Celebrate the History of ‘Peanuts’ with National Franklin Day

Peanuts-FranklinDay
Photo: 20th Century Fox.

With the fifth full-length Peanuts film right around the corner (and the first in 35 years), now would be a great time to introduce your kids to the works of Charles M. Schulz.

And today, especially—it’s National Franklin Day! I’m not sure who came up with this “holiday,” but around my house, we love celebrating all things Peanuts just about every single day, which includes the franchise’s first African-American character.

In fact, we have been big fans of Franklin, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the gang for years. I’ve told my son on numerous occasions that he will be required to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas with me every year until he turns 18. (Sweetly, he tells me he’s willing to go beyond that age.) We watch all of the specials, have several DVDs, and even read the comics. Needless to say, we are pretty psyched for the new movie.

If you want to get your wee ones ahead of the game, the TV specials and comics are a perfect way to start. More specifically, you can talk to them about the impact of Franklin on the Peanuts franchise and comics in general.

Forty-seven years ago today, Franklin made his first appearance in Peanuts comics. He was actually inspired by a letter Schulz received from Harriet Glickman. Following the death of Martin Luther King, the school teacher urged the cartoonist to add an African-American character to the lineup. On July 31, 1968, Franklin Armstrong made his debut.

According to the people at Fox, Franklin is actually Charlie Brown’s best friend. Funny, I always thought it was Linus! A few other fun facts:

  • Franklin has been voiced by 19 actors over the years.
  • His favorite sport is ice hockey.
  • The Peanuts Movie will mark Franklin’s first appearance on-screen since 1999.

Check out a peek at Franklin’s upcoming film appearance in the trailer below. The Peanuts Movie will hit theaters on November 6, 2015.

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