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Franklin Original Production Cel and Drawing from It’s Arbor Day

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This Franklin at Bat Original Production Cel and Drawing from It's Arbor Day is a great cel of the character!

Franklin at bat is a great cel for baseball lovers.

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.

ABOUT IT'S ARBOR DAY, CHARLIE BROWN

It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown is the 15th prime-time animated television special based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip Peanuts. The subject of the special is Arbor Day, a secular holiday devoted to planting treesIt's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown premiered on the CBS network on March 16, 1976, which is near the dates in which most U.S. states observe Arbor Day. This is the first special to feature the character Rerun van Pelt (younger brother to Linus and Lucy), who had debuted in the Peanuts comic strip in March 1973.

The musical score features the final compositions and recorded performances of Vince Guaraldi, a jazz pianist whose many contributions to Peanuts include the theme "Linus and Lucy". Guaraldi died on February 6, 1976—less than two months before the special's premiere.

It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown was the last Peanuts special to feature original music composed by Vince Guaraldi (except where noted), who was best known for the Peanuts' signature tune, "Linus and Lucy." 47-year-old Guaraldi died suddenly several hours after completing the soundtrack for this special. With the untimely death of Guaraldi, later Peanuts animated specials lack the same jazzy musical score as previous entries. As such, It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown is seen by some fans as the swan song of the "golden era" of Peanuts animation. In addition, it was the first Peanuts special since Charlie Brown's All Stars! (1966) that was not conducted and arranged by John Scott Trotter, who had died on October 29, 1975.

Guaraldi recorded most of the music score in January 1976 at Wally Heider Studios, working as a trio with bassist Seward McCain and drummer Jim Zimmerman. Several cues contained elements of previously used songs "Baseball Theme," "Rain, Rain Go Away" and "Joe Cool". The special's main theme — a gentle waltz that incorporates elements of "Christmas Time Is Here" — is heard repeatedly throughout, going by several different titles as they pertain to a specific scene.

If you want to see Franklin at bat, you can watch It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown HERE.