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Franklin Original Production Cel and Drawing from Cheerios “Surfing” Commercial

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This Franklin Surfing Original Production Cel and Drawing from Cheerios "Surfing" Commercial captures the classic Peanuts character hanging ten!

Franklin surfing is perfect for you surfers out there!

Franklin is a fictional character in the comic strip Peanuts, created by Charles M. Schulz. Introduced on July 31, 1968, Franklin was the first African American character in the strip. He goes to school with Peppermint Patty and Marcie.

In his first story arc, he met Charlie Brown when they were both at the beach. Franklin's father was a soldier fighting in Vietnam, to which Charlie Brown replied "My dad's a barber... he was in a war too, but I don't know which one." Franklin later paid Charlie Brown a visit and found some of Charlie Brown's other friends to be quite odd. His last appearance was in 1999, the year before Schulz's death.

A Los Angeles schoolteacher named Harriet Glickman wrote to Schulz on April 15, 1968 (eleven days after the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.), urging him to introduce a black character into Peanuts. On April 26, Schulz wrote back, saying that he had thought about this, but was afraid of "patronizing our Negro friends." This began a correspondence between Schulz and Glickman that led to Schulz's creation of Franklin.

In an interview in 1997, Schulz discussed receiving a letter from a Southern editor "who said something about, 'I don't mind you having a black character, but please don't show them in school together.' Because I had shown Franklin sitting in front of Peppermint Patty... I didn't even answer him." 

As a permanent character of the comic strip, Franklin is also a frequent character in the animated Peanuts television specials and movies. Unlike most characters, however, he did not appear in animation until the 1970s with his debut being a silent role in the 1972 movie Snoopy, Come Home at Snoopy's farewell party. His first speaking role is in the 1973 special There's No Time for Love, Charlie Brown, in which he is voiced by Todd Barbee.