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Monday, May 31, 2010

Episode 1466 - Superheroes

Original Air Date: February 4, 1980

For details on Episode 1466, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mister Rogers Sings For Times When... [1973]

Several weeks ago, I got my hands on a copy of an LP titled Mister Rogers Sings For Those Times When... The LP offers two songs for five different scenarios when children may experience various feelings.

Over time, I had seen a few 45 records here and there offering these themes broken down by topic on individual records. I had only ever seen a few of the five records and definitely never a complete set....until a few weeks ago.

As luck would have it, not only did I come across a complete set of the 45 records, but I got ahold of a set in excellent condition complete with each of the original pieces. This set was a bit different than the LP in that it was packaged in a box with a plastic handle so that the records could be kept and carried together. Also, each record came with an 14"x21" poster to go along with the topic. I couldn't believe it when I found that each poster was fully intact and had never been used. Really, the same can be said for this entire set as the records appear to have never been played. Definitely one of the coolest pieces of Mister Rogers memorabilia I've come up with in quite some time...


For more on this LP and set of 45s, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

1979-2001 Collection

I know nobody likes the kid who gets something cool and then shows it off to everybody, but I have to show this off...

I've had a complete set of the "modern" episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for quite some time. Luckily, I started recording them off TV a few years before PBS cut back the weekly broadcasts. I had just enough time to record a majority of the episodes and was lucky enough to come across the ones I missed through other means. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I couldn't handle the fact that these episodes were recorded but not organized and in some sort of order. So a few months back, I ripped each of the episodes from the discs they were on and re-authored a new DVD for each weekly series. Thanks to the handy work of our friend Eric, I had a cool background to use for the DVD menues and my final products looked something like this:

But again, having these recorded in order was not enough for me. I needed to have them easily accessible and clearly labeled. The next step was to create case inserts. From other projects I have worked with, I have a ridiculous amount of empty jewel cases on hand so I decided to use those instead of typical DVD cases. I also decided against creating inserts for the front of each case at this time and focused my attention on the tray inserts. Using one of my favorite images of Fred Rogers, as well as his comments about each week's topic, I created a decent looking insert for each week's disc. Finally, this week, my project is complete...

Now if only we could get ahold of all of the pre-1979 stuff. If only...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bob Dog's Cage

After the recent post about Episode 1076, Eric asked about the object on Bob Dog's head (which is actually a cage of sorts) in one of the screenshots so I thought I'd clarify and provide a few more details.

When Daniel Tiger and Bob Dog arrive at the castle for the folk dance, everyone seems happy to see them. Bob Dog, who is carrying the cage at the time, lets out a typical Bob Dog howl of joy. When he does, King Friday is startled and turns quickly towards Bob Dog. Recognizing the King's fear, Bob Dog immediately places the cage on his head.
King Friday: Who invited that dog to come?
Lady Aberlin: I invited that dog to come Uncle Friday.
King Friday: Well, if he promises not to bite...
Lady Aberlin: He bites only if someone scares him or is mean to him.
King Friday: Oh...well, then...carry on with the dances. Excuse the interruption everyone.
Moments later, as Bob Dog is dancing with the Junior Tamburitzans, the cage is removed and is passed among the dancers who place it on their own heads. Even back at the house, Mister Rogers is talking about the dancing and asks, "Didn't you like the way they were putting the cage on different people?"

Having not seen many of these early episodes in years, I don't know for sure if this cage was a regular thing for Bob Dog early on. Maybe others slightly fearing him was an early story line that was eventually dropped? I'd be curious to know more if anyone remembers anything else about this...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Episode 1076 [1970]

Original Air Date: February 16, 1970

For details on Episode 1076, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Episode 1475 - Bubbleland

Original Air Date: May 23, 1980

For details on Episode 1475, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Episode 1474 - Bubbleland

Original Air Date: May 22, 1980

For details on Episode 1474, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Episode 1473 - Bubbleland

Original Air Date: May 21, 1980

For details on Episode 1473, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Fox calls Mr. Rogers Evil

Note: The following post is a bit more passionate then most others on this blog, and perhaps more opinionated too. It takes a couple of swipes at Fox News and modern Television in general. If you are offended by such things, you might want to skip this one. However if you don't mind that sort of thing, be sure you read the comments too- there's some great information there as well. Also please note that the opinons expressed in this post are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other writers affiliated with this blog, nor is the blog in any way affiliated with Family Communications Inc.
- Eric 5-18-10

You may have read about this report some time ago. If not, it's available on the Wall Street Journal's site at this link. Essentially it links Fred Rogers message of "you're special" with the sense of entitlement that many young adults feel today. Apparently the reason you're 20 something child can't drag himself away from the TV to find a job is because Mr. Rogers told him he didn't have to. I laughed when I first read about it months ago. I mean, first of all, people have been picking on Mr. Rogers forever, even when he was still with us. And the study does raise an interesting question, though I believe it's essentially incorrect in it's conclusion. So other than a brief sadness at the realization that Fred's lessons are only likely to get more obscured by the passage of time, I really didn't think much of it. Then today, I see that Fox News has decided to put an even finer point on the story, labeling Fred Rogers "Evil". To clarify, while that is the headline, the bulk of the conversation between the two Fox hosts, seems to be played mainly as satire, with neither of them taking the idea behind the study too seriously. Still, to see Fred's legacy tossed around so cavalierly and not defended, really rankles me.

I don't know why a television segment got me more steamed than a University study, though perhaps it's because I know more of America watches TV, than reads nowadays and I suspect that as time passes, anything beyond Fred's "famous slogans" will be lost to further generations.
No, what really bothers me I guess is this inferrence that a man who preached such a positive message could somehow be responsible for unrelated negativity. Apparently the study is referring to a generation of children who had no other influences. They didn't have parents, they didn't have classmates, or teachers, or any responsible adults who made choices affecting these children's lives, it was all Fred Rogers- he spoke to them and thier destinies were set, locked onto a path because of misinformation that he fed them and the rest of the world was powerless to change.

Of course, any study is only as good as the data gathered. Perhaps if the researcher had watched Mister Rogers Neighborhood for any length of time, they would have been familiar with more than just the catchphrases. I know this is preaching to the choir, but here are a few of the more valuable lessons that Fred taught, and that I think directly contradict the conclusion of the study:

1)Deep and simple are far more important than shallow and complicated (Haha! Try and find something Deep and simple on Fox!)

2)Any feeling you have is allright, but it's what you do with your feelings that's important.

and most relevant to this article:

3) You can hope and wish all you want, but if you want something to get done, you've got to do it.

I don't deny that many young people have an alarming sense of entitlement, and perhaps a bit of the adversity our parents and grandparents had to deal with would have done me and my generation a lot of good. However, I don't believe that adversity should preclude a kind word from a parent, or a loved one telling you "you're special". God only knows what hundreds of thousands of children's lives would have been like without 30 minutes of Mr. Rogers here and there. In a time when the numbers of divorces skyrocketted, the TV news overflows with stories of school shootings, kids being bullied into suicide, and parents doing unspeakable things to the children in their care, how can anyone questions the value of one adult, even someone only connected through television, telling a child that they have value?

*Edit (5-18-10) Here's a link to Family Communications Inc.'s response to the initial Wall Street Journal article. Just the article, it's not a response to Fox's commentary.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Episode 1067 [1970]

Original Air Date: February 3, 1970

For details on Episode 1067, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Episode 1472 - Bubbleland

Original Air Date: May 20, 1980

For details on Episode 1472, visit the Neighborhood Archive.