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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Episode 1363 [1974]

Original Air Date: April 10, 1974

For details on Episode 1363, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Painting at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Neighbor Guy sent me a picture he took at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida back in 2003 (then MGM Studios).

The paintings on the wall show Fred Rogers, Burr Tillstrom, and Jim Henson. According to Guy, these were found in a small section of the park dedicated to television performers -- the section of the park is still there today but the paintings were removed a year or so after this picture was taken.

Visit Studios Central for more on the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame.

Thanks for sharing, Guy!

Episode 1362 [1974]

Original Air Date: April 9, 1974

For details on Episode 1362, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Mouths and Feelings Promotional Photo (1990)

Heading to the dentist this week myself, I thought I'd share this promotional photo that showed up on eBay not too long ago. As you can read below the image, this photograph was used by PBS in 1990 to promote and upcoming series, Mouths and Feelings (1626-1630):
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood visits the dentist this fall in a new theme week, "Mister Rogers Talks About Mouths and Feelings" (11/18-11/23/90). The programs include segments on how toothpaste and toothbrushes are made. (Mondays-Fridays, continuing series, 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. ET, 30 minutes)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Episode 1361 [1974]

Original Air Date: April 8, 1974

For details on Episode 1361, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Goodnight God Sheet Music (alt. version) [1955]

I received an email today from someone who happened across this site and generously shared a scan of a very cool piece of Mister Rogers memorabilia.

After recently looking at the Goodnight God sheet music published in 1955, I was very interested to find out that there was another version of this sheet music also published in that same year. This particular version came from Small World Enterprises.

Looking closely at the image, I can't decide if King Friday looks sad or just bored. At the same time, Daniel Tiger certainly doesn't seem to be the timid feline he was on the program!

Many thanks to the reader who contributed this image!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Looking beyond the surface: Silly songs.

This started out as a response to a comment that an anonymous reader posted on the "I'm going to Marry My Mom" post. Here's what the reader said:

"what the heck was he thinking?????????????????????????? this is the dumbest song ever! and it’s hilarious".

Ignoring the less than constructive tone that we try to maintain here at the Neighborhood Archive, I had to admit, the song seems pretty silly. And it's not the only Mr. Rogers song I've thought that about. One that is used more frequently on the show, that I always thought seemed rather bizarre was "You can never go down the drain". Ok, bizarre isn't the appropriate word, because I can picture a child having that worry, but the song came up , far more than I assume would be necessary to assuage the fears of the presumably small number of children that would have this worry. I could be wrong. Perhaps many, many more children than I am aware of would worry about accidentally being sucked down the drain. I guess as an adult I assume that with all the valuable things that Mr. Rogers did address, this scientifically inaccurate fear wasn't necessarily worthy of the 2 minutes he'd devote to the song each time. After all, as a parent, I know that there are just some things that kids have to face and figure out. A few times in the tub and they'll come out none the worse for wear. Unlike the song about the drain, I do remember wanting to marry my mother. I didn't really think about it, but I think someone must have asked me some sort of leading question like "Who do you think you'll marry" and being very young, my whole world was my family. Sure I had friends, but they were only people you visited with. I couldn't imagine a world where I came home and my mother wasn't there. So if I had to marry someone, to go and live with in my own house, well why not my mother? She already knows me and knows what kind of food I like to eat. I spent hardly any time thinking about it, this was simply the instant solution to the question “Who do you think you’ll marry”? Obviously, mom was the only choice.

I doubt I was alone in these thoughts. The Mother Song doesn't really stand out in my memory of watching the show, though I know I must have heard it. And I don't know when I realized that I wouldn't really want to marry my mother, or that there were other people I would like to marry. It was the sort of non-problem that just kind of solved itself. Like a fear of going down the drain, I don't think I would even count it as a childhood hurdle. Children (like any of us really) have all sorts of random thoughts and feelings, most of which are probably never even voiced. Irrational fears, bizarre thoughts and scenarios, these thoughts come and go and repeat. Eventually a child gets an impression of how the adults around him or her think, what kind of things they worry about, and often they develop the somewhat inaccurate viewpoint that adults don't have worries, or if they do, that they certainly don't worry about the same things that children do. This disparity creates a fundamental barrier between child and adult- very quickly it's us and them. It can't be helped- no matter how close a parent may be to a child, the differences are there, and a child will be aware that in some way, they have more in common with other children than with adults. But in trying to craft a sufficiently intelligent response to Anonymous's comment, I really started analyzing. I had often thought that songs like this were remnants of Fred's early work- a song that perhaps seemed important at the time of writing, but now looked quaint when compared to other weightier issues he tackled. But what if you were a child watching the show? What if Mr. Rogers began to sing a song about something you had wondered about, something that you didn't think any grown-up even thought about? Perhaps the song is about looking inside the telephone, or wishing a dragon would burn your Daddy's work, or wanting to marry your mother- thoughts that seemed so different from the adults around you, that you may never have even voiced them out loud. This grown-up not only understood and maybe had some of the same thoughts, but he even knew how to explain them better than you did! He didn't laugh, he simply asked questions, gave his own opinions, and gave you some quiet time to think about it. I can tell you that, as a child, that is what kept me coming back to Mister Rogers Neighborhood every day- not the puppets, or the music, or the trolley. It was that with every minute of airtime, Fred Rogers was saying to me, "I understand".

Monday, June 8, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor LP [1981]

With only a handful of LPs left to mention, here is another that was released multiple times over the years with various cover designs -- this particular cover being the most recent.

Won't You Be My Neighbor

Mister Rogers opens this album with what is most likely his best known song. After singing it once through, he explains to listeners that asking someone to be your neighbor is just like asking them to be your friend. He then invites listeners to sing along as he sings through the song a second time.

Some Things I Don't Understand
A song about the feelings that come about when a person does not understand something. Mister Rogers briefly touches on the importance of asking questions and talking about such feelings.

Everybody's Fancy
You're just the way you're supposed to be. This song focuses largely on the differences between boys and girls and the ways that they will grow into men and women.

You're Growing
Mister Rogers uses this song to help children understand that they are growing and changing quickly -- inside and out.

Exercise Your Eyes
Leave it to the creativity of Fred Rogers to write a song about exercising your eyes as he talks about there being so many things to look at in the world. In comparison to other songs, this one is significantly shorter than most -- the song itself is only about 35 seconds long.

Going To Marry Mom
This clever song about the closeness that children often feel to their mothers was touched on in an earlier post. The song also includes this closeness from the perspective of the mother.

When the Baby Comes

When a new baby arrives, feelings of confusion and loneliness can come about for children who had previously been the center of attention for their parents. Mister Rogers sings this song to encourage children and remind them that they are just as special to their parents as they were before the new baby was born.

Be Brave; Be Strong - Train Sounds - Sometimes People Are Good - Animal Sounds
A "brave strong song" for children to march to followed by some train sounds. Mister Rogers then discusses the fact that everyone does things occasionally that are displeasing to others and sings Sometimes People are Good. Finally, on this track, Mister Rogers plays various animal sounds for listeners. If found this track to be an interesting compilation of some random ideas -- being brave, train sounds, making mistakes, and animal sounds -- not exactly four topics that I would expect to see grouped into the same track on an album.

I Like To Take My Time
This song, to me, represents much of what Fred Rogers was all about -- being patient and slowing down in order to do things correctly and enjoy the things that life has to offer.

It's You I Like
While the version sung on the Neighborhood program was often at a slower pace, the version on this album has a slightly upbeat tempo but the same message of self-worth and value.

Tree Tree Tree
A very simple song made up by a friends of Fred Rogers: "A mother and a very young person made up this next song for me. My family and I sometimes sing it before we go to sleep."

It's Such a Good Feeling
The album is closed with this song that regularly closed episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

For more on this LP, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Episode 1197 [1972]

Original Air Date: February 22, 1972

For details on Episode 1197, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Episode 1480 - Divorce

Original Air Date: February 20, 1981

For details on Episode 1480, visit the Neighborhood Archive.