Peter Robbins (left) with the cast of ‘Blondie’
Robbins from an article about the Peanuts specials
This is a weird one.
If the name Peter Robbins is not a familiar one, give the record a listen and then see if you recognize his voice.
It was that voice – or at least the part it played in my childhood – that made me chase this record down.
Peter Robbins got his start as a child actor/voice actor in the 1960s, and was the voice of none other than Charlie Brown in ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, a number of other late 60s Peanuts specials and one of my all-time favorite movies ‘A Boy Named Charlie Brown’ (the one where he goes to NYC to compete in the spelling bee).
When I started digging for info about him, I discovered that he had done a lot of live acting on 60s sitcoms like ‘The Munsters’, ‘F-Troop’ and ‘The Joey Bishop Show’, as well as acting alongside Pamelyn Ferdin (a very familiar face in 60s and 70s TV and movies, as well as the cartoon voice of Lucy Van Pelt in ‘A Boy Named Charlie Brown’) on the late 60s ‘Blondie’ TV series.
I have no idea how Robbins ended up making this 45, though it certainly seems likely that someone in Hollywood was trying to springboard off of his fame (this was recorded/released when he was on ‘Blondie’) like they did with tons of other young actors through the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Robbins was only 12 when he made ‘If I Knew Then (What I Know Now)’, which was written by Steve Waltner and Doug Cox.
The music is cool in a (very) lite popsike style, at least in the way that pretty much everything at the time was soaking up the musical zeitgeist. Though Robbins has at least one egregious instance of flying way off key, it’s a pretty groovy record.
The flipside, ‘Little Brown Mouse’ has just a touch of garage pop to it, which is interesting since the whole thing was produced by none other than New Mexico 60s punk legend Lindy Blasky of Lindy Blasky and the Lavells/‘You Ain’t Tuff’, and producer of ‘We’re Pretty Quick’ by the Chob!
Robbins seems to have left acting in the early 70s, later going on to work in talk radio, before mental illness-related run ins with the law landed him in prison in 2015.
It’s a interesting little 45 (and story) and I hope you dig it.
See you next week.