Such A Good Feeling: The Affectionate Documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’

Picture of colorful painted stones on a curving walkway, on the floor of a TV studio.My son and I saw “Won’t You Be Ny Neighbor” at a special showing in Greensburg (not far from Fred Rodgers’ hometown of Latrobe).

My daughter performed PICT’s Jane Eyre in the Fred Rogers Studio at WQED (where part of the floor is still painted like the path in the Neighborhood of Make Believe.

 

Picture of Fred Rodgers in his trademark cardigan standing with Mr. McFeeley (portrayed by David Newell) in a still from the PBS TV show "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."Fred Rogers was blown away by television’s potential — but he was disgusted by its corrupt pandering to advertisers and its exploitation of what he considered the worst in human nature — violence, contempt, condescension. So he sloooowed his TV neighborhood all the way down so he could really talk to kids about their lives and, more important, listen to what they had to say.

His uniform on and off the set was comfy cardigans and sneakers. His audience was the under-ten demographic with parents in tow. He loved silence; “modulation” was one of his favorite words. Given the noisy, cranky, do-keep-up! times we live in now, that makes Rogers a tough subject for a documentary. —NPR