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Video Franklin's 50th "Peanuts" Anniversary | The Daily Show


  • This week marked a milestone
  • in civil rights history:
  • the 50th anniversary of Franklin's first appearance
  • in the comic strip Peanuts.
  • Now, now, it seems like a joke,
  • but the reason this was a landmark
  • is that before Franklin appeared,
  • newspaper comic strips were segregated, right?
  • Black comic strips were always separate
  • from white comic strips.
  • In fact, if you even tried
  • to put the pages of the newspaper together,
  • the police would just break down your door.
  • You'd be like, "Whoa!"
  • And they'd be like, "Well, well, well,
  • we got a troublemaker over here."
  • So the character of Franklin was a pretty big deal,
  • and what's really fascinating is his origin story.
  • REPORTER: April 1968,
  • Martin Luther King had been shot and killed.
  • American cities burned in rage.
  • In California,
  • a 42-year-old teacher and mother of three felt helpless.
  • And I remember sitting in suburbia saying,
  • "Is there anything I can do?"
  • Harriet Glickman wanted to reach someone with influence.
  • She wrote to Charles Schulz.
  • His Peanuts comic strip was read
  • by nearly 100 million people each week.
  • Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus--
  • they were all white.
  • Glickman told Schulz he should integrate.
  • Okay. That was pretty dope of that lady, but, uh...
  • (cheering and applause)
  • Yeah.
  • But...
  • but, at the same time,
  • also kind of a weird reaction to a tragedy.
  • I mean, Martin Luther King is dead,
  • there's chaos in the streets, and her first reaction is,
  • "Maybe Charlie Brown can help."
  • Like, I wonder if there's some nice suburban lady today
  • going, "Did you know they're putting kids in cages?
  • "We got to get Garfield on the case.
  • Where is he?"
  • And...
  • and the creator of Peanuts, Charles Schulz,
  • he made sure that Franklin's arrival was a statement.
  • His first appearance in the comic strip
  • was at a beach swimming with white kids.
  • And that may seem trivial now, but, don't forget,
  • for many people in 1968, blacks and whites swimming together
  • was not a normal thing.
  • And this image was seen by 100 million people.
  • 'Cause Peanuts in the '60s
  • had the same kind of cultural dominance
  • as Friends in the '90s, which, unlike Peanuts,
  • never managed to add a full-time black friend.
  • For more on this civil rights trailblazer,
  • we turn now to our very own Roy Wood Jr., everybody!
  • (cheering and applause)
  • Roy,
  • no matter who you are, you got to love Franklin, right?
  • Oh, man, love him. Are you kidding, man?
  • Franklin was a straight up G.
  • Integrated the shit out of Peanuts.
  • Yeah, and it must have been a pretty big moment for you
  • as a kid when he first appeared in the strip.
  • First appeared?
  • That was in 1968.
  • How old do you think I am?
  • F-Fifty...
  • 40?
  • 60?
  • I'm 39, Trevor!
  • 39.
  • Here's the thing.
  • Newspaper Franklin was great.
  • Newspaper Franklin was great. You can't argue that.
  • But when they put him on TV, it was a different story.
  • All of a sudden, they made him a stereotype.
  • ♪ You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around ♪
  • ♪ That's what it's all about. ♪
  • (hip-hop beat playing)
  • ♪ It's all about all the calls we've done ♪
  • ♪ You'll be shakin' in your shoes ♪
  • ♪ We're the team invincible ♪
  • ♪ And we're not gonna lose. ♪
  • (laughter)
  • (cheering and applause)
  • Why...
  • why couldn't Franklin just do the hokey pokey, Trevor?
  • You telling me black kids can't put their left foot in
  • and take their left foot out?
  • It looked like Franklin was auditioning for House Party 2.
  • Yeah, but, Roy, but, Roy, it's still cool to have him in there,
  • even if he had one dance break.
  • It was every time with this kid.
  • Any time you walked down the street in Peanutsville,
  • you might run into Franklin and his homeboy pop-lockin'.
  • And even when he's hanging out with his friends,
  • everyone else gets a normal handshake.
  • But, no, not Franklin-- he got to slap skin.
  • See what I mean? All the other Peanuts are just kids,
  • but Franklin's running around Peanutville
  • like a damn baby Shaft.
  • He's a tiny, bad mother--
  • -Shut yo' mouth! -I'm talking about Franklin.
  • Look, I just don't want him to be
  • the other kid all the time.
  • Even at Thanksgiving, yeah, they invited him,
  • but look where they put him!
  • He's by himself!
  • Even the dog gets to sit with the kids.
  • Why is the dog even at the damn table?
  • It's cool though, Franklin.
  • Franklin, look, man, Franklin, they did you a favor.
  • You don't want none of that bland-ass,
  • white people turkey anyway.
  • They ain't put no sprinkles on it.
  • You know they don't season the food, right?
  • Y'all have Thanksgiving in Africa?
  • Yeah, Roy, anyway, like, I hear what you're saying,
  • but I like-- I liked having Franklin on the screen.
  • I think it's important for kids to be able
  • to see a version of themselves.
  • Okay, cool. So if that's the case,
  • the cartoon should honor
  • the original revolutionary spirit of Franklin.
  • If you're gonna make him rap, do it right.
  • ♪ This is America ♪
  • ♪ Don't catch you slippin' up ♪
  • ♪ Don't catch you slippin' up ♪
  • ♪ Look what I'm whippin' up ♪
  • ♪ This is America. ♪
  • Roy Wood Jr., everyone!

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In honor of the 50th anniversary of Franklin being introduced as the first black “Peanuts” character, Trevor and Roy Wood Jr. break down his most cringeworthy appearances.

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