I know Mister Rogers was a beloved children’s TV figure and a good man … but his show gave my young self the willies.
I was always offset by his sanguine tones, and those puppets freaked me out. The Lady Elaine Fairchilde puppet looked like a red-nosed alcoholic demon, the sort that would perhaps hide under my bed and steal the underwear off my butt while I was sleeping.
Don’t get me started on Captain Kangaroo.
As an adult, I’ve grown to have a much deeper appreciation for the man. He was a groundbreaker in children’s television, civil rights and the saving of PBS’ ass in general. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? does an undeniably sweet job of showing what Rogers did to keep his show on the air all of those years. He didn’t always make the right moves, but he always seemed to course-correct.
It’s a fun watch, and a reminder that he was a very good neighbor, indeed. The puppets still freak me out, though.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and online sources including iTunes and Amazon.com.