Back in 1968, a gentle and soft-spoken man named Fred Rogers introduced a generation of youngsters to his neighborhood – filled with puppets, imagination, jazz music, and valuable lessons that many of them would carry through their adult life. He would continue to do so for the next 33 years, on the beloved series we remember as Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, making the show the second longest running series on PBS (after Sesame Street). Today, we thought we would take a look back at his career, as well as offer a wonderful resource online for all things Mr. Rogers. But first, lets take a look at one of the earlier shows, where Mr. Rogers teaches us how to vote:
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood earned four Emmy Awards during it’s lengthy run, and, in 1997, Fred Rogers received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Television Academy, where he proceeded to give a rather moving acceptance speech that left many in the audience teary-eyed. Here is a clip of that special moment:
Sadly, Fred Rogers passed away in 2003, but the legacy he left behind remains strong. When PBS officially removed the series from their broadcast schedule in 2008, a grass-roots campaign immediately launched to return the show to the airwaves. Although PBS has yet to return the series, numerous local broadcasters still run the show every day. Besides the show, there are other tributes to Mr. Rogers scattered around the country. In Ligonier, PA, the Idlewild amusement park has its very own “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood of Make-Believe, which was partly designed by Rogers himself and opened in 1989. In Pittsburgh, Pa, the Children’s Museum has a permanent exhibit based on the show, and the University of Pittsburgh has an extensive archive of puppets, props, scripts, and almost every episode (3 are missing). Finally, if your travels don’t take you to the east coast, you can simply visit this wonderful blog, The Neighborhood Archive, which contains all sorts of info on the show.
It goes without saying that many of grew up watching Mr. Rogers over the years, and hopefully learned a thing or two along the way. If you have memories of the show, we welcome your thoughts and comments as we tip our collective hats to Fred Rogers – a man who truly made a difference during his time with all of us.