Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

Of all the childhood icons who preceded Kermit the Frog of Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers stands out as the blandest yet most durable representative of good manners. In her deferential article for the New York Times – Please Won’t You Be My Inspiration? – Kristin Hohenadel documents MTV (Music Television) Benjamin Wagner’s memories and experiences with the famous children’s television pioneer. A new film produced for PBS (Public Broadcasting) reveals Mr. Rogers’ impact on a generation.

I remember preferring Captain Kangaroo and his antics with Mr. Green Jeans to the slow methodical pace of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, but many fans still remember that red sweater – now in the Smithsonian next to Seinfeld’s puffy shirt. Evidently, Mr. Rogers was as he seemed – or at least always in character; when Wagner met him on a Nantucket vacation and he was his actual, not virtual neighbor. Mr. Rogers offered his career wisdom to a then young Wagner, “trying to figure out who he {wanted to be} when he grew up”…

“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than deep and complex.”

Mr. Rogers probably would not survive on a television show today, maybe becoming a target for ridicule (aka Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Robinson on Saturday Night Live), but he remains the comfortable untarnished icon of yesteryear – like a good old black and white silent film. They’re coming back in popularity, by the way.

Full episodes of Mr. Rogers’ old shows and that familiar tune are still available on the PBS Kids website.

Do you remember Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?

6 thoughts on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood

  1. I loved Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangeroo too. My dad has always said that my obsession with Mr Rogers was hard for him, I guess the mild mannered sweater loving man drove him crazy šŸ™‚

    • I always wondered if he was really as he seemed, but evidently he was. I agree with your Dad – I wanted to speed up his trolley šŸ™‚

    • Thanks! This is the second time I’ve been nominated, and it’s always great to know that others are enjoying the posts.

  2. Although we did get Mr Rogers Neighbourhood here in Canada, a much more loved show was Mr. Dressup, which aired on our CBC for almost 30 years every week day. He was livelier yet just as gentle. I still remember seeing him in concert when I was 5!

    • Thanks for the information on Mr. Dressup; I had not heard of him before, but his show looks like one I would have liked.

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