Monday, June 11, 2018
Won't You Be My Neighbor, a new documentary on the legendary children's entertainer, Fred Rogers, was released this past weekend. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwktRDG_aQIt doesn't seem accurate to call Mr. Rogers an entertainer, does it? In some respects he was the antithesis of the frenetic, all-action-all the time kids entertainment which is so popular.
Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister who found his way into children's television because he didn't like what he saw in much of what was offered for kids. The program reflected his Christian values. In a very gentle way he invited children and those who watched his long-running show with them into an every-widening circle of inclusion and kindness and acceptance. He found ways to address the Vietnam War through what were his version of parables, and he addressed racism in America through his guests. He broke down stigmas around disability and if you watch the video on this link you will be moved. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BZlyxS37Kk
While his show ran for nearly 25 years in the US he became Mr. Rogers in Canada. He was invited to do a program for the CBC which was called Misterogers, which ran for three years in the early 60's, well before the debut of Mr. Rogers Neighbourhood on PBS.
Rogers invited another American, Ernie Coombs, to come and work with him. Of course Coombs became Mr. Dressup, a Canadian icon. He chose to become a Canadian citizen and was eventually bestowed with the honour of the Order of Canada.
Take a listen to this interview on CBC Q as well: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1249424963542
You may recall that Eddie Murphy did an edgy and sometimes raunchy parody of Mister Rogers on Saturday Night Live which he called Mister Robinson's Neighborhood. One day Fred was in the building where SNL was being taped and knocked on Eddie's door. It turns out that Rogers got a kick out of Murphy's parody and they shared a hug and a conversation.
Now for the dramatized movie called You Are My Friend which will star Tom Hanks!
Do thunderstorms put the fear of God in you? My Groundling blog today