I’m teaching a “wacky music class” starting next week and one of our instruments is the jaw harp. Will kids (ages 9-11) recognize the instrument from Snoopy playing it? Or will they have no idea what I’m talking about if I mention Snoopy?
There was a Peanuts movie a few years ago that was pretty well received (my kids, now 13 & 11 saw it and liked it, the theater was packed with kids when we went). Plus there’s the Charlie Brown Christmas special that is still watched.
They’ll know snoopy.
Kids may well still know Snoopy and the other Peanuts characters, but they may not be familiar enough with Snoopy to associate him with a jaw harp. IMO, the jaw harp was a fairly minor part of the character, and not nearly as closely associated with him as the doghouse, pretending to be a WWI fighter pilot, etc.
I asked my daughters 8 and 6. At first, they had no idea what I was talking about. When I showed them a picture, they recognized him.
That said, I don’t remember Snoopy playing a jaw harp – I’m sure he did and I must have seen it a million times, but I just don’t associate the instrument with him and would not make the connection.
I think the jawharp only appeared in A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Definitely a minor aspect of Snoopy lore.
I didn’t remember it, either, until @CairoCarol mentioned it in her OP. It looks like he played it at least once in one of the Peanuts movies (“A Boy Named Charlie Brown”), and as a result, there is apparently a brand of inexpensive jaw harps which uses Snoopy’s name and likeness.
That’s the jaw harp I owned as a kid! I was very disappointed as I could never make it sound very good. I don’t think the kids in the class will get very good either - but I hope they will be amused by the idea. Even played badly, which is all we will achieve, it makes an intriguingly peculiar twang.
I was a pretty big fan of Peanuts when I was a kid (and I’m sure I saw that movie at least once, sometime), but I don’t remember any association of Snoopy with a jaw harp.
Add me to the list of Peanuts fans who had no inkling that Snoopy was a musician.
I did know that he could dance, however.
I also didn’t know/remember that he played that harp, but I have a picture in my mind of Snoopy playing a guitar. Is my memory correct?
ETA: yep, I was right, though that also could have been a bass guitar:
Yeah, my first thought is he played upright bass. But being Snoopy, he’s so cool that he could probably play anything if he wanted. This is kind of surreal:
Coincidentally, there was a question about Peanuts in the final round of The Weakest Link just last night. The question was along the lines of “In the Charlie Brown Halloween special, Linus waits in vain for what imaginary character?” The answer, of course, is “The Great Pumpkin.”
The contestant, not a kid but a relatively young woman, reasoned thusly: “Okay, I know Snoopy is the dog, so he’s not imaginary. I think ‘Peanuts’ has something to do with Charlie Brown and Linus, so I’m going to say Peanuts.”
So she knew of Snoopy, but had only a vague knowledge of the Peanuts canon in general. My impression is that this is true of lot of younger people; apart from the occasional holiday special, which may get last among many other holiday specials, Peanuts has kind of fallen off the radar.
Edited to add: in my mind, Snoopy is a bass player. They’re always the coolest one in the band, as everyone knows.
Grammar nitpick: the title should be “Are peanuts still popular…”
No, it shouldn’t. The subject is a title. Titles are singular.
I agree with the consensus that basically the characters are recognizable, the stories and personalities really aren’t. It’s interesting to compare this with Calvin and Hobbes: Watterson’s commitment to not merchandizing his characters or using them in advertisements (which I much admire) also has lead to their extinction in popular culture: for better or worse, I suspect Snoopy is still at least identifiable by name to the vast majority of grade schoolers. Calvin and Hobbes is only recognizable if you have the sort of parents who went out of their way to introduce you to them.
A good parallel. Repeats of the old Peanuts strips are still syndicated to newspapers, and appear on the GoComics website, though I doubt that many kids are aware of those. But, between re-runs of A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown during the holiday season, and the characters still being used in licensing (including at some amusement parks), I agree that today’s kids are likely at least somewhat aware of the characters. Also, I just discovered that there are two fairly new Snoopy/Peanuts animated TV series running on Apple+.
OTOH, I do regularly see (unlicensed) Calvin & Hobbes-themed t-shirts on several online stores, which specialize in “nerd culture” t-shirts; however, I’d agree that those shirts are likely being bought by old nerds like me, and most twenty-somethings and younger have no idea who the characters are.
Of course you’re correct, and I hope you’re being whooshed. @Roger_That teaches English, I believe, so surely he’s joking.
You’re joking, right, Roger_That?
That’s what I assumed.
I’m 45, and my mental image of Snoopy interacting with music is dancing, with no instrument at all.
I do remember that Opus played a tuba, but I mostly only remember that because I played tuba. For that matter, a lot of comic-strip characters play tuba (the Born Loser and Ziggy come to mind), because frankly, the tuba is an instrument with a lot of comedic potential.
I remember Opus’s tuba playing.
“Weighty brass. Give me a break.”
My 3 and 6 year old love the Peanuts cartoons (we have a holiday sampler set with 4 or 5 of them), but I don’t think they’d recognize that instrument.