Beloved entertainer, educator, songwriter, author and minister Fred Rogers' created and hosted the classic children's show Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood for 33 years on PBS (1968-2001). Rogers' became an American icon thanks to his soft-spoken personality directness with his young audience. The show was generally lighthearted, with songs, special guests from the neighborhood (like postman Mr. McFeely) and visit to a puppet kingdom on a magical trolley that ran through the house, but Fred Rogers also used the show as a platform to help children cope with real problems, including divorce and death.
Fred Rogers' celebrity status also earned him some controversy. Rogers' travelled to Washington, D.C. to defend PBS funding to the senate. Rumors also circulated as to why he never showed his bare forearms on TV; one popular theory claimed he had been a U.S. Marine sniper in the Vietnam War, and was hiding either battle scars or army tattoos on his arms. These rumors have all been discredited. Rogers never served in any branch of any military, and was producing Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pa., throughout the war.
In 2003, just two years after retiring from television, Roger's died from stomach cancer after being diagnosed in December 2002. The next day the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette devoted the entire front page to the local American hero. The funeral was attended by over 2,700 people including a number of TV hosts and children's' entertainers and writers. In 2003 the US House of Representatives passed a resolution honoring Rogers for his legendary service to the improvement of the lives of children, his steadfast commitment to demonstrating the power of compassion, and his dedication to spreading kindness through example.
March 20th has become a day of tribute to an American television legend who had an everlasting impact on several generations of children. The day is referred to as both Won't You Be My Neighbor Day? and Won't You Wear a Sweater Day. However you choose to personally remember Fred Rogers today, take a few minutes to read through some classic, heartfelt and hilarious quotes and songs from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.
You make each day a special day. You know how, by just your being you. There's only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are.
Hi. I'm so glad to see you. I thought about you all weekend. Wondering what you were doing. How you were feeling? How was your weekend? I like it when you tell me things.
There's only one person in the whole world like you, and I like you so much. Meow meow meow so much. Bye bye.
You always make it a special day for me. You know how, don't you? By just your being you. Whether you're in kindergarten or third grade or no grade at all or ANY grade at all, I like you just the way you are. I'll be back tomorrow. Bye.
We don't waste food or orange juice in this place. No sir.
Anything worth-while certainly takes a while.
Even if it's something disappointing, it's still better to know the truth. Because people can deal with disappointment. And once they've done that, they can feel that they have really grown. And that can be such a good feeling.
Doesn't it feel good when you're just about to do something you know is wrong and you decide to do something else? Something that won't hurt you or anybody else? Doesn't that feel great? You know you're really growing then.
Singing: You can never go down/ Can never go down/ Can never go down the drain/ You can never go down/ Can never go down/ Can never go down the drain/ You're bigger than the water/ You're bigger than the soap/ You're bigger than all the bubbles/ And bigger than your telescope; so you see... / You can never go down/ Can never go down/ Can never go down the drain/ You can never go down/ Can never go down/ Can never go down the drain/ The rain may go down/ But you can't go down/ You're bigger than any bathroom drain/ You can never go down/ Can never go down/ You can never go down the drain.
So let's just go to the kitchen right now. Do you like kitchens? I certainly do.
You know, growing means when you're a baby and you're angry, all you can do is scream and kick. That's all. But when you get a little older, you can say that you're angry. You can stomp around and make up a dance, or pound some clay and make things out of clay, and sing a song or write a poem. That's what it means to grow. I'm proud of the way you're growing and changing.
And the clock says it's about time for me to go. Sometimes clocks can make you angry when they seem to go so fast and the time just goes tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock and it's time to go. It seems that happens when you're having a good time. But you and I will have another good time.
Do you find that eating is fun for you? Especially when you're hungry?