "...Thus, having settled my estate, I return to Lila, who needs me."
At Snoopy's farewell party, a somewhat shocked Linus and Schroeder deliver rather mute speeches. When CB comes up to the podium, however, he breaks down crying, and Snoopy bursts into tears as well. The tears keep flowing until well after Snoopy has walked off into the sunset.
Then, when Snoopy finally gets to Lila's apartment, he discovers two things:
- She has a cat
- No dogs are allowed in the building
Freaking out at the first point, he quickly points out the second to Lila, kisses her goodbye, and runs back home to the waiting Peanuts gang, who break out in song, only stifled at the very end when Snoopy asks for all of his belongings back.
This is perhaps the most melancholy of the four Peanuts movies: while it does have its hilarious points, the story is a sad one, especially from the point of view of Charlie Brown, who goes through something of a mid-life crisis (in his own worldly style) while Snoopy is away.
This morning, I made a bowl of dog food, and took it out to the doghouse, but then I remembered: he was gone...
But as Linus puts it, in his own style:
Happiness lies in our destiny, like a cloudless sky before the storms of tomorrow destroy the dreams of yesterday and last week.
"I think that blanket is doing something to you," Charlie Brown replies.