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Monday, November 30, 2009

Playtime Puppet Theater [1974]

Here's another interesting find which recently showed up on eBay twice in a matter of one week. The Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playtime Puppet Theater was published in 1974 by Small World Enterprises and originally sold for the cover price of $1.29.

The back cover offers a description of this publication in an address to parents:

"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 chidren. Both the prograrm 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.
This Fold-out Playbook is a set-up replica of the television Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where any pretend events can happen, where thoughts and feelings are played out and dealt with. Here, too, are stick puppets -- the easiest kind for small children to handle -- so youngsters can dramatize their very own make-believes."

The images below show the details of the fold-out background complete with King Friday's castle, X and Henrietta's tree, Corny's factory, and Daniel's clock. Strangely absent from the scenery is the Museum Go-Round, although Lady Elaine Fairchilde is included among the puppets.

Daniel's clock comes in the form of a punch-out as does the Neighborhood Trolley.

The characters themselves are very similar to those found in the Mister Rogers storybooks published around this same time -- in fact, the illustrator may very well be the same person. As you can see, the stick puppets were done quite well as a less-detailed version may not have included a view of each character's back. Once each piece was removed, the front and back pieces were placed together. The base of the front piece wrapped around that of the back forming a "stick" with the character's name on the front.

Included were King Friday XIII, Grandpere, X the Owl, Henrietta Pussycat, Queen Sara Saturday, Mrs. Platypus, and even a small Prince Tuesday that could be hooked into the arms of his mother...

...also, Cornflake S. Pecially, Daniel Tiger, Dr. Platypus, Edgar Cooke, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, and Donkey Hodie.

Maybe not the Neighborhood of Make-Believe playset produced a few years later, but a very cool set nonetheless.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, I'd like to take this opportunity to share the words from another blog among the infinite number found on ye ole internet. In a November 2008 post on A Sharing Connection, the author/blogger relates Mister Rogers to Thanksgiving better than I could ever hope to...
If the meaning of Thanksgiving is to share the nourishment of food with our family, friends and neighbors, it IS the same message Mister Rogers taught, just without the turkey and stuffing.
He taught us to share the nourishment of a gentle hug, an encouraging word, and a caring act of kindness whenever we can. In short, Mister Rogers understood how the words, thanks and giving can be very nourishing.
He once said, “Sometimes, all it takes is one kind word to nourish another person. Think of the ripple effect that can be created when we nourish someone. One kind empathetic word has a wonderful way of turning into many.”
That’s my idea of thanksgiving.
To read this blog entry in its entirety, visit A Sharing Connection.

Happy Thanksgiving, neighbors.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sesame Street Unpaved [1998]

With the recent marking of Sesame Street's 40th anniversary, I thought it only appropriate to share a corner of a page from Sesame Street Unpaved -- a book from a few years back written for adults who grew up watching the daily happenings on Sesame Street.

Page 139 comes right in the heart of a section featuring various celebrities who have visited Sesame Street over the years with a bit of commentary here and there. Just above a picture from Mister Rogers' visit to Sesame Street, the text reads as follows:
Fred Rogers once asked Big Bird to be on his show, and Spinney said he'd love to do it. Spinney then received a script for the episode that required him to remove his costume and talk about how Big Bird works. Spinney declined, explaining, "Fantasy is one of the wonderful things of childhood, and it only lasts a little while." Mister Rogers understood, but explained that on his show, Big Bird coudl then only be seen in the Land of Make-Believe. In the end, Spinney did the show, but Big Bird stayed in the Land of Make Believe with King Friday and Lady Elaine Fairchild.
Looking past a few sloppy spelling oversights in this commentary, I find it very interesting to know that a difference in philosophy took place between two of the major players in the childrens' television viewing from my youth. While I agree with Caroll Spinney's idea that fantasy and imagination are significant parts of a child's life that only last a short time, I also side with Fred Rogers in that children deserve to be told the truth.

Either way, I love the idea of cross-over programming whether it be Mister Rogers on Sesame StreetBig Bird in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, or even an animated Mister Rogers on Arthur.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Snow Pudding Recipe [1975]

After posting Grandma Rogers' corn pudding recipe several days ago, Neighbor Mark was kind enough to share with me a page from a book titled Julie Eisenhower's Cookbook for Children. Page 84 of this book features a recipe for "Mister Rogers' Snow Pudding." According to the cookbook:
Everyone on television's Mister Rogers Neighborhood loves Snow Pudding. It tastes good but most of all it is fun to prepare. Mr. Rogers describes how he makes snow you can eat: "Presto! An egg white so clear you can see through it plops into the mixing bowl and in just a minute an egg beater whips it into a fluffy mountain." Add the other ingredients and the fluffy mountain tastes different from any snow that has ever melted in your mouth!
Interested in giving it a try? Here's the recipe:
Serves 6 to 8 
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (1 envelope)
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 egg whites
Mix together sugar, gelatin and water in saucepan.
Stir constantly, while bringing to a boil.
Blend in lemon juice and rind.
Place pan in cold water and cool until mixture mounds when dropped from a spoon.
Beat egg whites until stiff.
Using rotary beater, slowly blend gelatin mixture into beaten egg whites.
After blending, stir mixture with rubber spatula until it holds its shape.
Spoon into dessert dishes or mold and chill until firm.
[Julie Eisenhower's Cookbook for Children, p. 84. Copyright June, 1975 by the Curtis Publishing Company.

Published by Doubleday and Co., Inc.]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Episode 1691 - Mad Feelings

Original Air Date: October 16, 1995

For details on Episode 1691, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Grandma Rogers' Recipe?

I have no idea if this is legit but I felt like it was worth posting with Thanksgiving right around the corner.

In a recent article on, author Susan Toepfer provides some holiday cooking advice along with the metion that she and her daughter have the recipe for Mister Rogers’ Corn Pudding. With a bit of curiosity and a quick Google search, I found the recipe below. Found in the comments section of a 1997 online People Magazine discussion, this celebrity recipe supposedly originated with "Grandma Rogers."

For what it's worth, here it is...

MISTER ROGERS Grandmother Rogers' Corn Pudding
Serves 6

2 eggs
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 17-ounce can cream-style corn
½ cup milk
½ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 2-quart casserole. (A 9-inch square dish works well.) Place eggs in a medium bowl and beat well using a wire whisk. Sprinkle with flour and whisk until smooth. Add all other ingredients and combine well (mixture will be runny.) Pour into prepared casserole and bake for 1 hour.

I claim no responsibilty if this recipe isn't worth the internet space it takes up. Just thought it was worth a mention...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman [1996]

It's been a while since we've detailed any Neighborhood episodes on here but the plan is to start doing so again very soon. First, there is something else I wanted to share.

Recently, Neighbor Eric reminded me of Fred Rogers' 1996 appearance on the television
drama Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. This was the only time in his television career when Fred Rogers portrayed a fictional human character (voicing puppets doesn't count here and we're considering "Mister Rogers" about as real is they come). According to, in the episode "Deal with the Devil," the "imminent arrival of Reverend Johnson's ministry mentor (played by Fred Rogers) leads the reverend to borrow money from Hank to repair the church."

I can't say that Dr. Quinn is my kind of television show but this program clearly held a special place in the heart of Fred Rogers. Fred was held in very high regard by close friend and creator/producer Beth Sullivan. One particular interview with Ms. Sullivan demonstrates her opinion of the man known to most as Mister Rogers
"I'm not a religious person, but Fred is a holy man, a holy person. He really is. Truly a Mother Teresa type of person. He does what he does because it comes from very deep inside, and he does it with every fiber of his being."
Below are a few screenshots from the episode featuring Fred Rogers as Reverend Thomas...

For anyone interested in watching Fred Rogers' appearance on Dr. Quinn, there are clips available on YouTube but it appears that the audio and video are a bit off. Otherwise, you can find this episode as the nineteenth from Season 4 of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tours and Tributes

It's a big weekend in the Neighborhood! Following Thursday's unveiling of the Fred Rogers statue on Pittsburgh's North Shore, WQED is offering free public tours of the original Neighborhood of Make-Believe set. As mentioned previously here on the Neighborhood Archive, visitors will see all of the original pieces from King Friday's castle to Lady Elaine's Museum-Go-Round (although Daniel's clock is a replica). WQED put together a short promotional video featuring Mr. McFeely in order to promote this weekend's activities.

For a fan of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, knowing this set is open for viewing (likely for the last time) and not being able to be there is simply agonizing. It'd be like telling an Elvis fan that the King has been found alive and well and will perform a one-time show to anyone who can make it. Well, for those of you like myself who are not able to make it to Pittsburgh this weekend to see the Neighborhood of Make-Believe for yourselves, WQED has used it's Facebook page to provide a handful of photos to show us what we're missing. Notice the copy of Johnny Costa Plays Mister Rogers' Neighborhood sitting on the piano bench.

Also, a video is available on YouTube showing the dedication of the Fred Rogers statue in Pittsburgh which took place this past Thursday. Looks like it was a chilly and overcast, yet beautiful day on the North Shore.

To read more about this week's events, feel free to visit any of the links below. Many thanks to Neighbor Lawrence for brining these videos and photos to our attention.

WQED Offers Tours Of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - KDKA
Statue is reminder of humble Mr. Rogers
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
WQED Pittsburgh...Gives Public Final Chance to Tour 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'
- SYS-CON Media
Sculpture of Fred Rogers unveiled on North Side - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
World's First Sculpture of American Icon Fred Rogers Unveiled
- SYS-CON Media

Monday, November 2, 2009

Idlewild Tour

Many of you are aware of the Mister Rogers tour at Idlewild in Ligonier, PA -- some of you may have actually visited Idlewild yourselves. Last week, Neighbor Guy emailed me with some pictures he had taken during his time at Idlewild which he was happy to have shared here as well. Full-size views of many of these photographs can be seen on Guy's personal photo page.

In addition, Guy also shared with me two YouTube videos he came across which take viewers through the Mister Rogers Idlewild tour. Take a look at the fantastic photographs provided by Guy and then click on the links below to take the tour for yourself!