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

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