Franklin Roberts


BSR Contributor Since August 25, 2009

Franklin Roberts is a long-time producer of theatrical, public affairs and historical events. He lives in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia.

By this Author

9 results
Page 1
Coach Reid (left) with gunslinger Vick: The family that prays together...

A Philadelphia Eagles morality play

All my sons, or: Bread, circuses, the Eagles and us

A coach plagued with two wayward sons finds redemption by embracing a reformed sinner of a quarterback. Is this merely a game, or is this a morality play unfolding before us?

Franklin Roberts

Essays 4 minute read

Society Hill's revival: A memoir

Urban renaissance up close: A Society Hill pioneer remembered

In 1960 I took one look at Spike Stapleford's decrepit block in Society Hill and realized: This street seemed to possess the potential for all the elements of the neighborhood I'd grown up in. And so it did.

Franklin Roberts

Essays 6 minute read
Dewey on the 'Olympia' bridge, Manila, 1898: 'Fire when— glug glug— ready, Gridley.'

On saving the U.S.S. 'Olympia'

Almost gone, and already forgotten

The U.S. Olympia, Admiral Dewey's flagship and long a prime Philadelphia attraction, seems headed for the scrap heap. But it was saved from that heap at least once before, as I can attest from firsthand experience.

Franklin Roberts

Essays 6 minute read
Malcom McDowell in 'A Clockwork Orange': A punk, yes, but he loved Beethoven.

Teen "flash mobs': The brighter side

Those teenage mobs on South Street: Time for some positive thinking

Another “flash mob” outing on South Street, another setback to civilized society? Not necessarily. For one thing, these rampages prove that teenage literacy and technical proficiency are in better shape then we'd thought.

Franklin Roberts

Essays 3 minute read
Endangered species?

How to save the Mummers Parade

Farewell, Dad Vail— But now let's save the Mummers

So Philadelphia may have lost the Dad Vail Regatta to Rumson, N.J. The beloved but dwindling Mummers Parade could be next. How can it be saved? By turning the parade around.

Franklin Roberts

Essays 4 minute read
Mark Twain in the Bicentennial? Bear with me.

Behind the Bicentennial, Part 3: Keep it simple

Courting the Park Service: A Bicentennial memoir (part 3)

As 1976 approached, the National Park Service wanted a Bicentennial program that would appeal to visitors in all 50 states. I found the answer in one of Ben Franklin's letters. And unlike my competitors, I kept things simple enough to please the most important audience: the Park Service staff in the field.

Franklin Roberts

Essays 9 minute read
Baryshnikov: Escape by night.

The spy who snatched Baryshnikov

I chose one path, he the other: A memoir of Mexico, circa 1975

Who was that distinguished gentleman who shared our hotel terrace overlooking the Pacific at Zihuatanejo? And what was a middle-class theatrical producer from Society Hill like me doing sharing a drink with him?

Franklin Roberts

Essays 5 minute read

Behind the Bicentennial, Part 2: The Germans

Selling Philadelphia, 1976 (Part 2): Romancing the Germans

If the Park Service and Bell of Pennsylvania perceived the PR benefits of getting into the 1976 Bicentennial act, I told myself, perhaps foreign democracies could be enticed to join this democracy birthday party as well. Which is how I wound up lunching with the striking blonde cultural minister of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Franklin Roberts

Essays 5 minute read

Behind the Bicentennial: A memoir (Part 1)

Selling Philadelphia, 1976: Behind the Bicentennial

Washington wanted to cross the Delaware. Max Bialystock wanted to climb back on top of Broadway. In the early '70s an unwieldy committee of Philadelphia's usual suspects faced a more daunting challenge: winning approval from the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions for a Grade 1 international exposition.

Franklin Roberts

Essays 5 minute read