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
These days, it's hard to watch the news without feeling depressed about the state of things. In 1968, Harriet Glickman felt the same way. Martin Luther King had just been assassinated, racial tensions were running high, and Harriet was raised in a family that believed that when something very wrong takes place, you do something about it. Harriet had been a schoolteacher, and was now home raising her three children. Her whole family were big Peanuts fans -- there were posters on the walls of the kids' rooms, pillowcases with Peanuts characters on them -- even Harriet and her husband would tack up Schulz's comic strips around the house when they needed a chuckle.  
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
 Mar Mar was asked about a typical day as a voice actor. "Okay, so I get there by a driver. We get there pretty early in the morning. We do about 4 hours of school -- three or four hours of school straight. And then I go to lunch, and then we go recording for about an hour and a half, two hours. " His headphone style sounded sensible. "I like to have one headphone off, just so I can make sure I'm saying it correctly." Then, there are the occupational hazards of voice acting -- vocal fatigue. "Oh yes! Actually, one time, we were doing a lot of wild "Bang! Aw! Yeah!" stuff, and I actually almost lost my voice! The next day, it was so sore. But I just kept drinking tea and stuff like that, and it got better in a few days."

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!

While You're Here

Check out Mr. Peabody & Sherman post with illustrations by Diane Roka 

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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