This Monday: Learn the connection between Ben Franklin, Tarzan, Paris, & that fur hat he's wearing!

For the enlightenment and advancement of its members


Proudly presents

With the kind permission of Michael Watkins, Twin Cities Public Television, Inc
(And a special  thanks to Muffie Meyer, Middlemarch Films)

An Extraordinary Life. An Eclectic Mind

Date: Monday February 28, 2011

Venue: Hollywood Palace cafe, 179 Bridge Road, Richmond

6.30 PM: Nick the Super Chef is on the job! Enjoy big, healthy, yummy meals at heavily reduced prices (just for us!)

7.30 PM: Commencement of Film + Chaired discussion.

Who: Only registered PRODOS Film Study Group members and guests of members allowed. You can apply to join on the night. To join you need to agree with our purpose and pay the $5 annual fee.

Policy: Leaving straight after a film and therefore skipping the discussion goes against one of the conditions upon which our permission to screen these films is based.

9.45 PM: End of meeting.

Cost: No charge. But if you’d like to make a personal donation to Prodos that’s greatly appreciated. (But please NEVER miss out just because you’re short of cash. We want you with us!)

Dear Friends,

This Monday we complete our screening and study of this superbly made 3-part documentary on Benjamin Franklin!

The segments covered: Courting the French, Maneuvering in French Society, French Treaty of Alliance, Scientist and Inventor, Diplomacy with John Adams, Negotiating with Europe, Franklin’s Legacy.

Full of fascinating lessons in skillfully conducted foreign affairs, full of spying, deception, image-building, game-playing, and general intrigue at many levels.

I think you’ll be greatly amused by the reaction of the French to Benjamin Franklin when he arrives in Paris. And delighted to learn how Benjamin Franklin conducts himself. Very entertaining – in a way that only a genius can be.

Among other things, Dr Ben Franklin will show you how someone like this …

… Can get himself to be treated as someone like this …

… When with people like this … reviewer, Lawrance M. Bernabo

This PBS documentary traces the epic life of Benjamin Franklin from his humble beginnings in Boston to his worldwide fame as a scientist, writer, Founding Father, and diplomat. Originally premiered on PBS on November 19-20, 2002, the documentary breaks Franklin’s life into three parts:

(1) “Let the Experiment Be Made” (1706-1753) looks at how Franklin quickly rose from his humble origins to become a prominent printer and publisher in Philadelphia.

He “retired” to become a gentleman of leisure and devote his time to studying the new science of electricity. His discoveries not only freed the world from the harmful effects of lightning but also made him a major figure on the world stage. Throughout the series, Franklin’s scientific work, from inventing the Franklin stove to charting the Gulf Stream, keep popping up along with their importance at that time.

(2) “The Making of a Revolutionary” (1775-1776) finds Franklin moving to London where he ended up in the middle of the growing dispute between England and the American colonies.

The focus is on how this dispute turned Franklin, a loyal subject of the British empire who had his illegitimate son William made the Royal Governor of New Jersey, into a revolutionary who would return home to help draft the Declaration of Independence. Keep in mind that this is happening in a world where getting a message back and forth across the Atlantic took weeks if not months.

We come in at this point on Monday …

(3) “The Chess Master” (1776-1809) follows Franklin on the most important mission of his long life as he became the American diplomatic representative to France during the American Revolution. Despite the less than helpful presence of John Adams and others, Franklin manages to play a pivotal role in getting France to recognize the new nation of the United States of America.

After the war, ends his public service helping to create the U.S. Constitution and being the only one of the Founding Fathers to actively campaign against the institution of slavery.

Summary from

By far the oldest of the principal leaders of the American Revolution, Franklin, now in his 70s, embarks upon the most important role of his life.

The American Revolution doesn’t stand a chance without outside support; Congress sends Franklin to France in a desperate effort to secure an alliance with England’s greatest rival. All of Franklin’s considerable political skills – his talent for propaganda, public relations, back-room strategizing, his gift for subterfuge and manipulation – are called into play as he tries to convince the aristocratic French to lend much-needed support to the Revolutionary cause.

Despite the French king’s reluctance, and backbiting from John Adams, Franklin finally succeeds in obtaining the French support that leads to an American victory at Yorktown. With peace secured, Franklin returns to America, weary and ailing.

But his country still needs him. Two years later, the elderly Franklin is carried into the Constitutional Convention to guide the rancorous delegates debating the balance of states’ rights and federal power that will be embodied in the Constitution. Over the course of most of a century, Franklin has been a prime mover in shaping a new understanding of the relationships between man and God, man and nature, and man and government. But what of man and man?

At the end of his life, Franklin devotes himself to abolishing slavery, recognizing that the bondage of one man by another is an abomination of the ideals of freedom for which America stands

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