By Speaker Toni G. Atkins and Greg Evans
He’s a champion ice skater, bowler, and skateboarder; a world famous attorney, astronaut, and arm wrestler; and, most famously, a World War I flying ace.
Of course, that’s all when he’s not busy just being the beagle that belongs to that round-headed kid.
October marked 65 years (or 455 if you count in dog years) since Snoopy skated, flew, and happy-danced onto the comic pages and into hearts all over the world. That anniversary provides a good opportunity to remind everyone about California’s new Snoopy license plate.
The Snoopy Plate was created following legislation in 2013. Proceeds from the sales go to the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to help museums make capital improvements to their facilities, which helps keep their doors open to the public.
The new license plate shows Snoopy doing his famous happy dance, and we are grateful to Jean Schulz, the widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles M. Schulz, for donating the image. The bottom of the license plate reads “museums are for everyone.”
As an art lover himself (he favored Van Gogh and Andrew Wyeth), Snoopy is the perfect beagle to lend his support to our museums.
To get the Snoopy plates into production, we need a minimum of 7,500 to be ordered. Right now, we still need about 900 orders. Once the plates are in production and people begin to see them on the state’s streets and highways, we expect orders to soar about as high as a well-maintained Sopwith Camel.
To help spread interest in the Snoopy Plate, more than 80 California museums are joining together and offering free or discounted admissions — worth a total of more than $1,000 — to anyone who becomes a “Beagle Backer,” someone who orders an initial plate and helps us reach the 7,500 mark. These one-time admissions will be good for up to a year after the goal is reached.
San Diego-area organizations participating in the Beagle Backer program include the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Photographic Art, the Mingei International Museum, and the Japanese Friendship Garden.
With football season underway, the California Museum in Sacramento is also hosting a special exhibit, “Pigskin Peanuts,” featuring the gang hitting the gridiron — including Snoopy (as both the fiendish Mad Punter and Woodstock’s long-suffering coach) and Charlie Brown trying every Autumn to kick that football. The museum also has plenty of information on hand on how to get a Snoopy Plate.
Snoopy plates start at $50 for a sequential license plate, but you can also buy a personalized plate for $98.
There’s even a gift certificate option at Snoopyplate.com, so you can surprise loved ones who are Snoopy fans, museum supporters, or both.
This is prime Snoopy time.
In addition to the 65th anniversary in October, we also waited once again for the Great Pumpkin to rise on Halloween night. This month, a new “Peanuts” movie is helping create even more fans. And for the holidays, Snoopy made his 39th appearance in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and December will be the 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
What better time to order a Snoopy Plate and help ensure that California museums can continue to reach future generations?
We encourage everyone — whether or not you are a world famous champion — to become a Beagle Backer and order a Snoopy Plate for your car. It honors one of the greatest characters in the comics and it helps a good cause. And who knows? It may even put you in the mood for a happy dance.
—Toni Atkins is the Speaker of the California Assembly and the author of the bill creating the Snoopy License Plate. Greg Evans is the award-winning creator of the comic strip Luann, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.