Thursday, March 24, 2011

Up Close: The Oak Tree

On a recent trip to Pittsburgh, I had the privilege of meeting many of the staff members from the Fred Rogers Company who were kind enough to share with me a healthy dose of nostalgic goodness. Sometime in the near future, I will be sharing a variety of the memorabilia that I was able to see first hand -- many pieces for the first time.

But first, let me stray away from the typical routine of the Archive sites for a couple of days and share a few up-close-and-personal shots of some familiar Neighborhood landmarks.

Let's start with the oak tree. Seeing it for the first time, I was very surprised by its texture and the materials used to make this Neighborhood of Make-Believe center piece. If I understood correctly, the tree is made of canvas which was soaked in a glue and molded to create the bark and leaves.

While these typical "tourist" shots of the tree are great, I wanted to be able to show the tree from angles that are not seen from a typical viewing of the Neighborhood program. Did you ever wonder what the inside of the tree looks like? Well, wonder no longer.

In the picture below, you will see the monitor used by Fred Rogers and the other puppeteers in addition to a black curtain covering the openings to X and Henrietta's doors.

This next image shows the back of Henrietta's house. Although this side was never seen on the program, I appreciate the fact that it is fully decorated.

One final shot of the tree comes from up above showing the layers of canvas used to create the foliage.

Next up, King Friday's castle...

PLEASE NOTE: While WQED will occasionally open its doors to the public, at this time WQED and the Fred Rogers Company do not provide public tours. Please do not interpret this or any other blog posts as an open invitation to contact them with such a request.


Eric Scales said...

That's awesome! I remember I once noticing that the walls of the castle didn't seem to be exactly vertical, and a friend had to remind me that sets are often constructed of unusual materials. He even mentioned canvas, and it was such a bizarre thought to imagine that King Fridays castle might be less than sturdy. I knew that it wasn't stone obviously but it is convincingly solid. I'm anxious to find out what else you saw. So glad they let you take pictures!

Eric Scales said...

I remember an episode or two (at least one of the Play episodes) where the top of X's tree is shown. It's the episode where Bob Dog's Ball goes on top of the tree, you see it from above, similar to the shot you have here, Tim.

S.Quinn said...

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing these. As a long-time "neighbor" and also a TV production guy, I am doubly thrilled to see these.

TL said...

S.Quinn -- You're very welcome! Stay tuned over the next several days as there are plenty more to come.