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Saturday, October 30, 2010

BIG NEWS!

The original goal of the Neighborhood Archive was to establish a permanent and organized place online for "all things Mister Rogers." It's been a long time coming -- so why wait any longer?

Don't worry -- the blog's not going anywhere. But if a permanent website is the ultimate goal, why not make it a work in progress? So with that, I hope you'll enjoy a more organized, more searchable, more permanent location for the Neighborhood Archive. Again, please keep in mind that this new site is (and will be) a work in constant work in progress.

As new things are posted on the blog, they will find their places on the website as well. Inspired a bit by MuppetWiki, I look foward to the Neighborhood Archive becoming the ultimate resource for fellow fans and appreciators of Fred Rogers and his life's legacy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mister Rodney

In the spring of 1984, a commercial campaign was lauched by fast-food chain Burger King which featured a very familiar character. Dressed in a sweater and sneakers, "Mister Rodney" displayed a flashcard to viewers showing the word "McFrying." Going on to explain that this is what McDonalds does to their burgers, Mister Rodney was clearly more in favor of Burger King's flame-broiled option.

Taking issue with the parody, Fred Rogers contacted the Senior Vice President of Burger King, Don Dempsey, who agreed to pull the advertisement. "To have someone who looks like me doing a commercial is very confusing for children," Fred Rogers said at the time.

Mr. Dempsey pulled the commercial without question: "Mister Rogers is one guy you don't want to mess with, as beloved as he is. So that particular commerical goes on the shelf. Hopefully now we have peace in the neighborhood."

The $150,000 commercial aired only a few dozen times before being removed from the airwaves.

For more about the Mister Rodney commercial, visit the following links:
Of course, if anyone has any footage or a copy of this commercial, drop me a line. I'd love to see it.

Episode 1236 [1972]

Original Air Date: April 17, 1972

EPISODE DESCRIPTION

SONGS:
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?
  • I Like To Be Told
  • I'm Proud of You
  • It's Such a Good Feeling
  • The Weekend Song
Mister Rogers arrives with a whirlpool motor which he says has been causing him some trouble over the weekend.

 
Taking it to the back, he places it in a large bucket of water and finds that it is working properly. Back inside, Mister Rogers calls the bakery to ask about a film of Chef Brockett getting into a whirlpool. While he waits for Chef Brockett to deliver the film, Mister Rogers sings I Like to Be Told.

 
Chef Brockett stops by with a cupcake on a purple dish as well as the film about the whirlpool. He and Mister Rogers watch the short film as Chef Brockett describes the scenes.

 
In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Handyman Negri and Plumber Horne are moving the castle waterfall to the Museum Go-Round to help welcome Lady Elaine home from space. Everyone is still buzzing with excitement at the thought of Lady Elaine's big discovery which is believed to be a husband.

 
Via radio, Lady Elaine informs Handyman Negri that she will be splashing down soon. Lady Aberlin continues to be the voice of reason as she tries to remind everyone that Lady Elaine has never mentioned anything remotely related to the idea of getting married. Unfortunately, no one is listening to her as Chef Brockett arrives with a wedding cake.

 
Lady Elaine makes her triumphant return as she splashes down at the Museum Go-Round. She is welcomed home as everyone excitedly sings I'm Proud of You; however, Lady Elaine is somewhat confused when she is asked about her husband. Announcing that she is not getting married, Lady Elaine let's everyone know that she will reveal her wonderful discovery "on Tuesday."

 
Back at the house, Mister Rogers briefly talks again about spreading rumors before Elsie Neal stops by with some disappointing news. Apparently the clay pot she and Mister Rogers had made together was misplaced when it was being taken to the kiln. Before leaving, she shows a "multi-media painting" to Mister Rogers and explains that many different materials were used in the painting.

 
Mister Rogers concludes for the day after returning to the back yard to pick up the whirlpool.

 


CREDITS
With Fred Rogers
Neighbors: Betty Aberlin, W.P. Barker, Don Brockett, Jim Horne, Joe Negri, and Elsie Neal
Film: Joe Seamans
Music Director: John Costa
Directed by Bob Walsh

Produced by Family Communications, Inc. in association with WQED, Pittsburgh
The people who gave the money to make this television visit are the people of The Sears Roebuck Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

© 1972 Family Communications, Inc.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Episode 1235 [1972]

Original Air Date: April 14, 1972

EPISODE DESCRIPTION

SONGS:
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?
  • Wishes Don't Make Things Come True
  • It's Such a Good Feeling
  • The Weekend Song
Mister Rogers arrives with the sign from outside the Brown's marionette shop and has plans to make a similar sign for Francois Clemmons' singing studio. In the kitchen, he puts the finishing touches on the new sign which includes picutres of a mouth, a musical note, and a person's silouhette.

 
Mister Rogers spends a few moments talking about the parts of a mouth before watching a short film about different types of mouths.

 
Back in the kitchen, Mister Rogers touches on the topic of lip-reading as he finishes the sign for Francois Clemmons. Mrs. McFeely stops by for a brief visit to show Mister Rogers the canary she is watching for a friend.

 
In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, everyone is anxiously awaiting Lady Elaine's return from space. Lady Elaine communicates via radio that she has made "the most amazing find in all the Neighborhood of Make-Believe history." After some speculation, Henrietta Pussycat wonders aloud if Lady Elaine might have found a husband.

 
The rumor quickly spreads to the castle where King Friday and Queen Sara recall their own wedding. Lady Aberlin makes her best attempt to quiet the rumor but is outspoken by everyone's excitement.

 
Back at the house, Mister Rogers talks about rumors and how everybody likes to make things up once in a while. After singing Wishes Don't Make Things Come True, the day is concluded as Mister Rogers surprises Francois Clemmons with the new sign.

 


CREDITS
With Fred Rogers
Neighbors: Betty Aberlin, W.P. Barker, Francois Clemmons, Betsy Nadas
Film: Joe Seamans
Music Director: John Costa
Directed by Bob Walsh
Psychological Consultants: Margaret B. McFarland Ph.D., Albert V. Corrado M.D.
Associate Producers: Diana Dean, David Newell
Assistant Producer: Betsy Nadas
Production Assistants: Laura Perkins, Susan Perkins
Art Director: Jack Guest
Assistant Art Director: David Smith
Lighting Director: Frank Warninsky
Floor Manager: Nick Tallo
Technical Supervisors: Tom Knight, Ken Anderson
Video Tape Editor: Chet Bednar
Cameramen: Bob Vaughn, David Anthony, Dick LaSota
Video: Don Williamson
Audio: Chuck Sradomski

Produced by Family Communications, Inc. in association with WQED, Pittsburgh
The people who gave the money to make this television visit are the people of The Sears Roebuck Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

© 1972 Family Communications, Inc.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Episode 1293 [1973]

Original Air Date: April 4, 1973

EPISODE DESCRIPTION
GUESTS: Lt. Col. Alfred Worden

SONGS:
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?
  • It's You I Like
  • The Truth Will Make Me Free
  • It's Such a Good Feeling
  • The Weekend Song
Mister Rogers laughs at himself during the opening sequence as he mis-buttons his sweater. After fixing his sweater, Mister Rogers brings out a record of sound effects and a record player. He plays several sound effects such as coughing, whistling, and the sounds of a birthday party. He then sings It's You I Like.

 
Elsie Neal calls and invites Mister Rogers to visit her craft shop where astronaut Al Worden is visiting. At the craft shop, Mister Rogers and talks with Elsie and Mr. Worden about poetry and other art. Mr. Worden shares a poem he has written about the ocean and shows a short film about the ocean as well.

 
In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Daniel has a nagging cough. When Yoshi Ito asks Daniel if she can help, Daniel shares a concern. According to Daniel, Purple Panda did not have a birthday so he gave his away and assumed that he no longer had a birthday.

 
Handyman Negri arrives with some cough syrup and he and Yoshi Ito explain to Daniel that people can share the same birthday. Feeling better about the situation, Daniel expresses the same birthday wish as Purple Panda -- to take a ride in the King's airplane.

 
Back at the house, Mister Rogers reinforces the idea that people can share the same birthday by explaining that if no one could have the same birthday, we'd live in a very small world. He concludes for the day by singing The Truth Will Make Me Free.

 
COMMENTARY
As is the case with many visits to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, this episode is yet another example of the topics discussed by Mister Rogers carrying over into Make-Believe. For example, the sound effects played on the record become the basis for the NOM story (although, the sounds played were certainly strategically chosen).

As Yoshi Ito, Handman Negri, and Mister Rogers explain that people can share the same birthday, they reveal their own birthdays: Yoshi Ito - November 1, Handyman Negri - June 10, Mister Rogers - March 20.

Purple Panda is referred to as "Panda" in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

CREDITS
With Fred Rogers
Neighbors: Yoshi Ito, Elsie Neal, Joe Negri, and Lt. Col. Alfred Worden
Produced and Directed by Bob Walsh
Music Director: John Costa

Produced by Family Communications, Inc. in association with WQED, Pittsburgh

The people who gave the money to make this television visit are the people of The Sears Roebuck Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

© 1972, 1973 Family Communications, Inc.

Rainy Day Club 45 (MR100) [1973]

I recently picked up one of the Rainy Day Club records from the early 1970's. As you may remember, the Rainy Day Club was also responsible for the Build a Castle set we looked at a few weeks ago.

This 45 record has a song on each side -- Won't You Be My Neighbor? on Side 1 and A Place of Our Own on Side 2.

 
 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Episode 1390 [1974]

Original Air Date: May 17, 1974

EPISODE DESCRIPTION


GUESTS: Chrissy Thompson, Terri Thompson

SONGS:
  • Won't You Be My Neighbor?
  • I'm Proud of You
  • It's Such a Good Feeling
  • The Weekend Song
Upon his arrival, Mister Rogers heads straight to the kitchen where he shows the icebox cake which he made as a refreshment for the day's puppet show. Taking out a number of ingredients, Mister Rogers demonstrates how he made the cake.

 
In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Lady Aberlin is taking a nap outside the castle when she is awakened by Edgar Cooke. Lady Elaine calls to the castle to ask that Lady Aberlin come to the MGR-TV studio where the world's smallest talking zebra will be appearing. Lady Aberlin is asked to find the world's smallest talking witch so the zebra and witch can talk on the air -- a first for television.

 
Thanks to an idea from Daniel Striped Tiger, Lady Aberlin asks Henrietta to bring her witch puppet to the studio.

 
Inside the MGR-TV studio, Lady Elaine is wrapping up a Fireside Chat when Lady Aberlin and Henrietta arrive. The talking zebra arrives and is eager to meet the talking witch; however, he is surprised to find that it is only a puppet.

 
Following Make-Believe, Mister Rogers leaves for the McFeely's where Chrissy and Terri will be performing their puppet show. A small crowd has gathered to watch the McFeely's granddaughters' show.

 
Complete with music and a detailed plot, the girls put on quite a performance as they present their own version of the Princess and the Pea. After the show, Mister Rogers departs as the others enjoy the refreshments.

 
Back at the house, Mister Rogers sings I'm Proud of You.

 

COMMENTARY


Chrissy and Terri are the television grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. McFeely. Chrissy wears braces on her legs as a result of a spina bifida condition. CLICK HERE to view a mid-1970's promotional picture of Mister Rogers with Chrissy Thompson.

Aside from their television grandparents, the McFeely's, others in the crowd assembled to watch the puppet show included members of Chrissy and Terri's real family.


CREDITS

With Fred Rogers
Neighbors: Betty Aberlin, Betsy Nadas, Elsie Neal, David Newell, David M. Smith, Becky Thompson, Chrissy Thompson, Judy Thompson, Richard Thompson, Terri Thompson
Directed by Bill Moates
Music Director: John Costa
Bass: Michael Taylor
Percussion: Robert Rawsthorne
Writers: Fred Rogers, Betsy Nadas
Psychological Consultants: Margaret B. McFarland Ph.D., Albert V. Corrado M.D.
Film Producer: Laura Perkins
Associate Producers: David Newell, Nan Wheelock
Assistant Producer and Associate Director: Azriel Gamliel
Assistant to the Director: Norma Baker
Art Director: Jack Guest
Assistant Art Director: David M. Smith
Propmaster: Roy Backes
Lighting Director: Gregory King
Floor Manager: Nick Tallo
Assistant Floor Manager: James Seech
Technical Supervisors: Tom Knight, Ken Anderson
Video Tape Editor: Chet Bednar
Cameramen: Bob Vaughn, David Anthony, Don McCall
Video: Don Williamson
Audio: Dick LaSota

Produced with a grant from The Sears Roebuck Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Produced by Family Communications, Inc. in association with WQED, Pittsburgh
The people who gave the money to make this television visit are the people of The Sears Roebuck Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

© 1974, 1975 Family Communications, Inc.