Back in the day, Peanuts was HUGE. For 50 years, Charles M. Schultz’s cast of cartoon characters – Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Peppermint Patty, Snoopy, Woodstock and more – captured the public imagination. Starting in his hometown newspaper, Schultz’s work spread into books, TV, popular music and a Broadway play. Over time, Peanuts’ popularity faded. I don’t think Timex was expecting the enormous reception given their Timex X Peanuts watches. The star is, of course . . .
While Wikipedia lauds Peanuts for its “philosophical, psychological, and sociological overtones,” Charlie Brown’s beagle stole the show. Although he started out as a sarcastic canine – who failed to recognize Charlie Brown as his owner – Snoopy evolved into a free spirit celebrating life’s simple joys.
Out of Timex X Peanuts’ 24 watches, 22 feature the big-nosed beagle. Only two are Snoopy-less; one featuring Charlie Brown trying to fly his kite (a.k.a., Sisyphean torture), the other showing an uncharacteristically carefree Brown (with his arms for watch hands).
Charlie Brown was the poster child for existential angst and crippling self-doubt. He wouldn’t be surprised at Snoopy’s supremacy. He would have taken [temporary] solace in the watch that shows him dancing with his four legged friend.
Be that as it may, the Snoopy X Peanuts watches lack a suitable depiction of Snoopy’s earliest and most powerful incarnation: as a World War I fighter pilot.
Oh sure, Snoopy’s wearing his goggle-clad helmet and scarf in the Timex X Peanuts Snoopy Flying Ace watch. But he’s standing there like a lemon (as the Brits are wont to say), rather than duking it out in the skies over France with his arch enemy, The Red Baron (a.k.a., Manfred von Richthofen).
And there’s the canine pilot on the Snoopy Christmas watch chauffeuring Woodstock and one of his feathered friends atop a gigantic toy sack (as if a doghouse didn’t present enough of an aerodynamic challenge). Where’s Snoopy as the World War I Ace in combat against The Red Baron?
That was a BIG THING back in the day. Snoopy’s courage and dogged (yes dogged) determination in his imaginary dogfights (yes dogfights) against the German (yes German) fighter pilot was the subject of hundreds of Peanuts comic strips. Snoopy’s never-give-up-the-fight message inspired countless children and adults worldwide.
Snoopy’s post arial combat howl – Curse You Red Baron! – became a catchphrase for anyone bested by a rival. The 1966 song Snoopy vs. The Red Baron was an enormous hit. As was the follow up: The Return of the Red Baron.
I would buy a Timex X Peanuts watch if it had the image above on its face. I don’t think I’m alone in that. Snoopy-as-fighter-pilot hasn’t lost potency over time.
In 2015, five years after Peanuts ended, a comic book compendium of Snoopy’s battles against The Red Baron was a runaway hit (cover above).
The next year, a WildWorks video game put Charlie Brown’s dog back behind the controls of his imaginary Sopwith Camel. Like this . . .
That image – Snoopy’s paws at the controls, scarf flying, his mind lost in an elaborate delusion – is a more PC proposition than the book cover, what with Snoopy’s gritted teeth and flying bullets. But hey, I’ll take it! Well I would if I could, but I can’t.
The image of a combat canine isn’t PC enough for our woke times. A picture of the Snoopster trying to shoot a German out of the sky, cursing his enemy or reflecting over the day’s fighting over a frosty mug of beer? Fuhgeddaboutit. Lest we forget, Snoopy’s a white dog. His dogfighting was a battle for white supremacy. Obviously.
Snoopy the fighter pilot a cis dog too far for Timex? True story. Check this from today’s watchpro.com:
Timex is using its #WeDontStop tag on a global campaign full of optimism for a world emerging from the pandemic mixed with messages of inclusion and inspiration delivered by influencers from across the social and professional spectrum.
Snoopy the fighter pilot in action was good enough for the U.S. Post Office (albeit in 2001). But it’s not good enough for Timex, an American-owned company marketing watches made in China’s communist dictatorship (American Documents excepted) under the banner of “inclusion.”
I haven’t mentioned the OMEGA Snoopy watches (one of which is selling for a staggering $99k). For good reason. As brave as astronauts are, Snoopy’s World I arial exploits were more dramatic, more daring in every way. If only Timex showed such gumption.