Saturday, April 6, 2013
Snoopy And The Dogfight With The Red Baron: Peanuts Popmobiles At McDonald's
When I was younger, I used to visit a restaurant in Montevallo, Alabama called Barnstormer's Pizza. Most of the customers there were probably unaware that the Snoopy's Doghouse Plane toy sitting on the cash register as a decoration was actually a McDonald's Happy Meal Toy from Canada.
Barnstormer's Pizza closed down years ago. I think it is a safe bet that one of the employees gave Snoopy a good home.
Snoopy was part of a Peanuts Popmobiles Happy Meal promotion in Canada in 1989. When you push down on the character, the vehicle races forward.
Choo-Choo Charlie is an engineer.
Charlie Brown was given rocks when he went Trick or Treating on Halloween. Lucy probably gave him a lump of coal at Christmas at some point. He can use it for his train.
Will Engineer Charlie Brown give The Little Red Haired Girl a Valentine that says "I Choo Choo Choose You"?
Can you get the train up that hill, Charlie Brown? I think you can, I think you can. Until Lucy switches the track and sends you rolling backwards.
Lucy drives the local Fire Truck. I feel safe, don't you?
In Canada, Fire Trucks are Green. Garbage Trucks are black and white. School buses are red with white polka dots.
In 1983, the Knott's Berry Farm theme park in Buena Park, California opened a land with rides for kids called "Camp Snoopy."
In 1997, Cedar Fair (owners of the Cedar Point theme park in Ohio) bought Knott's Berry Farm. Snoopy quickly became one the biggest theme park mascots ever.
Cedar Fair inherited the Peanuts characters, and they can now be found at "Planet Snoopy" in theme parks across North America. This includes California's Great Adventure, Kings Island, Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Worlds of Fun, Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Point, Valleyfair, and Dorney Park.
Visitors to Universal Studios Japan (in Osaka) can visit Snoopy Studios, which opened in 2001.
The Peanuts characters can be found everywhere: comics, TV shows, musical theater, and theatrical movies.
For many years, Snoopy was the mascot for Dolly Madison snack cakes (he really loved Zingers!). That was not enough for Snoopy. In 1985, he became the mascot for MetLife. These days, Snoopy is allowing Charlie Brown and Lucy to participate in the commercials.
McDonald's used the Peanuts Popmobiles vehicles for other Happy Meal promotions. In 1992, McDonald's in Japan had a McDonaldland "Headstarters" Happy Meal. Birdie the Early Bird piloted a blue version of Snoopy's Doghouse Plane. Grimace was the engineer in Charlie Brown's Train. Ronald McDonald drove Lucy's Fire Truck. The Hamburglar took Woodstock's car for a spin.
A modified version of Woodstock's car was also used in 1995's McTurbo Happy Meal.
You can decorate Grimace's Popmobile with the provided stickers.
The Peanuts characters have been featured in many different McDonald's promotions all over the world. In 2000, McDonald's restaurants outside the United States celebrated 50 Years of the Peanuts Gang with plush Snoopy toys representing different decades. Appropriately, Snoopy's "Joe Cool" character represents the 1950s.
Snoopy and the Peanuts gang were created by Charles M. Schulz back in 1950 and the characters are still going strong today.
Snoopy can do anything. He can drive a car, ride a motorcycle, pilot a plane, chaperon kids on a trip to Europe, and wind up his ears and fly like a helicopter. He can even sell you insurance. Not many dogs can do that.