I’m not sure about you, but I remember coming home from school and my mom throwing Mr. Rogers on for me. It was a staple of mine and many childhoods around the world, and it’s some of these facts just will cement his amazing legacy.
So sit back and have fun learning about our favorite neighbor, Mr. Rogers.
1. Over the years, he talked to kids about their feelings, covering topics as varied as why kids shouldn’t be afraid of haircuts, or the bathroom drain (because you won’t fit), to bigger issues like divorce and war.
2. When he was younger, Rogers was so disappointed with children’s TV that it inspired him to find “some way of using this fabulous medium to be of nurture to those who would watch and listen.”
3. Those shoes were store bought, by the way, but every one of the cardigans Mr. Rogers wore on his show was knit by his mother.
4. Mr. Rogers thought it would be great to have the man behind the Big Bird costume reveal himself, but Big Bird refused to be on the show.
5. Mr. Rogers could start to feel anxious and overwhelmed, and when he did, he liked to play the chords to the show’s theme song on the piano on set in order to calm himself.
6. Mr. Rogers was an Ivy League dropout. He completed his freshman year at Dartmouth, and then transferred to Rollins College so he could get a degree in music.
7. There were rumors that Mr. Rogers only wore sweaters to cover up the tattoos on his arms. These are all untrue. He was never in the army, never shot anyone, and never had any tattoos.
8. Along with being a guest on the show, Koko the gorilla was an avid watcher of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. She even got upset after hearing of his death.
9. Mr. Rogers was fascinated by the number 143, saying it stood for “I love you.”
10. Speaking of 143, Mr. Rogers watched his weight very closely. And he’d like to weigh exactly 143 lbs
11. Mr. Rogers once made a guest appearance on Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman as a pastor’s mentor.
12. In 2002, one year before his death, Fred Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for “a career that demonstrates the importance of kindness, compassion, and learning.”
13. Before becoming famous, Michael Keaton was a crew member on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He even said that Fred Rogers was “one of the nicest, authentically-good people you’ve ever met.”
14. In the opening sequence of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, the stoplight is always on yellow. That’s a reminder to kids and parents to slow down a little.
15. The first time Eddie Murphy met Mr. Rogers, he couldn’t stop himself from giving the guy a big hug.
16. Mr. Rogers chose to donate a red sweater to The Smithsonian, because the cameras at his studio didn’t pick up the color very well.
17. Mr. Rogers never threw away a single drawing or letter that a child sent to him.
18. One of those letters was from a girl who was blind who was worried that the fish were hungry. So after that, Mr. Rogers always announced out loud that he was feeding his fish.
19. He also helped write the lyrics for some of the most famous songs that were sung on the show.
20. Mr. Rogers liked to name some of the characters in his show after important people in his life. The mailman, Fred McFeely, was named after his grandfather.
21. And lastly, he was actually color blind (aka something we have in common).