Won't you be my neighbor?
May 25, 2006 10:39 AM   Subscribe

I've seen this a couple times. You get nervous for him at the end when he asks if he can read the lines of a song that he wrote, and not to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it, but the guy was amazing. And, aparently Sen. Pastori was regarded as a tough customer. Unlikely to be phased by pleadings from the host of some TV show for kids.
posted by airguitar at 10:45 AM on May 25, 2006

posted by delmoi at 10:50 AM on May 25, 2006

I didn't think I would bother watching that whole thing... I did, and I'm glad I did.
posted by Witty at 10:53 AM on May 25, 2006

This made me cry.
posted by dobie at 10:54 AM on May 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

I sometimes wonder how I turned out okay being raised under the conditions I was raised. Then I see this and recall watching the program everyday as a child.
posted by flarbuse at 10:55 AM on May 25, 2006

That was lovely. Thank you.
posted by EarBucket at 11:07 AM on May 25, 2006

He was so young back then. Amazing.

Fred Rogers was one of the true modern saints, ranking right up there with Jim Henson.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:08 AM on May 25, 2006

What Faint of Butt said. I'm not sure what's worse, completely ignoring kids or not taking their ideas and thoughts and feelings seriously enough, and not in a pop-psych way but in the simple, direct way Fred Rogers did it. Like every American kid around my age, I was convinced he was talking only to me on his show, and I'm better for it.

And now we give them meds. You reap what you sow.
posted by bardic at 11:13 AM on May 25, 2006

It's amazing to see a YouTube video with not a single negative comment. It's overwhelmingly positive and I can't imagine it any other way given Mr. Rogers' wide-ranging influences.

That completely made my lunch hour. Great find.
posted by almostcool at 11:15 AM on May 25, 2006

Talk about complete sincerity. That was amazing. Thanks for posting this.
posted by n-clue at 11:16 AM on May 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Incredible. Such poise and compassion. He melted Pastori. Thanks.
posted by Ohdemah at 11:16 AM on May 25, 2006

The world desperately needs more of him.
posted by Drastic at 11:20 AM on May 25, 2006

When I lived in Pittsburgh a bunch of years ago I got to hang out with Mr. Rogers a few times and he is the closest to a divine being that I've ever met. I remember thinking, the first time I ever met him, after speaking with him for all of thirty seconds, that all I wanted to do was to go sit in the grass outside of the station and take my shoes off and give him my heart to hold and cherish. He radiated a profoundly deep, all-accepting love that literally changed the realities of everyone I know that knew him and that still moves me to this day.
posted by peptide at 11:20 AM on May 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

I recall that when he died, the tone of the obituaries I read pretty much amounted to "Yes, he really was that good a person." Truly a wonderful human being.
posted by AJaffe at 11:21 AM on May 25, 2006

You could see the emotion he was barely holding in check, it was written on his face. Described by the halting rhythm of his delivery. Then I guess $20 million is a lot to play for, even now. I'd be choked up too.
posted by econous at 11:25 AM on May 25, 2006

Geez, he talked down to adults just like he talked down to kids. I agree with the basic content of his message here, but his intonation and smarmy, soporific condescension makes me feel like puking.

Same reason I couldn't stand his show when I was a kid—just listening to him makes you feel like you've been accidentally put in the class for the stupid kids.
posted by interrobang at 11:26 AM on May 25, 2006

This was really awesome, and just what I needed to see today. You can tell that he is nervous, but that he speaks from his heart. I am crying now, too. Thanks for the link.
posted by sarahnade at 11:27 AM on May 25, 2006

I used to get kind of scared of Mr. Rogers when I was young, becuase he was always so cool and collected. Something of his message much have touched me deeply though, becuase when he started quoting his signing off speech, I started tearing up.

I sincerely hope someone like him comes forth in childrens programming again sometime soon.
posted by piratebowling at 11:27 AM on May 25, 2006

interrobang, it's alright, you can share with us, why do you feel sad in your heart? What are you missing, what are you searching for?

<3 Mr. Rogers.
posted by cavalier at 11:31 AM on May 25, 2006

this is why i love metafilter, thanks Sticherbeast
posted by tsarfan at 11:32 AM on May 25, 2006

My child watches Mr. Rogers every day. He's the only 2 dimensional person I trust speaking to my child. Seems that every other show on television only trains children on how to be an upstanding consumer of product.
posted by any major dude at 11:33 AM on May 25, 2006

Yeah. Excellent post. All my stress just melted away.
posted by jrb223 at 11:39 AM on May 25, 2006

What's really sad is that after Pastore died, his seat was taken by Rick Santorum.
posted by blasdelf at 11:43 AM on May 25, 2006

This needs a NSFW tag. Because it's hard doing engineering all choked up and sappy. Great post.
posted by freebird at 11:44 AM on May 25, 2006

I met Mr. Rogers once. I'm a Pittsburgh native, and when I was a kid, my parents took me on one of the public tours of WQED studios (our local public station, where "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" was filmed). The guide warned us that Mr. Rogers didn't like being a big celebrity, so if we saw him, we shouldn't make a big fuss.

Well, I was taking my time on the tour, so I was at the back of the group. The door opened, and Mr. Rogers came through. I just waved and said, "Hello." He said, "Hello," and went on his way. Then I ran to catch up with the group.

Afterwards, I mentioned meeting Mr. Rogers, and everyone wanted to know why I didn't call them all over. I just repeated what the guide had said: "He doesn't like a big fuss."

Not much, but one of those nuggets I keep for myself and think about when I'm feeling down. Rogers was a really great man, and everyone in Pittsburgh is proud to be from the same city as him. I almost felt bad for Fred Phelps when he came to protest Mister Rogers' funeral--he couldn't have known what he was walking into.

Almost. Then I remembered it was Fred Phelps.
posted by jefgodesky at 11:51 AM on May 25, 2006

I was born into a commune in 1971. Even after moving out of the commune, I spent a lot of time surrounded by hippies and the like. I was intensely aware of how different the people on TV were from the people around me. I watched Captain Kangaroo, Sesame Street, and, yes, Mr. Rogers. Dear, beloved Mr. Rogers.

One day, as a wee one, I watched a man in a suit start up the walkway to our door. I got more and more excited as he approached, and went to get my mom. He knocked before I could tell her all about it, and so I was left to stand fidgeting and impatient behind her as she opened the door.

After a few words, she shut the door on the visitor and he began his walk down the sidewalk. I gave her a look expressing my feelings of betrayal and deep injury, then tried not to wail as I said:

"Mommy, you sent Mr. Rogers away!"

Years and years and years later, after many actual traumas that were cushioned by the unconditional love of that sweet man in the television, my mom still laughs at how I had confused the traveling salesman for Mr. Rogers because I'd not seen someone in a suit in person before. Damned hippies.

Thanks for posting, Sticherbeast. Nothing soothes quite like seeing Mr. Rogers use his superpowers on adults.
posted by batmonkey at 12:17 PM on May 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

Mr Rogers restores my faith in humanity. How rare is it that anyone is just that purely, unquestionably good?
And he's one of the only things I can think of who will always be beyond the reach of irony.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 12:25 PM on May 25, 2006

I think I posted this in another Rogers thread once, but it bears repeating: this Esquire article by Tom Junod is a touching and personal portrait of the man. Excellent post - the footage from this video can also be found on this dvd, which is excellent. There's a moment of utter beauty included when Rogers is being given an award... well, I won't ruin it. Suffice to say, even interrobang might get a little choked up.
posted by blendor at 12:28 PM on May 25, 2006

The best.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 12:33 PM on May 25, 2006

It's you I like
It's not the things you wear.
It's not the way you do your hair,
But it's you I like.
The way you are right now,
the way down deep inside you,
Not the things that hide you
Not your toys
they're just beside you.
But it's you I like
Every part of you
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you'll remember
Even when you're feeling blue
That it's you, yourself
It's you I like.
It's you.

Can we have a metafilter group hug?
posted by Meatbomb at 12:34 PM on May 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

It is interesting, though, that I appreciate Mr. Rogers much more as an adult than I did as a kid. The sad truth about me is that I was jaded and overly-intellectual as a kid, and am becoming more naive and open as I age. When I was young, I thought Mr. Rogers was condescending, boring, and a little creepy.

Now he makes me weep and gives me hope for the future. Go figure.
posted by freebird at 12:37 PM on May 25, 2006

The sad truth about me is that I was jaded and overly-intellectual as a kid, and am becoming more naive and open as I age.

I'm totally with you there. I'd like to think that it's something that will continue as I get older.

Also, my maturity seems to be regressing as well -- I envision myself wandering around an old folks' home, pantsing the other residents and running away, giggling.

Thanks for this, Sticherbeast.
posted by antifreez_ at 12:52 PM on May 25, 2006

I can not watch Mr. Rogers without crying. And yet, I can't not watch Mr. Rogers. That was a great video of a great, great man, who I miss profoundly.
posted by mckenney at 12:56 PM on May 25, 2006

interrobang, your soul is a black and obdurate lump of coal.
posted by nanojath at 1:00 PM on May 25, 2006

aw, geeze. I... I... gotta call my mom. *snif*
posted by boo_radley at 1:05 PM on May 25, 2006

As much as I love Mr. Rogers, I have to wonder why he got naked for that Esquire reporter in the link that blendor posted.
posted by dr_dank at 1:20 PM on May 25, 2006

Because the reporter was following him through his daily routine so was around for his morning swim?

I mean, that's what they say on page 2, anyway.
posted by batmonkey at 1:26 PM on May 25, 2006

The Esquire link had me tearing up. I don't think I can handle the video just yet. Damn, I can't believe that Mr. Rogers still has that effect on me. I wish I had the will power to be more like him. Of course, he would tell me that I did. Thank you, Mr. Rogers.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:31 PM on May 25, 2006

interrobang, your soul is a black and obdurate lump of coal.

That's not a very neighborly thing to say.

That having been said, Fred Phelps can go fuck himself.
posted by gigawhat? at 1:36 PM on May 25, 2006

I've been trying to turn my three nephews on to Mr. Rogers and they are all -- sadly, to me -- immune to his charms. (Well, the 16-month-old one may still be young enough to indoctrinate yet!) Although, according to my sister, if they catch a glimpse of Mr. Rogers while they're changing channels or something, the older two always turn to each other and say very gently, "that's Auntie Scody's friend."
posted by scody at 2:09 PM on May 25, 2006 [2 favorites]

Okay, I've had to stop reading that Esquire article twice now because I keep tearing up. That's after the initial tearing while I watched the video.

Fantasic thread mefites. Thank you.
posted by djeo at 2:36 PM on May 25, 2006

Mr Rogers rules. There's no other way to put it.
posted by grubi at 2:37 PM on May 25, 2006

Seen it before and still love it. Makes me cry.
posted by FeldBum at 2:43 PM on May 25, 2006

All this and he loved jazz, too. The songs he wrote usually had a jazz sensibility and he could hold his own on the piano. His magnitude is difficult to understand: performing, writing shows, doing all the puppet voices, writing songs (words and music), etc. etc.
posted by imposster at 3:07 PM on May 25, 2006

I first saw him as an adult while travelling - and felt pretty much the same way as interrobang. Weird, condescending, and more than a little creepy.

But now I'm reading Blendor's article at work and getting misty. That's some good articlage. I think I begin to see a glimpse of what the rest of you do.
posted by Sparx at 3:12 PM on May 25, 2006

What's really sad is that after Pastore died, his seat was taken by Rick Santorum.

That's not true at all. Ricky was preceded by Harris Wofford who was appointed when John Heinz died in a plane crash.
posted by octothorpe at 3:20 PM on May 25, 2006

Since I stay at home with my child, I often find myself just as engaged in the show as my two-year old son... My only regret is that there will never be any new shows...
There's a connection with my son that I feel so strongly when he yells out 'Trolly!' and when he gets excited as Mr. Rogers travels to the Music Shop... It's like I'm seeing all of this for the first time...

posted by WhipSmart at 4:04 PM on May 25, 2006

What's really sad is that after Pastore died, his seat was taken by Rick Santorum.
That's not true at all. Ricky was preceded by Harris Wofford who was appointed when John Heinz died in a plane crash.

That makes it really happy then. Nothing happier than missing the point, only thing less happy is when I have. Here you go, a free comma.

posted by econous at 4:39 PM on May 25, 2006

All this and he loved jazz, too. The songs he wrote usually had a jazz sensibility and he could hold his own on the piano.

I wasn't aware that he played piano. On the other hand, Johnny Costa, Mr. Roger's Musical Director, was an amazing pianist, in the style of Art Tatum.
posted by milnak at 11:37 PM on May 25, 2006

you took my mechat post, and you weren't even creative....sad
posted by killyb at 5:41 AM on May 26, 2006

"I'm supposed to be a pretty tough guy, and this is the first time I've had goose bumps in the last two days"

Well, Senator, you're not the only one.
Fantastic Post. Thank-you.
posted by Hanover Phist at 5:53 AM on May 26, 2006

you took my mechat post, and you weren't even creative....sad

Sharing is caring, killyb. And it's OK to be sad.
posted by gigawhat? at 8:24 AM on May 26, 2006

freebird , antifreez_ , I am with you. My writings when I was younger were witty, ironic, of the clever-clever category... now I am 38 and I am humbled... now my obsesion is to be able to communicate and discuss ideas, avoiding ego fights, etc (so yes a bit disheartened by the actual state of online discussions).

BTW, I am Spanish, I didn't know who was Mr. Rogers but I watched the video anyway (without reading the thread first).

At first I thought the "thing" about the video was sort some of fight between that Mr. Rogers and Senator Pastore. The voice and the slow proceeding of his intervention seemed quite strange to me.

Then I started to concentrate in what actually he was saying (had to rewind some parts) and I can tell you that his message was truly universal.

Great finding!
I love you Metafilter!
posted by samelborp at 8:44 AM on May 26, 2006

A great, powerful video, but I second killyb. Attribution would've been neighborly.
posted by moonbird at 9:50 AM on May 26, 2006

Weep! I don't read MeCha! Honestly!

Glad people enjoy the video.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:23 AM on May 26, 2006

This post has reminded me of what a huge impact this man had on my life. Will we ever have shows like his again?
posted by oraknabo at 12:09 PM on May 26, 2006

posted by squarehead at 2:50 PM on May 26, 2006

posted by BrodieShadeTree at 3:34 PM on May 26, 2006

some of the creepy disconnects for kids (and grown ups):

- that the puppets had Rosacea ( red nose dermatitis) ..wtf
- the insipid jazz background music

guess geniuses are just plain quirky.

So I won a copy fo the long play record called "You Are Special" at sunday school for perfect attendance in 1969.
It had a mirror laminated on the front you could look into. Even an 8 year old knows that's kind of goofy.

& it had the song "You 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."

Anyway , yes, agreed, as we mature , quirkyness aside, we truly appreciate the kindness of Fred R.
posted by celerystick at 10:41 PM on May 26, 2006

"You Can Never Go Down the Drain" freaked my shit when I was little. It would never had occurred to me to be afraid of the drain if Mr. Rogers hadn't suggested it to me. I wouldn't let the water out of the tub until I was safely out on dry linoleum.

I was so glad when I grew up and found out Dave Barry had had the exact same experience with the song when he was a kid. Made me feel better.
posted by EarBucket at 2:51 PM on May 27, 2006

Celerystick - the insipid jazz background music

This would suggest that you never paid much attention to the accomplished virutosity of the afore mentioned Johnny Costa or the variety of great musicians he featured on the show.

More on his love of music (especially jazz):

Musical contributions to the Neighborhood also come from "neighbor" Joe Negri, guitarist and owner of "Negri's Music Shop" in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, where he has hosted many musical guests. Over the years, Mister Rogers has introduced children to a wide variety of singers and musicians, such as Tony Bennett, the Empire Brass Quintet, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the Uptown String Quartet, pianist Van Cliburn, folksinger Ella Jenkins, Broadway star Tommy Tune, the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble, oboist Natasha, pianist Andre Watts, violinist Yitzhak Perlman, the Mississippi Fife and Drum Corp, clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, Zydeco musician Queen Ida, jazz saxophonist Eric Kloss, classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco, violinist Hilary Hahn, musicians from Kenya Jabali Afrika, and the performers from the off-Broadway production of STOMP!.
posted by imposster at 3:23 PM on May 27, 2006

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