Today marks the 11th anniversary of the death of Fred Rogers (aka, PBS’s Mr. Rogers).
John and I have made no secret of the fact that we are big fans of Mr. Rogers, and even refer to him in the Slow Church book — in reference to his ideas about the formative power of dinner table conversation.
We love that his work is situated in a neighborhood, that it is fundamentally about friendship, being attentive always and welcoming everyone as a gift. Our churches would do well to learn from his example.
In memory of Fred Rogers today, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few videos…
Have you seen the excellent documentary Mister Rogers and Me? (It’s free for those who have Amazon Prime!)
I hope to watch it again this weekend…
Benjamin Wagner first met “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” creator and star, Fred Rogers, at Rogers’ summer home on Nantucket, Massachusetts. His mother rented the cottage next door, so Mister Rogers really was his neighbor.
On the afternoon of their first meeting, “America’s Favorite Neighbor” asked the young journalist about his job as an MTV News producer. Wagner felt exposed and a tiny-bit embarrassed, a PBS mind in a jump-cut, sound-bit MTV world.
Mister Rogers said warmly, “I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”
Later, Rogers told Wagner, ‘Spread the message, Benjamin.”
After Rogers’ death in 2003, Wagner and his brother, Christofer, set out to meet some of Mister Rogers’ neighbors to find out more about the man himself, what he meant by “deep and simple,” and with whom in our junk food culture those values endure.
Watch the Trailer:
And a few bonus clips from the film:
Also, here’s Mr. Rogers’s acceptance speech for his Lifetime Achievement Emmy:
And if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check out PBS’s musical tribute The Garden of Your Mind, and Novelist John Green’s delightful video tribute: 35 Facts About Mr. Rogers …
What about you, are you a fan of Mr. Rogers?
What are your favorite memories of him or his show?