Friday, October 24, 2014

Charlie Brown Christmas 50th Anniversary TV Special - Interview w/ Actress Voicing Violet


This is a sponsored post

2nd Post in a #CBXmas Series

Enter MBE's Peanuts Holiday Giftbasket Giveaway 

The holiday excitement continues to build this month surrounding the 50th anniversary airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) later this fall. As many fans know, this iconic TV special is based on the world-famous Peanuts comic strip created by Charles M. Schulz. Last month I wrote about my interview with Jill Schulz, youngest of Charles' children.

Sally Dryer in the recording studio, Vintage image from Peanuts Worldwide
To keep the nostalgic momentum going, I'm thrilled to share with you snippets from the chat I had with Sally Dryer, the voice actress who played the roles of Violet in A Charlie Brown Christmas and Lucy, Sophie and other characters in various subsequent Peanuts animated specials such as the It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Sally says playing the voice of Violet was her very first job at the young age of 8 years old. She reminisces, "This was an experiment in the beginning. In fact, when Mr. Schulz was first approached about an animated special based on his comics he always said no. Finally he said 'I'll do it, but it has to be real kids' voices.' We didn't know then what it would become, for sure!"

Violet, Image by Charles M. Schulz

"They'd record us kids one at a time -- some did this is Los Angeles while a few (including me) recorded with Lee Mendelson in San Francisco at a studio on Van Ness Avenue. 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," recalls Sally, "and other times we'd have to go over and over and over again. I think we went to the studio three or four times. There were also some group lines, like 'You blockhead, Charlie Brown,' that we did altogether. The miracle was done with editing. They’d use the lines they wanted and assemble it all."

Here's a clip showcasing one of Sally's memorable Peanuts voice performances

When asked how much she was paid, she chuckles. "I earned a whopping $100 per show! Remember this was the 60s and an unknown thing. I had to put my paycheck and residuals into a college fund. So it was fortunate that I went to a state school in California."

On meeting Sparky (Charles' famous nickname), Sally remembers, "I met him at least four times. We went up to his home studio in Santa Rosa, California to do a photo shoot for a book called Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz. He was working on a strip at his drafting table, and he explained to me that he felt he had to do a term paper every day. He was a kind and gentle and soft-spoken, very impressive guy."

Today Sally and her partner live in Jerome, Arizona where she has a whole display case of things people have given her over the years and some cels that Charles Schulz signed to her. She also runs a store called Nellie Bly, selling art kaleidoscopes and art glass as well as the making of A Charlie Brown Christmas and Great Pumpkin books. 

Sally giggles, "I’ll be in the middle of something completely normal, and then get a call that someone wants my autograph!"

Sally Dryer today volunteering, Image from Verde News
Do you ever find yourself using the dialogue in your real life?

"Oh, absolutely—all the time," Sally confirms. "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."

Peanuts Holiday Giveaway

Stay Tuned
Be on the lookout for MBE's next post in this series soon based on an interview with musician and composer David Benoit who, in 2000, after the death Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, released a memorial album entitled Here's To You, Charlie Brown: 50 Great Years

About A Charlie Brown Christmas
Since 1964 A Charlie Brown Christmas has touched the lives of millions of fans around the globe. In 2014, Peanuts Worldwide kicks off a year-long celebration of 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas. December 2014 marks the 50th time the beloved special airs on television on ABC. In December 2015 it will be the 50th year since it was created, produced and debuted.

FTC Disclosure: I disclose that I am a 50 Years on TV Peanuts Brand Ambassador. I received the Peanuts prize package pictured to facilitate this post and the associated giveaway. See complete FTC Disclosure information that appears at the bottom of MommyBlogExpert's main page and at the bottom of every individual post on this blog, including this one.

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