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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Podcast #1 - The Beginning

Over the past few months I have been considering different ideas to enhance the Neighborhood Archive experience and there was one idea that continued to come up. With so much to discuss when it comes to the career of Fred Rogers, a podcast seemed like the perfect supplement to these rapidly growing websites. With that in mind, I'm excited to offer you the first Neighborhood Archive podcast!

Through the wonders of Skype, in this first episode I spend some time talking with frequent Neighborhood Archive contributor Eric as we discuss the history of the blog, our childhood memories of Mister Rogers, and episodes of the Neighborhood program we would like to see made available on Amazon.

So if you've got nothing better to do with the next half-hour, and you can tolerate a very amateurish recording, sit back and listen to two guys in their 30's talk about their appreciation for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Subscribe to the Neighborhood Archive Podcast or listen to this episode through iTunes...

or listen to it here in your web browser...

Let me know what you think of this idea. We'll see if this is something we may want to do more often.

Up Close: The Studio

We'll wrap up these eight "up close" days with a look at the studio itself. Outside the building, passersby are met by the Fredasaurus Rex Friday XIII dinosaur.

While I had seen many pictures of Fredasaurus Rex, I had never known that the Trolley can be found on its tail.

Inside the building, a sign marks the entrance to the Fred Rogers Studio.

It is inside the doors to this studio where Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was filmed.

The picture below represents a story that many people know, but many people likely do not. Throughout the production of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, the studio floor was painted with the pattern of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe paths. As production of the program ceased, the studio floor was painted black -- all but one small rectangle left as a lasting tribute to Fred Rogers and his Neighborhood.

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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Up Close: The Models

Rather than ramble on about the models that everyone certainly remembers, I'll save your time and let you do what I know you'd like to -- enjoy the pictures.

Next up, the studio...

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.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Up Close: Daniel's Clock

My photographs of Daniel's clock are somewhat limited by the fact that the clock is kept behind glass as part of the exhibit at the Fred Rogers Center in Latrobe, PA.

Next up, the Neighborhood of Make-Believe models...

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.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Up Close: The Museum-Go-Round

Just as the castle seemed smaller than I had envisioned, the Museum-Go-Round seemed larger.

This shot begins to show the mechanism which allowed the Museum-Go-Round to spin.

And this shot shows it in better detail...

Next up, Daniel's Clock...

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.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Up Close: The Rockit Factory

There is a lot to look at when it comes to Corny's Rockit factory as it's a very busy place.



Easily, my favorite part of the factory is the collection of gears and controls. If you look closely, you'll notice that the controls are simply a collection of random parts that probably looked "technical" at the time this structure was built.

Looking even more closely, you'll see that the various settings on one of the dials are written by hand.

And of course, here is a look at the inside of the factory...

And the back...

Next up, the Museum-Go-Round...

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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Up Close: The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower obviously looks different as it is missing its top. Don't worry, this is not a result of damage but rather a simple matter of the ceiling being lower than the height of the fully-assembled tower.

Again, as with the castle, I took notice of the materials used to make this structure and quickly found that there was nothing that could not be purchased at any local hardware store and lumber yard.

The inside of the Tower reveals a similar set us to the oak tree as you can see a few black curtains hanging which covered the area where the characters would emerge.

Next up, the Rockit Factory...

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.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Up Close: The Castle

As I approached the castle, I realized that these pieces from the show are truly very simple creations. While we as viewers see the brilliance of these structures on camera under the lights of a television studio, they are surprisingly made of little more than plywood, nails, and paint.

I don't say that to suggest that their quality or the creativity behind them are inferior in any way. In fact, I admire the simplicity of the show even more having seen the basic nature of these Neighborhood landmarks.

Commenting that the castle itself was a little shorter than I had envisioned, I was told that it was set up on a riser when it was on the set which added about another twelve inches to its height.

Through the image below, you can see into the area where the puppeteers would have worked.

Similar to the first photo in this series, the one below shows the castle from above giving a glimpse of the upper platforms.

Most interesting of all, of course, is seeing the side of the castle never shown on camera.

Next up, the Eiffel Tower...

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.

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.

Paper Craft NOM Models

Do you remember the Neighborhood of Make-Believe models? Of course, you do. What kid who ever watched the Neighborhood program didn't dream about the day that they could own their own set of those models? Well, now you can.

I was recently contacted by Francis McGrath, a very talented artist in the realm of paper crafting. A viewer of the Neighborhood as a child, Francis was particularly interested in the NOM models and has carefully crafted his own brilliant paper version of these models.

Amazing, aren't they?

Visit Francis' website to read more and download your own copy of his paper craft plans so you can create your own Neighborhood of Make-Believe models.

A job well done, Francis. Thank you for sharing your hard work.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Episode 1568 - Playthings

Original Air Date: November 26, 1986

  
For details on Episode 1568, visit the Neighborhood Archive.