Saturday, March 23, 2013

Remembering Producer Paul Taff

Paul Taff was a NET / PBS television producer whose name you may have seen in the credits for many early episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I recently learned that Mr. Taff passed away on January 3, 2013 at the age of 92.

According to his obituary, "[Mr. Taff's] proudest achievement while at NET was acquiring a children's program being locally produced in Pittsburgh by the name of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and arranging for its distribution to a national educational television audience. He served as executive producer and announcer on the early programs and remained good friends with Fred Rogers thereafter, frequently vacationing at his cottage on Nantucket."

Our deepest sympathy goes out to the Taff family and our eternal gratitude to Mr. Taff for his hand in bringing the Neighborhood into the homes of countless children.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Can't Wait To Meet You Neighbo(u)r

Apparently a somewhat unique cover of Won't You Be My Neighbor is being used in a Target commercial in Canada and some Mister Rogers' fans are none too pleased.

Me? Big deal.

In fact, I think it's great that Fred Rogers' music is being carried on in some fun ways within popular culture. If it's done tastefully and the Fred Rogers Company approves and can benefit from it, why not?

Chime in with your thoughts here, on Facebook, or on the Neighborhood Archive forum.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"You Make Each Day a Special Day" Poster

Recently, a very cool poster showed up on eBay that sold for much more than I was willing to pay. Hoping someone else out there had this poster and would be able to provide me with some detailed images, I put a request out to Neighborhood Archive readers.

You certainly did not disappoint.

I heard from at least three (maybe four) readers who currently have this poster -- some who even have it framed in their homes. My thanks to Sean who was kind enough to share the images you'll see below.

It really is difficult to take in all that is featured in this poster from 1988. The designers/illustrators -- Maureen Rupprecht and Pat Sustendal -- have done a wonderful job capturing the major Neighborhood characters as they march through Make-Believe.

[click image for larger view]

What I love about this poster is that it doesn't just feature characters from one specific era of the show. Some characters were last seen in the 1970s and others were never mentioned until near the end of the show's production.

To the left you see Mister Rogers with Johnny Costa sitting at a piano over his shoulder.

On the far right, aboard the Trolley and leading the parade, you find the main characters from Make-Believe.

Following close behind are several human characters -- many of which appeared in both the real Neighborhood and the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

In the background, in front of the castle and bringing up the rear, are several more characters from Make-Believe. This is where the attention to detail really comes in to play as you'll see some less familiar characters such as Mr. Skunk, the Frogg family, and even Carrie Dell sitting on her father's lap.

In the sky above the castle, Yoshi Ito is even there in King Friday's royal plane.

Such a fine piece of artwork for any Neighborhood fan. If anyone has one in good condition that they're willing to part with at a reasonable price, please let me know.