Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wearing Mister Rogers

There are quite a few Mister Rogers shirts available online these days. Just do a quick search on eBay for "Mister Rogers shirt" and you'll come up with more results than you'd probably expect. Many of these shirts, though, aren't much to get excited about. While most are just an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of "vintage" pop culture, there are even some that include corny phrases that just don't fit.

Among the graphic t-shirts found at stores from Target to Old Navy, I wouldn't be surprised to find Mister Rogers face. A friend of mine picked up a Mister Rogers shirt for me on clearance at the Gap this past summer. Never in a thousand years did I think that I'd see the day that a Mister Rogers shirt could be bought at the Gap.

But modern trends aside, what about the shirts that were printed during the height of Mister Rogers' popularity? While there were surely more, I thought we could take a quick look at a few of the true vintage Neighborhood shirts.

The first two are clearly from the same time period -- according to the copyright shown on the shirt, 1985. With shirts featuring Daniel Striped Tiger and X the Owl, I can only assume that there were others made as well. Possibly Henrietta Pussycat or King Friday?

Although the date on the Mr. McFeely shirt below is 1970, I don't know that it is truly that old. If it's not, I'd say that it was likely produced in the late 70's or early 80's. In comparison to other shirts, it is very likely that it's a bit older based on the style of the shirt itself.

I'm not sure of a date on other shirt below. The graphic of Mister Rogers and Daniel is a simple print which reminds me somewhat of the iron-ons that were common when I was a kid.

This long-sleeve shirt showed up on eBay a while back and I saved the image simply because I'd never seen this shirt before. Since when is the Trolley blue?

I wonder if this next shirt came from Idlewild. It's the exact same image that is found on the Idlewild ceramic souvenir bank.

I don't know what the story is behind this next shirt. I'm curious to know what the term "alumni" is referring to. Either way, this one comes from 1997.

Next is one of my favorites I've come across. While the ringer-style t-shirt is not one that I wear often, for the sake of nostalgia, I love this shirt. The 1970 copyright makes me wonder if this one if from the same time as the Mr. McFeely shirt seen above.

Last but not least is the shirt that I find most interesting of all. When I was a kid, I had a pair of overalls that had a small Sesame Street label on them. Aside from the small Sesame Street logo, there was no other indication anywhere that this piece of clothing was related to the television show.

Similarly, the shirt below is an official Mister Rogers' Neighborhood shirt, but not the typical piece of merchandise you might expect. At first glance, this shirt looks like many others found in the boys' section of any department store. But a closer looks shows something more.

The tag, a Neighborhood Trolley, says "Welcome to My Neighborhood" while the small tag sewn to the left sleeve features the Trolley as well. Incidentally, it appears that this shirt sold for $9.00.

But look at the tag on the collar. This shirt, much like my Sesame Street overalls, is a subtle piece of official Neighborhood merchandise.

I'm sure there are many, many other Mister Rogers shirts out there. I'll keep my eyes open for more...