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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fables and the Art of Leadership

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- the message of Fred Rogers is timeless and knows no boundaries. The topics discussed on camera with countless children over multiple decades could just as easily be applied to everyday situations in adult life. A wonderful new book recently hit the market that puts this concept into practice.


Fables and the Art of Leadership: Applying the Wisdom of Mister Rogers to the Workplace
was written by Ian and Donna Mitroff and first published in late 2012 by Palgrave MacMillan. The authors clearly have a similar opinion to mine of Fred's message and they use the combined creativity, simplicity, and practicality that Fred possessed to encourage readers to become better leaders. Through the use of eight storylines from various Neighborhood of Make-Believe segments, they clearly apply the lessons taught to children through puppets and song to adults in professional environments.

For example, one story used is that of King Friday ordering everyone in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to wear mittens without any explanation for this mandate. While most comply without question, Lady Elaine Fairchilde holds out (of course) and regrets not having mittens when it begins to snow. Fables and the Art of Leadership applies this story to the expectations of a good leader -- one who makes rules only for good reason, makes them clearly, and offers concise purpose for the rule. Of course, the authors apply this lesson in a much more detailed and applicable format.

Who would have thought that the children of yesterday who grew up watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood would find themselves applying this familiar children's program to their corporate-minded adult lives of today?

Fables and the Art of Leadership
is based on seven key principles -- the seven C's -- which the authors feel are essential aspects to consider when building leadership. The seven C's are connect, concern, creativity, communication, consciousness, courage, and community. In addition to being applied to the Make-Believe scenarios, these concepts are discussed in order -- from least to most complex -- as readers look to develop their own leadership roles.

While I would encourage anyone to read this book -- not only fans of the Neighborhood but also those looking to improve themselves as leaders -- there is one deterring factor at this point. If you have searched anywhere outside the Neighborhood Archive for information about this book, you've likely found that it does comes with a very hefty price tag.

Lastly, in addition to the book itself, a website as well as a Facebook and Twitter account have all been established in support of Fables and the Art of Leadership. Be sure to take a moment to check them out.

Many thanks to the Mitroff's for generously sharing their book with me.

For more on Fables and the Art of Leadership, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - Episode 1029

Original Air Date: March 20, 1969


Mister Rogers arrives with a suitcase full of over-sized clothing. He tries on various pieces of clothing and talks about dressing up in his parents old clothes when he was a boy. Before a short film of children playing dress-up, Mister Rogers sings I Like You As You Are as continues trying on various pieces of clothing.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Lady Aberlin is talking to Corny about the return of King Friday and Queen Sara when Mr. McFeely passes through the Neighborhood. Lady Aberlin places an "order" with him -- that he should "have a good day."

Moving on to the Museum-Go-Round, Lady Aberlin finds Lady Elaine Fairchilde struggling to untie a knot around a package. With Lady Aberlin's assistance, the knot is untied and the package is opened. Inside the box is a Queen Sara Saturday costume which Lady Elaine suggests should be worn by Lady Aberlin.

As Lady Aberlin puts on the costume, Joey Hollingsworth returns wearing a full King Friday costume. Together, they dance across the Neighborhood to the tree where X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycat are surprised to find that they are not the real King and Queen.

Back at the house, Mr. McFeely stops by with a collection of masks which he and Mister Rogers try on. Among the masks of famous people are masks of both Mister Rogers and Mr. McFeely. Mister Rogers concludes by singing You Are Special.

For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 1029 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the
 Neighborhood Archive.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wrapping Up a Day of Remembrance

As a day full of remembering winds down, I thought I'd take a moment to share some of the many articles that were shared with me today honoring Fred Rogers on this tenth anniversary of his passing.

10 "How It's Made" Clips From Mister Rogers
Mister Rogers passed away 10 years ago today. He may be gone but he's certainly not forgotten, especially in our house where my four-year-old daughter and I watch a Mister Rogers' Neighborhood clip almost every night. To honor the memory of everyone's favorite neighbor, here are 10 clips from those "how it's made" tours that were always my favorite...

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Fred Rogers’ legacy is still going strong 10 years after his death. While he is mostly known as a kind man who related well to children on television, his deep Christian faith is what drove him to dedicate his life to understand children and work with them. Mr. Rogers did not frequently grant interviews, but author and writer Amy Hollingsworth requested an interview regarding his faith...

The Digs: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Once known as “the nicest person on television,” Mr. Rogers touched millions of lives. His own life was one for service, as he himself liked to say, “Those of us in broadcasting are servants of those who watch and listen.” For 33 years he wrote and starred in PBS’s  “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood"...

Mister Rogers Still a Favorite Neighbor
When Fred Rogers died 10 years ago today at age 74, there was no question that his legacy would endure. What's perhaps more surprising is just how frequently he continues to pop up in the American cultural landscape. Here are just a few of the ways Mister Rogers has continued to touch our lives...

PBS Celebrates Mister Rogers with Locally Staged Flash Mob
Last year PBS mounted a social media campaign devoted to PBS pioneers, including Julia Child, and then followed up with a Mister Rogers campaign after the September launch of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." This phase of the campaign included a How Did Mister Rogers Inspire You? microsite and was to have culminated in the Christmas release of a video shot in Pittsburgh in December...

Anything Mentionable...Remembering Fred Rogers on the 10th Anniversary of His Death
My newspaper assignment in the fall of 1995 was a story about violence on television and its effects on children. A colleague suggested that Mister Rogers would be a good source for that story, and I agreed that certainly was true. You didn’t just pick up the telephone and call Fred Rogers, and I wasn’t optimistic that he would have time for a reporter from Texas...

Remembering Mister Rogers, Ten Years Later
It was ten-years-ago this morning that NPR broke the news of Mister Rogers’ death. I was crestfallen, having only recently met the man himself. I was a young, MTV producer at the time, and spent the bulk of my day writing a remembrance, then emailing to every publication I could imagine. Of course most, like The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, were dedicating entire sections to the icon...

In addition to these articles, Instagram user byualumnus shared this cool image below of a mural he sees daily near his home in Minnesota.

And in a sad coincidence, Neighborhood friend and occasional guest during the show's earlier days, Van Cliburn, passed away today at the age of 78. For more on Mr. Cliburn, please take some time to read a wonderful tribute to the famous pianist written by Tim Madigan for the Star-Telegram.

I hope you all have taken some time today to reflect on the greatness of the man we knew as Mister Rogers. If you haven't already, take a look back at the Neighborhood Archive blog post from this morning -- Redefining Cool. After this past month of reflection and remembrance, we'll start getting back to episode reviews and such very soon.

In the meantime, let me remind you of the words that Mister Rogers spoke so often -- the words he used to sign off his television visits as well as the letter he wrote to me in 1999...

You are special, just because you're you.

Redefining Cool: The Legacy of Mister Rogers

It's not cool to like Mister Rogers.

He's boring. He's weak. He's creepy.


Mister Rogers taught a lot of things to a lot of kids over a lot of years -- myself certainly included. But what strikes me as most significant is the fact that his lessons are not just for kids. His message is just as important and applicable to the lives of adults as it is to those of children. Reflecting on the message of Mister Rogers -- a man deemed so "uncool" by our ultra-hip society -- it becomes quite clear to me that our world could stand to be a little less cool.

Mister Rogers was positive.

As recently as this past Valentine's Day, author Tim Madigan reflected on the positive spin that Fred Rogers put on what Mr. Madigan had labeled a Hallmark holiday: "We should always be grateful for any opportunity to express our love for another."

Even in times of ultimate tragedy such as the events of September 11, 2001 and the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mister Rogers' positive message shines brightly on a dark situation as he encourages people to "look for the helpers."

But being positive isn't cool.

Mister Rogers was not afraid of a challenge.

There are many instances among the hundreds of episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood when Fred clearly stepped outside his comfort zone -- one of the most popular in the cyberworld being when he once tried his hand at breakdancing.

Additionally, Fred was never afraid to tackle the tough topics avoided by others in the media -- feelings, assassination, war, divorce. Nothing was off limits. As he is often quoted as having said, "Anything mentionable is manageable."

But facing challenges head on isn't cool.

Mister Rogers was patient.

As is mentioned in multiple articles, books, and interviews, Fred Rogers found great value in patience and silence. One of his well-known songs emphasizes the importance of taking your time: "I like to take my time. I mean that when I want to do a thing. I like to take my time and do it right."

But it's not cool to be patient.

Mister Rogers paid attention to you.

Many people who spoke with Fred Rogers over the years had similar experiences in that they felt nothing else mattered to Fred more in that moment than the person he was talking with. Oftentimes, the interviewers became the interviewed as Fred would show great interest in the stories of others.

Furthermore, daily visits to the Neighborhood were designed with one child in mind. Not one specific child necessarily, but Fred would speak into the camera as though he was addressing one individual viewer rather than the countless children who were watching around the world.

But it's not cool to give others your full attention.

Mister Rogers was generous.

If you listened to the podcast interview with Bert Lloyd, you may remember the story of Mr. Lloyd visiting the home of Fred Rogers. When Mr. Lloyd complimented a framed image on the wall in the Rogers' home, he found himself going home that night with the image itself -- removed from the wall, gift wrapped, and given to him by Mister Rogers.

But being generous isn't cool.

Mister Rogers never backed down from his message.

In 1969, when major cuts to the funding of public broadcast were pending, Fred Rogers appeared before the United States Senate and delivered a passionate and purely authentic testimony about the need for quality programming.

In large part due to what has since become famous footage of Fred, PBS funding was increased from $9 million to $22 million.

But it's not cool to stand up for what you believe in.

Mister Rogers was appreciative.

Receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 Emmy Awards, Fred Rogers took the stage and turned this moment in the spotlight around, focusing it on those who helped him and encouraged him throughout the years.

He even asked those in the audience and watching at home to do the same for themselves:
So many people have helped me to come to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away, some are even in heaven. All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, tens seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are? Those who have cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life. Ten seconds of silence. I'll watch the time.
It's not cool to appreciate others though. Not cool at all.

Mister Rogers was inspirational.

Fred Rogers was so much more than a television host. He was a teacher, a mentor, and an advocate for children -- for all humanity, really. His message has inspired films, books, songs, and even websites such as this one. More importantly, Fred was -- and continues to be -- an inspiration to those who take to heart his message of peace, acceptance, love, patience, and kindness.

But that message isn't cool.

Is it?

Fred Rogers will be remembered in many ways today -- the tenth anniversary of his passing. Reflecting on the impact of his life, I think it becomes quite clear that our societal definition of "cool" is far from accurate. Maybe it's time to reevaluate our priorities -- as a society, as communities, and as individuals.

[Image courtesy of The Fred Rogers Center]

The legacy of Mister Rogers is not forgotten.

As so perfectly stated by Eliot Daley, former Executive Vice President of Family Communications, "Fred Rogers may be elsewhere these days, but does he ever live among us!"

Does he ever.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Friend, a Colleague, and a Viewer

As this month of remembering Fred Rogers winds down and we lead into tomorrow -- the tenth anniversary of Fred's passing -- I have been reminded time and time again over the past few weeks of the many lives touched by Mister Rogers. From those who watched him on television to those who worked by his side, the impact of Fred Rogers is not one to be taken for granted.

Three friends of the Neighborhood Archive were kind enough to share their thoughts as they reflect on ten years since we lost our favorite neighbor.


Author Tim Madigan recently shared a new post on his blog -- Anything Mentionable...Remembering Fred Rogers on the 10th anniversary of his death. In this post he writes:
I’m convinced, as are many others, that Fred Rogers was one of the greatest human beings ever to walk this planet. His television show was remarkable, yes. But at the heart of his greatness was that sacred presence. He was completely empty of himself, completely without ego, and thus able to bestow such compassion, non-judgment and love on every person in his life. 
Wednesday is the tenth anniversary of his death. As I think of him now, and the example he set, it sometimes seems that this man has never been more alive.

Eliot Daley worked side by side with Fred Rogers for many of the earlier years of the Neighborhood and was instrumental in the establishment of Family Communications -- known today as the Fred Rogers Company.
I genuinely expected Fred (who was seven years my senior) to outlive me (and just about anybody else) by a great measure, given his devotion to careful eating and daily exercise. While I have gone through life (and many meals together with Fred) battling my own ill-suppressed tendency to overeat, Fred was the ever-present model I could never emulate as we often sat having lunch at Stauffer's Restaurant near QED. He was always abstemious to an extent that mystified me (his one "indulgence", if you could call it that, was their wonderful creamed spinach which he always ordered). I simply expected him to live to be 100 or more, and I don't say that as a cliche. I really did expect him to live to 100 or more. Shows how little regard (or how much denial) I have for uncongenial realities of life.


Guy Hutchinson has worked as a radio talk show host and personality on WHWH and WMGQ radio in New Jersey and is currently the co-host of the Adventure Club and Camel Clutch Cinema podcasts.
My Mister Rogers experience was probably very much the same as millions of other kids. He was a comforting face on my TV. My mother always commented that my brothers and I "ran around the house as fast as we could during Sesame Street and then Mister Rogers came on and we sloooowed down." 
It makes perfect sense. 
After "growing out" of Mister Rogers Neighborhood I still liked the show. I would watch it with my baby sister and my younger cousins. Fred had gotten older and grayer, but the show was the same show I loved. 
When I was in college I wrote to Fred. Essentially it was a "thank you" letter and he responded. I waited a few months and wrote back, and so did Fred. 
His words were so carefully chosen, so smart, so insightful, so Fred. 
Time went by and on the way to work one day I heard the radio go to a news break "Here's the latest from ABC News" was followed by "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood". 
From the first note I knew what the news would be. Fred Rogers had passed away. 
It was unexpected. I had watched the media coverage of his retirement and was expecting him to continue a quiet retirement for decades to come. 
I started watching the show again. It was fascinating to see how he taught. How he so effectively used the medium to promote creativity and comfort. 
It was sad to hear him sing "It's a good feeling to know you're alive". 
It's a sad feeling to know he isn't. 
It's been ten years since that day. Now, I'm a parent. Every night I sit down with my son and turn on an episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood. 
It really sloooows things down.
Tributes to Fred Rogers will certainly be numerous over the next 24 hours -- including here at the Neighborhood Archive where tomorrow I will remember Fred by "redefining cool."

In the meantime, I encourage you to take some time to think about how Fred has touched your life.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - Episode 1028

Original Air Date: March 19, 1969


Mister Rogers arrives with a record which he plans to play as he paints a picture. First, he goes to the kitchen where he mixes some paint from powder and water. With the paint ready, he plays the record and creates a picture based on what the music makes him feel.

When the painting is finished, Mister Rogers thinks about Mr. McFeely taking a ride in a helicopter before Mr. McFeely himself stops by with some pictures made by children in other neighborhoods. He collected the pictures on his helicopter trip.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Edgar Cooke and Joey Hollingsworth are talking about the return of King Friday and Queen Sara. Lady Elaine Fairchilde agrees to provide decorations for the Neighborhood which Joey Hollingsworth hangs to celebrate the royal couple's return. Corny provides a set of royal chairs to the decorations and even the magic kite helps to hang some streamers.

When Lady Elaine suggests that Mr. Hollingsworth decorate himself by wearing a King Friday mask and crown. She suggests that the King has been away long enough that he may not even remember everyone when he returns.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers continues painting and sings Children Can as he cleans up.

For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 1028 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the
 Neighborhood Archive.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 24

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Tim Reeves
DATE: March 2, 2003


I have been privileged in my life to meet many great people. As a journalist and as a government official, I have talked with three presidents, dozens of governors and scores of celebrities and CEOs. And I had the privilege to work for seven years with Tom Ridge -- an extraordinary politician and an even better man.

But I have known only one person who ranks as one of the truly great people in American history.

That man is Fred Rogers...

-- Read this complete article at

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Who Bought This Poster?

Okay, internet. Somebody just bought this poster on eBay for more than I was willing to pay.

If this was you, please drop me a line. I'd love to get some detailed images from this poster...

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - Episode 1027

Original Air Date: March 18, 1969


Mister Rogers arrives with a xylophone and rather than changing into his sweater, he sits at the instrument and demonstrates how it is played. Before singing What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel, he mentions that the xylophone is a good instrument to play when you are angry.

Viewers are invited along to visit Mr. Jean Wilmouth -- a percussionist who demonstrates various instruments in his home studio. Mr. Wilmouth plays different styles of music to express the many feelings a person might feel.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Daniel Striped Tiger is teaching the magic kite to play the xylophone when Lady Aberlin arrives at the clock. She plays a sad tune on the xylophone to express her sadness as she misses King Friday and Queen Sara who are still away on their honeymoon. The magic kite delivers some good news however: "They will come back Friday."

Meanwhile, Robert Troll is also sad about the King and Queen being away. He does not immediately believe the news shared by Lady Aberlin but receives confirmation of their pending return from Edgar Cooke. Queen Sara has sent a make-believe-gram to inform Robert Troll that she will be back soon.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers talks about different ways to express your feelings as you play.

For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 1027 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the
 Neighborhood Archive.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 23

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Dennis Roddy
DATE: March 1, 2003


Among the forgotten details about Fred Rogers is that he was so colorblind he could not distinguish between tomato soup and pea soup.

He liked both, but at lunch one day 50 years ago, he asked his television partner Josie Carey to taste it for him and tell him which it was.

Why did he need her to do this, Carey asked him. Rogers liked both, so why not just dip in?

"If it's tomato soup, I'll put sugar in it," he told her.

There was also the time Rogers was to meet her for dinner and showed up in a limousine. It was only then that Carey discovered Fred Rogers, a young man indistinguishable from the clerk in a savings and loan, came from money.

"But he could get away with it," Carey said...

-- Read this complete article at

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Trip to the Emergency Department

A few weeks ago, I picked up a box of VHS tapes of various Mister Rogers specials released by PBS Video.

Most of them were ones I had digital copies of and had already included in the Archive site -- specifically, videos from the Mister Rogers Talks With Parents series. Still it was great to pick up physical copies of these videos.

In this box, there was one video that I hadn't seen before -- one that appears to be a later addition to the late 1970s Let's Talk About It series. This video from the 1980s takes viewers on a trip to the Neighborhood hospital's emergency department.


For details on A Visit to the Emergency Department, visit the Neighborhood Archive. Use Facebook to stay in tune with all the latest from the Neighborhood Archive.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 22

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Tony Norman
DATE: February 28, 2003


It was February 1981 when I got my first inkling that there was a guy named Fred Rogers wandering around the universe. I was visiting a very nice girl at her family's home in Sewickley. Alas, her very nice family was there, too. After a fine dinner and wholesome conversation, the grown-ups suggested that we retire en masse to the living room to watch "Saturday Night Live."

There we sat: me, the girl, her mom, her stepfather, her brother and little sister in an elegant family room in Sewickley watching television. College had already taught me to be philosophical about these things.

I was puzzled when a previously unknown second-tier SNL cast member named Eddie Murphy burst onto the screen singing a sweet, child-like jingle and smiling obsequiously while shuffling around the set of a faux tenement apartment. But I soon grasped that something extraordinary was happening: The television audience's laughter was off the charts; my hosts were doubled over with very un-Sewickley-like guffawing...

-- Read this complete article at

Friday, February 22, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 21

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Tribune Review
ARTIST: Randy Bish
DATE: February 28, 2003

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 20

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Tribune Review
AUTHOR: Alyson Walls and Mark Houser
DATE: February 28, 2003


Fred Rogers once said, “Anything that is human is mentionable, and anything mentionable is manageable.”

Like a caring neighbor, Rogers created a relationship that touched millions of children with shows that explored their feelings, questions and concerns about real-life issues such as divorce, anger and death. Now, parents must draw from the lessons Rogers taught to explain the TV legend’s death to their own children.

Each week, Rogers talked about a major childhood theme using real-life characters and a make-believe puppet story.

“It was just a nice, quiet time. Very soft and warm and calm,” said Maryann Flanders of Glenshaw. Flanders and her husband, Ron, brought their grandchildren to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum yesterday.

Local experts say that’s precisely the way parents and caregivers should approach the subject of death with their own children.

-- Read this complete article at

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 19

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Tribune Review
AUTHOR: Angel Brownawell
DATE: February 28, 2003


Long before Fred Rogers first brought children into his make-believe television neighborhood, his family and their foundation devoted time and money to make their real-life neighborhood of Latrobe a special place to live.

There’s the pool, funded by his parents after a child drowned while swimming in a creek.

There’s the bookmobile, paid for by the McFeely-Rogers Foundation, when it became clear that hundreds of readers from Derry to Donegal needed easier access to books. “Your Neighborhood Library” in a design reminiscent of the logo for the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show.

There’s the parklet with summertime fountain near the senior citizen high-rises. There also were contributions to the high school’s Center for Student Creativity, a multipurpose fine and performing arts facility...

--- Read this complete article at The Neighborhood Archive

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 18

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DATE: February 28, 2003


Fans, Colleagues and Celebrities React to a Personal Loss

“It was the parade, the past New Year’s Day parade, as we rode those five miles, the gantlet of smiling faces waving [on] both sides of the street, and more times than I could count I heard people yelling, ‘Welcome to the neighborhood, Mister Rogers.’” – Bill Cosby, actor and comedian

“His legacy will be that he made millions of children feel safe and comforted in a time when so much of the bombardment of the media is overwhelming. For everything that we all agree is bad about television and children, he was the good of it. Nothing is as bad as he was good.” – Linda Ellerbee, host of ‘Nick News,’ Nickelodeon

“Today, our state has lost a great role model and our country has lost one of history’s greatest teachers. We should be mindful, though, that during his 74-year life, Mr. Rogers helped instill values in America’s children that will affect our nation for decades to come.” – Gov. Ed Rendell

“George and I join all Americans in mourning the death of a most remarkable man, Fred Rogers. Several generations of children, including our own, grew up with ‘Mister Rogers,’ always looking forward to time spent in his neighborhood. In addition to helping children learn everything from how to tie their shoes to appreciating jazz music, he also taught his young viewers the importance of sharing, being truthful and good manners. And he stressed the importance of reading and writing, for which he’ll always be one of my heroes. I was privileged to know Mr. Rogers several times, and was delighted to know he was a kind and gentle soul both on and off camera. He will be greatly missed, but leaves behind a legacy of love and learning.” – Barbara Bush, former first lady and mother of the president...

--- Read this complete article at

Monday, February 18, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 17

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Johnna A. Pro
DATE: February 28, 2003


By Johnna A. Pro
Post-Gazette Staff Writer

At St. Cyril of Alexandria Elementary School in Brighton Heights, Principal Peggy Bookser usually begins each morning by pinning a “Far Side” cartoon to the bulletin board in the teachers’ lounge, a little humor to go along with the day’s reminders.

Yesterday, she drew her own picture – a fairy-tale castle, its banners waving in the breeze.
“Flags at ‘half mast’ in the village of make-believe,” she wrote underneath. “Mister Rogers died.”

Later in the day, Bookser and teachers Chris Matuszewski and Melissa Marcincak asked second- and fifth-graders to write their own remembrances of Mister Rogers and his neighborhood. The following are excerpts:

“I think Mister Rogers was a wonderful man. He helped children with their problems. He told kids how to treat other people the same. And he was my best friend. And I miss him a lot. Friends never forget each other. And I will never forget him. And I love him. We are one BIG SPIRIT! We’re in the circle of life.” – Emma Sciullo, 7

“I really miss Mister Rogers because he helped me read in his show. I like him because he told me a lot on TV. You are good at puppets.” – Tim Lagnese, 7...

--- Read this complete article at

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 16

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DATE: February 28, 2003

“Way back in November 1980, on the day Pittsburgh got hit with a paralyzing and unexpected afternoon blizzard, my family and I, at the invitation of David “Mr. McFeely” Newell, turned up at WQED to watch Fred Rogers tape his show. My son, then 6, and I would appear as extras – shoppers at Negri’s Music Store (as in Joe “Handyman” Negri). We even had speaking parts...

-- Read this complete article at

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood - Episode 121

Original Air Date: February 14, 2013
Titles: You Are Special / Daniel is Special


For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 121 of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, click the images above or visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 15

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DATE: February 28, 2003

Friday, February 15, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 14

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Tribune Review
AUTHOR: George Aspiotes
DATE: February 28, 2003


By George Aspiotes

For more than 30 years, Fred Rogers, everyone’s favorite neighbor, touched the lives of children and adults alike for a half-hour each day.

During that time, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” the longest running program on public television, made Rogers a national celebrity.

The show would earn Rogers two Peabody Awards, four Emmys and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It would spur a library of books written by Rogers for families, educational toys and even parodies on “The Tonight Show” and “Saturday Night Live.”

“I think that the first time we realized that we had arrived was when Johnny Carson did a parody of our show (in the early 1970s),” said family friend David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on the show...

--- Read this complete article at

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Always Grateful: A Neighborhood Valentine

I hadn't planned to share anything specific to Valentine's Day today -- until last night, that is. 

Tim Madigan, author of I'm Proud of You: My Friendship With Fred Rogers, shared a comment through Facebook that I couldn't resist passing along today.
I once told Fred Rogers how much I hated Valentine's Day, calling it nothing more than a plot by greeting card companies to extort from us guys. His reply: "We should always be grateful for any opportunity to express our love for another."

Happy Valentines Day, neighbors. :)

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 13

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Tribune Review
AUTHOR: Anne Michaud
DATE: February 28, 2003


By Anne Michaud

It’s fair to say that not everyone got Mister Rogers, in the sense that teenagers use with clueless adults: “You just don’t get it.”

Our country’s top entertainers parodies him, most famously comedian Eddie Murphy as the profane Mr. Robinson on Saturday Night Live. Commercial television executives, early on, dismissed him as not flashy enough. He didn’t have a gimmick.

Even his target audience, kids, denied affection for him. In junior high school gym class, the girl next to me caught herself absent-mindedly humming one of his catchier tunes, “It’s Such a Good Feeling to Know You’re Alive.”

“Please don’t tell anyone I was singing that,” she begged me...

--- Read this complete article at

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Nerd Lunch Conversation

Among the great press that the Neighborhood Archive has been getting lately, I had the pleasure of filling the fourth chair on the Nerd Lunch Podcast.

With hosts Pax and CT, we talked live-action children's television programs -- our favorites from our childhood and others we didn't like so much. Sesame Street, Electric Company, Mister Rogers (of course), Reading Rainbow, 3-2-1 Contact, Double Dare, Starcade...and many more.

Stop by to give it a listen. If you love pop culture, you'll love Nerd Lunch.

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood - Episode 120

Original Air Date: February 12, 2013
Titles: Daniel's Sleepover / Backyard Camping


For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 120 of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, click the images above or visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 12

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Various
DATE: February 28, 2003


Letter to the Editor

In memory of our beloved Fred Rogers, we in Pittsburgh should set aside a day to celebrate the humanity of this magnificent messenger of peace, compassion and love.

Fred Rogers’ contribution was not only to the children of America but also to children and people of the world.

His compassion, understanding and love for our neighbors transcended all boundaries of nations, races, cultures and religions. He spoke to all of us. His calm, measured and reassuring voice told us of universal values that know no boundaries...

--- Read this complete article from the Post-Gazette via Google News

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood - Episode 119

Original Air Date: February 11, 2013
Titles: Daniel Plays Ball / O Builds a Tower


For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 119 of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, click the images above or visit the Neighborhood Archive.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 11

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Rob Owen
DATE: February 28, 2003


By Rob Owen
Post-Gazette TV Editor

The staff of Family Communications Inc., the company founded in 1971 by Fred Rogers, has always been fiercely protective of their boss, and that loyalty extended into his final days.

FCI public relations director David Newell said the dozen or so FCI staffers began preparing for Rogers’ death about a week ago, putting together press kits and preparing material for the company’s Web site – – that was posted early yesterday...

--- Read this complete article at

Monday, February 11, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 10

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Carmen J. Lee
DATE: February 28, 2003


Having an icon from your childhood die can be disorienting when you’re a teenager. But as half a dozen Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts students sat informally on desks and chairs in an empty classroom yesterday, the memories of Fred Rogers and the feelings of loss at his death flowed freely.

“I was devastated, I thought, ‘Wow, a man I watched for the first 10 years of my life is dead,’” said senior Ben Czajkowski, 17, a literary arts major.

“Mister Rogers was my childhood hero. I’d spend every afternoon with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of chips watching him on television. He was a fatherly presence. My father was hardly ever around. Mister Rogers would teach life lessons. He helped my imagination grow"...

--- Read this complete article at

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - Episode 1026

Original Air Date: March 17, 1969


Mister Rogers arrives with a wooden horse which he puts together for Chef Brockett's nephew. After using a screwdriver to assemble the horse, Mister Rogers sings Everything Grows Together.

Mr. McFeely stops by with a small horse named Lightning. Mounting the horse, Mister Rogers takes a short ride outside his house before feeding Lightning a carrot.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, news has spread that Donkey Hodie has broken his arm. Dr. Bill confused as the only donkeys he has ever treated do not have arms -- only legs. Mr. McFeely arrives at the Platypus mound where he leaves Lightning with Elsie Jean while he joins Dr. Bill and Mr. Hollingsworth on their trip to Someplace Else.

At Someplace Else, it is discovered that the broken arm is actually on the windmill -- damage sustained during a recent storm. With a splint, a clamp, and a small amount of glue, Mr. McFeely is able to repair the windmill. When Mr. McFeely returns to the Platypus mound to pick up Lightning, Elsie Jean mentions that she would like to see a penguin sometime.

Back at the house, Chef Brockett stops by with a box of cupcakes decorated with numbers for the Neighborhood Arithmetic Club. In the kitchen, Mister Rogers uses cake frosting to decorate a cupcake with a 3 and a 6. Allowed to choose a cupcake for himself, Mister Rogers takes the number 2 -- a reminder of he and Chef Brockett together. As the day concludes, Chef Brockett thanks Mister Rogers for assembling the wooden horse.

For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 1026 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the
 Neighborhood Archive.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 09

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DATE: February 28, 2003

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Toy Hunter: Neighborhood Edition

Over the past week, I've discovered and watched the entire first season of the Travel Channel show Toy Hunter. If you've seen American Pickers on the History Channel, it's pretty much the same concept -- except it's all about toys. I'm not really sure why I didn't watch this show sooner -- especially considering 90% of the toys featured on the show are from the era I grew up in. But anyway...

The host of Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough, travels the country dealing in vintage toys. Sometimes he comes across pieces that are common and other times pieces that are borderline priceless. So who better to consult regarding my own personal holy grail -- the late 1970's Neighborhood of Make-Believe Playset.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I was able to get a message out via Twitter which Jordan kindly replied to within minutes. Honestly, I was somewhat hoping to hear that he had never heard of this playset. If he'd never seen one, I'd be okay with the fact that I've never seen one.

No such luck.

So a guy who deals in vintage toys every day has only seen one of these in fifteen years?!? With this in mind, I'm reminded of a line from Dumb & Dumber: "So you're telling me there's a chance?"

It's out there, people. It's out there.

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 08

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
AUTHOR: Teresa Heinz
DATE: February 28, 2003


Teresa Heinz Remembers a Friend and Universal Role Model

On the day my late husband, John, died 12 years ago, Fred Rogers immediately sat down and wrote notes to my sons and me. In mine, he praised the honesty that John and I had enjoyed with each other.

It was a gentle reminder not to shut down, not to let grief rob me of the emotional openness and sharing that are essential to overcoming pain and loss. That was so typical of Fred, who was godfather to John’s and my youngest son, Christopher. Even in the midst of hi own sadness, he reached out and affirmed the importance of caring for each other...

--- Read this complete article at

Friday, February 8, 2013

Remembering Fred Rogers - Day 07

PUBLICATION: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DATE: February 28, 2003

“Is your dad Mister Rogers?” That was the question kids in my school would ask. At first I told the truth, “No, just the same name.” But that got boring and after a while I began saying, “Yes.” Kids would stare at me in disbelief, “Nuh-uh! You mean that guy on TV is really your dad?”

I would nod and they would say, “Cool!”

-- Read this complete article at

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - Episode 1025

Original Air Date: March 14, 1969


Mister Rogers arrives with a globe which is not quite finished. Taking the globe to the kitchen, he uses paste to attach a few pieces of the map as he describes the shape of a sphere. As he peels an orange, he compares the shape of the two objects. Mister Rogers sings Parents Were Little Once Too as he mentions that knives are not to be played with.

Mr. McFeely stops by to ask for directions to Esther Island where he is to deliver a basket of fruit. Mister Rogers explains that he must take a kayak in order to get there and lends a life-jacket to Mr. McFeely. Mister Rogers imagines how Mr. McFeely might make his delivery in a kayak.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, X the Owl has just finished eating an orange when Henrietta Pussycat shares her sadness as she misses King Friday and Queen Saturday. Joey Hollingsworth sets her mind at ease when he mentions that he saw the royal couple in Okinawa and they will be returning to the Neighborhood next Friday.

Moving on to the Museum-Go-Round, Mr. Hollingsworth delivers the world to Lady Elaine Fairchilde in the form of a globe. In return, Lady Elaine gives him a pair of orange and black pom-poms. Before visiting the factory, Mr. Hollingsworth dances with the pom-poms as Lady Elaine sings the Days of the Week. At the factory, Mr. Hollingsworth informs Corny that a major order of rockits needs to be filled before the King and Queen return.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers sings the Days of the Week before Mr. McFeely stops by to return the life-jacket.

For details, notes, and more screenshots from Episode 1025 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, visit the
 Neighborhood Archive.