First National Episode


Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

The first week of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is about the struggle to accept change and the search for a sense of security. King Friday XIII is upset when the homes are moved around in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. He is distrustful of anyone outside the castle walls, so he establishes a border around the castle and readies the guard for military confrontation. Although the layout of the neighborhood is different, the neighbors themselves have not changed, and they want to restore peace. They send messages of care and kindness to the castle, which King Friday accepts. He takes down the border and reopens his castle to visitors. Mister Rogers reflects that children often find it difficult to deal with change. He encourages them to think about something in their lives that does not change, particularly the fact that they will always have someone to care for them. Change can be scary, but it can also be an opportunity for growth. The backdrop of military confrontation in a children’s program may seem jarring to today’s audience, but in 1967-68 (the time period during which these episodes were written, produced, and aired), America’s children were keenly aware of and (many) were directly impacted by the escalation of the war in Vietnam. It is not unusual for the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to adopt themes of children’s and families’ real-world anxieties.

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Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
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