The special, which debuted Nov. 20, 1973, aired again last Wednesday — prompting social media outrage over the gang’s highly "unwoke" picnic table arrangement. At first I thought the criticisms were attempts at comedy, and even found a few funny. One tweet was along the lines of, "Franklin isn't even invited to the party by Charlie Brown - Peppermint Patty invites him. And he's served food by a dog." Funny, right? But the guy was/is dead serious.
Catch is, Peppermint Patty is who threw the party at Charlie Brown's house. She made the entire guest list. And everyone feasted on Snoopy's menu of popcorn and jelly beans.
Charles Schultz fought CBS for Linus to be able to recite scripture in his first outing, the beloved Christmas cartoon. Then he fought them again for the score to be jazz, something the suits thought "would be lost on the kids." A few years later he'd create the character of Franklin after MLK's assassination. He'd spin in his grave if he knew of this "controversy."
Of course, by the 90's, in an effort to make the Peanuts gang relevant - something Schultz cared little about but was too old to fight - Franklin did rap, Snoopy moon-walked, and all sorts of other poor choices were made to generate ratings for sub-par peanuts outings that had neither the spirit, original voices, jazz, or any of the other charms inherent to the universe Schultz had created. But it still wasn't racist.