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Sat Jan 13, 2018, 11:19 PM

Guess Whos Coming to Peanuts

'Is this your beach ball?” These were the first words spoken by Franklin, addressing Charlie Brown as the latter stared glumly out to sea. And this is how Charles M. Schulz integrated his comic strip, “Peanuts,” on July 31, 1968. Franklin’s initial three-strip arc unfolded quietly and gently, with the boys building a sand castle together while chatting.

Franklin stayed quiet and gentle, taking his place in the “Peanuts” gang as a steady but low-key presence over the next three decades — sometimes to the chagrin of African-Americans who found him to be anodyne at best and a token at worst. In a 1992 “Saturday Night Live” routine, Chris Rock complained, comically but pointedly, that Mr. Schulz had deprived Franklin of the kind of signature traits he had assigned the other “Peanuts” kids.

“Linus got the blanket, Lucy’s a bitch, Schroeder plays the piano, Peppermint Patty’s a lesbian,” Mr. Rock said. “Everybody got their thing except Franklin! Give him something! Damn, give him a Jamaican accent!”

Yet Franklin’s careful rollout and nice-guy equanimity were very much by design, as “50 Years of Franklin,” a new exhibition at the Charles M. Schulz Museum, in Santa Rosa, Calif., reveals. The exhibition opens this weekend in conjunction with the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday on Monday.

Dr. King’s assassination, on April 4, 1968, played a direct role in Franklin’s creation. Eleven days later, a Southern Californian named Harriet Glickman wrote to Mr. Schulz, introducing herself as “the mother of three children and a deeply concerned and active citizen.” In her grief, Ms. Glickman explained, she had been pondering “the areas of the mass media which are of tremendous importance in shaping the unconscious attitudes of our kids.” She then proposed an idea: “the introduction of Negro children into the group of Schulz characters.”'>>>


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Reply Guess Whos Coming to Peanuts (Original post)
elleng Jan 2018 OP
MosheFeingold Jan 2018 #1
elleng Jan 2018 #2

Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Jan 15, 2018, 11:53 AM

1. Mildly related

But I saw an interview with Schultz about Franklin probably in the 1970s.

He struggled with how to draw him as obviously "black", given the limitations of B&W newsprinting, 3-4 panels, and his own artist limitations.

He said most of his initial versions either looked stupid, were like a giant black dot where you couldn't see the facial expressions, or came out like a racist stereotype. It took him the better part of a year to settle on how to do it.

He finally drew Franklin exactly like Charlie Brown except with black curly hair. He didn't try to shade the skin except on Sunday color panels.

If you google Franklin, you will see Franklin IS Charlie Brown, who IS Charles Shlutz. Same "voice," same good guy.

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Response to MosheFeingold (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 15, 2018, 12:12 PM

2. Thanks, Moshe.

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