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‘Peanuts’ Addresses Controversial Scene From ‘Charlie Brown’

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A new “Peanuts” special titled “Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin” on Apple TV+ addresses a controversial scene from the 1973 special “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” involving Franklin Armstrong, the comic strip’s first Black character.

The new special features all the Peanuts characters rallying around Franklin at the dinner table, rectifying the original scene where Franklin was segregated.

“Hey Franklin, we saved you a seat over here!” Charlie Brown says.

“You know you’ve found your home when you’re surrounded by good friends,” Charlie later adds.

The initiative to include Franklin in the comic strip in 1968 was driven by the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the efforts of a school teacher named Harriet Glickman to promote racial diversity in cartoons.

Director Raymond S. Persi recreated the scene to match the original shot precisely.

“To make it have the most impact, [I suggested that we] match the shot exactly to what it was in the Thanksgiving special,” Persi said. “So, we looked at the original frame. You’ll see [in the special] it’s even that same weird, wonky perspective of the table. We put it in there just so that it would immediately get people to connect to that moment.”

Son of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, Craig Schulz, emphasized the importance of rectifying the past and promoting unity in the current divisive climate.

“It was very important to my son Bryan,” Schulz said. “He said, ‘This is our chance to kind of rectify the whole thing.’”

“Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated,” Schulz said. “A young school teacher named Harriet Glickman had seen this, and it profoundly affected her. She thought that one way to get a better message out to the community was to reach out to some cartoonists and see if we could get a Black character in the cartoon world — which there hadn’t been up until then.”

“The time in 1968 is similar to the time we have right now,” as “there’s a lot of divisiveness and a lot of anger in the world,” Schulz said. He added that he hopes the special reveals how “two people can come together if you just take it down to a basic level.”

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