Thursday, July 19, 2012

Candid Comments from Michael Keaton

In a recent interview with Grantland's Daniel Kellison, Michael Keaton talks about his career including a few candid and entertaining comments about his time working on the Neighborhood program.

Daniel: You worked on Mister Rogers back in 1975, right? What was he like? 
Michael: Yeah. He was funny, just deceptively funny. So authentic, but also so unusual. I worked on the crew at the local PBS station in Pittsburgh. I was making like $2.25 an hour or something. When you work there, you kind of do everything. And when you did his show, you did everything from pull cable for the cameras, to running the trolley, to dressing up in the black-and-white panda suit for 25 bucks. 
Daniel: Really? 
Michael: What people don't realize is what his crew looked like — they almost all had hair down to their lower backs, one guy just dripped with patchouli and marijuana smoke, worse than Tom Petty. But everyone was really funny and would do these insane things — and Fred just loved them. And they loved him back. 
Daniel: So he'd never just lose his sh*t and scream at a gaffer for getting in the shot? 
Michael: No! In fact, one time, my friend Nicky Tallo, who was this really funny, big Italian kid who was his floor manager — and I don't think I'm telling tales out of school when I say generally Nick was feeling the effects of smoking dope the night before — or maybe even that morning … 
Daniel: It was a different era … 
Michael: So one day, we were taping, and Fred comes in, and starts singing, "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day … " puts the shoes down here, goes to hang up the sweater in the closet. And he's singing, and he opens the door — and there's his floor manager, Nick, this big guy with his long goatee, pierced ears, hair all over the place, totally nude, just standing there naked in the closet. Well, Fred just fell down; it was the most hysterical thing you've ever seen. He was totally cool.
Visit Grantland to read the entire interview with Michael Keaton.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Bill Bill Sad Day

On July 8, 2012, the Reverend Dr. William Pierson Barker passed away at the age of 85.

While remembered for many wondrous accomplishments throughout his life, Dr. Barker is known around the Neighborhood as the voice and puppeteer of Dr. Bill and Elsie Jean Platypus.

In Neighborhood Episode 1384 from 1974, Mister Rogers shares some behind-the-scenes footage which includes a short segment featuring a fun and unique moment with his friend, Mr. Barker.


Mister Rogers explains: "We've been good friends for many years and that's the way we usually greet each other. With that handshake salute."

Deepest condolences go out to the family and friends of Dr. Barker.

It's a Bill Bill sad day.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


There are a lot of movies that I enjoy which I consider to be guilty pleasures. You know -- a movie that really isn't that good but for some reason you enjoy watching it now and again. One such movie in my book is the 1995 Sinbad movie Houseguest.

Having not seen this movie in several years, I watched it this past week and was surprised to find not one, but two appearances by Neighborhood cast members. If you've never seen the movie, I won't spoil the plot for you -- but the plot involves the mob, deception, and a lot of get-rich-quick themes.

The mob boss in the movie is Happy Marcelli -- played by none other than Don Brockett.

A quick search online reveals that just six months after the release of Houseguest, Mr. Brockett died of a heart attack at the age of 65.

With a closer look at the movie (after a glance at the credits), there's another Neighbor who shows up in this movie set in Pittsburgh. Again, I won't spoil the plot of the movie but there is a televised lottery show in the movie called the Big Spin. The host of the Big Spin is played by Chuck Aber.

Silence of the Lambs, Zack and Miri...Neighbors tend to show up when you're least expecting it.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mister Rogers on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

You may remember last December when I took a look at the 2011 Topps American Pie trading card honoring Fred Rogers and his star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

Earlier this summer, my brother-in-law finished college and moved to Los Angeles. After he shared a few pictures he took on the Walk of Fame, I asked him to track down Mister Rogers' star and send me a snap shot. He quickly came through.

While it's interesting to see the star unpolished and chipped (as I assume most are on a normal day), what had me most intrigued is the surrounding area. We often see pictures of these stars, but what's around them?

Time to put on my Bloodhound Gang hat for a little investigating.

My first stop was good ol' Wikipedia where I found that the Mister Rogers star is located at 6600 Hollywood Boulevard. Next, it was off to the awesome street view feature on Google Maps.

The street view shot of 6600 Hollywood Blvd. shows several stars on the sidewalk. So which one is the Mister Rogers' star? Well, thanks to a photo on Flickr of a guy posed next to the star, it's easy to determine which one it is.

So there it is, folks. Mister Rogers' star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame sits just outside the doors of Hollywood Toys and Costumes.

Amazing to have figured this out from my computer in less than ten minutes.

Interested in more? Check out this 1998 article from the Los Angeles Times which details the dedication of the star.