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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

This is Pittsburgh [1963]

I recently stumbled across a blog on the Pittsburgh Radio & TV site. One entry on this blog details a 1963 publication titled This is Pittsburgh which was written by Josie Carey.

The blog provides a detailed description of This is Pittsburgh:
This is Pittsburgh is an 80-page, large-format, softcover book that was published by Pickwick-Morcraft Inc., a now-defunct printing company on Baum Boulevard, at the behest of the Regional Industrial Development Corp.

Partly an illustrated encyclopedia of the region and partly an advertisement for relocating to Pittsburgh, the book's subtitle ("We Live Here ... We Like It!") hints that its aim was to dispel the 1950s "Smoky City" stereotype that plagues southwestern Pennsylvania to this day.

The book credits Carey with the text and Wolfson with the illustrations.
One page of This is Pittsburgh includes some very familiar faces.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Vote for Your Favorite!

Won't You Be My Neighbor Day is coming on March 20th (Fred Rogers' birthday). To mark this day, the PBS Kids website is offering fans the opportunity to vote for their favorite episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood -- although the voting is limited to a very select number of episodes. Click the image below for more about voting for your favorite...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Monroeville Mall Play Area

Neighbor Guy recently returned from a trip to the Pittsburgh area and was kind enough to share some pictures he took of the play area at the Monroeville Mall. Apparently this mall, just outside Pittsburgh, was used in the movie Dawn of the Dead.

Guy, these photos are terrific. Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Episode 1153 [1971]

Original Air Date: March 17, 1971

For details on Episode 1153, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Neighborhood of Make-Believe Set [1970]

A few weeks ago, Neighbor Lawrence was kind enough to share some images of a very cool Mister Rogers set he has. Made in 1970 by Small World Enterprises, this Neighborhood of Make-Believe playset came with small plastic stands to display the various Neighborhood landmarks.

As you can see in the images, the set included the King's castle, Daniel's clock, X and Henrietta's tree, Conry's factory, Lady Elaine's Museum-Go-Round, Grandpere's tower, and the Neighborhood Trolley.

Also included in this set was a 14x22 wall poster of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. You may recognize this poster from Episode 1153. If not, stay tuned. I'll dig out that episode and we'll take a look at it here in the next few days.

Thanks for sharing, Lawrence...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wishes Don't Make Things Come True [1987]

© 1987 Family Communications

It's a windy day in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe and Grandpere is excited about the arrival of his granddaughter Collette.

News of her visit spreads across the Neighborhood and everyone is looking foward to seeing the beautiful Collette -- everyone except Henrietta Pussycat. A bit jealous of the attention Collette is receiving, Henrietta wishes she could be fancy, too. Putting on her nicest clothes and jewelry, Henrietta's new look is immediately noticed by X and Daniel. This leads Henrietta to believe that her wish did come true.

On her way to the castle to await the arrival of Collette, Henrietta comes upon a welcome sign and a picture of Grandpere's granddaughter. Already feeling less confident after having her hair and outfit messed up by the wind, Henrietta wishes that the picture of Collette would just fall down. Just then, a gust of wind knocked the picture to the ground. A startled Henrietta again believes that her wishes have come true and she runs away upset by her actions.

Meanwhile, Collette arrives and asks to throw a party for the Neighborhood as a way for her to meet everyone. As Daniel delivers party hats to all of the neighbors, he comes upon a very distraught Henrietta Pussycat.

After Daniel convinces her that wishes cannot make things come true, Grandpere arrives and invites Henrietta to be the one at the party to introduce all of the neighbors.

Seeing that she is truly important to her friends, Henrietta accepts the invitation and goes to the party where everyone is waiting to celebrate.

Monday, February 8, 2010

No One Can Ever Take Your Place [1988]

© 1988 Family Communications
Donkey Hodie is having a hard time keeping up with the demands of his garden -- that is until Harriett Elizabeth Cow arrives and offers her assistance.

Everyone in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe is excited about their new neighbor in Some Place Else as Harriett is warmly welcomed.

As you might expect, Lady Elaine Fairchilde is jealous of the attention being given to Harriett Cow and she sets out to sabotage her welcome party.

At the party in Some Place Else, cake is about to be served when it is soaked with milk seemingly poured from the sky by a mysterious purple cow. As the neighbors discuss the mishap, Henrietta Pussycat suggests that the cow seemed to disappear like magic -- boomerang magic.

Arriving at the Museum-Go-Round to question Lady Elaine, a purple cow costume is discovered. Daniel, X, and Henrietta explain to Lady Elaine that she does not need to be a cow for them to like her. They like her just as much as Harriett Elizabeth Cow -- just for different reasons.

The next morning Lady Elaine is playing her accordion when Grandpere passes by on his way to visit Some Place Else. Tagging along with her instrument, Lady Elaine sets out to impress Harriett with her talents.

Much to Lady Elaine's surprise, Harriett Cow is not jealous of Lady Elaine. Instead, she reveals that she is a big fan of the accordion and has a great appreciation for Lady Elaine's talent.

With a mutual respect established, Lady elaine and Harriett Elizabeth Cow stroll off together saying "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fan Art: Ugga Mugga

I decided some time ago that I'd love to do a series of illustrations depicting the Make Believe portions of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. As I've said before, this show had such a huge impact on me growing up, and yet unlike most kids shows, I didn't ever see any merchandise for it. I found out later in my adult life that there was quite a bit of merchandise- books, toys, and records- for some reason I just never saw them as a kid. I was fairly disappointed in the quality of the illustrations I found though. The flaws ranged from total inaccuracy of the characters and places depicted, to more nit picky stuff like making the puppet characters more human sized. In short, I definitely had opinions about how I thought this sort of thing should be done.

So, in my illustration I wanted to be sure that the puppets were depicted fairly accurately. I'm not opposed to showing them walking around as they have in other books, using legs that they obviously didn't have on the show, but this should be kept to a minimum. Also they should be kept puppet scale. Another thing I wanted to depict were the human cast members interacting with the puppets, something that was never done in the books. I thought a quiet moment between Lady Aberlin and Daniel Striped Tiger would be a good recognizable moment to depict. This scene occurred countless times over the course of the programs run. Daniel's favorite way to show affection was to rub noses with someone and say "Ugga Mugga".

I'm not a caricaturist, so the one thing I really am not happy with is Lady Aberlin's face- I wanted a very stylized look for the humans, but someone more skilled at caricature probably could have gotten a better resemblance. But overall I'm quite pleased with it. It also confirms my theory that seemingly unimportant details like the colors of the wall, distant hill, and surrounding ground really do say "Neighborhood of Make Believe" just as much as Daniel's clock does. That's something that other books seem to have played a little more loose with. I guess those illustrators were trying to expand the Neighborhood beyond what the show could depict on it's limited budget, but to me it always reeked of disregard for the details of a beloved show.