PEANUTS Celebrates the 47th Anniversary of “Franklin,” its First African-American Character! #FranklinDay
Thursday, July 30, 2015
The Peanuts Movie: An Interview with
Harriet Glickman & Mar Mar
By Illustrator and Tinsel & Tine Contributor - Diane Roka
|Harriet Glickman Illustration by Diane Roka|
One day, it hit her. What if she wrote a letter to Charles Schulz, and asked him to include an African-American little boy in the Peanuts gang? So she did. When Schulz wrote back, he was uneasy about her request. Would doing this seem patronizing to people of color?
Harriet answered his fears with a helpful idea -- she would talk to her African American friends with children and simply ask them their thoughts. Their response was clear -- they loved the idea. And so, Schulz went back to the drawing board. And Franklin was born.
Just a smart, laid back kid on the beach, returning a beach ball to another kid whose bratty kid sister kept chucking it in the ocean. That was July 31, 1968.
Earlier this month, Harriet came to The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia to help promote "The Peanuts Movie", to be released by 20th Century Fox this fall on November 6th. She was accompanied by Mar Mar, the 12 year old actor who is playing the voice of Franklin in the movie. They sat together at a conference table across from the press, grinning at each other -- it was clear they had become buddies during this press junket. When asked if Harriet is still writing letters for change, she smiled sheepishly. "Yeah. It's something I've been doing for so many years, and earlier I had written a lot of letters about violence in television. Because my kids were little, and they were seeing it, and I thought it was a bad thing. And so I wrote to some television stations. Didn't get much of a response. It was, 'Thank you very much for your letter', kind of a thing. And I wrote to Jimmy Carter about some problems in Haiti, and he answered back by actually making a note on my letter, Thank you and I agree with you,' something like that."
|MarMar Illustration by Diane Roka|
Are there any other Peanuts characters that Harriet loves? "You know, they're all charming, they're all lovely, and I liked the strip. But when Franklin appeared, there was no contest! " We all laugh, and Harriet and Mar Mar smile warmly at each other. "And then, when I met Mar Mar, it was even better, of course! He is the true personification of what I had hoped that child would be, in every way. Not only physically -- just adorable -- but his sense of himself, his own gentleness and sweetness -- just, is perfect."
“Franklin” Fun Facts · THE PEANUTS MOVIE is his first appearance on screen since 1999. · “Franklin” has been voiced by 19 actors throughout the years. He will be voiced by Mar Mar in THE PEANUTS MOVIE. · “Franklin” is an EXCELLENT dancer – he is shown breakdancing in several of the show’s specials. · Ice Hockey is “Franklin’s” favorite sport. He is shown practicing in many of the comic strips. · “Franklin” is Charlie Brown’s best friend; they met on the beach in his first appearance. The Peanuts Movie opens on November 6!
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