Fred Rogers created Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and with it the most powerful piece of television for kids everywhere. A lot of what he did to make it, or what happened during the decades on-air, are worth looking into.
After graduating from college, he was working at NBC in NYC as an assistant producer. When he learned that his hometown of Pittsburgh was launching WQED, a public access station, he moved back home at their request. It was a big risk because it wasn't even on the air yet.
Academy Award Winner Michael Keaton worked side jobs while he was in Pittsburgh. And if you were in Pittsburgh, according to Keaton, you eventually work for Fred Rogers. He started at two dollars an hour, but he got bumped up to $2.25. He ended up on some segments.
6. He Had A Show Before He Joined The Neighborhood
Mister Rogers' Neighborhood wasn't his first hit on WQED. Years earlier he was the producer and puppeteer for The Children's Corner, which was hosted by Josie Carey. Many of the puppets Rogers made for that show moved over to Neighborhood.
He named the mailman on the show Mr. McFeely after his own middle name. Years after the show ended, he shared that he wished he had chosen a different name for the delivery man, had he known the amount of dirty jokes that would have come from it.
He had no problems with people recording his shows, but at the time companies did not. He testified in the Universal Studios v. Sony Corp. of America where the fate of the VCR was at stake. Rogers sided with the VCR, and that helped pushed in its favor. If he hadn't, it would have been illegal to tape his show and all others.