Fred Rogers

Children's Television Show Creator / Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

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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."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Fred Rogers on the creation of "Daniel Tiger"
Fred Rogers on his favorite memories of The Children's Corner
Fred Rogers on creating the puppets eventually used for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and their puppeteers
Fred Rogers on doing episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood that deal with serious topics like death and divorce
Fred Rogers on his outside of the studio segments on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years; on the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood character "Lady Elaine" (with puppet)
On his interest in photography when he was growing up; on radio and movies he watched when he was growing up; on deciding what he wanted to do when he grew up

Chapter 2

On his college education; on the value of television as a teaching tool for children; on working at NBC in the early '50s
On working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre; on his duties as a floor manager at NBC

Chapter 3

On Kate Smith as performer on Kate Smith Hour; on stage managing The Gabby Hayes Show; on David Sarnoff and Sylverster L. "Pat" Weaver
On his early impressions of television; on having Michael Keaton as a floor manager on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on how he now views his years at NBC as a page
On being hired at WQED to work in educational television; on the creation of "Daniel Tiger"

Chapter 4

On his WQED show The Children's Corner starring Josie Carey and featuring the puppet "King Friday XIII"; on his duties as a programmer at WQED while he was also working on The Children's Corner, and on the challenges of live television; on Josie Carey, the host of The Children's Corner
On composing songs with Josie Carey, host of The Children's Corner; on the format of The Children's Corner; on the puppets of The Children's Corner including "Daniel Tiger," "King Friday XIII," and "Lady Elaine Fairchild"
On the set of The Children's Corner and on Ernie Coombs; on his CBC series Misterogers, a precursor to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on the educational aspects of The Children's Corner and on specific segments of the show

Chapter 5

On The Children's Corner moving over to NBC; on the end of The Children's Corner and on parting ways with Josie Carey; on his favorite memories of The Children's Corner
On becoming an ordained a minister of the United Presbyterian Church through the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary; on starting MisteRogers on the CBC in Canada, a forerunner to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Chapter 6

On dealing with copyrights and on owning the characters and material he created; on creating MisteRogers, the Canadian forerunner to Mister Rogers Neighborhood ; on casting for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
On creating the puppets eventually used for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and their puppeteers; on the process of putting together an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
On the format of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on his outside of the studio segments on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on the trolly on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Chapter 7

On the trolly and Neighborhood of Make Believe on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on addressing the assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on doing episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood that deal with serious topics like death and divorce
On doing Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episodes about television; on the music of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
On starting to do subjects over several episodes on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on taping the Neighborhood of Make Believe segments on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood; on the behind-the-scenes crew of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Chapter 8

On Mister Rogers Neighborhood executive producer Peter Taft; on the then current production schedule for Mister Rogers Neighborhood; on taking Mister Rogers Neighborhood to the Soviet Union in 1987
On his non-profit corporation Family Communications; on appearing on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; on his "gift of silence," where he encourages people to think about those who helped them become who they are
On his greatest challenge; on "Captain Kangaroo" Bob Keeshan; on television's responsibility to children

Chapter 9

On imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live; on his family and on his children watching him on television; on what he envisions is the then-future of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
On how he'd like to be remembered; on various people he worked with in his career
Shows

Amahl and the Night Visitors

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre which put on "Amahl and the Night Visitors"

Children's Corner, The

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Fred Rogers on his WQED show The Children's Corner starring Josie Carey and featuring the puppet "King Friday XIII"
Fred Rogers on his duties as a programmer at WQED while he was also working on The Children's Corner, and on the challenges of live television
Fred Rogers on Josie Carey, the host of The Children's Corner
Fred Rogers on composing songs with Josie Carey, host of The Children's Corner
Fred Rogers on the format of The Children's Corner
Fred Rogers on the puppets of The Children's Corner including "Daniel Tiger," "King Friday XIII," and "Lady Elaine Fairchild"
Fred Rogers on the set of The Children's Corner and on Ernie Coombs
Fred Rogers on the educational aspects of The Children's Corner and on specific segments of the show
Fred Rogers on The Children's Corner moving over to NBC
Fred Rogers on the end of The Children's Corner and on parting ways with Josie Carey
Fred Rogers on his favorite memories of The Children's Corner

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

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Fred Rogers on appearing on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

Gabby Hayes Show, The

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Fred Rogers on stage managing The Gabby Hayes Show

Kate Smith Hour

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on The Kate Smith Hour
Fred Rogers on Kate Smith as performer on Kate Smith Hour

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

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Fred Rogers on the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood character "Lady Elaine" (with puppet)
Fred Rogers on having Michael Keaton as a floor manager on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on his CBC series Misterogers, a precursor to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on starting MisteRogers on the CBC in Canada, a forerunner to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on creating MisteRogers, the Canadian forerunner to Mister Rogers Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on casting Betty Aberlin and Emily Jacobson for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on casting Joe Negri, Robert Trow and Chuck Ebert for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on creating the puppets eventually used for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and their puppeteers
Fred Rogers on the process of putting together an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on the format of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on his outside of the studio segments on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on the trolly on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on the trolly and Land of Make Believe on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on addressing the assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on doing episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood that deal with serious topics like death and divorce
Fred Rogers on doing Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episodes about television
Fred Rogers on the music of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on starting to do subjects over several episodes on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on taping the Land of Make Believe segments on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on the behind-the-scenes crew of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers Neighborhood executive producer Peter Taft and on getting the show funded
Fred Rogers on the then current production schedule for Mister Rogers Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on taking Mister Rogers Neighborhood to the Soviet Union in 1987
Fred Rogers on what he envisions is the then-future of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

NBC Opera Theatre

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre which put on "Amahl and the Night Visitors"

Saturday Night Live

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Fred Rogers on imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live

Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The

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Fred Rogers on imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live
Topics

Bloopers

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

Characters & Catchphrases

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Fred Rogers on the sweaters he wore on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on the creation of "Daniel Tiger"
Fred Rogers on the puppets of The Children's Corner including "Daniel Tiger," "King Friday XIII," and "Lady Elaine Fairchild"
Fred Rogers on the parodies of "Mister Rogers"

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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

First Big Break

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Fred Rogers on being hired at WQED to work in educational television

Memorable Moments on Television

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Fred Rogers on addressing the assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Fred Rogers on the origin of his trademark sweaters and his love of music
Fred Rogers on being hired at WQED to work in educational television

Pop Culture

View Topic
Fred Rogers on the sweaters he wore on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on the creation of "Daniel Tiger"
Fred Rogers on the puppets of The Children's Corner including "Daniel Tiger," "King Friday XIII," and "Lady Elaine Fairchild"
Fred Rogers on the trolly on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on the parodies of "Mister Rogers"

Television Industry

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Fred Rogers on dealing with copyrights and on owning the characters and material he created
Fred Rogers on television's responsibility to children

We Cried

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Fred Rogers on addressing the assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Genres

Children's Programming

View Genre
Fred Rogers on the value of television as a teaching tool for children
Fred Rogers on having Michael Keaton as a floor manager on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on The Children's Corner, hosted by Josie Carey
Fred Rogers on The Children's Corner
Fred Rogers on starting MisteRogers on the CBC in Canada
Fred Rogers on hosting Mister Rogers Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on hosting Mister Rogers Neighborhood
Fred Rogers on Mister Rogers Neighborhood

Drama Series

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Fred Rogers on appearing on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre
Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on The Kate Smith Hour
Fred Rogers on Kate Smith as performer on Kate Smith Hour
Fred Rogers on stage managing The Gabby Hayes Show
Fred Rogers on imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live

Talk Shows

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Fred Rogers on imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live
People

Kirk Browning

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre directed by Kirk Browning

Josie Carey

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Fred Rogers on his WQED show The Children's Corner starring Josie Carey and featuring the puppet "King Friday XIII"
Fred Rogers on Josie Carey, the host of The Children's Corner
Fred Rogers on composing songs with Josie Carey, host of The Children's Corner
Fred Rogers on the educational aspects of The Children's Corner and on specific segments of the show (hosted by Josie Carey)
Fred Rogers on the end of The Children's Corner and on parting ways with Josie Carey

Johnny Carson

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Fred Rogers on imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live

Michael Keaton

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Fred Rogers on having Michael Keaton as a floor manager on Miser Rogers Neighborhood

Bob Keeshan

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Fred Rogers on "Captain Kangaroo" Bob Keeshan

Eddie Murphy

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Fred Rogers on imitations of him on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live

David Sarnoff

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Fred Rogers on David Sarnoff

Kate Smith

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

Arturo Toscanini

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Fred Rogers on working as floor manager at NBC on NBC Opera Theatre conducted by Arturo Toscanini

Margie Whitmer

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

All Interviews

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