Children and their parents alike will finally be able to meet the man behind the famous mail carrier from the hit show “Cheers” and many voices in Pixar animated films at this year’s Pekin Marigold Festival.
Adults probably know the 2018 Pekin Marigold Festival guest celebrity, John Ratzenberger, as mail carrier Cliff Clavin on the 11-season series “Cheers.” But children and a number of adults know him best by his voice, which has been featured in every Pixar movie. He will be at the festival on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9. Ratzenberger will be riding in the Marigold Festival parade sponsored by Busey Bank, signing autographs at the celebrity tent sponsored by Kouri’s Pub and answering questions during a special Q-and-A session.
More details will be provided on the Marigold Festival Facebook page and website at a later date.
The theme of this year’s festival is “Cheers to Marigolds!”
The Pekin Marigold Committee is subdivided into several committees, one of which is the celebrity search committee, said Eric Hill, chairman of the 2018 festival committee. The committee works with multiple talent agencies, and after receiving 10 to 20 names, the names are partnered with possible themes for the festival. Ratzenberger’s history with the “Cheers” series lined up well with “Cheers to Marigolds,” said Hill, and Kouri’s Pub’s decision to sponsor the celebrity tent.
“With Mr. Ratzenberger, it was kind of a perfect combination because ‘Cheers’ was a (1980s) era sitcom, so that’s going to draw in one generation of folks that want to see him,” said Hill. “And then, obviously with his connection with Pixar films, being he had a voice role in every single Pixar film that has ever been filmed, it has really drawn in the young crowd.
“So we really see him being a very versatile celebrity.”
Ratzenberger over his career has received multiple Emmy nominations and is also a screenwriter, director, producer and author. Among others, he has voiced the Pixar characters of Hamm the Piggy Bank in the “Toy Story” films, P.T. Flea of “A Bugs Life,” the Abominable Snowman in “Monsters Inc.,” the Underminer of “The Incredibles,” Mack the Truck in the “Cars” series and Earl the Velociraptor in “The Good Dinosaur.”
“(He) has worked in feature films, made appearances on numerous TV shows and commercials, but animation has been a natural home to John’s versatile vocal talent,” stated a Pekin Area Chamber of Commerce news release.
Due to his volume of film work, he is the sixth most successful actor of all time in terms of box office receipts, according to the release.
Ratzenberger produced and starred in “Made in America,” the Travel Channel documentary series that highlighted U.S. workers and nationally made goods. He also co-founded the Nuts, Bolts and Thingamajigs Foundation. The organization raises awareness among young people of skilled trades and engineering disciplines, the release stated.
In 2010, he got involved with and now represents the Center for America, formerly the Foundation for Fair Civil Justice, to develop his work and increase awareness about the U.S. skilled worker shortage “and the changes needed to positively impact and increase the number of skilled workers,” according to the release. He has written articles about the skills shortage in America that have appeared in many leading publications and web blogs, the release said.