Tuesday, August 5, 2008

In our neighborhood

We like Mr. Rogers.

On the days Rye wakes up early, (read: 6:30 a.m. or before), we turn on the PBS show from my youth. Rye always points out the trolley meandering through the toy neighborhood at the beginning, and he always seems mesmerized by Fred Rogers welcoming us into his home.

Dane asked the other day why Mr. Rogers changes from a suit coat to a cardigan. Really, I thought? Well .... just because he does. It's so he can be more comfortable at home, I explained.

Yes, Dane said, but he has a TIE on. Ties = uncomfortable.

I grew a little flustered. I don't know, I conceded, but don't mess with Mr. Rogers.

In September, PBS officials announced earlier this summer, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood will no longer be included in Monday through Friday programming that is given to local stations. While local stations could still choose to air Mr. Rogers, chances are good that they won't. Rather, most markets will get one weekend showing.


In a time when children squeal over Kung Fu Panda books and Lightning McQeen cars and Handy Manny jammies and all sorts of other manufactured, heavily marketed toys and licensed characters, we need Mr. Rogers. Maybe more than ever. He is a stronghold of sorts for parents concerned about the commercialization bombarding our homes and our lives.

He's also just a really nice guy.

A campaign has been started to save Mr. Rogers. Check it out here. There's also a Facebook group.

I plan to at least send an e-mail to the two PBS stations here. I'll tell them how much I want my child to get to know the man who taught all of us 80s children about sharing and kindness and tolerance and make-believe.

I went to the library two weeks ago to get books for me and Dane. But I secretly hoped they'd have a Mr. Rogers DVD, too. They did, and Rye has asked to watch it just about every day since then. Though I'm thoroughly sick of the Land of Make Believe by now, I'm happy to put this show on for my child.


Ashley said...


Katie said...

I agree. Mr. Rogers is awesome. An XM Radio station I listen to (47 or Ethel, as it's called) uses a Mr. Rogers bit now and then.

It is him saying "Are you going somewhere today? Is it someplace new, or a place you've been before?"

I never get sick of it. The calm voice and simple curiousity always makes me get the warm and fuzzies.

Also, I would recommend checking out youtube for a clip where Mr. Rogers invites a little kid breakdancer into the neighborhood. Priceless.

Jonathan said...

I can't believe PBS is even considering dropping the program, let alone actually announcing that they're dropping it.

Mr. Rogers had a great mix of real life stuff (how the Incredible Hulk is made, how things are grown/made, etc.) as well as make believe. I guess I'm just shocked. Veronica, thanks for bringing this to my attention...

chris said...

You're right - That calm voice is legendary. I will be disappointed if it's off the air. I would love if Jack got excited about Mr. Rogers like Rye does.

bryan said...

of course Mr. Rogers rules. That's why I have a picture of him in my cube.

Veronica said...

Bryan, I know about your picture. I've noticed it. I, too, have a picture of Mr. Rogers in my cube.

Katie, I'll totally check out the YouTube clip.

Chris, Jack will. How can he not?

Jonathan, I know. I'm also really sad and shocked about it.

J Morgetron said...

FOr sure ... I'm joining that Facebook group.

I hadn't hear this. I am so sad. I don't let my kids watch much TV, but Mr. Rogers is one of those safe shows that you don't have to worry that someone's head is going to get blown off. No cussing. Happy thoughts. Wholesomeness.

I'm definitely going to fight for The Rog! Down with Disney! UP with Fred!