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Thursday, January 15, 2009

King Friday XIII Celebrates LP [1969?]

RUNNING TIME: Approximately 47:34

Actually, the full title of this album is King Friday XIII Celebrates in Misterogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

A few weeks back, I purchased this album through an eBay auction (sorry if you're the person I outbid). I could tell simply by looking at the cover that this was going to be a lot of fun to listen to. While I haven't been able to pin down the precise date for this album, I can only assume that it is from the late 1960's as the bottom of the back cover advertises "Misterogers' new LP Record Album Won't You Be My Neighbor" (which was originally released in 1967). Featuring Fred Rogers and John Reardon (who, in his picture, looks remarkably like my former boss), this album is packed with Mister Rogers classics.

The album jacket summarizes its content:
Television audiences all over the United States and Canada will recognize Misterogers and his Neighborhood of Make-Believe. King Friday XIII is the pompous monarch who celebrates his birthday each time: "The day of the week is Friday and the day of the month thirteen..." The story on this record tells about one of King Friday's birthdays and how Daniel S. Tiger, X the Owl, Henrietta Pussycat and some of his other neighbors helped the king to celebrate.
UPDATE: mp3 files of this LP can be downloaded compliments of Way Out Junk.


Misterogers' Invitation (Fred Rogers) 1:21
Obviously from the days before Mister Rogers' name became two words, this is one of my favorite tracks off of this entire album as it provides a very short introduction to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe: "Would you like to meet the tiger that lives there in that clock, or see an Eiffel Tower or hear a French one talk? Would you like to use a telephone? It's a tin can on a string that lets you reach the castle, where a most majestic king, His Majesty King Friday, is in charge of everything. Would you like to ride a trolley along that trolley track? Or crawl right through the underpass, right through and then right back. Pop into this house here. Come in and visit me. There's lots for us to see and hear and think and do and feel and be. My name is Mister Rogers, I'm glad that you are near. You've made this day a special day by just your being here."

I Like You As You Are (Josie Carey, Fred Rogers) 2:35
Unfortunately, this track includes one of the two skips that I noticed on this album. But considering is age, things could've been worse. Following the song, Mister Rogers talks with the Trolley and leads into time in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe where a majority of this album is spent. Listeners learn that King Friday XIII is celebrating his birthday.

Then Your Heart is Full of Love (Josie Carey, Fred Rogers) 2:55
Performed by John Reardon, this song is sung to Daniel Striped Tiger who is feeling nervous about attending King Friday's birthday celebration.

Looking for a Friend (Josie Carey, Fred Rogers) 1:50
A fun song performed by Fred Rogers, as Cornflake S. Pecially who is working on King Friday's birthday present. Mr. Reardon helps Corny spell "Friday" which Corny admits he always thought was "Fried Egg."

Meow, Meow, Meow, Meow Beautiful (Fred Rogers) 2:05
This song is full of expected "meows" from Henrietta and concludes with a screeching "meow" that will pierce your ears if you're not prepared for it.

Today is New (Noel Regney, Gloria shayne, John Reardon, Fred Rogers) 2:56
X the Owl hears the music and comes out to hear Reardon sing this song.

Creation Duet (Josie Carey, Fred Rogers) 2:45
Henrietta, X, and Reardon discuss the gifts that King Friday may give before X and Reardon sing a song about God's responsiblity for creation: "God made the mighty and He made the very small. God made the world, made the people, He made it all."


Find a Star (Josie Carey, Fred Rogers) 2:55
Reardon sings this song about wishing upon a star and other lucky things (quite a contrast to Mister Rogers' later song Wishes Don't Make Things Come True).

You've Got to Learn Your Trade (Fred Rogers) 1:46
The second unfortunate skip on this album is in the early seconds of this song performed by X the Owl. The song is prefaced by a verse from X about cloud-hopping.

Prosperous Interval of Time (Fred Rogers) :44
At the castle, King Friday XIII addresses the Neighborhood: "We are assembled here for the festivities of the most important date in the calendar...Friday the birthday." He requests everyone sing Happy Birthday to him in typical King Friday fashion, as Prosperous Interval of Time.

Kingly Gifts (Fred Rogers) 2:45
Before giving the royal gifts, King Friday entertains with a reading of "Sintillate Sintillate Dominutive Stellar Orb" (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) while Henrietta wishes to recieve Jupiter as her gift. King Friday then sings this song about giving gifts on his birthday. Henrietta is upset when she receives the Tropic of Capricorn from King Friday.

It's Good to Talk (Fred Rogers) 2:05
Reardon encourages Henrietta to express her feelings to King Friday as he sings this song about the benefits of talking through problems. It turns out that Reardon was to receive Jupiter and after Henrietta expresses her disappointment, she and Reardon exchange gifts.

Three Rodents with Defective Eyesight (Anonymous) 1:01
Before eating cake, King Friday sings this kingly version of Three Blind Mice.

Propel, Propel, Propel Your Craft (Anonymous) :41
Another royal song from King Friday XIII (Row Row Row Your Boat) as was heard many times throughout the years on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and record albums.

Tomorrow (Josie Carey, Fred Rogers) 1:24
Back with Mister Rogers, he and Reardon sing Tomorrow. This song ended the early episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood but was later replaced with It's Such a Good Feeling.

Goodnight God (Josie Carey, Fred Rogers) 2:31
Mister Rogers sings this "goodnight song" thanking God for all He provides and as a prayer ending the day. A beautiful end to a wonderful album.

For more on the King Friday Celebrates  LP, visit the Neighborhood Archive.


Glammazon said...

I certainly remember King Friday the Thirteenth and the Neighbourhood of Make-Believe from the show when I was younger, and I was saddened to learn of John Reardon's death from pnemonia in 1988 - his lungs failed him at the last.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for sharing!! I had this album as a child and loved it, but could not even remember what it was called. I was wishing I could find a copy for my son. I have searched everywhere for some kind of information about it, and was thrilled to be able to find the link to the MP3 files! Now he can learn to enjoy it too.

Eric Scales said...

Tim, I think the explanation about Henrietta's house is consistent with it's appearance on the show. The house in X's tree is a schoolhouse, they just don't mention it anymore. But as far as I know it's always been in the tree.

Vickie said...

I love this album. It's my favorite of all the Mister Rogers albums that we own. Find a Star surprised me because I knew it from the much later opera, Star For Kitty, but this one is slightly different. Reardon does a magnificent job with this version. I'll have to check to see which album cover I have not that I realize there was a reissue! It's truly a wonderful record.

Anonymous said...

I too enjoy this album. There are some CBC Misterogers programs from Spring 1964. 1964 John Reardon & King Friday XIII decided to make a recording entitled "King Friday XIII Celebrates" John Reardon finishes the recordings for the Neighborhood of Make-Believe record album. Mrs. Frogg reveals the cover. Donna Miller learns about the record album that John Reardon helped the neighbors record. She watches Mrs. Frogg print the album covers and she shows King Friday XIII how to play the record at the correct speed.

Hopefully this may help give you an ideal of when this album was first recorded. I never knew it got rerelase in 1969?