Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Latrobe, PA*

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Michael Douglas worked for KQED in Pittsburgh, PA. He even worked on Mister Roger's Neighborhood and got to run the trolley. Later he changed his name to Michael Keaton. He was the host of a documentary on Fred Rogers that I rented from Netflix. Great stuff. What became quite apparent, aside from his mission to help children accept and express all their feelings, is the importance of and his dexterity with music and lyrics. A couple songs the documentary highlighted are "Everybody's Fancy" and "It's You I Like." Fred shared this song during congressional testimony that resulted in $20 million dollars for NET, a precursor to PBS.

*Fred was born there.

I hope each of you has a special Thanksgiving this year. Enjoy your time with friends and family and food.

It's such a good feeling to know you're alive. It's such a happy feeling: You're growing inside. And when you wake up ready to say, "I think I'll make a snappy new day," it's such a good feeling, a very good feeling, the feeling you know that I'll be back when the day is new, and I'll have more ideas for you. And you'll have things you want to talk about. I will too.

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At November 24, 2006 4:43 AM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

When I was a boy one of my favourite albums was a Mr Rogers album. I remember all the sound effects and his comforting words--but I never quite understood why he decided to rhyme "soap" with "telescope" in "You Can Never Go Down the Drain."

When I learned that he majored in music and that he performed his own interlude music (at least that's what I read somewhere) my appreciation for him shot up.

I still watch him if I find his show playing.

At November 25, 2006 12:24 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

He may have written all the music, but the music was arranged and performed live, every episode, by Jack Costa (sp?) and his trio. So Fred was singing Won't You Be My Neighbor fresh every time. At least according to the documentary. Jack died before the end of the series though and was replaced.

I mainly liked the factory trips and Daniel Tiger. I didn't like any of the other puppets in Make Believe Land. The kitty cat and X Owl, were pretty annoying, and Lady Elaine was just flat out scary. The Panda was a bit too trippy for me too. Mr. Rogers' neighborhood friends and crafts were good too.

At November 25, 2006 7:01 PM, Blogger Michael Covarrubias said...

An episode was playing after I commented and I saw that the music performances were not by Fred. Kudos to Jack et al. It's some fine piano playing.

Lady Elaine still frightens me.

Was the panda a late addition? I've seen it but it's not one of the regulars I remember. The humans that walked around the land were all annoying. They talked to the puppets like little children even when they were older. But then the puppets did act a lot like children.

Never liked picture/picture.

Thought the trolley had a bad attitude.

Always like the crafts.

Loved the idea of changing into comforfortable shoes.

At November 26, 2006 8:36 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

The reason for the shoe change given in the documentary is because his first show for KQED in Pittsburg with Josie Somethingorother called Children's Corner required him to run from one puppet set to another in order to maintain time continuity in his puppet conversations with Josie.

At November 26, 2006 8:37 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

And did you know his mother made all the sweaters? She made 12 to give out each Christmas.

At November 28, 2006 6:12 PM, Blogger Michael said...

What's the name of this documentary? Is it readily available outside Netflix?

At November 28, 2006 8:17 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

"Fred Rogers: America's Favorite Neighbor." I don't know what its availability outside of Netflix is.

There is also a Requiem for Mr. Rogers written by the organist, Luke Mayernick, from a church in the Pittsburgh area. I first heard it about a year after Fred's death on an NPR story. Very touching stuff.


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