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Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Overview
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, also known as Mister Rogers, is an American children's television series
Children's television series
Children's television series, are commercial television programs designed for, and marketed to children, normally scheduled for broadcast during the morning and afternoon when children are awake. They can sometimes run in the early evening, for the children that go to school...

 that was created and hosted by Fred Rogers. The series is aimed primarily at preschool ages, 2-5, but has been stated by Public Broadcasting Service
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 (PBS) as "appropriate for all ages". Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was produced by Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, USA public broadcaster WQED
WQED (TV)
WQED is a Public Broadcasting Service member Public television station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Established April 1, 1954, it was the first community-sponsored television station in the United States as well as the fifth public TV station...

 and Rogers' non-profit production company Family Communications, Inc.; previously known as Small World Enterprises prior to 1971, the company was renamed The Fred Rogers Company sometime after Rogers' death.
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Quotations

King Friday: "(Name of visitor), I presume?" / Visitor: "Correct as usual/always, Your Majesty/King Friday."

X The Owl: "How in the world are ya?"

Lady Elaine: "TOOT TOOT!" (Her signature goodbye)

Harriet Elizabeth Cow: "I'll say."

Henrietta Pussycat: "(Whatever the quote is, insert two or three "meow's" in between every few words)"

Encyclopedia
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, also known as Mister Rogers, is an American children's television series
Children's television series
Children's television series, are commercial television programs designed for, and marketed to children, normally scheduled for broadcast during the morning and afternoon when children are awake. They can sometimes run in the early evening, for the children that go to school...

 that was created and hosted by Fred Rogers. The series is aimed primarily at preschool ages, 2-5, but has been stated by Public Broadcasting Service
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 (PBS) as "appropriate for all ages". Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was produced by Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, USA public broadcaster WQED
WQED (TV)
WQED is a Public Broadcasting Service member Public television station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Established April 1, 1954, it was the first community-sponsored television station in the United States as well as the fifth public TV station...

 and Rogers' non-profit production company Family Communications, Inc.; previously known as Small World Enterprises prior to 1971, the company was renamed The Fred Rogers Company sometime after Rogers' death. It is the third longest running series on PBS, after Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

and Masterpiece. The series could be seen in reruns on most PBS stations until August 29, 2008, when it was removed by PBS from their daily syndicated schedule along with Reading Rainbow
Reading Rainbow
Reading Rainbow is an American children's television series aired by PBS from June 6, 1983 until November 10, 2006 that encouraged reading among children. The award-winning public television series garnered over 200 broadcast awards, including scores of Emmy Awards, many for "Outstanding Children's...

, Boohbah
Boohbah
Boohbah is a 2003 children's television series produced by Ragdoll Productions and aimed at children between three and five years old. It premiered in 2003 on GMTV and CITV in the United Kingdom, in the United States on PBS and PBS Kids Sprout. It was created by Anne Wood with scripts by Alan Dapre...

, and Teletubbies
Teletubbies
Teletubbies is a BBC children's television series targeted at pre-school viewers and produced from 1997 to 2001 by Ragdoll Productions. It was created by Ragdoll's creative director Anne Wood CBE and Andrew Davenport, who wrote each of the show's 365 episodes. The programme's original narrator was...

, in a deviation from the PBS policy of removing shows from the national feed after three years of reruns. Despite this, a number of stations have chosen to continue airing it independently of the PBS feed.

History


The series had its genesis in 1954, when WQED Public television debuted The Children's Corner, a program featuring Rogers as puppeteer and Josie Carey
Josie Carey
Josephine Vicari Massucci Franz , known by the stage name Josie Carey, was a lyricist and a host of several children's television shows.-Biography:...

 as host, in an unscripted live television
Live television
Live television refers to a television production broadcast in real-time, as events happen, in the present. From the early days of television until about 1958, live television was used heavily, except for filmed shows such as I Love Lucy and Gunsmoke. Video tape did not exist until 1957...

 program. It was this program where many of the puppets, characters and music used in the later series were developed, such as King Friday XIII, and Curious X the Owl. It was also the time when Rogers began wearing his famous sneakers, as he found them to be quieter than his work shoes while he was moving about behind the set. The show won a Sylvania Award for best children's show, and was briefly broadcast nationally on NBC. Rogers moved to Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, Canada, in 1962 to work on a new series based on The Children's Corner, called Misterogers, a 15-minute program on CBC Television
CBC Television
CBC Television is a Canadian television network owned by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the national public broadcaster.Although the CBC is supported by public funding, the television network supplements this funding with commercial advertising revenue, in contrast to CBC Radio which are...

.

In 1965, Fred Rogers returned to Pittsburgh and renamed the show Misterogers' Neighborhood, which initially aired regionally through the Eastern Educational Network (now American Public Television
American Public Television
American Public Television is the largest syndicator of programming for public television stations in the United States.-History:...

). In 1967, The Sears Roebuck Foundation provided funding for the program, which enabled them to be seen nationwide on National Educational Television
National Educational Television
National Educational Television was an American non-commercial educational public television network in the United States from May 16, 1954 to October 4, 1970...

; taping for the show began in October 1967 for the first national season.

The first national broadcast of Misterogers' Neighborhood appeared on most NET stations on February 19, 1968. In 1970, when PBS replaced NET, it also inherited this program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

. Around the same time the show had a slight title change, to the more-familiar Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

The show was in production from February 19, 1968 to February 20, 1976, and again from August 27, 1979 to August 31, 2001. The studio in Pittsburgh where the series was taped was later renamed "The Fred Rogers Studio", in honor of Rogers himself.

Premise


Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was characterized by its quiet simplicity and gentleness. Episodes consisted of Rogers speaking directly to the viewer about various issues, taking the viewer on tours of factories, demonstrating experiments, crafts, and music, and interacting with his friends. Rogers also made a point to simply behave naturally on camera rather than acting out a character, stating that "One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self. I also believe that kids can spot a phony a mile away." The half-hour episodes were punctuated by a puppet segment chronicling occurrences in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe
Neighborhood of Make-Believe
The Neighborhood of Make-Believe is the fictional kingdom inhabited by the hand puppet characters on the children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, produced from 1968 to 2001...

.

During the opening sequence of each episode the camera pans slowly over a 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 Rogers enters his television studio house, singing "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" He hangs his coat in a closet, puts on a cardigan
Cardigan (sweater)
A cardigan is a type of machine- or hand-knitted sweater that ties, buttons or zips down the front; by contrast, a pullover does not open in front but must be "pulled over" the head to be worn. The cardigan was named after James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, a British military commander,...

 zipper sweater, and removes his dress shoes to put on sneakers
Athletic shoe
Athletic shoe is a generic name for the footwear primarily designed for sports or other forms of physical exercise but in recent years has come to be used for casual everyday activities....

. One of Rogers' sweaters now hangs in the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

, a testament to the cultural influence of his simple daily ritual.

Starting in 1979, episodes were grouped into week-long series, with each series focused on a particular topic. Rogers' monologues throughout the week explore various facets of the topic, and the ongoing story from the Neighborhood of Make-Believe serves as illustration.

Rogers 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, on March 23, 1970, he dealt with the death of one of his pet goldfish. 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.

Mister Rogers always made a clear distinction between the realistic world of his television neighborhood and the fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 world of Make-Believe. He often discussed what was going to happen in Make-Believe before the next fantasy segment was shown ("Let's pretend that Prince Tuesday has been having scary dreams..."), and sometimes acted out bits of Make-Believe with models on a table before the camera transitioned to the live-action puppet rendition. The miniature motorized trolley
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 (which was known in character form as "Trolley"), with its accompanying fast-paced piano theme music, was the only element that appeared regularly in both the realistic world and Make-Believe: it was used to transport viewers from one realm to the other. Rogers, however, was mentioned from time to time in Make-Believe, particularly by Mr. McFeely, who appeared occasionally in the Make-Believe segments and seemed to form a link between the two worlds. The idea of the trolley came from Rogers, when he was young, there had been lots of trolleys operating in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

 and he liked riding on them. This reality/fantasy distinction put Rogers' series in sharp contrast with other children's series, such as fellow PBS program Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

, which freely mixed realistic and fantastic elements.

The series featured "Picture Picture", a rear-projection
Video projector
A video projector is an image projector that receives a video signal and projects the corresponding image on a projection screen using a lens system. All video projectors use a very bright light to project the image, and most modern ones can correct any curves, blurriness, and other...

 motion picture and slide projector, whose screen is encased with a picture frame. In early episodes, Picture Picture would show various films or slides at Mister Rogers' command; after the material was presented, Mister Rogers would thank Picture Picture, in which it will return a "You're Welcome" on its screen. After 1970 Picture Picture no longer operated magically, becoming merely a projector; Mister Rogers would insert a film, slides or videotape through a slot on the side, then show the material using a wired remote control. When Picture Picture was not used, a different painting would be displayed on its screen.

The series was also notable for its use of jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

-inspired music, mostly arranged and performed by Rogers' brother-in-law Johnny Costa
Johnny Costa
Johnny Costa was an American jazz pianist, born in Arnold, Pennsylvania. Given the title "The White Tatum" by jazz legend Art Tatum, Costa is best known for his work as musical director of the children's television program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.Costa learned to play accordion at age 7 and...

, until Costa's death in 1996, when he was succeeded by Michael Moricz for the remainder of the series. The music was unique in its simplicity and flow that blended with the series' sketches and features. The music was usually played live during taping. Lyrics and melodies were written and sung by Rogers, who created more than 200 original songs.

Production ended on August 31, 2001.

After the series


When Fred Rogers died in 2003, PBS' website communicated some ways to help children deal with Mr. Rogers' dying by presenting suggestions to parents of what to say to the children about Mr. Rogers and how to approach a child who inquires after him.

Beginning September 3, 2007, some PBS affiliates began replacing the show with new programs such as Super Why!
Super Why!
Super Why! or The Reading Adventures of Super Why! is a CGI animated show developed by Angela C. Santomero and Samantha Freeman Alpert. The TV series is produced by New York City-based Out of the Blue Enterprises and Toronto-based DHX Media through its Decode Entertainment division. The show...

and WordWorld
WordWorld
WordWorld is a three-time Emmy Award-winning children's television series partially funded by the United States Department of Education as part of the Ready To Learn literacy initiative targeted to 3- to 7-year olds. The show airs in 10 languages and 90 countries, including in the United States....

. In June 2008, PBS announced that, beginning in the fall of 2008, it would stop transmitting Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as part of its daily syndication lineup to member stations, instead airing the program only once a week over the weekend. Milwaukee Public Television, for example, still carries the show once a week, on Sunday, over its primary HD/SD channel. Beginning on September 1, 2008, the Neighborhood program was replaced by new programming such as Martha Speaks
Martha Speaks (TV series)
Martha Speaks is an animated children's television sitcom based on the 1992 children's book of the same name by Susan Meddaugh about a talking dog named Martha , who is owned by ten-year-old Helen Lorraine...

, Sid the Science Kid
Sid the Science Kid
Sid the Science Kid is a half-hour PBS Kids series that debuted on September 1, 2008. The computer generated show is produced by Jim Henson Productions and then-PBS member KCET in Los Angeles, California using the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio...

, and an update of The Electric Company. However, individual member stations have the option of airing the Neighborhood independently of the PBS syndicated feed, with series home WQED
WQED (TV)
WQED is a Public Broadcasting Service member Public television station based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Established April 1, 1954, it was the first community-sponsored television station in the United States as well as the fifth public TV station...

 in particular continuing to air the series daily until 2010. There was a campaign in 2008 and 2009 to urge PBS and all member stations to bring the show back seven days a week.

Animated spinoff



In July 2011 during the annual Television Critics Association
Television Critics Association
The Television Critics Association is a group of approximately 200 United States and Canadian journalists and columnists who cover television programming...

 summer press tour, it was announced that a new animated spinoff series, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is an American children's television series scheduled to debut on most PBS stations in the fall of 2012; the program is a spinoff of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, where the character of Daniel Tiger originated.-Premise:...

, is in production, for debut on PBS in Fall 2012. The series will feature Daniel Tiger (formerly "Daniel Striped Tiger") as a host of the series, which will feature characters of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe all grown older, with the children now having families of their own.

Theme song


The song "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" was written by Fred Rogers in 1967 and was used as the opening theme for each episode of the show.

In the early years of the show, when new episodes were constantly being produced, each show ended with the song "Tomorrow." Starting in 1971, "Tomorrow" was used only on episodes which aired Monday through Thursday, and a new song, called "The Weekend Song" was used on shows that aired on Friday (since he wouldn't be back on the air "tomorrow"). Eventually, the "Tomorrow" song was eliminated entirely, and by 1972 Rogers sang "It's Such a Good Feeling" at the end of every show. Prior to 1972, the original version of "Good Feeling" was used as part of Mister Rogers' general repertoire of songs. When "Good Feeling" became used as a closing theme, it was slightly rewritten, incorporating the first four lines of "The Weekend Song" at the end, though rendered during the week as "And I'll be back when the day is new...", with "day" changed to "week" on Friday episodes.

In 1991, the early episodes were removed from the broadcast circulation and so the "Tomorrow" song hasn't been heard since then. Rogers sang the opening song while entering the set and performing his iconic wardrobe change going from a suit jacket and dress shoes to a more casual cardigan sweater and sneakers, and sang the closing song when he changed back.

Broadcast history


The first broadcast of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was on the National Educational Television
National Educational Television
National Educational Television was an American non-commercial educational public television network in the United States from May 16, 1954 to October 4, 1970...

 network on February 19, 1968; the color NET logo appeared on a model building at the beginning and end of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from 1969 to 1970. When NET ceased broadcasting, the series moved to PBS, even though episodes as late at 1971 were still copyrighted to – and produced for – NET.

The former NET model house was "remodeled", first to a small yellow-orange sided house, and then into a red apartment building. The roof's lopsided slant from its days as a NET logo remained. When the pre-70 episodes were rerun in 1976, the NET ident that followed the closing credits and showing of the NET model house was replaced with an additional segment showing underwriters (see "Funding"). The showing of the NET model house itself was left intact on these reruns as late as the 1980s.

The final week of original episodes of the "first series", first broadcast starting February 16, 1976, featured Mister Rogers in his workshop, watching scenes of past episodes of his series, which he recorded on videocassettes and kept on the shelf in his workshop. On the Friday episode of that week, he reminded viewers that they, too, can watch many of those old episodes beginning the following week.

As of August 11, 1995, the episodes from the first series were no longer shown on television, since there was an ample supply of the second series in circulation, and since many of the first series episodes had become outdated. A few episodes from the first half exist in the Museum of Television & Radio, including the first episode of the series and the first color episode. A complete collection of episodes, including more than 900 videotapes and scripts from the show along with other promotional materials produced by Rogers or his Family Communications Inc. production company, exists in the University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as Pitt, is a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on what was then the American frontier, Pitt is one of the oldest continuously chartered institutions of...

's Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Archives located in the Elizabeth Nesbitt Room in the university's School of Information Sciences
University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences
The University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences is one of the nation’s pioneering schools in the education of information professionals, with a history that reaches back more than a hundred years to the days of Andrew Carnegie...

 Building.

Reruns


When PBS began re-airing the first 460 color episodes of the series in 1976, some of the early color episodes from 1969 and 1970 were re-edited with new voice-overs or footage. For example, in one 1969 episode where Mister Rogers demonstrates the noise-proof ear protectors that airport workers use on the tarmac, the film footage used featured a worker directing a United Airlines
United Airlines
United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees United Air Lines, Inc., is the world's largest airline with 86,852 employees (which includes the entire holding company United Continental...

 jet with its stylised "U" logo—which wasn't introduced until 1974. All of the episodes revised from the first series also included an extra segment following the closing credits, mentioning the episode number and additional companies that provided funding since these episodes originally aired, even though they had not provided funding at the time of original production.

Almost all of the 1979–2001 episodes are in active rotation on PBS. The only exception is the week-long "Conflict" series (episodes #1521–#1525), first aired during the week of November 7–11, 1983 to coincide with ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

's airing of the television film The Day After
The Day After
The Day After is a 1983 American television movie which aired on November 20, 1983, on the ABC television network. It was seen by more than 100 million people during its initial broadcast....

, and designed for children to cope with the aftereffects of that film. The series/story arc covered the topics of war, bombs, and an arms race. The "Conflict" series was last aired during the week of April 1–5, 1996.

Only a few episodes of the series have been released to DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Anchor Bay Entertainment is a U.S. based home entertainment and production company and is a division of Starz Media, which is a unit of Starz, LLC. It was previously owned by IDT Entertainment until 2006 when IDT was purchased by Starz Media. Anchor Bay markets and sells feature films, series,...

. 100 episodes have been released as part of Amazon Instant Video.

Funding


From 1968 to 1976, the sponsor credits were part of the series credits; the ones used in the opening are silent other than the theme, and an announcer or Fred Rogers reads the sponsor credits aloud during the closing credits. From 1976 onward, repeats of episodes from 1969 to 1976 have additional closing sponsor credits over a still of the trolley with the series logo and episode number. From 1979 onward, the sponsor credits were in a separate segment at the start and end of each episode, announced by Fred Rogers. Only the sponsors' names were shown on screen.
  • Sears-Roebuck Foundation
    Sears, Roebuck and Company
    Sears, officially named Sears, Roebuck and Co., is an American chain of department stores which was founded by Richard Warren Sears and Alvah Curtis Roebuck in the late 19th century...

     (February 19, 1968–November 29, 1991)
  • NET-affiliated stations
    National Educational Television
    National Educational Television was an American non-commercial educational public television network in the United States from May 16, 1954 to October 4, 1970...

     (February 19, 1968–May 1, 1970)
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
    Corporation for Public Broadcasting
    The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a non-profit corporation created by an act of the United States Congress, funded by the United States’ federal government to promote public broadcasting...

     (February 2, 1970–February 20, 1976, February 25, 1991-August 31, 2001)
  • Johnson & Johnson
    Johnson & Johnson
    Johnson & Johnson is an American multinational pharmaceutical, medical devices and consumer packaged goods manufacturer founded in 1886. Its common stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the company is listed among the Fortune 500....

     Baby Products Company (February 17, 1975–February 20, 1976)
  • Ford Foundation
    Ford Foundation
    The Ford Foundation is a private foundation incorporated in Michigan and based in New York City created to fund programs that were chartered in 1936 by Edsel Ford and Henry Ford....

     (February 17, 1975-February 20, 1976)
  • Public Television Stations
    Public broadcasting
    Public broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets whose primary mission is public service. Public broadcasters receive funding from diverse sources including license fees, individual contributions, public financing and commercial financing.Public broadcasting may be...

     (February 17, 1975–August 31, 2001)

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood


Characters on the series include:
  • Mr. McFeely (David Newell
    David Newell
    David Newell is a television actor who is remembered for his career as Mr. McFeely, the delivery man on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. His character's most famous catchphrase was "Speedy Delivery!" This was Newell's major role, but not his only one as he appeared in small film and TV parts...

    ) the delivery man, named for Fred Rogers' maternal grandfather,
  • Neighbor Aber (Chuck Aber
    Chuck Aber
    Chuck Aber is an American actor.A graduate of Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, Aber appeared in the films Creepshow and The Silence of the Lambs , He has appeared in commercials and in the children's television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood...

    )
  • Lady Aberlin (Betty Aberlin
    Betty Aberlin
    Betty Aberlin is an American actress, poet, and writer.Born as Betty Kay Ageloff in New York City, Aberlin had a regular role on The Smothers Brothers Show. She worked on various TV spots, and played Lady Aberlin on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood...

    )
  • Marilyn Barnett
  • Chef Brockett (Don Brockett
    Don Brockett
    Don Brockett was an American actor, comedian, and producer and director from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, known for his portrayal of Chef Brockett on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood...

    )
  • Tony Chiroldes
  • Jose Cisneros
    José Cisneros
    José Cisneros is the elected Treasurer of the City and County of San Francisco, California. He was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom in September 2004, defended his position in 2005 and was sworn in for his first full term in 2006...

  • Officer Clemmons (François Clemmons
    François Clemmons
    "Dr." François Scarborough Clemmons is an American singer, performer, playwright and university lecturer. He is perhaps best known for his appearances on the PBS television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood throughout the 1970s.-History:Clemmons was born in Alabama, but his family moved to...

    )
  • Keith David
    Keith David
    Keith David Williams , better known as Keith David, is an American film, television, voice actor, and singer. He is perhaps most known for his live-action roles in such films as Crash, There's Something About Mary, Barbershop and Men at Work...

  • Emily the Poetry Lady (Emily Jacobson) (in early episodes)
  • Mrs. McFeely (Betsy Nadas)
  • Handyman Negri (Joe Negri
    Joe Negri
    Joseph Harold Negri is a jazz guitarist and educator from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During his years as Musical Director at WTAE-TV, he appeared on the former children's television show Paul Shannon's Adventure Time and other locally-produced shows on the station...

    )
  • Sergio Pinto
    Sergio Pinto
    Sergio Pinto may refer to:*Sérgio Sousa Pinto - Portuguese politician*Sergio Pinto *Sergio Pinto...

  • John Reardon
  • Audrey Roth
  • Maggie Stewart
  • Bob Trow
    Bob Trow
    Robert Trow was an American radio celebrity, actor, and craftsman.Raised in the Beltzhoover neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Trow began his career in radio. He later became well known for his acting roles on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as Bob Dog and Robert Troll, characters from the...



Other regular puppeteers included
  • Michael Horton
  • Lenny Meledandri (1980–2001)
  • Carole Switala


Music directors for the series:
  • Johnny Costa
    Johnny Costa
    Johnny Costa was an American jazz pianist, born in Arnold, Pennsylvania. Given the title "The White Tatum" by jazz legend Art Tatum, Costa is best known for his work as musical director of the children's television program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.Costa learned to play accordion at age 7 and...

     (1968–1996)
  • Michael Moricz, who took over as music director after Costa's death and served until the end of the series in 2001


Musicians who played the background music along with Johnny Costa for Mr Roger's Neighborhood included
  • Carl McVicker Jr., bass
  • Bobby Rawsthorne, drums & percussion


The human characters who appeared in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe were mostly imaginary versions of people who lived in Mr. Rogers' "real" neighborhood. For example, Joe "Handyman" Negri, a respected Pittsburgh jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 guitarist, was a music shop proprietor on Rogers' street. The non-make-believe version of Betty Aberlin was an actress. Audrey Roth operated a janitorial service in the real neighborhood, but was royal phone operator "Miss Paulifficate" in Make-Believe. Only Mr. McFeely, Mrs. McFeely, and Chef Brockett appeared substantially the same way in both Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Neighborhood of Make-Believe


list of the puppet and costumed characters appearing in the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe
Neighborhood of Make-Believe
The Neighborhood of Make-Believe is the fictional kingdom inhabited by the hand puppet characters on the children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, produced from 1968 to 2001...

" segment:
  • Anna Platypus (Carole Switala)
  • Betty Okonak Templeton-Jones (Michael Horton)
  • Bob Dog
    Bob Dog
    Bob Dog was a character on the long-running television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, where he appeared as a resident of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. The life-size character of Bob Dog was an innocent and friendly dog who would howl a lot, and was easily flustered, but who enjoyed...

     (Bob Trow
    Bob Trow
    Robert Trow was an American radio celebrity, actor, and craftsman.Raised in the Beltzhoover neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Trow began his career in radio. He later became well known for his acting roles on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as Bob Dog and Robert Troll, characters from the...

    )
  • Collette (Fred Rogers)
  • Cornflake S. Pecially (Fred Rogers)
  • Cousin Mary Owl (Mary Rawson
    Mary Rawson
    Mary Rawson is the actress who played Cousin Mary Owl in the Neighborhood of Make Believe on the children's television program Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.-External links:*...

    )
  • Cousin Steven Owl (Stephen Lee)
  • Daniel Striped Tiger (Fred Rogers)
  • Donkey Hodie (Fred Rogers)
  • Dr. Duckbill Platypus (Bill Barker)
  • Edgar Cooke (Fred Rogers)
  • Elsie Jean Platypus (Bill Barker)
  • Grandpere (Fred Rogers)
  • Harriett Elizabeth Cow (Robert Trow)
  • Henrietta Pussycat (Fred Rogers)
  • H.J. Elephant III (Charles R. Aber)
  • Hula Mouse (Tony Chiroldes)
  • Ino A. Horse (Fred Rogers)
  • James Michael Jones (Michael Horton
    Michael Horton
    Michael Scott Horton is Professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary California, editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine, and host of the nationally syndicated radio broadcast, The White Horse Inn. He was formerly the president of Christians United for Reformation , which...

    )
  • King Friday XIII (Fred Rogers)
  • Lady Elaine Fairchilde (Fred Rogers)
  • Mrs. Frogg (Fred Rogers and later Hedda Sharapan)
  • Prince Tuesday (Fred Michael, Charles Altman, Carole Switala, and Lenny Meledandri)
  • Princess Margeret H. Lizard (Fred Rogers)
  • Purple Panda (David Nohling and Matt Meko)
  • Queen Sara Saturday (Fred Rogers)
  • Robert Troll
    Robert Troll
    Robert Troll was a character on the long-running children's television program, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He was featured in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe segments. He often speaks in a childlike mumbling known as "troll talk" and is a good friend to the other characters. The character's name...

     (Bob Trow)
  • Tadpole Frogg (voiced by Fred Rogers)
  • X the Owl (Fred Rogers)

Operas


Thirteen in-series "operas" took place during the course of the series within the Make-Believe segments. Many of them feature American baritone John Reardon as a main character. These operas, and the year of their first airing are:
  • Babysitter Opera (1968)
  • Campsite Opera (1968)
  • Teddy Bear/Whaling Ship Opera (1969)
  • "Pineapples and Tomatoes" (1970)
  • "Monkey's Uncle" (1971)
  • "Snow People and Warm Pussycat" (1972)
  • "Potato Bugs and Cows" (1973)
  • "All in the Laundry" (1974)
  • "Key to Otherland" (1975)
  • "Windstorm in Bubbleland" (1980)
  • "Spoon Mountain" (1982)
  • "A Granddad for Daniel" (1984)
  • "A Star for Kitty" (1986)


Of those 13 operas, only the last 4 still air; the others had their last airings during the 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s. Additionally, a play, Josephine The Short-Necked Giraffe, first aired in 1989 as a tribute to the late John Reardon, and still airs today.

Pittsburgh-area native Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton
Michael John Douglas , better known by the stage name Michael Keaton, is an American actor known for his early comedic roles, most notably his performance as the title character of Tim Burton's Beetlejuice . Keaton is also famous for his dramatic portrayal of Bruce Wayne/Batman in Tim Burton's...

 received his first major acting break as a "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" character in 1975. Keaton played an acrobat in a troupe called The Flying Zookeenies that performed for King Friday's birthday. He was also in charge of running the Trolley.

Guests


Guests on the series ranged from cellist Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist, virtuoso, and orchestral composer. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011...

 to actor and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno
Lou Ferrigno
Louis Jude "Lou" Ferrigno is an American actor, fitness trainer/consultant, and retired professional bodybuilder. As a bodybuilder, Ferrigno won an IFBB Mr. America title and two consecutive IFBB Mr. Universe titles, and appeared in the bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron...

 of TV's The Incredible Hulk. (In a 2001 piece where celebrities were asked about their heroes, Rogers cited Ma as one of his heroes.) A 1968 visit by electronic music pioneer Bruce Haack
Bruce Haack
Bruce Clinton Haack was a musician, composer, and pioneer of electronic music. He was born in Alberta, Canada.-From Alberta to New York :...

 resurfaced in the 2004 documentary Haack: King of Techno.

Guests on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood were often surprised to find that although Rogers was just as gentle and patient in life as on television, he was nevertheless a perfectionist
Perfectionism (psychology)
Perfectionism, in psychology, is a belief that a state of completeness and flawlessness can and should be attained. In its pathological form, perfectionism is a belief that work or output that is anything less than perfect is unacceptable...

 who did not allow "shoddy" ad-libbing; he believed that children were thoughtful people who deserved programming as good as anything produced for adults on television.

Rogers appeared as a guest on some other series. On the children's animated cartoon
Animated cartoon
An animated cartoon is a short, hand-drawn film for the cinema, television or computer screen, featuring some kind of story or plot...

 series Arthur
Arthur (TV series)
Arthur is an American/Canadian animated educational television series for children, created by Cookie Jar Group and WGBH for the Public Broadcasting Service...

, for example, Rogers plays himself as an aardvark
Aardvark
The aardvark is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa...

 like Arthur. Later on, Arthur appears as a guest in hand-puppet form in a 1999 episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe
Neighborhood of Make-Believe
The Neighborhood of Make-Believe is the fictional kingdom inhabited by the hand puppet characters on the children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, produced from 1968 to 2001...

. Bill Nye
Bill Nye
William Sanford "Bill" Nye , popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator, comedian, television host, actor, mechanical engineer, and scientist...

, host of a science-themed program, and Rogers also exchanged appearances on each other's series, as did Rogers and Captain Kangaroo
Captain Kangaroo
Captain Kangaroo is a children's television series which aired weekday mornings on the American television network CBS for nearly 30 years, from October 3, 1955 until December 8, 1984, making it the longest-running children's television program of its day...

. Rogers additionally appeared in an episode of Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

, where he explains to Big Bird that even if one loses a running race such as the one Big Bird had run against his friend "Snuffy", no hard feelings threaten to break the two of them apart. Big Bird himself also appeared in one episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Episodes

  • First series (1968-1976): 1  * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9


Specials


A prime time Christmas special, Christmastime with Mister Rogers, first aired in 1977. This special had François Clemmons
François Clemmons
"Dr." François Scarborough Clemmons is an American singer, performer, playwright and university lecturer. He is perhaps best known for his appearances on the PBS television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood throughout the 1970s.-History:Clemmons was born in Alabama, but his family moved to...

 introducing a storyteller and flutist friend to Rogers. They filmed a couple of narrated segments of the stories François' friend told. The special also had the Neighborhood of Make-Believe
Neighborhood of Make-Believe
The Neighborhood of Make-Believe is the fictional kingdom inhabited by the hand puppet characters on the children's television program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, produced from 1968 to 2001...

 segment which shows how they celebrated Christmas. Even the trolley
Tram
A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

 had a banner on the roof that said "Merry Christmas" on one side, and "Happy Hannukah" on the other. This special was aired every Christmas season until 1982. This special's opening and close have Rogers walking through a real neighborhood while the titles roll rather than the model neighborhood used in the series.

In 1994, Rogers created another one-time special for PBS called Fred Rogers' Heroes which consisted of documentary portraits of four real-life people whose work helped make their communities better. Rogers, uncharacteristically dressed in a suit and tie, hosted in wraparound segments which did not use the "Neighborhood" set.

For a time Rogers produced specials for the parents as a precursor to the subject of the week on the Neighborhood called "Mister Rogers Talks To Parents About [topic]". Rogers didn't host those specials, though; other people like Joan Lunden
Joan Lunden
Joan Lunden is an American journalist, author and television host. She was the co-host of ABC's Good Morning America from 1980 through 1997 and is the author of 8 books...

, who hosted the Conflict special, and other news announcers played MC duties in front of a gallery of parents while Rogers answered questions from them. These specials were made to prepare the parents for any questions the children might ask after watching the episodes on that topic of the week.

Legacy outside television

  • Idlewild and Soak Zone
    Idlewild and Soak Zone
    Idlewild and Soak Zone, commonly known as Idlewild Park or simply Idlewild, is a family amusement park situated in the Laurel Highlands near Ligonier, Pennsylvania, United States, about east of Pittsburgh, along US Route 30. Founded in 1878 as a campground along the Ligonier Valley Railroad by...

    , an amusement park near Rogers' hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania
    Latrobe, Pennsylvania
    Latrobe is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in the United States, approximately southeast of Pittsburgh.The city population was 7,634 as of the 2000 census . It is located near the Pennsylvania's scenic Chestnut Ridge. Latrobe was incorporated as a borough in 1854, and as a city in 1999...

     has an attraction called "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe" featuring a life-size trolley ride, designed by Rogers.
  • The planetarium
    Planetarium
    A planetarium is a theatre built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, or for training in celestial navigation...

     show "The Sky Above Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" is a computer-animated adaptation of the television show for preschool-aged children.

  • After three years as a traveling exhibit, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
    Children's Museum of Pittsburgh
    The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is a children's museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It is in the Allegheny Center neighborhood in Pittsburgh's Northside.- History :...

     had Welcome to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood installed as a permanent exhibit in 2004.
  • The Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Archives at the University of Pittsburgh's
    University of Pittsburgh
    The University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as Pitt, is a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on what was then the American frontier, Pitt is one of the oldest continuously chartered institutions of...

     School of Information Sciences
    University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences
    The University of Pittsburgh - School of Information Sciences is one of the nation’s pioneering schools in the education of information professionals, with a history that reaches back more than a hundred years to the days of Andrew Carnegie...

     is an academic resource and collection that contains correspondence, scripts, props, puppets, fan mail, 911 videotapes (3 episodes are missing, presumed wiped), and scholarly articles that show the cultural impact of Fred Rogers' work.
  • A statue of Fred Rogers exists on the north shore of the Allegheny River near Heinz Field.
  • The music of the show was interpreted by an eclectic mix of modern artists for the 2005 album Songs From the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers.

External links