I am so pleased to share with you that I was recently selected as a Peanuts Ambassador. A huge part of this includes celebrating the fact that this December marks the 50th year that A Charlie Brown Christmas! has been airing on television. I know that it is, and always has been, a very special part of our Christmas celebration and I am so happy to see that it has carried over through several generations.
Last week we had the awesome opportunity to interview Sally Dryer. She was the voice behind Lucy. (shown above) It was so neat to talk to her! She has such a darling personality and I loved hearing all of the history that she shared about her life growing up behind the scenes. Here are some of the questions and answers that she shared:
Q: What was it like for you to to do this as your first job?
Sally: Yes, my first job at age 8! It was unknown at that point, an experiment. Lee Mendelson had approached Charles Schulz for years to do an animated special, and Schulz always said no. Finally, he said, “I’ll do it, but it has to be real kids’ voices.” For me, it was a fun way to get out of school. We didn’t know what it become, for sure!
Q: Can you describe the process of how they recorded your voices?
Sally: There were a group of kids in Southern California: the boy who played Linus, Peter Robbins [Charlie Brown], and the original Lucy were in Los Angeles, where they recorded with Bill Melendez. Lee Mendelson recorded with us in San Francisco at a studio on Van Ness Ave. They’d record us one at a time: Lee Mendelson would say a line to us, and we’d repeat it. We’d try to repeat with inflections he gave us. Sometimes we’d hit it on the first try, and other times we’d have to go over and over and over again.
I remember when we were recording the Great Pumpkin, the girl who played Sally spent hours trying to say “You owe me restitution!” The miracle was done with editing. They’d use the lines they wanted and assemble it all. I think we went to studio 3 or 4 times. There were some group lines, like “You blockhead, Charlie Brown,” that we did as a group. We’d have to make 3 or 4 attempts.
Q. Were you excited to be cast as Lucy?
Sally: It was a good thing. I had no idea how bratty my voice was, but all my neighbors were like, “Oh yeah, she’s Lucy all right!” The neighborhood knew before I did! Lucy was more fun to play. You get to say what you think! She’s such a smart aleck. You get to really embrace that crabby person within you and it’s okay.
Q. Do you have any favorite anecdotes from the recording sessions?
Sally: I suppose one of my favorites was when we were all sitting as a group, having lunch at The Hippo, which was a hamburger joint. They were trying to figure out who to cast as Peppermint Patty. One of the daughters of a producer spoke up and said, “Please pass the salt.” Lee Mendelson said, “That’s it!” She had a wonderfully raspy voice. That’s about how free-form it was.
My sister worked for Lee Mendelson, and one Christmas he called the house and said, “I’m here with Lee Guaraldi and we’re trying to write the lyrics for ‘Christmastime Is Here.’ What represents Christmas to you?” We were all sitting around the table offering ideas: happiness, cheer, fun for all. So I feel that in some ways my family contributed to the creation of that song.
Jefferson Airplane was recording in the studio when we were, and they were more excited to meet us than we were to meet them! But I think we were pretty tickled.
Q. Is Lucy your favorite character?
Sally: Snoopy’s got to be my favorite character, really. I love Lucy’s frankness and willingness to say anything, but Snoopy’s the most entertaining thing ever.
Q. Do you have any Peanuts memorabilia that’s special to you?
Sally: I have a whole display case of things that people have given me over the years and some cels that Charles Schulz signed to me.
Q. You own a store, tell us more about it.
Sally: My partner and I live in Jerome, AZ, and run a store called Nellie Bly, selling art kaleidoscopes and art glass. We also sell the making-of A Charlie Brown Christmas and Great Pumpkin books in the store. The lady who runs the Christmas store down the street also sells the book, and she will say, “Hey, we’ve got Lucy right down the street!” I’ll be in the middle of something completely normal, and then get a call that someone wants my autograph!
Q. Do you ever find yourself using the dialogue in your real life?
Sally: Oh, absolutely—all the time! I work as a volunteer dog technician in an animal clinic, and I always say “Dog lips are not poison! No iodine! No ‘blecch’!” I’ll find myself saying, “I got a rock!” It’s always right there.
To hear Sally in her role, watch this fun video clip. Wow, this sure takes me back to my childhood!! I was a huge fan back than, and even more so today!
As part of my ambassador role, I also had the opportunity to interview Jill Schulz, the daughter of Peanuts creator Charles M. Shultz. She shared with us her personal memories of her father, their traditions and the different ways that her life was touched by A Charlie Brown Christmas and the wonderful legacy that was left by her father. You can read that interview here.
The BEST part….the Giveaway: ONE lucky SheSaved reader will win (US only) a wonderful Peanuts prize package which will include the two hardcover books shown below: It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and A Charlie Brown Christmas. PLUS a bag of yummy chocolate!
I will leave this giveaway open until Tuesday night, September 30th(mnt time) … once closed, I will select one winner who will have 48 hours to contact me to claim their prize! GOOD LUCK!!