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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

American Pie Trading Card #HWF-11

As Mister Rogers is featured on another trading card, these have been popping up online a lot recently.

 
This comes from the 2011 Topps American Pie trading card set. The set features a variety of American icons from history, entertainment, and pop culture. In addition to the regular set of 200 cards, there are several bonus cards that collectors may find when they purchase a pack of these cards. Among those bonus cards are 50 featuring individuals found on the Hollywood Walk of Fame -- including Mister Rogers.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Podcast #8 - The Santa Suit

Eric joins me via Skype as we discuss Episode 1261 -- the famous Santa suit episode from 1973.

Here are a few links that may come in handy before and/or while you listen:
As always, you can click on the image above to download this podcast episode through iTunes or you can listen to it here in your web browser. Please note that it can take up to 24 hours for a new podcast to appear on iTunes.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

An LP Variation and the REAL Archive

Just when you think you've seen them all, another one shows up. I thought I'd come across every release of the major Mister Rogers' Neighborhood LP titles until another early 1970s version of You Are Special surfaced.

The version with the white album cover I had always seen shows Mister Rogers on the left and a "mirror" on the right. Recently I stumbled upon this variation which has no mirror but instead has the title moved to this space.

Yeah. I know. Picky picky.

If you haven't noticed already, I've revamped some of the menu-type pages on the Archive site -- merchandise, music, publications, and video. I felt that the thumbnail pictures that were up before were too small (50x50) and served no purpose because of their size. Now, with bigger thumbnail images (145x145), casual visitors to the site will have an easier time finding what they're looking for.

Finally, if you get a chance, take a few minutes to read a recent article featured on pittsburghlive.com. The article, Through His Archives, Fred Rogers Continues to Teach, focuses on the true archive of Fred Rogers' work. You'll be fascinated as you read about the boxes of materials, letters, notes, props, and other items spanning the entirety of such an influential career.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rainy Day Club: Sensory Garden Kit

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- Mister Rogers' Rainy Day Club was awesome! It took the fan club concept to a whole new level. Rather than following the lead of so many other clubs that would send an occasional newsletter and maybe a sticker or an 8x10 glossy, Mister Rogers' Rainy Day Club provide kids with fun hands-on activities to help them learn and grow. The Sensory Garden Kit was no exception.

 
The Sensory Garden Kit encouraged children to learn about growing (and patience) as they planted their own garden. Seeds for multiple plants were sent -- each one growing into a plant that would trigger a child's different senses. For example, one plant might smell nice while another was more colorful.

With the usual Rainy Day Club card explaining the activity and providing instructions to children and their parents, the Sensory Garden Kit did not leave parents to purchase necessary supplies on their own. The seeds and the soil were delivered as well.

Seriously, how great is this? You would think that most efforts like this would be content to limit supply and shipping costs by simply describing such a project and assuming that parents could pick up the necessary suppies on their own. This kit supplied the idea, the materials, and no excuse for parents and/or children not to attempt this educational project.

At a time when kids are bombarded with online "educational" tools and flashy television programs, maybe a lesson in simplicity can be (and should be) taken from Mister Rogers' Rainy Day Club.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Songs From the Neighborhood CD [2005]

I've had a copy of Songs From the Neighborhood: The Music of Mister Rogers for about year. In all honesty, I had never listened to it all the way through until this past weekend and probably won't be listening to it again any time soon. It's just not for me.

 
I certainly appreciate the music from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood -- it's such a large part of what that show was and continues to be. Listening to Fred Rogers sing his own songs is one thing as he wrote them for children and sang them with children in mind. But hearing well-known recording artists perform these same songs does one thing: It takes the child out of the children's music. It takes a simple song and glorifies it into a performance rather than a message.

I fully understand the concept of a tribute album as it should allow for some level of interpretation on the part of the performer. If that is the extent of it, this album has accomplished its goal. For me personally, however, it just doesn't work. The style of the songs throughout this album are all reminiscent of what you might hear as you wait in a dentist's office or maybe during the opening of a Disney movie. The intention here is good, but the product is mediocre.

The bonus DVD leaves just as much (if not more) to be desired. While the interview clips and behind-the-scenes footage are interesting, the quality of the video itself is poor enough that it's almost distracting. Between low-quality editing and laughable effects, this bonus disc sealed the deal for me and doomed this tribute album to a life of collecting dust on my CD shelf.

I applaud producer Dennis Scott and the group of performers he assembled for their efforts in paying tribute to Fred Rogers; however, when it comes to "the music of Mister Rogers", I'll stick with the real thing.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Character Page Updates

Several character pages have been updated this past week. If you haven't checked them out already, take a few minutes to give them a look. While a few are pretty sparse on detail, others are full of links, notes, and images. Here are the recent additions:

More to come very soon!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sesame Street Crossover, Pt. 2

In light of the comments left on the previous post about a subtle Sesame Street crossover, here is the Ernie and Bert clip being referenced.

And let's not forget the time Mister Rogers actually visited Sesame Street.