BENJAMIN FRANKLINscreenplay by Robert Christie
co-written by Matt & Jen
OPENING MONTAGE/ NARRATION NARRATOR Benjamin Franklin, otherwise known as B franks. Was known as many things, a scientist, inventor, diplomat, printer, philosopher, congressman, and so called pimp He was born January 17th, 1706 in Boston Massachusetts to father, Josiah and mother Abiah. 16 siblings 7 were half siblings with a different mother, Elizabeth, Samuel, Hannah, Josiah, Anne, Joseph I, and Joseph II. 9 were biological siblings: John, Peter, Mary, James, Sarah, Ebenezer, Thomas, Lydia, and Jane. We spoke to James.
Interview with his brother, James Franklin Interviewer: So tell me James, how are you related to Ben? James: hmm, Ben, yes he is one of my younger brothers, you see there is so many of them I sometimes forget some, but Ben and I have worked together, I could never forget him. Interviewer: How many siblings do you have? James: Oh golly, I guess there were about 17 of us kids running around, John, Peter, Mary, James, Sarah, Ebenezer, Thomas, Lydia and Jane. Then there were the ones from my other mother Elizabeth, Samuel, Hannah, Josiah, Anne, Joseph I and Joseph II. They ran out of names at the end. Interviewer: Woah, thats a whole lot of kids James: Yes maam Interviewer: Where did you all live? James:
Boston area, Massachusetts. Ben spent a lot of time in Philadelphia Interviewer: can you tell me a little about Ben? James: Sure, well start at the beginning, first off he was born January 17th 1706 Interviewer: so that would make him.. 304? James: yes...that sounds right 304 Interviewer: what else can you tell me? James: He was pretty smart even though he only went to school for about a year. He taught himself mostly. He played a lot of chess, and read a lot, yes always reading. I suppose thats where he learned everything. He even stopped eating meat to save money, to buy more books Interviewer: sounds like he was a nerd James: Indeed, but when he was 10 he helped me in my printing shop and became my apprentice. He learned the printing trade, and got quite good. Wrote some articles, under a pen name of course. And even opened up his own printing shop eventually. Interviewer: He was successful as a printer? James: oh yes, very. He published the Poor Richards Almanac VERY popular. Everybody read it. He was good at pretty much everything he did, and he did so much, printer, scientist, inventor, and all his lady friends...I dont know how he fit everything in! NARRATOR Ben worked as an apprentice in his Brother James printing shop. James taught Ben the printing trade. SCENE:
Ben is sitting in a dimly lit room writing documents and organizing papers. It is a sign of his hard work and works as a printer and author. He is writing Poor Richard's Almanac. NARRATOR Deborah Read Rogers, was Bens first wife, he was her 2nd husband. Her first was John Rogers. Rogers fled without divorcing Deborah, so he and Franklin had a common law marriage. They were former sweethearts, and after Rogers found out her husband died, she began dating Franklin again. Interview with his wife Deborah Read Rogers: Interviewer: Hello Deborah Deborah: Hello Interviewer: How did you meet Ben? Deborah: We were dating until I met my firs husband, after he fled I began dating Ben again. Since my first husband fled without divorcing me, Ben and I had a common law marriage. Interviewer: Did you have Children? Deborah: Yes, we did. We had Franky who unfortunately died when he was just 4 from smallpox. Sally, and Ben had a son from another woman but I raised him, his name was William, he later became governor of New Jersey Interviewer: oh, I see. Ben was away , over seas in England a lot, wasnt he? Deborah: yes, he was. Interviewer: how did you feel about that? Did you ever want to join him? Deborah: Ben asked me to come with him, or at least visit. But I was very afraid of traveling overseas, so I never went. Ever. So I was
very often alone. Even though I heard he was messing around with other women, I remained faithful, but never went to see him.
NARRATOR Deborah Read Rogers had a series of strokes, she sent Ben a letter telling him the strokes were caused by stress, he still didnt come home to her. She lost memory and her speech became slurred due to the strokes, finally a stoke killed her, while Ben was in England as a representative for the people of Pennsylvania as their colonial agent. Ben represented Pennsylvania in its fight with the descendants of the Penn family over who should represent the colony. His testimony in Parliament helped to repeal the Stamp Act. RE-ENACTMENT (Ben testifies against stamp act in Parliament) Parliament: The Stamp act is great, were gonna make a lot of money! Ben: NO youre not. Nobody is going to pay for little paper stamps to put on all paper documents, its stupid. Colonists are going to boycott it and you wont make very much at all. Parliament: But Ben, we need money, and taxing the colonists is so easy, its like taking money from a baby! Ben: Of course it is, they dont have a representative here in parliament to say anything about it! Parliament: thats what makes it so easy! Ben: But, its not fair! Parliament: so? Ben: NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION Parliament: huh?
Ben: that means nobody should have to pay taxes, without a representative in Parliament Parliament: yeah.. i guess that does seem fair Ben: mhmm. Parliament: and we arent making a lot of money.. maybe hes right Ben: I am! Parliament: okay, I call to a vote to repeal the stamp act Ben: Yay! Parliament: Okay, the stamp act is officially repealed. INTERVIEW WITH BEN IntervieweeIts nice to have you here Ben Benits nice to be here. Intervieweewell arent you a nice man BenI got that a lot as a young boy IntervieweeWhat acts of goodness did you have for the new nation Benwell I had the idea of combing all of the states and calling it one nation. I used the diagram of a snake to do this and I showed that when the snake is one whole piece we are an amazing nation.
Intervieweewow that some powerful stuff right there Ben- yes it is SCENE: Actor 1hello Ben Benhello Actor 1are you ready for this nation to become one nation Benyes I am!!! INTERVIEW: IntervieweeBen so what was your gain from the new nation Benwell I was thinking about how the nation would be able to come together and be able to fight wars better. I was also thinking at how the nation would be able to expand more. And now that were not controlled by Britain we can start to move west because Britain was tying us down. Intervieweethank you my kind sir.
NARRATOR Franklin is considered one of the most influential and prominent founding fathers. He is regarded as an American hero. His many duties in state and federal governments left a big mark on America and its History. He was a businessman, writer, publisher, scientist, diplomat, legislator, and social activist and inventor.
RE-ENACTMENT (American Philosophical Society) Guys talking on the street: you going to the American Philosophical Society meeting tonight? Other Guy: of course! I cant wait to discuss my new theory with everybody! Ben Franklin: Whats the American Philosophical Society?
Other Guy: Its where scientific men go to talk about their theories with other men. Ben Franklin: That sounds fascinating! Can I go Other Guy: Sure you can come with us tonight! NARRATOR This began his electricity research. With Ben Franklins business associate David Hall he made a very good profit off the shop for 18 years, Since he was making money he had plenty of extra time to study. He took advantage of this time as always. He studied and read constantly because of this he discovered many things, and became well known in Europe. SCENE: Montage of Ben preforming science experiments, lightning and kite, as well as images of some of his inventions. NARRATOR He Was one of the earliest & strongest advocates for the abolition of slavery. Franklin wrote several essays on the topic of letting slaves back into society. In An address to the public in 1789,Franklin talked about human power and how slaves have been treated as animals not as humans. NARRATOR Ben was the oldest member of congress and worked on a committee of five that helped to write the Declaration of Independence. SCENE: SIGNING THE DECLARATION Although the physical writing was mostly Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin was the one who came up with most of the ideas In 1776 Franklin signed the document. INTERVIEWER: What can you tell us about Ben franklin? RANDOM PERSON: Who? (next person)
INTERVIEWER: What can you tell us about Ben franklin? EXPERT: Well Ben was a controversial and eccentric character. He was often perceived as an extremist and threat to/by Great Britain. He was considered by other founding fathers to be lazy. INTERVIEWER: What makes you say this? EXPERT: Well for one he was a skirt chaser. INTERVIEWER: ...and what would that be? EXPERT: well he was quite the ladies man. He had several women in his life. INTERVIEWER: so in a way, Franklin was a pimp? EXPERT: well I wouldn't call it that, but yes he did have his way with women, he was known to have many ongoing affairs. SCENE: Franklin is flirting intensely with a girl when his wife comes out and smacks him with a newspaper.
INTERVIEWER: As much praise that surrounds Franklin, there is also great slander. Benjamin Franklin is suspected to have been part of a club linked to the occult while he lived in England. The club was called the Hellfire club and members would participate in sacrifices, orgies, and other satanic rituals. In 1998 ten bodies were found buried under Ben Franklins house. This lead to the conspiracy that Ben might have been a serial killer or was just using the
bodies for dissections. Using bodies to study anatomy was illegal in England at the time. BEN What can I say?..... NARRATOR Though Franklin has his skeletons, controversies, and failures, he is revered as one of the most influential and prominent men in history. He was Clerk of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Postmaster of Philadelphia, Member of Pennsylvania Assembly, Deputy Postmaster general of the British colonies in America, Founded Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia, Agent to Europe for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey, MassachusettsElected to Continental Congress, Testified before Parliament concerning the Stamp Act, Postmaster General of the united colonies, Commissioner to the French Court, Minister plenipotentiary to the French Court,Negotiator in and Member of the Treaties with Gr.Britain,Member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania,President of Pennsylvania Society for the Abolition of Slavery, Senior member of the Constitutional Convention (sarcastically) ....Just to name a few.
SCENE: Franklin is standing in the distance near an American flag. INTERVIEWER Franklin is considered one of the most influential and prominent founding fathers. He was the only founding father to have signed all four of the documents which helped to create the United States: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance, Amity, and Commerce with France, the Treaty of Peace between England, France, and the United States, and the Constitution NARRATOR Benjamin Franklin. Businessman, writer, publisher, scientist, diplomat, legislator, social activist, inventor, and American hero.
January 17, 1706 April 17, 1790