Fred Rogers

Children's Television Show Creator / Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Fred Rogers (1928-2003) describes his work as the creator and host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which began its run in 1968. He describes the show's evolution, which started with Mister Rogers, which he produced in Canada for the CBC. He describes each aspect of the show including the origin of his trademark sweaters. He recounts his early years in television working as a floor manager for NBC on shows including NBC Opera Theatre, The Kate Smith Hour, and The Gabby Hayes Show. Rogers details his move into public television in 1953 with his work as the program director for WQED, Pittsburgh. He describes his first children's program The Children's Corner (1954-61 WQED; 1955-56 NBC), which introduced several puppets later used on Mister Rogers. He talks about the importance of children's programming and his longevity as a childrens' show host. Karen Herman conducted the interview on July 22, 1999 in Pittsburgh, PA.

"I'd like to be remembered for being a compassionate human being who happened to be fortunate enough to be born at a time when there was a fabulous thing called television that could allow me to use all the talents that I had been given."

Highlights
Fred Rogers on television's responsibility to children
00:38
Fred Rogers on his "gift of silence," where he encourages people to think about those who helped them become who they are
08:19
Fred Rogers on "King Friday"
01:45
Fred Rogers on the format and writing of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
10:07
Fred Rogers on doing a special broadcast after Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated
02:08
Fred Rogers on how he'd like to be remembered
00:55
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years, family, influences (especially music), and education

Chapter 2

On his college years
On first seeing television and realizing that it could be a tool for education; getting his first job at NBC
On working at NBC television as a floor manager in 1951; on working on NBC Opera Theatre
On working as floor manager at NBC on The Kate Smith Hour

Chapter 3

On producing The Children's Corner

Chapter 4

On the end of The Childrens' Corner; on his seminary studies; on studying child development; on the only commercial he ever did; on the beginnings of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (originally Misterrogers)

Chapter 5

On The Childrens' Corner's transition to NBC network TV; on being ordained; on beginning his new show in Canada; on returning to the U.S. to begin Misterogers  

Chapter 6

On beginning Mister Rogers' Neighborhood using material from his earlier show done in Canada; on assembling the cast, puppets and crew
On the format and writing of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Chapter 7

On the transitions to "Land of Make-Believe" using a telescope, and later, the trolley
On doing a special broadcast after Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated
On dealing with difficult subjects like death and divorce, on talking about television; on leaving mistakes in the show
On the importance of music in both his life and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
On developing a 5-day story cycle
On producer Margie Whitmer; on visiting with children in the studio

Chapter 8

On the funding of Mister Rogers Neighborhood; on his trip to the Soviet Union; on starting Family Communications
On his guest appearance on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; on his "gift of silence"; on his greatest challenge: keeping up his appointment to perform as Mr. Rogers right after his father's funeral; on television's responsibility to children

Chapter 9

On the parodies of Mr. Rogers over the years 
On his fame; on music; on retirement; on death; on how he would like to be remembered
On some of the people (and puppets) he's worked with over the years
Shows

Amahl and the Night Visitors

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre
09:43

Children's Corner, The

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Fred Rogers on producing The Children's Corner

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

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Fred Rogers on his guest appearance on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
02:22

Kate Smith Hour

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on The Kate Smith Hour
02:42

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

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Fred Rogers on the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood character "Lady Elaine" (with puppet)
00:51
Fred Rogers on his philosopy behind Mister Rogers Neighborhood as "an offering of love"
00:48
Fred Rogers on beginning Mister Rogers' Neighborhood using material from his earlier show done in Canada
13:05
Fred Rogers' on many of the characters on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
02:24
Fred Rogers on the format and writing of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
10:07
Fred Rogers on the trolley, dealing with difficult subject matter, "The Land of Make-Believe", the importance of music, and some of hte people who work on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
29:19

NBC Opera Theatre

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre
09:43

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Fred Rogers on appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
00:44
Topics

Bloopers

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on The Kate Smith Hour
02:42

Characters & Catchphrases

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Fred Rogers on the sweaters he wore on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
01:29
Fred Rogers on the parodies of "Mister Rogers"
03:12

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Fred Rogers on the origin of his trademark sweaters and his love of music
04:14

Memorable Moments on Television

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Fred Rogers on doing a special broadcast after Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated
02:08

Pivotal Career Moments

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Fred Rogers on the origin of his trademark sweaters and his love of music
04:14

Pop Culture

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Fred Rogers on the sweaters he wore on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
01:29
Fred Rogers on the parodies of "Mister Rogers"
03:12

Television Industry

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Fred Rogers on the challenges of live television with his show The Children's Corner
01:20

We Cried

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Fred Rogers on doing a special broadcast after Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated
02:08
Genres

Children's Programming

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Fred Rogers on the value of television as a teaching tool for children
05:29
Fred Rogers on the puppets used in The Childrens Corner , and later on Mister Rogers Neighborhood
03:17
Fred Rogers on his philosopy behind Mister Rogers Neighborhood as "an offering of love"
02:12
Fred Rogers on doing a special broadcast after Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated
02:08
Fred Rogers on television's responsibility to children
00:39
People

Kirk Browning

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre
09:38

Eddie Murphy

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Fred Rogers on the parodies of Mister Rogers 
00:17

Kate Smith

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on The Kate Smith Hour
02:42

Arturo Toscanini

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre
09:38

Margie Whitmer

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Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood producer Margie Whitmer; on visiting with children in the studio
02:44

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