Friday, September 28, 2018

2019 Film About Fred Rogers of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"

I recently realized that 2018 marks 50 years since "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" first premiered on television. It launched in 1968 -- when I was only 3 years of age -- and is the TV show that I watched the most as a very young boy. The show aired for multiple decades, coming to an end in 2001. It was aimed primarily at preschool children, ages 2 to 5, but it was labelled by PBS as "appropriate for all ages." Today, I was happy to learn that actor Tom Hanks is going to be portraying the life of Fred Rogers in a movie slated to be released in October 2019. Earlier this year, a documentary film by Morgan Neville titled "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" was released and focused on the life of Mr. Rogers.

As a young boy I always enjoyed learning from Mr. Rogers. He would sing the little intro song ("Won't You Be My Neighbor") as he walked onto the set, put on a sweater, and changed his shoes. Did you know that all of the sweaters that Mr. Rogers wore on show were hand-sewed by his mother? In the book Life's Journeys According to Mr. Rogers: Things to Remember Along the Way, Mr. Rogers wrote:
"I've recently learned that in an average lifetime, a person walks about 65,000 miles. That's two and a half times around the world. I wonder where your steps will take you. I wonder how you'll use the rest of the miles you're given."
I'm 53 years old now and due to my long-distance running background I've logged far more than 65,000 miles so far in life. However, I appreciate Mr. Rogers' words about how far the average person walks in a lifetime... and his thought-provoking words of wondering where future steps will take you, and how you'll use the rest of the miles given... the remaining time on earth.

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood is a timeless program that teaches some valuable lessons to young children. During each half-hour segment, Mr. Rogers would speak directly to the viewer about various issues, taking them on tours of factories, demonstrating experiments, crafts, and music, and interacting with his friends. Mr. Rogers also made a point to simply behave naturally on camera rather than acting out a character, stating that "One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self." The half-hour episodes included a puppet segment chronicling occurrences in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Another segment of the show consisted of Mr. Rogers going to different places around the neighborhood, where he interviews people to talk about their work and other community contributions.

I really like how the company, Fred Rogers Productions, describes Mister Rogers' Neighborhood -- which aired 886 episodes between 1968 and 2001: "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was a "television visit" between Mister Rogers and his young viewers. With his caring and trusting ways, Mister Rogers created a calm, safe place for children to learn about themselves, about others, and about the world around them. Mister Rogers brought them a one-to-one affirmation of their self-worth."

A few months before his death in 2003 from stomach cancer, Fred Rogers recorded a video message for those who grew up watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”



Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,

Paul Staso
www.paulstaso.com