Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
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Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (often shortened to simply Mr. Rogers) was an American half-hour educational show that ran on PBS. The series was aimed primarily at preschoolers ages 2–5, but its soothing feel made it background noise among adults when they're drinking coffee, reading a magazine, or trying to fall asleep. It ran for over three decades, or four if you count repeats.
The series was hosted by Fred "Mr." Rogers, a kindly old man who took neighbors for a walk around his neighborhood, typically on days with swell weather. With his sweet and innocent demure, you'd never guess this guy was a Vietnam veteran. Despite his joyous exterior, however, there were hints that Rodgers suffered from mental instability, as he often hallucinated that there was a fairytale land behind the wall in his living room.
The real-life Mr. Rogers Neighborhood is located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Contrary to what is seen in the show, Pittsburgh is a soulless and polluted metropolis, and should be avoided by anyone who does not live there. Come to think of it, people who live there should also try to avoid it.
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood consisted of Fred Rogers speaking directly to his neighbor about various issues, taking the viewer on tours of factories, demonstrating experiments, crafts, music, as well as interacting with his friends. Fred covered a broad range of topics over the years, and the series did not shy away from issues that other children's programming avoided. In fact, Rogers endeared himself to many when, in February of 1968, he dealt with the grief of WQED. The series also dealt with competition, divorce, and war. Rogers returned to the topic of anger regularly and focused on peaceful ways of dealing with angry feelings. The half-hour episodes were punctuated by a segment chronicling occurrences in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
During the opening sequence of each episode, the camera pans slowly over a very well-constructed model of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, while the Neighborhood Trolley crosses a couple of streets from left to right. This is the same model electric trolley that later in the program will transport viewers into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Following that, Fred enters his television studio house, singing "Won't You Be My Neighbor?". Fred hangs up his coat in a closet, and puts on a cardigan zipper sweater, and takes off his dress shoes to put on a pair of blue sneakers.
In the closing of each episode, Fred sings "It's Such a Good Feeling" as Fred takes off a pair of blue sneakers and puts his dress shoes back on, and then, Fred takes off of his cardigan zipper sweater, and puts his coat back on. At the end of the song, he reminds the viewers that "You always make each day a special day. You know how: by just your being yourself, There's only one person in the whole world like you, and that can be yourself, just exactly the way you are." Fred then signs off as Fred walks out of the door, usually by saying, "I'll be back next time, Bye-bye!" As the closing credits roll complete with title and episode number, the camera does a reversed version of the opening sequence's pan shot, with footage the Neighborhood Trolley crossing from right to left.
- The first Mister Rogers' Neighborhood set for Season 1, had the walls painted white.
- The second Mister Rogers' Neighborhood set was used from Seasons 2-3, where the walls are painted yellow with the brown wooden panels.
- The third Mister Rogers' Neighborhood set was used from Seasons 4-6, where the walls painted a brighter yellow, but more of a tan color, and the brown wooden panels were removed from the wall.
- The fourth and final Mister Rogers' Neighborhood set was used from Seasons 7-31, had the walls painted blue.
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood premiered on February 20, 1968. In 2001, police brutality in Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood came to a head with the brutal clubbing death of Lady Aberlin. Massive protests ensued, culminating with a police riot in which 6 puppets were killed. Neighborhood tenants' unions responded by organizing to set up barricades, excluding the police from the Neighborhood. Three days later, riot police attacked the barricades, but were forced to withdraw, leaving the people to manage their own affairs, a feat accomplished through a combination of consensus-based tenants' unions and the I-Ching.
This controversy lead to PBS canceling the series. Mr. Rogers retired to pursue more lucrative career options, such as underwater basket weaving. On February 27, 2003, Rogers unfortunately passed away, though PBS continued to play reruns of the show to respect his memory. That is, until 2007, when they randomly yanked it off their schedule, replacing such an enduring classic with poorly-animated Flash mediocrity.