I stumbled across the 1959 Baltimore newspaper ad for some of the Hungerford figurines, the original Peanuts toys. Don’t let what looks like a low price fool you– in today’s dollars, the four of them would cost you about $70. (Which, to be fair, is about what you would pay for one of them now.)
Schulz Museum curator Benjamin L. Clark did point out one interesting thing that I should have noticed, but bipped past me: this ad calls the dog “Snoopy”. That seems a logical thing to call him, of course, but it’s legally problematic. Another toy manufacturer already had a trademark on the name Snoopy when it comes to toys. This is clearly a locally-produced ad, rather than one produced by the manufacturer, so the folks putting this ad together didn’t know about the problem. However, if you look at the sales brochure in this eBay listing, you’ll see that the character is referred to simply as “Peanuts Character – Dog”. The packaging for the figure even uses this strip to tell us what the characters doesn’t like to be called, but leaves out what his preferred name is.
(Come to think of it: Does Snoopy actually consider “Snoopy” to be his name? He responds to it, of course, but off the top of my head, I can’t recall him ever referring to himself by that term. Joe Cool, the World War I Flying Ace, the World Famous whatever, sure. And outside the strip, we see his book published under that author name. But given that he refers to Charlie Brown simply as “the round-headed kid”, he may not be invested in the names humans give themselves… or him. I may need to look further into this.)
Perhaps both this limitation on marketing Snoopy and Schulz’s disappointment over the naming of the strip Peanuts could’ve been avoided if he had just named the dog Peanuts.