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Whatever happened to Roosevelt Franklin?

Discussion in 'Classic Sesame Street' started by mikealan, May 8, 2003.

  1. Mark The Shark New Member

    Yeah, in the last year or so I had nothing but trouble getting into "Yesterdayland." The whole site is shut down now, but there is a "mirror site" somewhere on the internet that preserves a lot of the information that was there.

    Yeah, I liked Roosevelt Franklin too.

    Yes, the original Gordon (the one I grew up with) was Matt Robinson, who performed in shows #1-405 (the first three seasons, 1969-1972). The second Gordon was Harold "Hal" Miller, who appeared in the fourth and fifth seasons (shows #406-665, 1972-1974). And starting with the very evil show number #666 in 1974, Roscoe Orman became the third (and still current as far as I know) Gordon. I could see how Roscoe Orman could be mistaken for an older version of Matt Robinson with less hair, I suppose. He's very good (and I kind of like the Jamaican touch Hal Miller brought to the character), but Matt Robinson always seemed like the "legit" Gordon to me...probably because he's the one I mainly watched as a child, as well as the original actor. Unfortunately, Matt Robinson passed away last year after a long battle with Parkinson's Disease. After leaving "Sesame Street," Robinson became a respected screenwriter and producer; I believe Hal Miller has left acting altogether and these days is known mainly as an artist.

    WGN had an excellent an very informative history of "Bozo's Circus" on its website (called the "Bozo Timeline") maintained by Chicago TV historian George Pappas, but that site went down when WGN lost the rights to the Bozo character in 2001. There are a couple other sites that include some good information on the show, including "The Video Veteran," which has a lot of recent interviews with performers from "Bozo's Circus" and other local Chicago children's television programs. The website is http://www.chicagotelevision.com

    And I did a little Q&A with Don Sandburg, who was the writer and producer of "Bozo's Circus" through the 1960s and also performed as Sandy (originally called "Sandy The Tramp"). Sandburg went on to produce the second season of "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour." That interview can be found at http://www.thebananasplits.com/donsan/ds.html My interview with Don Sandburg is primarily concerned with his work at Hanna-Barbera; Steve's (at The Video Veteran site), called "Sandy Speaks," is an excellent overview of his career in Chicago with many great photos from Sandburg's personal collection.

    Oh...one more thing...if you check out my interview with Don Sandburg, scroll down the page and click on the black and white photo of the early 1960s "Bozo's Circus" cast for a special surprise...if it's still there.

    And anyone who likes the Muppets should *love* the characters created by Bill Jackson: check them out at http://www.dirtydragon.com
  2. Chilly Down Member

    Ooooh. As someone who grew up in Chicago, Mark, I have to thank you very much for that cool link to the Bozo Show info. I'm also a fan of Banana Splits and Gigglesnort Hotel, so again...thank you!
  3. guysmiley4ever New Member

    :cool: hey cool, it is you!
    Wow, i didn't know about all the Gordons. i remember the most recent Gordon has been there for so long. i recall watching old Sesame Street shows and thinking, wow he looked so young and had lots of hair! :rolleyes:

    another cool thing, is that i grew up in the same area that Bob McGrath if from.
    i always thought that was awesome. i remember he was went there a few times and i missed him. :( but i think his parents still live there, last i knew.

    I'll have to look back at the WGN stuff. It's been awhile since I checked out the website.

    *sniff* I miss Guy Smiley.
    I miss Bozo and Spiffy. *sniff*
    ...and I miss Dirty and Weird, too!! *Sob* :cry:

    Garsh, I watched the 'Muppet family christmas' yesterday.
    then i will watch a Gigglesnort video today! Hurray!!

    :) Jim Henson and Bill Jackson are the greatest guys ever!
  4. Don_Music_2004 New Member

    You know as funny as this may seem, they actually reaired an old Ernie and Bert sketch that Roosevelt Franklin was in. It is in the Linda's Birthday episode from season 30 and can be seen on Noggin.
  5. Chilly Down Member

    Wow! Do you have this clip on tape?
  6. Daffyfan2003 Active Member

    Yeah, I know how you feel about that. I grew up watching Roscoe as Gordon. I think it was just a few years ago when I realized he had been played by other people.
  7. Don_Music_2004 New Member

    No unfortunatley I don't. But if you get Noggin you can see it on Season 30 which airs at 5am easteren.
  8. Boober_Gorg Active Member

    I do (along with 600+ others). :D It's a cute one.
  9. GeeBee New Member

    It is a shame that a show like Sesame Street, that was always progressive, tolerant, and about positive race relations, starting taking itself too seriously and began condemning its own way of communicating with children. Roosevelt Franklin was a gifted child and a very positive role model. The classroom scenes, although a bit rowdy, always contained a good message for children on how to live and get along. The reality is that many classrooms are rough and rowdy; Roosevelt would get past that to deal with everyone's real feelings and innate goodness. Thus, the people who objected, totally missed the point of everything about Roosevelt Franklin.


    Having said that, I do sometimes wish that Roosevelt Franklin's family life would have been cultivated more. The classroom episodes were great, but I'll always consider the simple song and dance sequences with Roosevelt and his mother as the true classics with the character. There was also a whole cast of Roosevelt's friends and family that were apparently abandoned early on. They are featured on "The Year Of Roosevelt Franklin". It included his sister Mary Francis, his brother Baby Ray, and his friends Mobity Mosley (sp?) and ABCtoe (sp?). This album had wonderful messages for children. My favorites are "Just Because" (Not to be confused with Grover's skit on a later album) and "The Skin I'm In" which contained clear messages against gang violence and racism. My question is, does anyone know if these additional characters were ever featured on a Sesame Street skit? I don't know if they were ever made in actual puppet form or were just voices on the album. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
  10. Zet New Member

    "'cause a city street, is like a beehive
    where the bees have gone out of their mind!"

    :crazy:

    laughed my head off the first time I heard that...really need to dub it to cd asap ;)

    -Zet
  11. mikebennidict New Member

    anyone remember this RF skit? > it was about the mail and RF wants to send a letter to Hardhead Heny Harris and Smart Suzie is a mail box because she ends up holding it in her mouth and Baby Breeze is the mailman and HHH and i can't remember what was said but apparently is wasn't good because he got mad and began chasing RF around the room.
  12. Xerus Active Member

    Roosevelt's letter said. "Dear Hardhead Henry Harris. Here is here, there is there. You got a hard head under your hair!"

    That line made me laugh so much. :D
  13. Rooseveltcountz New Member

    Bring Him Back

    They should bring Roosevelt back. Of course, he should have a different hairstyle (short moppy dreds would be nice) and maybe look more African-American than purple..lol....I never got to see any of his skits because I grew up during the Roscoe Orman as Gordon era, but have seen pictures...BTW, isn't it ironic that Peanuts also had an African-American character with a similiar name during the same time.... :p :sympathy:
  14. mikebennidict New Member

    his name id just Franklin.
  15. GeeBee New Member


    I don't see what was so wrong with Roosevelt Franklin being purple. Other muppets are blue, green, orange, yellow, and red.
  16. GeeBee New Member


    That was a classic skit.
  17. GeeBee New Member




    Well, he did say that the Peanuts character's name was just similar to Roosevelt Franklin. Of course, Franklin in Peanuts never got labeled as a negative stereotype because his personality was never really developed. Give a character an ethnicity and a personality, like Roosevelt had, and people take offense.
  18. Rooseveltcountz New Member

    Yep..I wasn't saying that the Peanuts character's name was Roosevelt Franklin...I just made a note of the similarity of their names and the fact that both shows were relative to children growing up during the early 70s. As for Gee Bee's statement- I totally agree...Maybe at the time, the way Roosevelt spoke was seen as offensive, but now his lingo is quite universal..It would be cool to see him make a comeback... :smirk:
  19. mikebennidict New Member

    there was a lot more to RF than him being an aferican american muppet. it's been discusssed before.
  20. GeeBee New Member


    Good. Let's discuss it some more.

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