12 Weird But True Facts About 'Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood'
Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood is one of those shows that you remembered watching no matter how old you are today.
Unlike many fictional characters that appeared on TV at the time, Mr. Fred Rogers was real and had very important messages to deliver to his audience. He also did it in a unique way that his show apart from other children's shows.
The show ran from 1966 to 2001 which means that while most of us have seen many of the episodes, there were some things we might have missed.
Here are 12 weird but true facts about the friendly Mr. Rogers and his neighborhood:
1. His Mother hand-knit all of his sweaters
His mom was an avid knitter, and gifted all her kids with sweaters on special occasions like Christmas. Mr. Rogers wore his on the show as a nod to his mom. Putting on a new sweater was a way of saying "hello" to her.
2. Lady Elaine Fairchilde is named after someone close to Mr. Rogers
Neighborhood troublemaker, Lady Elaine Fairchilde is named after Fred Rogers's sister according to an Archive for American Television with Rogers.
"My sister was adopted when she was six months old and I was eleven years old. And her name is Elaine. We tease her because she thinks that I must have named Lady Elaine Fairchilde for her," explained Rogers.
3. He picked out his famous blue sneakers for a reason
Mr. Rogers made sure that every detail, no matter how small, was perfect so he could deliver the best show for his young viewers. This is why he swapped his loafers for his well-loved blue sneakers at the start of every episode. The sneakers didn't make a sound when he walked, and this ensured that he didn't make any unwanted noise while filming.
4. He mentioned everything he did aloud
The friendly host always went into extreme detail when describing his actions because he once received a letter from a blind girl who asked him to explain things for her. That is also why he always made sure to mention that it was time to feed the fish.
He also maintained a pace of 124 words per minute because someone told him that was the right pace to talk to children with.
Fred Rogers didn't have a lot of regrets about the show, but there was one thing he wished he had done differently...
5. He regretted the name he chose for the mailman
Mr. Rogers thought he had every detail perfected, but he still wished he had done a few things differently, like choose another name for Mr. McFeely. When he came up with the moniker, which was actually his middle name, he didn't realize that people would make inappropriate jokes with it.
6. Mr. Rogers was colorblind
Although he appreciated his mother knitting all those bright sweaters for him. Mr. Rogers couldn't really see their true color because he was colorblind. He was red-green color blind, meaning he never saw the real color of his famous red cardigan.
7. Michael Keaton started his career on the show
Only the biggest fans of the Beetlejuice star will know not be surprised to learn that he had his first television role on Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood as a volunteer puppeteer.
8. He hated television
Ironically, the iconic television star hated most television programming when he was younger. This was what pushed him to create a meaningful program that would help people grow.
9. Big Bird turned down a cameo
Mr. Rogers invited Big Bird on the show so he could reveal himself to the viewers and explain what his job entails. However, the man behind the costume turned the invite down because he didn't want to ruin the famous yellow bird's legacy.
Big Bird later did appear on an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood in the "Make-Believe" segment.
10. Horror filmmaker George A. Romero got his start on the show too
The late filmmaker's first paid job was for Mr. Rogers. He was enlisted to shoot a segment called "Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy."
11. He saved the VCR
Mr. Rogers was very fond of the VCR, so he took it upon himself to testify in the Universal Studios v. Sony Corp. of America case. He sided with the VCR, and thankfully the law that would bar taping TV shows never came into effect.
12. He maintained a specific weight for most of his life
During the last 30 years of his life, Mr. Rogers, a health and fitness enthusiast, weighed exactly 143 pounds.