Thank you to Tanya Lieberman over at The Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog once again for tracking down such great material! I don’t know how you do it but I sure am glad you do!
I have a new-found respect for Mr Rogers after watching the elusive “Episode 364”, (originally aired in 1968 – the show’s first season) where he discusses how baby animals and human babies drink their mother’s milk. I stand corrected on the date of this episode; it was originally aired in 1984. Thank you “MarFv”! The clip includes wonderfully detailed footage of moms nursing their babies that ironically would most certainly be pulled from Facebook today. Apparently Mr Rogers was a heckuva lot more open-minded and forward-thinking over 41 years ago, than a good percentage of people today.
Ever since I saw that clip I have been obsessed with finding out more about the much-parodied Fred Rogers and his “Neighbourhood”. I think I’m in love.
Fred Rogers wrote every episode as well as composed all the music for every one of his “Neigborhood” shows. He regularly dealt with many issues that other children’s programs glossed-over like divorce, war, competition, anger and death. He was concerned with teaching children to love themselves and others. In fact, research confirms that ‘Mister Rogers Neighborhood’ can help children develop the important skills they need for learning in and out of school. How many of today’s programs would even come close to this? I think I’ll be buying some DVD’s for my girls to watch.
Here are some other little-known facts (at least to me) about the famed Mr Rogers: He was a vegetarian that swam every morning and neither drank or smoked. ‘Mr Rogers Neighbourhood’ had no commercials when it was on the air, running for 28 minutes solid. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister. One of his heroes was cellist Yo-Yo Ma whom appeared as a guest on his show. ‘Mr Rogers Neighborhood’ won four Emmy Awards and Fred Rogers won a 5th for Lifetime Achievement in 1997. Fred Rogers was cited as one of the most prominent witnesses influencing the Supreme Court decison in the case Sony Corporation of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc(Betamax v. VCR). He held 40 honorary degrees and won numerous awards.
Fred Rogers died on February 27, 2003 from stomach cancer, shortly before his 75th birthday. ‘Mr Rogers Neighbourhood’ aired for over 33 years (that’s 998 episodes – the longest running program on PBS).
“Can you say ‘breastfeeding’? I knew you could.” (Sorry I couldn’t resist).
Please share any special stories you have about ‘Mr Rogers Neighborhood’ and its beloved creator. I’d love to hear more!