Is it “no dogs allowed” or “no, dogs allowed!”

Animated Peanuts

Over in the realms where the people who edit Wikipedia discuss their efforts toward doing so, I have fallen into an unexpected discussion: what is the title of the movie Snoopy, Come Home? Now you may think that an easy and obvious question, and really it is… if you ignore punctuation. But if one is detail-oriented one notes things like that in the opening credits of the film, it has no punctuation:

and the same can be said of some of the tie-in items sold at the time:

But other tie-in items include a comma:

But wait… the quotation marks on that first book made sense, as it was putting it off from the other phrasing of the title, but in that second book and that LP? Are they really part of the title? Well, you can make an argument for both by looking at the front cover and the edge of the 1984 home video release.

or this later release:

Other home video releases vary, either excluding the comma, as in this VHS art:

or including the comma,

or…. ohmigoodness, what is this monstrosity??

Okay, okay, let’s skip all that and go to the first place where most people would have encountered the name – the poster advertising the movie at their local bijou:

Waitagoshdarnminnit! That version isn’t even consistent in itself – down the bottom, it has the quotation-marks-and-comma version, but up top, it has no quotation marks… and an exclamation point?!? Now come on, it can’t be that way for all the release materials, can it?

So obviously, the version with the exclamation point, that’s not actually the title – that’s the tag line, like “In space, no one can hear you scream”  or “The man with the hat is back. And this time he’s bringing his dad.” or “It’s the same two dudes from “Uptown Saturday Night“…but this time they’re back with kid dyn-o-mite!” (I’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to identify the films.) And that version down by the credits, yes, that’s where they’ll put the official name for the film. Yes, that must be it. I’m sure of it. Let me just check the copyright registration to verify it….

GOOD GRIEF! It’s getting so you can’t trust anything! (Note: I included the previous entry in the registration book as well, because out of sheer coincidence, it lists animator Dale Hale, who had earlier been Schulz’s assistant and one of the creators on the Peanuts comic books.)

Well, where did the title come from? It exists in Peanuts about a decade before the film does, as the title for a strip collection:

So there: a comma, no quotes, no exclamatory whatchamajig. But (as one of the other Wikipedia commentators points out) that name is pretty clearly suggestive of being sourced to the famed Lassie, Come Home. Only…. that wasn’t quite the title. The movie had no comma:

and the book not only had no comma, it had a dash, Lassie Come-Home (for whatever sense that makes.)

So after all the investigation, the only conclusions that I can come to is that the right and proper title for “”Snoopy”, Come-Home!” is… Rashomon.

(And yes, I know that for at least a few members of my readership, I have taken a very unimportant question and left it chewing a hole in their brain. This is the curse of attending to details.)

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