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Monday, January 31, 2011

Episode 1545 - No and Yes

Original Air Date: February 8, 1985

For details on Episode 1545, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Episode 1544 - No and Yes

Original Air Date: February 7, 1985

For details on Episode 1544, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Episode 1543 - No and Yes

Original Air Date: February 6, 1985

For details on Episode 1543, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Episode 1542 - No and Yes

Original Air Date: February 5, 1985

For details on Episode 1542, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Episode 1541 - No and Yes

Original Air Date: February 4, 1985

For details on Episode 1541, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Johnny Costa LP on eBay

Apparently it's signed too.

This shouldn't last long.

UPDATE: Nevermind. I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did. The seller is actually the same record store in St. Louis where I got my copy of this LP. Either way, if you're still looking for a copy of this album, better luck next time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Elements of the Neighborhood

Most readers of this blog I have never had the opportunity to meet personally. The only thing we really know about one another is that we share a fondness for Mister Rogers and the memories kept and lessons learned from our childhood visits to the Neighborhood. As you would expect, though, my interests stem beyond Mister Rogers' Neighborhood to include many aspects of popular culture. One such aspect that I have always appreciated is the hip-hop culture. Not the mess you hear on the radio today -- but real hip-hop.

For anyone familiar with the foundations of hip-hop, you may recall the essential elements as laid down by the founding fathers of the old school.

The four basic elements include MCs, DJs, graffiti art, and B-boys. Some argue that a fifth element exists in beatboxing but I lean more towards the other common fifth element of knowledge.

As I began preparing for the next series of Mister Rogers episodes to cover, I realized that we would be coming upon the episode responsible for one of the more viral videos of Mister Rogers that circulates online -- Episode 1543 where a young breakdancer visits the Neighborhood. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to merge these two -- Mister Rogers and hip-hop -- and take a tongue-in-cheek look at signs of the five elements within the Neighborhood program.

1. Mister Rogers the MC
What better lyricist is out there than the man who penned dozens upon dozens of children's songs spanning the course of half a century? The greatest MCs you'll hear are the ones whose lyrics are real -- a product of unique experience and raw emotion. I don't know that Fred Rogers ever wrote a song that wasn't inspired by emotion.

Although he was not your traditional MC, I do not hesitate to recognize Mister Rogers as one of the all-time lyrical greats.

2. Mister Rogers the DJ
A true hip-hop DJ spins vinyl. Plain and simple. Not to take anything away from the new school DJs using methods of modern technology, but there's something more to be said about the talent of creating with nothing more than a turntable and a mixer that paved the way for today's musicians.

Mister Rogers himself was known to spin a record now and then. More of a traditionalist, he was not one to perfect a transformer scratch or juggle more than one beat at a time, but by dropping the needle on the record, Mister Rogers brought the element of the DJ to the Neighborhood.

3. Mister Rogers the Graffiti Artist
Now I'm fairly certain that Mister Rogers was never one to hit the streets with a can of Krylon, but that's not to say that others have not done so in his honor.

 From nitrodog's Flickr page

 From jackszwergold's Flickr page

4. Mister Rogers the B-Boy/Breakdancer
Back in 1985, a young guest named Jermaine visited Mister Rogers with a radio and a broken down appliance box. Those two things together can only mean that Mister Rogers was about to get a lesson in breakdance. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Mister Rogers didn't hesitate to channel his inner b-boy.

Video of Jermaine's visit to the Neighborhood can be found in many places online.

5. Mister Rogers and Knowledge
KRS-One may be the "Teacher" when it comes to hip-hop, but no one can hold a candle to the life lessons taught by Mister Rogers.

“Where would any of us be without teachers; without people who had passion for their art or their science or their craft and they loved it right in front of us? What would any of us have done without teachers passing on to us what they knew was essential about life?” -- Fred Rogers

So now that we've covered the principle elements of hip-hop, what would be your five elements of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood? One of mine would be the element of make-believe.

Looking forward to your responses...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

NOM Stickers [1991]

I came across these a few days ago. This package includes four sheets of stickers from Hallmark Cards, Inc. (1991). If you're interested in paying the seller's price, you can use the link below to buy the package of stickers for yourself.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Episode 1535 - Grandparents

Original Air Date: May 11, 1984

For details on Episode 1535, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Neighborhood of Make Believe Artwork

Some time ago, there was some interest here in the artwork that hangs on either side of Mister Rogers' refrigerator, especially the painting depicting the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

Since the painting is shown in pretty good detail in Episode 2, I thought I'd grab some frames from that and with a little Photoshop magic, assemble them to give us a closer look.

Click for a larger view!
It's not a perfect Photoshop job- some portions of the painting were not shown in a particularly high resolution so I was forced to use a low res frame in the missing areas, mostly around the edges and corners. If I come across anything higher quality or figure out how to merge this with a color version, I'll post an update. In the meantime, enjoy this peek at our favorite Neighborhood!

Episode 1534 - Grandparents

Original Air Date: May 10, 1984

For details on Episode 1534, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Early Negri/Costa Performance

Here's a cool video pointed out by Neighbor Aaron. It features a young duo of Joe Negri and Johnny Costa from the mid-1950s as they perform on Ken Griffin's 67 Melody Lane.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Episode 1533 - Grandparents

Original Air Date: May 9, 1984

For details on Episode 1533, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Neighborhood Weekend

You may or may not know that Mister Rogers once had his own call-in radio program based roughly on the Neighborhood program. This article provides some interesting details about this late-70's effort.

PUBLICATION: The News and Courier (Charleston, SC)
DATE: September 22, 1979

To read this article, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Episode 1532 - Grandparents

Original Air Date: May 8, 1984

For details on Episode 1532, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Accept Me as I Am [1976]

"Do I act? Heavens no!"
PUBLICATION: Palm Beach Post-Times
AUTHOR: Steven Prokesch
DATE: December 12, 1976

Visit the Neighborhood Archive to read this article.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Episode 1531 - Grandparents

Original Air Date: May 7, 1984

For details on Episode 1531, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Model House

Have you ever looked at the Neighborhood model? I mean really looked at it. Not just a quick glance as an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood begins but have you taken the time to really recognize the effort and detail that was poured into this miniature set? Until recently, I hadn't either.

Having seen this model Neighborhood on television hundreds (if not thousands) of times over the past 30+ years, it wasn't until just a few months ago that I really started to take notice of every possible detail. The more I paid attention, the more fascinated I became. I even started to pick up on minor variations such as the color of the upper windows on Mister Rogers' house.

Ironically, around this same time, I received an email from a Neighborhood Archive reader who shared with me that most of these building are nothing more than modifications made from various structures one might use for a model train set. He shared several links showing the exact products used in making these models for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. One link was to the cape cod style house which is part of the Plasticville USA line of models.

Could it be? Was this really Mister Rogers' house? You bet it was. Of course it was a different color and the porch was on the opposite side. But with a few minor modifications, this was the house that had welcomed me time and time again to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Now for some people reading this, I'm sure this is nothing new to you. But I had never considered where these miniature buildings had come from. While I supposed I didn't think that each one was made from scratch by the MRN set designers, I certainly had never considered that anyone could go out and buy their own Mister Rogers house.

So as wide-eyed as I'd been in a while, what did I do?

I went out and bought my own Mister Rogers house.

After a few sloppy coats of paint and a minor modification to the porch, here you have it...Mister Rogers' house now sits on my shelf. It's not an exact replica, but it's pretty darn close. Although I will say that the house appears much more yellow in this picture than it actually is.

Now I know what you're thinking and the answer is no. I do not plan to continue buying these kits to recreate the entire Neighborhood model.

My wife won't let me.