Etc.

A white Christmas with black dog ears: It's Snoopy time Although Charles Schulz's final comic strip ran in newspapers almost eight years ago, fans of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the "Peanuts" gang currently enjoy plenty of reminders of these classic characters and their creator. Millions of dollars' worth of Peanuts-themed holiday products will be sold this Christmas, and the animated special, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," has aired on network TV for the 43rd consecutive year. There's even an exhaustive new book ("Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography") about the cartoonist, whose passing occurred shortly after he retired in 1999. Some significant dates in the history of "Peanuts" from the official website, www.snoopy.com:

• Oct. 2, 1950: 'Peanuts' debuts in seven newspapers

• Nov. 26, 1952: Lucy first holds football for Charlie Brown

• June 1, 1954: Linus's securityblanket debuts

• Jan. 5, 1956: Snoopy first walks on two legs

• 1960: Hallmark Inc. introduces 'Peanuts' greeting cards

• 1962: Selected as top comic strip by National Cartoonists Society

• July 1, 1984: Strip is published in 2,000 newspapers around the world

• Dec. 14, 1999: Charles Schulz retires

• Jan. 3, 2000: Final daily strip appears

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