Franklin (TV series)
show_name = Franklin
caption = I'M FRANKLIN
Children's television series
runtime = Two 15-minute stories
network = CBC (1997),
CBS(1997-1998), Nick Jr.(1998-2001, 2004), Family (2001-2002), Treehouse TV(2002-2003), Knowledge (2007-Present)
first_aired = November 1997
last_aired = 2002
Ellen Ray Hennessy
num_episodes = 78 & 3 specials (to date)|
Franklin is a Canadian children's television series, based on a series of books by
Brenda Clark(illustrator) and Paulette Bourgeois(writer). The television series was named after its main character, Franklin the Turtle. Translated into Canadian French, but not French of France, the cartoon shorts are presented with the title character of Benjamin and a similar theme song. DVDs, at least those sold in Canada, offer the option of watching them in French.
The series first aired in November, 1997; and originally ended its run in May of 1999. At one point, five seasons had been produced, but only the first four were widely available, as the fifth had only been available on Canada's Family Channel. The television series is produced by
NelvanaEntertainment; the books have been published by Scholastic. From 1998 to 1999, the program aired in the United States on CBS' Saturday-morning lineup before moving to Nick Jr.on January 11, 1998. In the fall of 2000, it returned to CBSin reruns until 2006. Airings on CBS were discontinued when CBS discontinued all airings of Nick Jr. programming in favor of their new programming block, Kewlopolis. Up until 2003, Nickelodeon was the main United States broadcaster for the series, but then the new Noggin digital cable/satellite channel for preschoolers started to show all four seasons of Franklin, introducing the show to American preschoolers (many of whom were already familiar with the books). The show immediately became very popular in the U.S. and the fifth season was soon added to the Noggin line-up. This season had previously been available only in other markets, which the exception of a couple stories available on commercial video. Until recently, the sixth season has not aired on Noggin, but it began on New Year's Day2006 with two episodes and a new one airing each day throughout the week. Airings of the program continue regularly as of 2008.
In October, 2000, Franklin's little sister Harriet was introduced in the direct-to-video and DVD movie "
Franklin and the Green Knight". The two shared an adventure in 2001 in " Franklin's Magic Christmas". In 2003, Harriet had grown quite a bit and Franklin learned new things from a substitute teacher named Mrs. Koala in the new release " Back to School with Franklin". While Franklin was learning things in school, Harriet was learning how to make friends when she met Beaver's little brother, Kit. In May 2004, brand-new episodes of the series began airing on a Canadian network called Treehouse TV. Franklin and many of his friends had new voice actors in these new adventures, but many of the show's strongest writers and staff-members remained on board. These new stories saw Franklin facing a flood, worries about the old treehouse and earning a badge in a group called the Woodland Trailblazers. For the sixth season Funbagand other animation studios joined in the development of Franklin. The most recent movie for the series is " Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure". The film was written by John van Bruggenand directed by Dominique Monféry. The 75-minute long film premiered in theatres in 2006 and had its debut on Noggin on New Year's Eve, 2007, as part of a celebration of the network's conversion to a 24/7 format.
Franklin was also seen in two touring stage shows, "Franklin's Big Adventure" and "Franklin's Class Concert." Managed by
Tanglewood Family Entertainment, now known as KOBA Family Entertainmentin association with Paqu!n Entertainment, these stage shows feature a number of songs designed to delight both young and adult audiences including "Come See the World," "What I Do in the Morning" and "The Dinosaur Song." These shows are no longer touring, though references to and media from them are still available on the Internet. Additionally, music from "Franklin's Big Adventure" (along with music from the "Franklin and the Green Knight" film) is available on the album "Hey, It's Franklin."
Franklin is a growing young turtle who, as his television stories and books always begin, "...could count by twos and tie his shoes". He goes to school, lives in a small village with his friends, and has many adventures playing and learning in the world around him - sometimes with the helping hand of an adult or his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Turtle. Franklin likes swimming, arts and crafts (especially drawing), and loves
shoofly pie. He's been known to be afraid of the dark, and of thunderstorms.
Many "Franklin" television stories are based on books in the original Franklin Adventure series, including "
Franklin in the Dark" and " Hurry Up, Franklin". The practice of adapting television stories from books was dropped in the program's second season, though elements and dialogue from some of the books are incorporated into latter stories. On the flip side, many Franklin television stories have been made into books in the Franklin TV Storybook and Franklin First Readers series. Usually written by Sharon Jennings, these adaptations are shortened versions of what's seen on TV and may contain non-canon material.
According to the show staff, Franklin Turtle himself is a bit older than the members of the show's target audience. Franklin also generally teaches children how to solve problems patiently and kindly. The creators hope parents also can see the characters on the show as role models for ideal behavior, even though they aren't always perfect. As for Benjamin Franklin, he exhibits a variety of behaviors that show kids that while there are good ways to behave, it's okay to be sad or mad sometimes, as long as you know good ways to deal with it. ( [http://www.nickjr.com/shows/franklin/about_franklin.jhtml Nick Jr - "About Franklin"] )
"Franklin" almost always airs with two 11-minute stories (specifically paired together, although usually for no special reason), except on Canada's CBC, which splits the stories apart and shows one at a time. The "Franklin" DVD and video releases include individual stories grouped together as part of a theme, rather than complete episodes. Unlike many animated children's programs, "Franklin" has no interstitial segments or end-tags featuring the characters. The scenes shown in the program's opening introduction were changed after the first season. Many of these scenes featured Otter, a character who left the series early in the first season and was only seen once more in latter seasons.
"Franklin" is animated in traditional 2D animation, although likely with the aid of computers, especially in the later seasons. Differences in the coloring of the program can be spotted from season-to-season. The more recent features, most noticeably "
Back to School with Franklin" have somewhat different look from the television series. The most recent feature, Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure, upped the production value considerably, with more color differentiation between the various turtles, an overall brighter look, and beautifully painted background artwork. "Franklin" is usually closed-captioned.
"Franklin" often tends to bounce timeslots on the various networks it airs on, so check listings. Since Noggin switched to a 24/7 format, the program has been seen at various times, sometimes in a mini-marathon format.
ports and games
Franklin, his friends and his family enjoy playing a number of sports and games. The sports seen most often are baseball, soccer and hockey. Basketball is also seen. Baseball is seen more often in earlier seasons, with only sporadic appearances in later episodes. Hockey and soccer are favored in the program's more recent offerings. Bear in particular is very good at baseball and can play a number of positions. Baseball is seen in the first ever story of the show.
Soccer is another sport often enjoyed by Franklin and his friends. Franklin and his friends play fairly often, splitting into two teams under the tutelage of Coach Porcupine. Soccer is the main focus of the "Back to School with Franklin" special, in which replacement teacher Miss Koala makes them into one single team and has them play against some of her former pupils. Additionally, in an attempt to expand their skills, she has them try positions other than the ones they're used to.
Franklin and his friends are seen playing basketball in the sixth season. Coach Porcupine organizes a team, but when spaces run out, Franklin and Bear are signed up for dance lessons instead.
Finally, Hockey has an important place in the "Franklin" world. It is featured in several stories, including one in which Skunk is taught by Franklin and Bear how to play. Franklin also gets to meet a couple of his professional hockey heroes in the fifth and sixth seasons of the program.
In addition to sports, the characters enjoy a number of games and activities. Franklin becomes his school's chess champion. Harriet and Beatrice enjoy playing tag and hide-and-seek. And Franklin and most of his friends really enjoy playing knights.
The music heard on "Franklin" (and associated specials) throughout all seasons is composed by
Ray Parkerand Tom Szczesniakof Parker Szczmith Music Inc.(http://www.parkerszczmith.com). There are a wide range of themes conveying a variety of moods and emotions. Sometimes the same basic musical cues may be heard at either the beginning or ending of a story, but their overall tone may vary based on the mood. The main title theme of the program was written and performed by Bruce Cockburn(In the U.S. release, he is joined by female vocalists.) As a rule, "Franklin" stories do not contain original song numbers performed by the characters. However, this convention does not apply to the specials and singing by the characters is heard in three out of the four "Franklin" films, the only exception being "Back to School with Franklin". Numerous vocal pieces are heard as well as in the "Franklin" stage shows, particularly "Franklin's Big Adventure," which includes songs such as "Friends," "Hello!," and "The Dinosaur Song."
Locations in Woodland
Franklin and his friends live in a small village known as Woodland. The village is small enough that most residents know one another and meet on a regular basis. There is a small shopping district, some roads (with very little traffic) and at least one community schoolhouse. Much of the furniture and such in the homes has a classic/antique feel and the Turtle family, at least, still has a rotary telephone. Technology seems to exist on a limited basis in the series. The characters clearly have electricity, but don't use much technology. A computer, a basic one only, is feature only once on the series. The characters are not normally seen watching television, though in one of the traveling stage shows, a character sings the line "Ride our bikes or watch TV / Carve our names on the old oak tree!" Some characters, however, do have access to a limited amount of magical power, seen only on the films.
*The Turtle Household - Franklin, his parents and his sister Harriet live in a house shaped somewhat like an igloo. It's partially covered with leafy vines. It's surrounded by a gated, white picket fence on all ends. It's a nice, comfy home for Franklin to grow up in. Franklin's home is known to have a kitchen / dining area and at least two bedrooms, as Franklin and Harriet do not sleep together. Franklin's parents may sleep in the kitchen. In the first season episode "Franklin Goes to School," they were shown sleeping on the floor in what appeared to be the kitchen. The only door in and out of Franklin's room connects to the kitchen, so it would seem that's where they sleep. The Turtle household also has a basement, which Franklin was once afraid of and has also flooded at least once. Franklin's room is decorated with artwork he has done, contains some of his favorite treasures and is also home to his stuffed dog Sam and his goldfish, Goldie. Franklin sometimes crawls inside his shell to go to sleep, although he has more recently been seen sleeping in a bed. Yet, in a sixth season story, he simply plops on the floor without even crawling into his shell. Again, the Turtle Household is not known to have a television or a computer --- nobody on the program has ever been seen watching TV and only a couple of characters are known to use a computer. However, the Turtles do have a radio. The Turtles also have a car, but it's not known where they park it. They don't appear to have a garage and it just mysteriously shows up from time to time.
*The Bear Household - Bear, his sister Beatrice and his parents live in a tree. Like Franklin and Harriet, Bear and Beatrice also each have their own room. The Bear family bathroom is also seen in the fifth season when Franklin and Bear have a bath there after getting covered in mud.
*The Beaver Household - Beaver lives here with her parents and her younger brother Kit. The Beaver household is actually built over water and fashioned in the same way as a beaver dam. This household is unique in that it is the only household in the series known to hold a computer within its walls. Beaver and Franklin both play games on it in a third season episode. Also, its basement is underwater --- one looking out the window can see fish swimming around.
*The Fox Household - Fox lives here with his parents. It has a fairly big backyard with some spare parts and other junk. Fox and his father use these items for various purposes. Mr. Fox may store his schoolbus here, since it's not known if he keeps it anywhere else.
*The Goose Household - Little is known about Goose's home. However, there is a blue bench just by the door and a plant hanging from the windowsill just above it.
*The Skunk Household - Not much is known about Skunk's home either. About the only thing known is that it isn't where it used to be, for Skunk, her little sister and her parents moved to another block recently. It may be located within in a tree.
*The School - In a throwback to past times, Franklin and his friends attend school in a one-room schoolhouse. It seems fairly well-equipped for their needs, with desks and tables for all of them, a chalkboard and other resources. However, it does not appear to have modern benefits such as computers and the like. Outside the school area, there is playground equipment and areas for playing soccer and other games. The school seems to be within easy walking distance of everyone's homes, but for unexplained reasons, the kids usually take the bus to and from school each morning.
*The Library - The library is one of the only two known places in Woodland with a computer, as the friendly librarian Mrs. Goose uses it to check out books. It's a great place for everyone in Woodland to find books about all sorts of subjects, even telling time or tying shoes. The library also holds a number of fun activities including storytimes and puppet shows for little kids and a reading club. It even held a Book Fest with costumes and book recommendations.
*The Shopping District - Woodland is known to have a robust shopping district with an ice-cream shop, Mr. Mole's hardware store, a pharmacy, a grocery market, a coffee shop, a bookstore, and more. Franklin and his friends sometimes travel here with their parents, with each other, or even by themselves.
*The Pond - Franklin and his friends often hang out by the pond, which is attached to a stream. They sometimes go swimming, sit by the pond, or participate in various activities.
*The Woods - Woodland is, appropriately, surrounded on at least one end by woods. A character named Gopher who appeared in "Franklin and the Green Knight" is known to live here. Franklin and Fox got lost here once. But in "Green Knight," Franklin and Snail had an adventure here. They journeyed deep into the woods where they met several characters and found magic cherry blossoms.
*Oakwood Ravine - This is somewhere within the woods. Connected to distantly to the Play Park. The only area in Woodland known to contain poison ivy.
*The Nature Trail - Somewhere within Woodland, perhaps somewhere in the woods. There is a picnic grounds within, as well as Monarch Meadow and Blueberry Hill Lookout. Franklin and Bear go on a hiking trip here once. They are disappointed when the Meadow is filled with caterpillars instead of monarch butterflies. The picnic grounds are loaded with other hikers and clouds block the view from the Lookout. There is a pond here as well. Franklin and Bear try to skip stones in it, but they all sink.
*Village Park - Kids go to skateboard here. Likely has other attractions as well.
*The Play Park - For the younger kids. Has a slide, swings and monkey bars. Harriet, Kit and Beatrice all enjoy playing here.
*Tamarack Point - An amusement park area never seen on the program, but referenced. When Franklin is unable to travel there with all his friends, he creates his own "Turtle Point."
*Faraway Farm - Franklin and his family pay a visit here in the special "Franklin's Magic Christmas." This location may not actually be within Woodland, as it is something of a drive to get there.
*Turtle Lake - An area featured only in the feature "Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure". Franklin's Granny lived in this area, but lost her home and parents in a fire.
Writers, directors and music
Here is a list of many of the show's staff in order of the numbers of stories they have written or directed. A story reflects not an entire episode, but one of two 11 minute stories aired within an episode.
Brian Lasenby- 32
Nicola Barton- 21
Ken Ross- 13
John van Bruggen- 10
Bob Ardiel- 8
Bonnie Chung- 6
Karen Moonah- 6
Frank Diteljan- 4
Laura Kosterski- 4
Patrick Granleese- 4
Bridget Newson- 4
Betty Quan- 4
Peter Sauder- 4
Kim Thompson- 4
Richard Elliott (II)- 3
Maureen Paxton- 3
Simon Racioppa- 3
Bruce Robb- 3
James Backshall- 2
Lynn Mason- 2
Mark Mayerson- 2
Jennifer Pertsch- 2
Dale Scott (II)- 2
Paula Butorac- 1
Neal Colgrass- 1
Dave Dias- 1
Sheila Dinsmore- 1
Richard Jones (II)- 1
Shawn Kalb- 1
Nicole Keefler- 1
Leah Lepofsky- 1
Shane MacDougall- 1
Gary Hurst- 52
John van Bruggen- 15
Dermot Walshe- 13
Arna Selznick- 1
Bruce CockburnTheme song
Ray Parkerall 94 episodes
Tom Szczesniakall 94 episodes
*The episode "Franklin's Music Lessons" contained not one but two egregrious errors; 1. As Franklin plays the C /G C / G pattern on the piano, the G key plays a C note and vice versa. 2. Franklin sits on the right of Ms. Panda during the "
Row Row Row Your Boat" duet, but he plays the lower notes, and Ms. Panda (on the left) plays the higher notes. A piano is designed with the lower notes at the left of the keyboard, and vice versa.
*In the UK, the series is shown on Five with the voices dubbed over with British actors, though the episodes shown on
Tiny Popare shown with the original soundtrack.
*In the original French language books, all of the characters have non-species-related names: Benjamin (Franklin), Henrietta (Harriet), Martin (Bear), Basile (Rabbit), Lili (Beaver), Raffin (Fox), Béatrice (Goose), Arnaud (Snail), Aurélie (Otter), Eloise (Skunk), Ludo (Moose), Hubert (Eagle), Vermillon (Goldie), and Jacques (Jack).
Franklin has six seasons of thirteen episodes each. There are also three specials and a new one possibly coming to theaters soon.
*Franklin Plays the Game / Franklin Wants A Pet
*Hurry Up, Franklin / Franklin's Bad Day
*Franklin Goes to School / Franklin Is Lost
*Franklin Has a Sleepover / Franklin's Halloween
*Franklin Rides a Bike / Franklin Is Messy
*Franklin Fibs / Franklin's Blanket
*Franklin is Bossy / Franklin's Fort
*Finders Keepers for Franklin / Franklin's New Friend
*Franklin's School Play / Franklin and the Secret Club
*Franklin and the Red Scooter / Franklin in the Dark
*Franklin and the Tooth Fairy / Franklin Takes the Blame
*Franklin's Christmas Gift / Franklin's Granny
*Franklin and the Baby / Franklin Goes to Day Camp
*Franklin's Visitor / Franklin's Not-So-Broken Bone
*Franklin's Gift / Franklin Growing Up Fast
*Franklin the Spy / Franklin's Library Book
*Franklin's Kite / Franklin and the Babysitter
*Franklin and the Broken Globe / Franklin's Valentines
*Franklin's Family Treasure / Franklin's Music Lessons
*Franklin Takes a Trip / Franklin's Bicycle Helmet
*Franklin's Birthday Party / Franklin's Nickname
*Franklin and Otter's Visit / Franklin's Collection
*Franklin Says Sorry / Franklin and the Fire
*Franklin's Garden / Franklin Runs Away
*Franklin's Gloomy Day / Franklin Tells Time
*Franklin's Test / Franklin and the Duckling
*Franklin and His Night Friend / Franklin and the Two Henrys
*Franklin's Nature Hike / Franklin's Starring Role
*Franklin's Masterpiece / Franklin and the Computer
*Franklin the Trooper / Franklin's Fossil
*Franklin and the Fortune Teller / Franklin's Cellar
*Franklin Plants a Tree / Franklin the Hero
*Franklin's Day Off / Franklin's Homemade Cookies
*Franklin the Fabulous / Franklin Camps Out
*Franklin and the Puppy / Franklin Takes The Bus
*Franklin and the Copycat / Big Brother Franklin
*Franklin and the Grump / Franklin's Promise
*Franklin and the Thunderstorm / Franklin's Maple Syrup
*Franklin Helps Out / Franklin's Missing Snacks
*Franklin's Good Deeds / Franklin's Submarine
*Mr. Fix-It Franklin / Franklin Has the Hiccups
*Franklin Delivers / Franklin's Shell Trouble
*Franklin's Sailboat / Franklin Snoops
*Franklin's Father / Franklin Plays Hockey
*Franklin and the Puppet Play / Franklin's Stopwatch
*Franklin Meets Ermine / Franklin's Funny Business
*Franklin and Sam / Franklin's Berry Patch
*Franklin's Rival / Franklin and the Trading Cards
*Franklin's Robot / Franklin the Detective
*Franklin the Fearless / Franklin's Lucky Charm
*Franklin at the Seashore / Franklin & Snail's Dream
*My Franklin / Franklin's Mom
*Franklin the Teacher / Franklin's Allergy
*Franklin Loses a Book / Franklin and Betty
*Franklin's Pumpkin / Franklin's Jug Band
*Franklin and the Bus Patrol / Franklin and Wolvie
*Franklin Stays Up / Franklin's Bargain
*Franklin's Big Game / Franklin's Reading Club
*Franklin in Two Places / Franklin's First Star
*Franklin's Float / Franklin's Party Plans
*Gee Whiz Franklin / Franklin Can't Wait
*Franklin's Spring First / Franklin Plays Golf
*Franklin's Canoe Trip / Franklin's Interview
*Franklin's Crystal / Franklin's Advice
*Franklin's Cookie Question / Franklin's Picnic
*Franklin Itching to Skateboard / Franklin Forgives
*Hockey Fan Franklin / Mother Hen Franklin
*Franklin's Badge / Franklin Stargazes
*Franklin's Swimming Party / Franklin's Soccer Field Folly
*Franklin the Weather Turtle / Franklin's Dance Lessons
*Franklin in Charge / Franklin's UFO
*Franklin Migrates / Franklin the Photographer
*Franklin's Word / Franklin's Pond Phantom
*Franklin the Coach / Franklin Plays it Safe
*Franklin's Favorite Card / Franklin's Expedition
*Franklin's Bike-A-Thon / Franklin's Candy Caper
*Franklin's Go-Cart Race / Sir Franklin's Squire
*Franklin Sees the Big Picture / Franklin Figure Skates
pecials / Movies
Franklin and the Green Knight: The Movie"
Franklin's Magic Christmas"
Back to School with Franklin"
Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure"
The first three specials are all available on video and DVD (though "Franklin's Magic Christmas" isn't generally available on DVD in the U.S.) They have also been shown on TV from time-to-time. The final special is was released in December 2006 in Canada and Europe. It has been released to DVD in the US on
May 22, 2007.
* [http://franklin.treehousetv.com/"Franklin" web page at TreeHouseTV.com]
* [http://www.noggin.com/shows/franklin.php "Franklin" (noggin.com)]
* [http://www.nickjr.com/shows/franklin/index.jhtml "Franklin" (nickjr.com)]
* [http://www.tv.com/franklin/show/7945/summary.html TV.com "Franklin" guide]
* [http://epguides.com/Franklin EpGuides - Episode Listings]
* [http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/FranklinTurtle Yahoo Group]
* [http://www.toronto.ca/parks/franklin/index.htm Toronto's Franklin Park]
* [http://www.scholastic.ca/editions/livres/benjamin/benjamin_amis.htm Les Amis de Benjamin] , a French language page listing the characters' French names.
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