Winter 2007 Forward to a Friend

Ralph ArchboldRalph Archbold

MORE THAN 200 YEARS AFTER HIS DEATH, famed author and inventor Benjamin Franklin lives on through an authentic portrayal by Subaru owner Ralph Archbold. “I started speaking, entertaining, and performing as Ben Franklin at a historic village in Dearborn, Michigan’s Greenfield Village in 1976,” Archbold said. “I spent years polishing my portrayal before moving to historic Philadelphia in 1982.”

Archbold has entertained ­at corporate meetings, conventions, and other distinguished gatherings by combining contemporary thought with the wisdom and witticisms of Franklin’s time.

Archbold doesn’t just act Franklin; he lives Franklin – from his gestures, thought-provoking comments, and charm to his physical features. “I have done over 18,000 speeches to date. I have programs for all ages and all types of audiences,” Archbold said. “Though I am trying to slow down a bit, I still am doing about 500 to 600 performances a year.”

You may have glimpsed Archbold yourself – in Time magazine or on the Today show, Good Morning America, The History Channel, and more. He also played host for the 2006 Subaru of America, Inc. dealer meeting in Philadelphia.

“People really seem to get a kick out of seeing me get in my Subaru,” Archbold said.

“The values he taught and his many accomplishments make him someone we can all admire.”

Making professional appearances means reliability is a must. “My Legacy wagon allows me to be sure I will get there even if the roads are bad. The All-Wheel Drive is a blessing. Also, there is plenty of room when I’m accompanied by my friend who plays the Glass Armonica (a musical instrument Franklin invented), her guide dog, and all the equipment.”

Why did Archbold choose to portray Franklin?

“The values he taught and his many accomplishments make him someone we can all ­admire,” Archbold said. “And one of the nice things is that you can never get too old to do Ben, since he lived to 84.”

Archbold’s birthday is January 17, which also happens to be Ben’s birthday.

Learn more about Ralph Archbold at