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Meet Lucy From The Charlie Brown TV Shows #CBXmas

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Meet Lucy From The Charlie Brown TV Shows #CBXmas

I recently had the opportunity to interview Sally Dryer, who is the voice behind such Peanuts characters as Lucy and Violet. She was born in San Mateo, California in 1957, just a few years before I was born! In addition to her work on the Charlie Brown TV Shows, she was a child actress and did voice-over work in the 1960’s. Although Sally Dryer was the voice behind my favorite Peanuts character, Lucy, she also voiced Violet on the four Peanuts specials: You’re in Love, Charlie Brown, He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown’s All-Stars, and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, which is my kids favorite.

We are big Peanuts fans, especially Snoopy, as evidenced by the many posts I have done on the Peanuts gang, including my recent post, “Celebrating 50 Years Of A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Sally now lives with her partner in Jerome, Arizona and they own and operate a cool store, Nellie Bly, where they sell kaleidoscopes and art glass. Sally is such a gracious woman and was so fun to interview for this post. she is incredibly warm and approachable and because she voiced a character who I have been compared to, it was a whole lot of fun for me!

Here are my favorite questions from the telephone interview:

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.

What did you get paid?

I got paid a whopping $100 per show! It was the 60s and an unknown thing. My mother’s philosophy was, “Whatever—just have fun.” That’s what it was about.
I occasionally get residuals, sometimes 9 dollars and 33 cents, sometimes a couple hundred dollars. I had to put it in a college fund. Fortunately, I went to a state school in California!

Do you watch the specials?

I watch occasionally if I happen to be home when they air. It is funny—several years ago there were “Get Met” commercials, and I heard Lucy’s voice and thought, “That sounds a lot like me.” There was a period after our voices changed that the cast didn’t sound like the originals, and they had to get new actors to correct that.
Were you a fan of Peanuts before doing the series?
Sally: No, I didn’t know very much about it at all. My mother read the comic strip in the San Francisco Chronicle, but I wasn’t familiar with it at all.

Do you have any favorite anecdotes from the recording sessions?

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.

Tell us about your store:

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!

Tell us about your store:

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!

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Who was your favorite Peanuts character?

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