"Ben Franklin" Fowler
Franklin Character Portrayer and Motivational Speaker
Richard does a dazzling performance, appearing as Benjamin Franklin
in costume. He has a striking resemblance to Benjamin Franklin
and has studied Franklin's life and contributions thoroughly,
weaving much of what he has learned into his portrayals. He injects
a lot of humor, including Benjamin Franklin anecdotes, into his
talks, and relates much of B. Franklin's accomplishments. He stresses
what most have left out of their characterizations of Franklin
- the significant part he played in gaining America's freedom.
While largely remembered for his inventions and scientific experiments,
he wants Franklin to be remembered for helping to formulate our
Declaration of Independence and our Constitution and the big part
he played in bringing the French to our side...the key to our
gaining our Independence.
Benjamin Franklin On Liberty
I emphasize how I want to be remembered most for what I did to
gain our liberty. I was the only one who signed all four documents
that secured our liberty.
Benjamin Franklin On Education
I start off by telling my audience that I only had two years of
formal education. I tell them that we have failed history, as
a country. I tell the importance of history and how this will
impact on our future. I examine the reasons for this failure and
advance ideas for getting us back on track in teaching history,
especially American History, to our young people.
Benjamin Franklin, The Entrepreneur
As Benjamin Franklin, I recount my ventures into business and
the many accomplishments I made in the business field. I tell
how I rose to be one of the richest men in America, after starting
with virtually nothing.
Benjamin Franklin, The Motivator
Starting with how I treated women, I tell about recognizing the
positive aspects of people. My secret with women is to tell them
something good about themselves and to minimize talking about
myself. With all my workers, I let them know that I have confidence
in them and encourage them to set goals for themselves and recognize
Benjamin Franklin The Inventor
I go over the various inventions and scientific experiments that
I am credited with. I explain how I got into these projects and
some of the techniques I used. I emphasize how much these things,
especially the lightning experiment, opened the doors for me diplomatically
and helped me to attract other nations to our cause. [One story
that I use only in select groups: "People ask me how I got
started in my lightning experiment. It was a cold, dark rainy
afternoon with a lot of lightning and thunder. I was alone with
my wife, Debra, at the time. Being one who likes to make good
use of my time, I made some romantic advances to her. She said,
'Benjamin, Why don't you go fly a kite?'...so that is how I got
Benjamin Franklin and Young People
At times I am called on to speak to young people, even pre-schoolers,
and I relate how I lead them in nursery rhymes and then do a take-off
on Red Skelton's Pledge of Allegiance and lead them in the Pledge
of Allegiance To Our Flag. I talk to them about liberty, love
of our country, love of our flag and patriotism.
Dick Fowler has a broad management experience, having been a
manager at Western Electric/AT&T for most of the 34 years
with them. He was a pioneer in the manufacture of our very first
telephone electronic switching system and helped develop many
of that system's electronic components that are used throughout
the world today. In 1962 there were only 100 circuit boards. Today
there are millions. He helped build the first memory units, which
today we call computers.
He knows what motivates people and how managers can improve their
skills, and can weave many of these ideas into his presentations.
He has served The Sons of the American Revolution for many years
in most chapter offices and was the webmaster of the Florida Society
of the SAR for over seven years and has been, and is, the Editor
of the Florida Society State Newsletter for over five years. He
lives in Ohio and as a dual member in Florida and Ohio, is the
Secretary of the Benjamin Franklin Chapter in Columbus. He has
a very extensive knowledge of American Revolution History and
bemoans the fact that, as a nation, we get a failing grade in
history. Richard's main goal has been to do whatever he can to
teach American History to our young people, and that has been
his main objective in using Benjamin Franklin character portrayals
as his catalyst. His secondary goal is to introduce more people
to the Sons of the American Revolution and teach them how they
can improve their lives by becoming members.
Some time ago a friend and I went to a local elementary
school to talk to students about the American Revolution. My friend
mentioned that he had a musket in his car, and the teacher said,
“Why don’t you bring it in?” To my surprise,
the principal gave permission, and in we went, dressed in our
colonial uniforms, musket and all. The kids were very excited
to see this authentic American Revolution musket replica, and
they were very elated with our presentation.
For some time, whenever I wore my SAR uniform, people have likened
me to Benjamin Franklin and often call me “Ben.” To
capitalize on this reaction, I let my hair grow long and bought
a costume such as Benjamin Franklin wore (see photo).
My objective is to go to schools as “Benjamin Franklin”
and tell the kids about Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution.
As with the musket, I hope to better capture their attention and
help build in them a desire to learn more about the heroes of
the American Revolution who gave us our freedom.