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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Episode 0029 [1968]

Original Air Date: March 28, 1968


Mister Rogers arrives with a small loom which he has borrowed to demonstrate for viewers. He talks about weaving and further demonstrates the practice by weaving his fingers together and then weaving together strips of paper. As he does so, he sings I Like You As You Are.

Walking to a nearby shop, Mister Rogers visits with Jack -- a young man who is learning to operate larger looms. Mrs. Mauldin shares some of her recent work on a loom including a "dog track" pattern. She describes the various parts of the loom and explains how it works. Having just finished his first scarf, Jack gives the finished product to Mister Rogers.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, a string quartet is at the castle performing for King Friday. At the request of the King, they play a piece by Haydn. The quartet is invited to the T Room for tea.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers talks about the importance of practicing in order to improve a particular skill. He talks about learning to play the piano and sings Goodnight God as he concludes for the day.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 0029 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Episode 0028 [1968]

Original Air Date: March 27, 1968


Mister Rogers arrives with a set of nexting boxes. As he opens each one to find a smaller box, he eventually finds a thimble inside the smallest box. Mister Rogers shows a collection of other items that hold things like a small baby carriage, a kangaroos pouch, and a mail box.

After Mister Rogers sings I Think I'm Going to Like Today, Mrs. Rubin stops by with several homemade pillows which Neighborhood children have made for Edgar Cooke.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Daniel Striped Tiger describes to Dr. Marchl how Lady Elaine had been trying to take Edgar Cooke's special pillow. For safe keeping, he has put his pillow in a safe and feeling uneasy about his attachment to the pillow. Edgar Cooke comes to the castle garden with his pillow locked in the safe and talks with Dr. Marchl about his feelings of embarrassment. Dr. Marchl reminds Edgar of the pillows made for him by the Neighborhood children and also recognizes the special nature of Edgar's favorite pillow. Daniel sings Please Don't Think It's Funny.

Lady Elaine Fairchilde stops by the castle to show off the new toy she has found -- a boomerang. She assures Edgar that his soft pillow is safe and she will never try to take it again.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers shows his own personal safe before singing Please Don't Think It's Funny.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 0028 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Christmastime with Mister Rogers [1977]

Memorial Day is typically the unofficial start of summer. The grills are hot, the pools are cool, and (hopefully) the sun is shining. I'm not sure what it's like in your neighborhood, but here in mine it's supposed to be 97 degrees with sunny skies.

Summer is definitely here.

So what better to talk about as we enter the warmest months of the year?

Let's talk about Christmas.


Rather than wait until December, I thought I'd go ahead and take a look at the 1977 special that many people are curious about and most have never seen -- Christmastime with Mister Rogers.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Episode 1117 [1970]

Original Air Date: April 14, 1970


Mister Rogers finds a note from the Neighborhood librarian on his door as he arrivers which informs him that Mr. McFeely will be delivering a book he ordered. While he waits, Mister Rogers spends some time building with blocks and watching an animated film showing a carpenter's rule changing shapes.

Mr. McFeely stops by with the book Mister Rogers requested from the library -- Children and Their Mothers. Mister Rogers shares various pictures from the book showing the relationship between mother and child.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, everyone is anxiously awaiting the birth of the royal baby. Vic Miles and Marie Torre are at the castle to cover the event for the Neighborhood News. King Friday paces in the castle garden as he tries to contain his excitement. Called back inside by Dr. Bill, King Friday soon returns with news that the baby has been born. Since the day of the week is Tuesday, the newborn prince will be called Tuesday.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers talks about babies and sings When a Baby Comes To Your House. He concludes for the day by quietly enjoying a snack in the kitchen.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1117 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sitcom Mentions

I find myself watching a lot of old sitcoms in the evenings when things are winding down and, lately, I've been making my way through the seasons of Family Ties. On another note, I've often said that there are certain shows on TV that simply cannot be turned off when you're flipping channels and there's nothing else on. One of those shows is Saved By the Bell. In separate instances over the past few weeks, Mister Rogers name has caught my attention while watching these shows.

You might remember from previous blog entries that instances of Mister Rogers being mentioned on these shows is not uncommon as I've already made mention of the Saved By the Bell episode "Model Students" and the Family Ties episode "Give Uncle Arthur a Kiss." But here are two more...

First on Saved By the Bell, in an episode called "King of the Hill," Zack finds himself in Mr. Belding's office about to receive some guidance from his principal.

Before sitting down for a heart-to-heart chat, Mr. Belding changes into a sweater and has the following exchange with Zack:
Mr. Belding: "I'm taking a different approach with you, Zack."
Zack: "You're gonna be Mister Rogers?"
Mr. Belding: "You're in the neighborhood."
Then, just a few days later, I'm watching "D is for Date" from Family Ties' fifth season (1986). Mallory's boyfriend Nick is in danger of serving jail time after neglecting to pay his income taxes for the past five years.

The Keatons offer their help and Nick gladly provides them with his financial records -- a box containing the "past five years in alphabetical order." Elyse is quite surprised by the first document she pulls from the box.
Elyse: "Mister Rogers Fan Club? 'This card certifies that Nick is a neighbor.'"
Alex: "Don't leave home without it, Nick."
So there you have it. Insignificant, I know.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Episode 1104 [1970]

Original Air Date: March 26, 1970


Mister Rogers walks with a cane as he enters and explains that he recently injured his ankle. He describes the purpose of a cane before showing a bandage wrapped around his ankle and demonstrating how to walk with a cane.

Picture Picture greets Mister Rogers and shows a variety of ways to write his name. Mr. McFeely stops by with a film showing the bandage being applied to Mister Rogers' ankle. After watching the film and talking about going to the doctor, Mister Rogers sings Please Don't Think It's Funny.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Mime Walker is at the castle with King Friday wondering if the Platypus egg has hatched. Meanwhile, at the Platypus mound, Mrs. Saunders sings a portion of Tree Tree Tree for Elsie Jean. Mrs. Saunders departs and Mime Walker arrives at the mound just in time to learn that the egg has hatched! Eager to share the news, Mime Walker tells Daniel Striped Tiger that a baby girl platypus has been born. Daniel offers to spread the news around the Neighborhood as Mime Walker goes to Someplace Else to celebrate with Donkey Hodie.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers talks about how living creatures start out small and then grow.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1104 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One Last Time

Here's a nice article from the March 2001 issue of Pittsburgh magazine which details the final taping of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

Including several pages of behind-the-scenes photos, this article is well worth your time. Visit the Neighborhood Archive for more.

Episode 1020 [1969]

Original Air Date: March 7, 1969

Mister Rogers arrives with several types of shovels. In the front yard, he describes how each kind of shovel might be used. With the smallest of the shovels, he adds fertilizer to one of his plants as he sings You've Got To Do It.

Coach Saunders stops by and exercises with Mister Rogers and learns of the new neighbors in Make-Believe.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Nurse Miller is providing drinks as the digging continues -- cups of pretend water with a bit of salt. X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat accept "drinks" from Nurse Miller as she sings I'm Taking Care of You. Henrietta shows the duckbill curtains she has been working on for the new Platypus home.

At the digging site, everyone has been working hard and is resting when Nurse Miller arrives with drinks. Dr. Bill mentions that the digging should be finished on Monday. Nurse Miller goes with Handyman Negri to the castle where they plan to have popsicles.

Back at the house, Handyman Negri stops by with a chocolate popsicle for Mister Rogers who demonstrates how he sometimes makes his own popsicles. Concluding for the day, Mister Rogers sings I'm Taking Care of You.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1020 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

45 Years (sort of)

UPDATE: Apparently our suspicions were correct. WQED chimed in on Twitter to clarify the "45th anniversary" confusion.

A few more details shared on Facebook:
Lots of folks wishing happy 45th Anniversaries today to the WQED premiere of "Mister Rogers Neighborhood." Looks like a Wikipedia error that's still online in some places. The actual WQED premiere date was: 11/21/66. The PBS premiere was: 2/19/68. Regardless, thanks for the love & kind wishes!
So there it is. The guys who mentioned this on the radio this morning? All of the people wishing Mister Rogers Neighborhood a happy anniversary/birthday today? All mistaken.

Not everything on the internet is true.

You may have heard that today marks the 45th anniversary of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood premiere. I've seen this pop up today on a few news sources and websites myself.

A few people have contacted me today with questions about this milestone considering the Neighborhood Archive marks the premiere of Episode 0001 as February 1968. Forty-five years would put the premiere in 1967.

So let me clarify things a bit today -- on what might be the 45th anniversary of the Neighborhood.

Sort of.


It's well known that Fred Rogers worked with Josie Carey on the Children's Corner in the 1950s for WQED Pittsburgh -- although he did not visibly appear on camera. In the early 1960s, he packed up and moved north where he hosted Misterogers on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Fred returned to Pittsburgh in 1966 and brought this program to WQED under the name Misterogers' Neighborhood. This half-hour program was broadcast regionally by the Eastern Educational Network (EEN). With increased funding, the program was able to reach a national audience starting early in 1968 on National Educational Television (NET) -- beginning with what the Neighborhood Archive refers to as Episode 0001.

So then...did Mister Rogers' Neighborhood actually debut 45 years ago today?


Maybe the EEN broadcasts began in May of 1967? I'm not sure.

But on a national level -- the version of the Neighborhood program that most people are familiar with -- that anniversary won't come until next spring.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mr. McFeely? A Smoker?

Okay. Let's put this to rest once and for all.

One topic that has come up a few times on the Neighborhood Archive message board over the past few weeks has been the content of Episode 37 from 1968. For those who have not been a part of this message board conversation, you might be surprised to learn that the question at hand is this: On the Neighborhood program, was Mr. McFeely a smoker?

Let's start with what led to this question in the first place. According to the summary of Episode 37 found on the University of Pittsburgh Library's online catalog, Mister Rogers "talks about how he is sometimes angered by Mr. McFeely's smoking."

There it is in black and white. I had never seen this myself until it was pointed out to me by readers of the Archive site. Included in the most recent batch of episodes provided to me for the site, I was able to check Episode 37 first hand.

And guess what.

No smoking.

Mr. McFeely does indeed appear in this episode and the rest of the description from the Pitt library is accurate; however, there is nothing in the episode that suggests that Mr. McFeely is a smoker.

So then the question became -- was this episode edited at a later time to remove this content once smoking became less "socially acceptable?" While this is a possibility, I just couldn't believe that this was ever included in a Neighborhood visit to begin with. So I sought out the help of a reliable source from the Fred Rogers Company and here is what I learned.
1. Mr. McFeely never smoked and no mention was ever made of him smoking. 
2. This was clearly something added (for whatever reason) by the person documenting this episode at Pitt. 
3. According to Pitt, this information is part of a permanent database and cannot be edited.
So there it is. The story behind the story.

Mr. McFeely. Non-smoker.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Episode 1019 [1969]

Original Air Date: March 6, 1969


Mister Rogers arrives with a toy boat from the Neighborhood Store. After sharing a film of himself boating with his sons, Mister Rogers takes the toy boat outside where he floats it in a tub of water. As he moves the toy along in the water, he sings Sometimes People Are Good. After the song, another film shows children playing with toy boats.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Dr. Bill is at the castle protesting King Friday's declaration that all digging must be supervised by Digger Digorum. Anxious to start digging, Dr. Bill is frustrated as he waits from Digger Digorum to return from Australia.

Near the Museum-Go-Round, Lady Elaine finds a loophole in King Friday's rule by using a steam shovel to do the digging (since she is technically not the one doing the digging). When Digger Digorum arrives, she checks the time on her sundial watch and informs everyone that work may begin tomorrow since they are "past the best digging time of the day." Dr. Bill agrees to wait until tomorrow after Digger Digorum offers him a crustacean snack.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers goes back outside where he talks about different times of day and explains how to read a sundial.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1019 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Episode 1018 [1969]

Original Air Date: March 5, 1969


Mister Rogers arrives with two boxes -- one empty and one full of buckeyes. While discussing the difference between empty and full, he shows how smooth a buckeye is after is is removed from its rough outer shell.

Moving to the kitchen, Mister Rogers fills an empty glass with water before sitting at the table and singing Just For Once. Mr. McFeely stops by on his way to the Neighbohrood of Make-Believe and Mister Rogers offers him a buckeye for each of his pockets.

In the Neighbohrood of Make-Believe, X the Owl has offered to let the Platypus family stay with him until they can dig a hole to live in. Officer Clemmons is helping move their belongings into the tree and is quickly running out of space. Nurse Miller arrives with Dr. Bill's medical supplies just in time to hear Officer Clemmons sing We Welcome You Today.

Taking the rest of the Platypus family's belongings to the pond where the Frogg family once lived, Officer Clemmons and Nurse Miller continue singing We Welcome You Today. Dr. Bill arrives at the pond where discusses plans with Nurse Miller for a new "help station" in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers sings We Welcome You Today before emptying a full waste basket into an empty garbage can. Officer Clemmons stops by on his way from Make-Believe and enjoys some cake and milk with Mister Rogers. As he cleans up, Mister Rogers sings more of Just For Once.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1018 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Episode 1017 [1969]

Original Air Date: March 4, 1969

Mister Rogers arrives with several packages of seeds which he takes to the kitchen. Showing that the various seeds look different, Mister Rogers talks about how they will grow into different plants and then sings Everybody's Fancy.

Miss Emilie stops by with a poem about growing written by a young friend. After sharing the poem, Miss Emilie encourages viewers to write poetry of their own and shares a verse of her own.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Lady Aberlin is dressed as "Mary Mary quite contrary" and is pretending to water the flowers around the Neighborhood. She and X the Owl play a game where Lady Aberlin guesses who he is pretending to be (Benjamin Franklin).

Henrietta Pussycat shares the exciting news that the Dr. Bill and his wife will be moving to the Neighborhood today. Joining Robert Troll near the Frogg pond, everyone awaits the arrival of their new neighbors.

As Dr. Bill and Mrs. Platypus arrive, they are introduced by Robert Troll before explaining that they would like to find a hole in the ground to live in. X invites the Dr. and Mrs. Platypus to stay with him until they can dig their hole.

Robert Troll joins Lady Aberlin as they continue "watering" the flowers.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers shows that plants do not just grow above the ground but they have roots as well.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1017 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Monday, May 14, 2012


I'm finally getting around to a little housekeeping around here. As I come across various items to add to the Archive, I typically save them in a folder on my computer to add at a later time. Looking through this folder over the weekend, I realized that many have been saved there for close to two years -- some a bit longer even. So in an effort to tidy up a bit, here is a quick catch-all post of some recent items I've added to the Archive.
There is still more to be added from this "save for a rainy day" folder so hopefully I'll get to the rest sometime soon.

Zack and Miri and Betty

After a weekend out of town, my wife and I were looking for a lighthearted movie to watch last night and we decided on the 2008 Kevin Smith film Zack and Miri. Being the self-proclaimed pop culture nerd that I am, I often find myself flipping through IMDB when I watch a movie just to see if there is anything or anyone to keep a special eye out for. Watching Zack and Miri was no exception.

There she was in the deleted scenes -- playing the part of theater owner Mrs. Copley -- the one and only Betty Aberlin.

I realize that Betty has appeared in a few of Kevin Smith's other films but I guess I didn't know about this one. Quite a fun surprise on a Sunday evening.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Episode 1016 [1969]

Original Air Date: March 3, 1969

Mister Rogers arrives with the bottom of a small bird feeder loaned to him by Mr. McFeely. Adding a glass and water to the feeder, Mister Rogers creates a watering bowl for some "feathered friends" to be delivered by Mr. McFeely. Outside, Mister Rogers finds Mr. McFeely with some small chicks and ducklings. Observing the differences between the chicks and ducklins, Mister Rogers sings You're Growing.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Mr. Anybody is looking forward to playing ball with Robert Troll who is feeling sad about that King Friday and Sara Saturday are away on their honeymoon.

Lady Elaine arrives and is glad to play ball with Mr. Anybody. She tries to include Robert Troll in the game but the ball is lost when he does not catch it. The ball is found by someone new to the Neighborhood -- Dr. William Duckbill Bagpipe Platypus IV. Dr. Bill is a veterinarian from Westwood looking for a new place to live. Robert Troll is delighted to see his old friend.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers uses one of the ducklings to explain where the name "duckbill platypus" comes from before Mr. McFeely returns to pick up the birds. Inside, Mister Rogers shares a small carving of a duckbill platypus that was given to him as a gift.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1016 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

King Friday's (Foam) Crown

Has anyone ever seen this before?

What you're looking at is a foam crown designed to be worn by children. Although it appears flat in the picture, when the crown is placed on a person's head, the sides are turned upright creating a home-version of King Friday's royal head wear.

Unfortunately, I know next to nothing about this. Based on the other pieces of memorabilia that were with the crown when I took this picture, my best guess is that it comes from the 1970's and was possibly an item distributed through Mister Rogers' Rainy Day Club.

If anyone has any information on this crown, please fill me in. Better yet, if anyone owns one of these that they're willing to part with, I'd be more than happy to take it off your hands!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The IPOY Letter

If you've read Tim Madigan's book I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers, you know that the story of this friendship essentially began with a letter. This letter written from Mister Rogers to Mr. Madigan is referred to often throughout the book as the "IPOY letter." Mr. Madigan was kind enough to share a copy of the original handwritten IPOY letter.

For a larger view of the letter, visit the Neighborhood Archive. And, of course, if you've not read I'm Proud of You, I highly recommend it!

Also, if you missed it, Mr. Madigan was a guest on the most recent Neighborhood Archive Podcast when he discussed his book and his friendship with Fred Rogers. Take a listen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A High School Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers attended Latrobe High School in Latrobe, Pennsylvania from 1942-1946. Recently Guy, a Neighborhood Archive reader and co-host of the Adventure Club Podcast, shared with me several images from both Fred's sophomore and senior yearbooks.

For several images of a teenage Fred Rogers, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Many thanks to Guy for sharing these gems!

And by the way, if you've got the time, check out the Adventure Club Podcast -- especially Sequence 19 featuring some guy who created an online Mister Rogers archive.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Love is a Four Letter Word

Have you seen this? Open up the liner notes on Jason Mraz's most recent release, Love is a Four Letter Word, and there's a quote from Fred Rogers...

Episode 1169 [1971] Uncle of the Monkey

Original Air Date: April 8, 1971

Mister Rogers opens by sharing a film about monkeys before Bob Trow stops by on his way home from the store. He gives Mister Rogers a banana which provides some inspiration for part of the day's opera.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, everyone is in costume as they prepare for the opera. Reardon and Lady Aberlin take a call from King Friday on a banana phone requesting their presence at the castle. The King is given the part of "first musician" in the opera -- playing his bass fiddle as the production begins.

The opera -- The Uncle of the Monkey -- begins with the Zookeeper (Lady Aberlin) caring for the animals at the zoo which include a talking parrot (voiced by Bob Trow), Daniel Duck (Daniel Striped Tiger), and a horse (Ino A. Horse). At the monkey house, the Organ Grinder (Reardon) arrives feeling upset that no one wants to pay for his music. His sense of failure prompts him to return his Monkey (Robert Troll) to the Monkey's Uncle (Chef Brockett).

Giving his organ to the Monkey's Uncle, the Organ Grinder accepts an invitation to tour the zoo with the Zookeeper. While they are gone, the Monkey's Uncle converts the organ into a popcorn maker which provides a feeling of rejuvenated confidence to the Organ Grinder. Upon the arrival of the Monkey's Aunt (Miss Paulificate), the Organ Grinder decides that he will continue his work at the zoo.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers encourages viewers to be creative by making up their own operas.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1169 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Episode 1370 [1974] - All in the Laundry

Original Air Date: April 19, 1974

It's opera day and Mister Rogers arrives with a picture book showing pictures of what viewers will see in the opera -- All in the Laundry.

The opera opens at the Latrobe Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company where the owner, Alice Claire (Lady Elaine Fairchilde), is giving orders to her employee, Gillespie (Reardon). Clearly overworked, Gillespie resents his overbearing boss.

Phillip Photographer (Francois Clemmons) arrives with some pictures he has just taken at a handball-football game between Ito (Yoshi Ito) and Brockett (Chef Brockett). As Gillespie goes back to work, Phillip snaps a photograph of him; however, the photo shows only his back.

Outside the store, Phillip greets Miss Morgan (Lady Aberlin) -- a rich woman looking to spend her money on everything from diamonds to an apartment house. Catching a glimpse of Phillip's picture of Gillepsie, Miss Morgan immediately labels Gillespie as the man of her dreams.

On the handball-football court, Ito and Brockett are involved in a friendly game as Miss Morgan arrives with the picture of Gillespie. She shares with the players that she will buy and apartment house and then continue looking for the man in the picture. As Ito and Brockett realize that their gloves and shoes are dirty from playing handball-football, Phillip informs them that they can be cleaned by the LLDCC.

Back at the LLDCC, the apartment house owner (X the Owl) arrives demanding his laundry. He shares a photograph of the wealthy woman who will be buying his apartment house. Gillespie stands gazing at the photograph, distracted from the work demands of Alice Claire. The handball-football players arrive and recognize Gillespie from his photograph.

At the apartment house, Miss Morgan is greeted by the owner who sells her a diamond. Unfortunately, the apartment house is not ready to be sold as the linens are still being cleaned at the LLDCC. Seeing a picture of the apartment house taken by Phillip, Miss Morgan agrees to buy the building on good faith that the linens will soon be ready.

At the LLDCC, Gillespie has just finished his work for the apartment house and Mr. McFeely rushes off with the completed order. As he leaves, Miss Morgan arrives with the handball-football players. She is thrilled to find Gillespie working behind the counter and they immediately fall in love. A stack of money for Alice Claire changes ownership of the LLDCC to Miss Morgan who is happy to continue the business -- side by side with the man of her dreams.

The opera concludes as Miss Paulificate, their first customer, drops off her laundry to be cleaned.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers encourages viewers to be creative by singing their thoughts.

For details and more screenshots from Episode 1370 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the Neighborhood Archive.