Monday, July 26, 2010

Roosevelt Franklin Is His Name

When Sesame Street first started back in 1970, it featured a lot of characters that have since disappeared from the show. One of those original characters was a hipster by the name of "Roosevelt Franklin". Roosevelt Franklin (the name was obviously a play on Franklin Roosevelt) attended Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School, where he taught concepts like family, pride, respect, geography and not drinking poison. Roosevelt was a cool kid who loved to scat, rhyme and sing the blues. Matt Robinson, who played Gordon during the first three seasons, created the character and performed Roosevelt's voice. Despite significant popularity, he was dropped from the cast following letters of complaint. The complaints ranged from that he was too black to that he was not black enough to his rowdy elementary school not setting a good example for children. However, before the public naysayers had their way, Roosevelt Franklin did gain a following and even issued an album entitled, "The Year of Roosevelt Franklin". It holds its place in history as the first Sesame Street album to focus on one character. The songs deal with many different subjects, from learning letters and numbers, to traffic safety, sharing, and getting along with other people. The album was so successful that it was reissued three years later as "My Name Is Roosevelt Franklin." The reissue is the record that I own. The album is a work of pure genius and one wonders if maybe it isn't time to bring back that rhyming and scatting school teacher as he would definitely fit into today's world. You be the judge when you listen to "My Name is Roosevelt Franklin". Enjoy!

My Name is Roosevelt Franklin


Anonymous said...

lol omg this popped up when i was searching images in google
i lol'd so hard

toni bcn said...

that good memories!!!
thanks dartman by this trip to the past. ...

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