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"... a little kindness makes a world of difference..." Mr. Rogers.
I am with Ms_Mustard completely.
Mr. Rogers also said, " especially given the world today, we are called to be TIKUM OLAM...Repairers of Creation... by bringing Joy, Light, Hope, Faith, Pardon, and Love whatever you do and wherever you are; to your neighbour and to yourself ".
I always found Mr. Rogers to be a little creepy. This documentary just solidified it for me. I know he meant well, but I still can't shake that underlying creep factor. If you ever got the same vibe from watching him on television, then I would suggest not watching this. I just thought I'd give it try.
It took me three times to watch this all the way through and at first I chalked it up to being tired after working long hours, but when I finally finished it, I realized that it was partly out of boredom. This documentary is an hour and 34 minutes but it feels much longer. I tried to enjoy it because I really admire and respect Fred Rogers. Like most, I grew up watching Mr. Rogers and watched it occasionally as an adult. But I found this to be really disappointing for the most part. I liked the nostalgia of it; the old black and white clips and how the puppets came to be, etc. The segments with Fred and the kids were heartwarming and the interspersed interviews with he, his wife, and kids as well as producers, etc were interesting. But aside from the fact that this documentary was very slow paced, I was surprised at some of the content. It should be noted that although this is a documentary of a kid's show it's NOT geared toward kids. There are mentions of gay rights, The assassination of Bobby Kennedy (and a surprising segment where Daniel Tiger asked Lady Elaine "What does assassination mean?". There is even brief nudity shown (a person's backside), which surprised me even more. I did learn a lot about the background of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but overall I was disappointed in this one. Instead of the brief interviews with his wife and so forth, I would havfe rather seen a documentary about his personal life and his family. I much prefer the documentary that aired on PBS last year. It was much more entertaining and nothing eyebrow-raising.
In this film I found the Rev. Fred Rogers' apparently sincere love and caring for people very touching. My eyes got a bit misty now and then. Nevertheless there's also something deeply disturbing about the support he enjoyed for so many years from a large segment of America's political and cultural elites though I can't quite put my finger on it.
For example, in the Clinton administration, Rogers was invited to open a White House conference on children and television (this is briefly shown in the film). Bill & Hillary Clinton, Al & Tipper Gore, Bill Cosby, the TV networks heads, and others cozied right up to Rogers on-camera and he to them. George W. Bush gave Rogers the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 and Barbara and George H. W. Bush lauded him when he died. I'd like to hope that these broken, destructive people were genuinely attracted by a person who gave himself non-judgmentally to loving others and that Rogers was consciously ministering to them. However, I find myself wondering if they didn't support him because they knew he could be trusted to never bring a prophetic message that truly exposed or called out the deep murderous, ethical rot in the America these elites presided over.
By contrast, I recently watched a documentary ("King in the Wilderness" 2018) about the Rev. Dr. Martin King, Jr. The dominant elite response was to try to manipulate and coopt King. He was for the most part held at arm's length, at best. J. Edgar Hoover personally had him surveilled and the FBI tried to destroy him. Evidently no one in power ever seriously tried to stop Hoover as they, too, had their reasons for wanting King monitored and harassed. Not without cause, the King family has long disbelieved that James Earl Ray acted alone. And in 1999, Coretta Scott King won a civil lawsuit when a Memphis jury agreed that Loyd Jowers and "others, including governmental agencies" conspired to have King assassinated. Whether Ray acted alone or not King was already in many ways a spent and broken man before he died. Yet, ultimately, he, like Fred Rogers, lived and preached a message of love. King was chewed up and spit out; Rogers was not.
To the extent King is honored today his work is typically simplified and homogenized to force it to fit conveniently in the progressive cutthroat "identitarian" bin or the conservative "glad-we-fixed-that-problem" bin. Could it be that Fred Rogers' message was already so tame and non-threatening that only a few isolated cranks on Fox could ever hate it after his death?
I don't want to say that Rogers' ministry was not good and important but only that this film left me feeling uneasy about it somehow. It's not exactly on point but I am reminded of the words of Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hanh: "It is part of the wisdom, I think, of the religious tradition always to be skeptical of what governments are doing .... One has to keep reminding oneself and other people that an exalted contempt for human life lies at the basis of diplomacy; and that one had better think of the unprotected and innocent, and be prepared for the bad news when the leaders meet." Source: "The Raft is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward a Buddhist/Christian Awareness," (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975) p. 69.
this wonderful, touching doc made my heart ache for a kinder, gentler influence on the lives of today's children and on us all.
to the comment below - Fred Rogers was never a soldier and never killed anyone - that is an urban myth
Too bad we never did see this movie, but I watched him with my young daughter & enjoyed his show.
Very surprised to hear that this humble, nice man was a war hero, quite decorated, I have heard!! He kept this private and did not speak of it, apparently. A fellow actor who served in the same unit discussed this on the Johnny Carson Show. I think he is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
Good biography of Mr. Rogers: his ministerial background and how his bare bones children's program grew into one of America's most liked shows. Clearly Rogers was an idealist who had the good fortune to put his ideals—including equality—into play in reaching children in kind, non-commercial teachings.
He was the butt end of a lot of jokes when I was growing up, but that was after we had all sat through his shows when we were kids and home during the afternoons. To hear and see the story behind his show, his 'ministry', and to learn a bit more about his heart, and especially to know that he didn't have any dirty secrets or hidden scandals and served as "a new kind of man" made this documentary essential viewing. One of the guys featured as Mr. Rogers' friend looks like a dead ringer for Joaquin Phoenix except older.
This was a delightful documentary giving an inside look at Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. For a simple children's television program, we learn that it wasn't so simple after all.
The Documentary really gave us a real picture of what Fred Rogers was through testimonials of those who knew him. We learn that he took his work very seriously and was always looking for the best interest in all children. We also learn just how groundbreaking Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was in addressing very serious issues, and breaking them down for children to understand.
If you need a good pick-me-up, are interested in children's programming or development, or like a well crafted documentary looking to shed light on Mr. Rogers, I highly recommend it.
I'm too old to have watched Mr. Rogers, but I was familiar enough to get Eddie Murphy's parody on SNL.
I didn't realize how interesting a man Fred Rogers was and how committed to children he was.
This is a very good documentary -- highly recommended.
When Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood first aired in 1968, I was 20, so I never ever watched an episode. I do, however, remember a children's show called The Magic Window that aired on ABC affiliate WOI out of Ames, Iowa beginning in 1951. I am sure it was not as great as Mr. Rogers' show, but I remember the name and can picture it in my mind. Many local tv stations had shows for children. I also remember Winky Dink and You, the first "interactive" tv program which involved a magic "screen" that you put over the tv picture..... And, of course, we had the Mickey Mouse Club... Enough about memory lane... What little I knew about Mr. Rogers up until this documentary probably came via parodies on Saturday Night Live and Johnny Carson. To be honest, Mr. Rogers' voice and mannerisms "creeped me out". I think part of the reason was that no one in my family spoke with a gentle voice or about feelings. His gentleness was completely foreign to me. I am so impressed with the topics that were addressed on the show - everything from assassinations to bullying. I enjoyed learning more about the show that had a great impact upon children and recommend the documentary. Kristi & Abby Tabby
I'm of the generation that grew up with Mr. Rogers as a mainstay of my weekday afternoons.
The thing that sticks with me after watching 'Won't You Be My Neighbor' is how different Fred Rogers sought to make his show from other popular entertainment aimed at children...specifically slowing it down and being very mindful of each moment.
As a child the show was such fun to watch and having watched the documentary as an adult I feel like I have an even deeper appreciation for the effort put into its production.
Not having grown up on the show, I can see why anyone who did is head over heels in love with it--this is the true story of a childhood development savant who loved people like I've rarely ever seen! Modern entertainment could use the Mr. Rogers touch again, and those around him testify to his pure heart and unreproachable treatment of all people. The library also has his biography and 30 episodes of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood from over the years in the children's DVD section. This is a film to share with everyone!
Surprisingly deep and moving documentary of a man who took children's television seriously.
I love Mr. Rogers even more than before after watching this documentary! A kinder time in our history.
I didn't watch Mr. Rogers as a child, so I had no idea what to expect from this documentary. I found it very compelling to watch - I did not realize that the tv shows tied in to current issues of the day. Loved this film and Mrs. Rogers.
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood became highly successful (despite being the exact opposite of what normally succeeded on TV). Some of you may remember watching this show as a child. Mr. Rogers was able to connect viscerally with children through this show.
One of my favorite scenes in this film was when Mr. Rogers testified in Congress. When Nixon became president, he wanted to kill funding for PBS. Mr. Rogers’ testimony saved it. Can you imagine what would happen if Mr. Rogers testified in Congress today?
Frankly, everyone in Congress and the current administration should watch this movie. They could learn a lot about kindness and empathy and compassion.
In these negative times, this positive movie has a lot to offer.
A master helper, Rogers challenges everyone to be kind, think of others, and remember that you are loved no matter what. It's always a beautiful day with Mr. Rogers.
Mr Rogers a kind and compassionate man understood children. This film is a treasure.
I saw this DVD on order at SPL and put a hold on it. I had to ask my childhood friend when she came over for visit if she watched Mr. Rogers because I never did. She said no but her younger sister watched it as a child. So, I guess I am a bit too old for Mr. Rogers (I grew up watching J.P. Patches). The only Mr. Rogers I remember was Eddie Murphy’s version on early Saturday Night Live.
The DVD traces the show history and provides background on Fred Rogers. A young man who put off theological study to try out public television with a show for young children. It captured a generation and covered subjects as broad as being scared to dealing with divorce or death. I thought his appearance at Congress to testify when PBS was going to get a $20 million cut was brilliant (seemed like many of the Congress / politicians were big babies). The DVD covers the parodies (Eddie Murphy, PeeWee Herman) which Rogers was okay with as long as they didn’t parody his message (all children are special and loved). They touch on subjects such as was Mr. Rogers gay (his wife and sons appear in the DVD). One character on the show was gay in real life (the Police officer on the show) and he said Fred Rogers told him that he loved him and the actor recalls that neither his father nor step-father ever told him that. The show ends with a group protesting that Mr. Rogers is responsible for making a generation of children feeling entitled. To me Fred Rogers comes across as a truly remarkable and unique individual who felt he could communicate well with children and he put those efforts/talents into his show.
All parents and people who interact with children should take time to watch this. Surprised myself how much what Mr. Fred Rogers (1928 –2003) cared about are as pressing today. How about this film clip early on:
King Friday was really irritated that people were changing things. So his reaction as the authority was to build a wall.
King Friday: Remember our battle cry, Edgar?
-Down with the changers! 'Cause we're on top.
A truly wonderful film about Mr. Rogers and a great all around view into his life on and off screen.
I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and I loved this. Make sure you have tissues handy because you’ll need them !
A beautiful moving portrait of the unique Fred Rogers and his timeless message that love and kindness matter, especially to children. FYI - The VPL offers a collection of actual episodes in a DVD called "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood It's A Beautiful Day Collection". Here are some quotations from Fred Rogers in this documentary:
"I think that those who would try to make you feel less than who you are, I think that is the greatest evil." ... "The next important learning - it's the ability to accept and expect mistakes and deal with the disappointments that they bring."
"And what that ["you're special"] actually means, of course, is that you don't ever have to do anything sensational for people to love you." ... "In this country the child is appreciated for what he will be. He will be a great consumer some day. The quicker we can get them to go out and buy, the better. There's so much of that in this country."
"Well I suppose it's an invitation, "Won't you be my neighbor?" It's an invitation for somebody to be close to you. You know, I think everybody longs to be loved and longs to know that he or she is loveable. And consequently, the greatest thing that we can do is to help somebody know that they're loved and capable of loving."
"From the time you were very little you've had people who have smiled you into smiling. People who have talked you into talking. Sung you into singing. Loved you into loving." ... "Now, think about somebody who's helped you along the way for one minute. I'm going to time you." ... "Let's just take some time to think of those extra special people. Some of them may be right here. Some may be far away. Some may even be in heaven. No matter where they are, deep down you know, they've always wanted what was best for you. They've always cared about you beyond measure and have encouraged you to be true to the best within you."
Need a pick me up? And a good cry? A walk down Memory Lane? This film is all that and then some. After seeing it, I've been more mindful in listening to kids and adults alike, for one thing. I may also dare say that I've been more optimistic, or stalwart in looking for the good. With all the yuck in politics and the news these days, this film was just what I needed. I would highly recommend it to everyone and anyone. Even if you didn't grow up watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred Rogers' life story and unique message are food for thought, and some good medicine for whatever ails you.