Meet Franklin, the first Black Peanuts character to appear in the iconic comic strip. In honor of his introduction, today has been labeled National Franklin Day.
We got to chat with Mar Mar, the lovable kid who voices Franklin in the upcoming Peanuts Movie, which hits theaters on Nov 6th, and he was excited about getting to play a character that looks like him.
“Being the first AA character in the Peanuts gang, that’s a real honor,” he said. “I think it’s amazing because me and Franklin are a lot alike – even with the hair. I think it’s a real honor. “
As you can imagine, Peanuts creator Mr. Charles Schulz broke new ground with the introduction of the character Franklin to the strip in 1968. Not only was Franklin the first African-American to make an appearance (and become a permanent fixture), he was the first minority character in a major mainstream comic strip.
Given the climate of race relations in 1968, a country (and world) still mourning the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the introduction of Franklin to the established world of Peanuts was not only timely, but retrospectively groundbreaking.
Mar Mar also told us how Franklin met Charlie Brown:
“The ongoing relationship with Charlie and Franklin is really good, because they first met July 31st, 1968 on the beach. Charlie Brown’s sister (Sally) kicked the beach ball and Franklin gave the ball to Charlie and they started to have a conversation. One thing led to another and that’s how they became friends. It’s a real good relationship because it doesn’t matter what your skin color is, everyone can be friends.”
Looks like The Peanuts Movie is going to be a fun experience for families everywhere. Be sure to check back for next week’s episode of Extra Butter for an exclusive snippet from our chat with Mar Mar. Just another tidbit to hold you over until November 6th.
PHOTO CREDIT: 20th Century Fox