David Bianculli: Celebrating ‘Mister Rogers’ Neigborhood’ 50 Years Later

There may not be a better neighbor than Fred Rogers. The beloved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, famous for its host changing out of his coat and shoes and putting on a comfy sweater and slippers, celebrates its 50th anniversary on February 19. In an era when much of children’s TV was manic, derivative or cartoonishly violent, Rogers stood out like a calm, friendly, reassuring beacon. From its 1968 premiere on National Educational Television until its finale on PBS in 2001, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood bolstered kids’ self-image, ignited their curiosity, taught them the most basic of concepts (up and down, happy and sad) and always encouraged simple kindness.

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