Toonarific Interview – Gabrielle Ritter

Originally posted: 10-24-2002

The voice of Peppermint Patty in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and other specials!!

Once again, Gabrielle, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us. It is really appreciated, and also perfect timing for the holiday season. I have always wanted to interview one of the Peanut’s kids, and get a first-hand perspective of what it was like to do such historic shows that are now considered part of American culture. Every year, kids of all ages wait for the holidays to come to see the specials that were created just for them. On that note, here are the questions that my friends and I have compiled for your answering enjoyment, and of course our readers enjoyment. And don’t worry about saying to much. In my point of view, a person can never say enough when it comes to talking about the behind-the-scenes action that never is heard

So, you were Pig Pen on the holiday classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. How did you hear about the casting for the role, and what were the auditions like? How many people were going out for the same role? Were there any other things that really stood out during the try-outs?
There was no casting call. My father was one of the producers.
How long did it take to do all the voice recordings, and were you around the other kid while they were doing their recording, or were you by yourself reading the script? How was the interaction between the other kids that performed?
We were young. It took several hours; we had to read each line. We read with a stand in, then they mixed the tracks. We were all well aquanted with each other and spent time running around the studio waiting for our turn. When we got bored we made up a song, “Vince Gauraldi he’s a baldy.”
What was it like working with Mendelson and Melendez?
Lee Mendelson was a family friend so it was easy. I don’t remember Bill Melendez except when he posed with us for TV guide and came to the house for parties.
What was it like working with Charles Schultz?
Charles Schultz was very nice. My father continued to work with him on the “Snoopy and the Ice Capades”. We often visited the Ice rink.
What was your fondest memory(s) from doing such an incredible production?
I was sitting at the Hippo Restaurant in San Francisco with Lee Mendelson, his family and Charles Schultz. I said “Please pass the mustard” Lee popped up and said “That’s it! That’s the voice of Peppermint Patty!”
You also did the specials “He’s your dog, Charlie Brown” and “You’re in Love, Charlie Brown”. Do you have any stories or fond memories from either of these productions as well?
No sorry.
Do you still keep in touch with the other Peanuts characters you worked with, outside of the “Family Reunions” that are done yearly for the peanuts who grew up?
No, not really. Only my Brother and sister, who were both in some of the specials too.
Other then the Peanuts specials, have you done any other animated productions?
I did some voice overs in commercials and I wore a snoopy costume for a butter nut bread commercial.
Growing up through some of the better years of tv animation, what would you consider you most favorite cartoon series, as well as your current favorite if you have one?
Sorry, I really can’t remember.
What is your current occupation? What’s keeping you busy now?
Out side marketing.
I can’t express how cool it was getting an email from a Peanuts kid, and being able to do an interview with her. It was a real honor and a privilage. I woman of few words, but great talent and experiences. Take care and thanks again.