Fred Rogers was a musician, producer, and Presbyterian minister, but millions remember him as the charming host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred Rogers was the founder of the famed PBS series, and he also wrote the theme song along with other ditties featured on the show. His calming voice, sound advice, and useful tips taught children how to love, accept, embrace their imaginations, and even how to tie their shoes with a torn lace. If you remember how Mister Rogers used to change his shoes and cardigan sweater in every episode, or if you remember the land of make-believe featuring King Friday XIII, then the trailer below is likely to bring you a lot of joy and nostalgia.
Arriving in theaters on June 8, 2018, is the Focus Features documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Directed by Morgan Neville, the Oscar-winning writer-director of 20 Feet From Stardom (Best Documentary Feature, 2014), his latest documentary reveals an in-depth look into the creative genius of Fred Rogers.
Fandango provides the official synopsis for Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.”
Focus Features recently released the second trailer for the highly-anticipated documentary.
As seen in the original trailer below, Rogers was more than just a children’s show host—he was a pioneer and hero to many. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood launched in 1968, the year that the Civil Rights Movement officially ended. While The Fair Housing Act becoming law was a great moment for justice, it also happened on the heels of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and there was still great debate among both political and societal circles alike. As the footage below shows, Fred Rogers used his show as a platform to spread love and justice.
The beloved show host also testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Communications in 1969. He did this to support continued funding for PBS during a time where budget cuts were proposed for public broadcasting. That footage has recently been making its rounds in media and social media platforms because of the recent budget cuts proposed by President Donald Trump.
Fred Rogers created his show because he didn’t like the state that children’s programming was in; he felt the fast-paced world of cartoons was often a bombardment and disingenuous, so he created and launched an honest series for kids. He also prided himself on not acting on the series, but rather, showing the real side of himself to kids. As Today documented, Fred Rogers explained why he did this, and it still serves as great advice for us today.
“One of the greatest gifts you can give anybody is the gift of your honest self.”