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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You Are Special LP [1981]

RUNNING TIME: Approximately 26:25
Here's the 1981 release of You Are Special, an album we looked at a few months back. As opposed to the 1972 release of the album, this version has dropped the words "Mister Rogers knows that" from the title but has maintained the exact track listing as the earlier releases. Feel free to refer to the post on the 1972 release for more details on this album.

For more on this LP, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Episode 1580 - Making Mistakes

Original Air Date: May 8, 1987

For details on Episode 1580, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Musictivity - Won't You Be My Neighbor [1994]

This publication includes roughly 30 pages of activities for children to complete as they listen to the associated cassette tape and sing along with Mister Rogers' songs.

The book opens with another message for parents from Mister Rogers:

Music has always been an important part of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Through our Neighborhood songs I've been able to share everyday thoughts and feelings that I believe are central to childhood. The songs have given me ways to express a full range of human emotions, from the good feelings children can have of pride, caring, and difficult ones, like anger or jealousy or fear.

The "musictivity" book offers some ways to build on the ideas in the songs and to encourage children's creative play about the themes. When we help children talk and play about things, they're more likely to go on and use those ideasin their everyday experiences. At the same time, it's so helpful to show them we value their imagination adn their creativity, both essential for self-esteem and learning.

We're grateful for all that you bring to our songs and to these activities. Music has always enriched and nourished my life. Whatever ways you have of appreciating music can make a real difference to the children in your family or in your care.

Parents are encouraged to listen to the recording and work through the corresponding activities with their children as they talk about the themes. The final two pages of the book include an extensive list of suggestions for parents as they work with children on these lessons.

The activities themselves are quite creative and very relevant to the Neighborhood program itself. Included are such things as finding Xs hidden in X the Owl's tree, finding silly things that don't belong in Mister Rogers' fish tank, and helping characters find their ways to their Neighborhood homes. Scattered throughout the activities are pages containing the lyrics to the various songs on the recording.

Overall, this is a terrific collection of music and lessons for young people. However, there is one aspect of this book that I don't particularly care for. It seems that in the Mister Rogers books from the 1970's the characters were illustrated very similarly to the ways they appeared on the show itself. In this book though, the characters have been given somewhat of a modernized update -- a change I'm not so much a fan of. The character receiving the biggest makeover seems to be Lady Elaine. As you can see from the image below, she no long has her regular red-nosed appearance. Instead, she looks more like the kind old woman next door who got dressed with her eyes closed. The changes to the characters appearances is a very small price to pay, however, for a publication that is otherwise a very solid educational tool.
For more on this Musictivity set, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Episode 1579 - Making Mistakes

Original Air Date: May 7, 1987

For details on Episode 1579, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Episode 1578 - Making Mistakes

Original Air Date: May 6, 1987

For details on Episode 1578, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A quick readers poll.

After three months of daily posts, the Neighborhood Archive has found itself a pretty solid base of readers. I am curious to know more about the readers of this blog and the frequency of your visits as I look towards the coming months and the overall evolution of this blog. If you would, please take a few seconds to respond to the survey question found part way down the column to the right.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Episode 1577 - Making Mistakes

Original Air Date: May 5, 1987

For details on Episode 1577, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mister Rogers Swings!

Last week I was contacted by Holly Yarbrough -- a very talented singer with a great appreciation for Mister Rogers. Her appreciation is so great that she recorded an album of songs from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Mister Rogers Swings! is a collection of songs from the Neighborhood as performed by Holly featuring in a swinging, somewhat-lounge music style. As the promotional postcard Holly sent with her CD suggests, "It's Cocktail Time in Mister Rogers Neighborhood." This is somewhat ironic considering Fred Rogers' abstinance from alcohol, but whether or not you enjoy an adult beverage now and again, this album is a lot of fun! Many thanks for sharing, Holly!

Give Holly a listen on her MySpace page and pick up her CD at CDBaby!

For more on this CD, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, March 23, 2009

King Friday XIII - Obamicon

I'm sure at some point over the past several months you've seen the Hope poster which was a very popular component of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Paste Magazine has established a web-based image generator which allows you to "Obamicon" a photo of yourself to create your own campaign image. Neighbor Eric's imagination came up with a great image you might see around the Neighborhood of Make-Believe the next time election season rolls around.

Below are a few related links you might be interested in. Thanks for the fun image, Eric! - Create your own Hope-style image
Obama "Hope Poster" Wikipedia entry - Read more about the image and the controvery it has stirred

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Episode 1576 - Making Mistakes

Original Air Date: May 4, 1987

For details on Episode 1576, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Episode 0002 - Change [1968]

Original Air Date: February 20, 1968

For details on Episode 0002, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Playtime Put-Ons [1974]

This 1974 Whitman publication is provided to us by Neighbor Eric who was kind enough to pass along scans of each page. Playtime Put-Ons is a collection of "hats 'n' things for pretending."

The back of book provides a message to parents encouraging the support of play and pretending:
This is one of a series of products developed in cooperation with Fred M. Rogers, creator of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the award-winning public television program for children. Both the program and the materials based on it encourage children to be themselves, to imagine, to create, to cope with feelings and new ideas -- and through all these things, to learn and to grow. 
These playtime props encourage creativity and imagination. When children try on these hats and possessions associated with the TV characters, they are also trying out the personalities of those characters. In pretending to be someone else, children often add to their understanding of themselves and others.
For more on this book, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Episode 1595 - Kindness and Unkindness

Original Air Date: May 6, 1988

For details on Episode 1595, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

21 Favorite Songs LP [1973]

This album has come up on eBay a few times lately so I thought I'd go ahead and post information about this compilation LP. Produced by Columbia House, this "AS SEEN ON TV" compilation features 21 of the most popular song titles from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

While most, if not all, of these songs appear on other Mister Rogers LPs, I think my favorite part of this LP is the text found on either side of the record itself. Only five years into the program, the label refers to "the one and only Mister Rogers." I'm sure this was somewhat of a marketing ploy on the part of Columbia House, but at the same time I can't help but think this slightly-cliche reference recognizes the fact that Mister Rogers was an educational icon even in his earliest days.

And for what it's worth, the final track on this album features the "snappy new day" version of Good Feeling versus the "grow twelve inches version."

For more on this LP, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Episode 1594 - Kindness and Unkindness

Original Air Date: May 5, 1988

For details on Episode 1594, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Devotion in Motion: The Real Deal

I received an email late this past week from Brother John L. Cash who regularly writes under the name "Country Preacher Dad" for a devotional website called Devotion in Motion. Brother John forwarded me a link to a devotion he had recently written about sincerity. His work can be read below or you can feel free to read Brother John's original post. Many thanks for sharing, John.

Devotion in Motion: The Real Deal

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)

By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”

If your house caught on fire, what would you grab? (We’re assuming that the rest of the family and the baby pictures are safe.) Susan says that she would grab my anti-snore sleep apnea machine, because she can’t get any sleep when I don’t have it. I would grab the letter I got from Fred Rogers. You know, Mr. Rogers, of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood.”

When I was in Bible college, back in the early 1980’s, I once found myself in charge of “Spiritual Emphasis Week”. It was my job to plan activities to revive our spirits and to schedule a special guest speaker. For this task I had a budget of $50. So, here was my thinking: “Let’s see, I need a preacher to come and speak. He needs to be somebody really impressive. I don’t have any money to pay him, so he’ll have to be somebody really nice. Hmm. Mr. Rogers is a Presbyterian minister, and he is famous. And he’s really nice. I think I’ll write him a letter.” So, I did.

Imagine my surprise, when less than a week later, I received two envelopes in the mail. One contained two autographed photographs of Fred Rogers—signed personally to me! The other contained a letter from the man himself—handwritten in his distinctive left-handed slanting script.

What Mr. Rogers wrote in that letter warmed my heart. He regretted that he couldn’t come to Spiritual Emphasis Week, but that if he was ever in the area he would drop by for a visit. (I believe he would have.) He wished me grace and peace in my life—and pointed out that the letter was written on a greeting card with the trolley and all the puppets from the Land of Make Believe. He wrote that he had chosen this card because the cards were new and the office had just gotten them in; he thought I might like one. I did.

The famous people that I have admired have often disappointed me upon closer examination. When you check the facts closely, celebrities are often the complete opposite of the good roles they play on screen. But I have not found that to be so with Mr. Rogers. I’ve read everything I can find about this man as well as everything I’ve found that he has written. My conclusion is that he was the real deal. One interviewer said, “In real life, he’s more Mr. Rogers than ‘Mr. Rogers.’” How surprising in this age in which we live! A man who has the reputation of being kind who actually IS kind!

I have more to say about the importance of the ideas of Fred Rogers, but that will have to keep until another time. Today I just want to point out the power (and great scarcity) of sincerity. As parents, our children sometimes doubt what we say, but they are never mistaken about who we are. So, let us strive to be genuine. That’s not the same as being perfect, because sometimes being genuine means we tell our kids, “Hey, I messed up.” Our job as parents is to try to be “the real deal” and to strive to make sure our “real deal” is something good.

In today’s lesson text (at the top) Jesus said we should let our lights shine so that people will glorify God. Dear Mamas, let’s pray this week that the Lord will fill our hearts with His Light and that the sincerity of our lives will brighten the lives of our babies and all the world around us.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thanks for your help today.

Eventually we'll get back to the final two episodes from the Kindness and Unkindness series, but first one final treat compliments of Rashidi Barnett. In addition to he and his mother graciously providing comments about their experiences on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Rashidi was kind enough to share a few photographs from the set of the show. The first is a black and white of Marilyn Barnett, Mister Rogers, and the children performing some stretching exercises after jumping rope.

I can only assume that this black and white image was shot during a rehearsal for the episode because, as you can see from the image below, when the similar stretching took place on the broadcast episode the children were seated in a different order.
The other image provided by Rashidi I can only describe as "amazing." What a terrific example of the kind and loving nature of Fred Rogers captured in this photograph and in his comments:
"For Rashidi with thanks for your help today. - Mister Rogers 3/8/88"
Again, my many thanks to Rashidi Barnett and Marilyn Barnett for their willingness to share about their time in the Neighborhood.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thoughts and Memories from Marilyn Barnett

As promised yesterday, today's post is provided by Marilyn Barnett. According to the official Mister Rogers' Neighborhood site, "When Marilyn Barnett first came to Mister Rogers' real Neighborhood, she was a physical education teacher" and is best remembered for visiting the Neighborhood and "teaching Mister Rogers and viewers simple exercises." I hope you'll find her thoughts and memories as touching as I have.
[Fred Rogers] was more than just a person that I worked with for 30 years, he was a very special man. It wasn't just a television to show to him. 
Fred cared about people, kids, children and adults. Some of the most special times were going to study to talk before the taping. Then at break, I would watch his choices of foods. It was exciting to see how healthy. Sometimes he would just eat yogurt. 
He never focused on himself, and even when you complimented him, he would find some way to return the compliment back to you. He was one of the most unselfsh men I've ever met, and he was extremely personable.
He also knew the importance making sure what he said came across in a very positive way. He studied what he said, and thought about it. He was also open to making changes. If there was a script written for me and I had a suggestion, he would listen and possibly change it. He respected people that came to the table and their area of expertise. He would say "Marilyn is right, that's a good idea." 
And from being around so many different people, he was always being taught. He was a lifelong learner. That's going to help children learn, from learning from a variety of people, that's his gift to the world. 
I miss those talks with Mr. Rogers. He was full of energy and positivity. It started from him and trickled down through the cast. He is deeply missed and we still have all the tapes, and things he taught. 
He did more than educate children, he educated the world.
Most people are most concerned with the cognitive part of child development. For Fred, it was more than about the abc's and counting. He was concerned about the affective domain, because if you can reach kids how they feel about things, their interpersonal beings, the total child, then you have an opportunity to reach them. He focused on the feelings before he went into cognitive development. 
- Dr. Marilyn F. Barnett, PhD

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Episode 1593 - Kindness and Unkindness

Original Air Date: May 4, 1988

Early in this episode, Marilyn Barnett stops by, as she often does in the Neighborhood, to demostrate a form of physical activity. This time, she brings along three young people -- Kiyonna, Eve, and Rashidi. The children demonstrate some excellent jump rope skills and clearly impress Mister Rogers.

Rashidi, 10 years old at the time, is the son of Marilyn Barnett and was kind enough to provide some comments about his time on the program. To read his comments and for details on Episode 1593, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Day in his Neighborhood

This past weekend I was contacted by a younger reader of this blog who expressed to me her deep appreciation for Mister Rogers and the effect his work has had on her life. Included in her email was a written tribute to Mister Rogers Neighborhood. With her permission, I'd like to share it with you today.

Title: A Day in his Neighborhood...
Written by: Sarah Jo

It's such a beautiful day in the neighborhood, as he walks through the door, a smile and a wave, goes down the steps and unbuttons his suit. He starts to sing and opens the closet door to get a cardigan from the rainbow of colours inside.He puts it on, just one sleeve at a time, zips up his sweater, handmade by his mother, he takes a seat, just in front of the stairs, and takes off his loafers in favor of some blue sneakers and you notice he has brought something to show you.

It's something you've never seen before today, it fascinates you, you are now entranced to find out what this wonderful thing could be, and he explains, every word you remember, you couldn't possibly forget, he tells you so well, then he shows you how it works, and it makes you smile to see a man of his age playing with play things, and then all the sudden, you hear a knock at the door!

Could it be Joe Negri? Chuck Aber? He looks out the window and sees that it's Mr. Mcfeely! Perhaps he has a speedy delivery? So he opens the door and greets the mailman, he has no package to give but they exchange some words with each other anyhow. Once they are finished the delivery man heads out the door and waves a loving goodbye to his friend and neighbor. He shuts the door and heads over to the Trolley for some make - believe. You listen just to hear the sound of it passing by him on the tracks, and as quickly as it comes it goes, and make - believe begins, when he finally comes back from his imagination, he tells of the morals meant to be learned.

Then it's time to feed the fish, he smiles at them, then he stares at you for just a moment, a little serious, and smiles again as he starts to sing his leaving song, and begins to take off all the stuff he put on after he first came in the door earlier and gets back into his formal attire he once wore. He picks up his toy he had also brought to show you, and tells you how you are special, and that there's no one like you in the whole world. He waves a humble goodbye, and promises to be back again, heads out the door, and you know in your heart that you are growing inside.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Charted Designs for Needlework [1982]

I'm certainly no cross-stitch aficionado so I didn't feel this item was worth a bid but in an effort to share "all things Mister Rogers," I thought it only appropriate to post on here. This item (which, for the record, sold on eBay for $5.99) is a 1982 production of Art by Abby which features charted cross-stitch patterns featuring Henrietta Pussycat, X the Owl, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, Daniel Striped Tiger, the Neighborhood Trolley, and King Friday's Castle.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Episode 1592 - Kindness and Unkindness

Original Air Date: May 3, 1988

For details on Episode 1592, visit the Neighborhood Archive.