Learned about life at the age of three… had it all there on my TV screen

From my song Future Knocks:

No daddy ever
Taught me to play ball
No one to
Catch me when I fall

I learned about life
At the age of three
Had it all there
On my TV screen

Fred Rogers, Mister Rogers, passed away this morning. Thank you for being there for me and so many others.

NYDaily News: Sad day in neighborhood: Beloved Mister Rogers dies:

PITTSBURGH – Fred Rogers, who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for more than 30 years, died of cancer early Thursday. He was 74.

….From 1968 to 2000, Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, produced the show at Pittsburgh public television station WQED. The final new episode, which was taped in December 2000, aired in August 2001, though PBS affiliates continued to air back episodes.

…Rogers composed his own songs for the show and began each episode in a set made to look like a comfortable living room, singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” as he donned sneakers and a zip-up cardigan.

…His message remained a simple one throughout the years, telling his viewers to love themselves and others. On each show, he would take his audience on a magical trolley ride into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where his puppet creations would interact with each other and adults.

…Rogers taught children how to share, how to deal with anger and even how not to fear the bathtub by assuring them they’ll never go down the drain.

…”We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility,” he said in 1994. “It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’

“Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”

…The series remained popular through the years, including with children of baby boomers who watched the show growing up. Its ratings peaked in 1985-86 when approximately 8 percent of all U.S. households with televisions tuned in. By the 1999-2000 season, viewership had dropped to about 2.7 percent, or 3.6 million people.

One of Rogers’ red sweaters hangs in the Smithsonian Institution.

..He studied early childhood development at the University of Pittsburgh’s graduate school and consulted for decades with the late Dr. Margaret McFarland, an eminent child development expert at the university. The show examined the tribulations of childhood, including anger, fear, even a visit to the dentist.

At a ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the show in 1993, Rogers said, “It’s not the honors and not the titles and not the power that is of ultimate importance. It’s what resides inside.”

Off the set, Rogers was much like his television persona. He swam daily, read voraciously and listened to Beethoven. He once volunteered at a state prison in Pittsburgh and helped set up a playroom there for children visiting their parents.

…Rogers is survived by his wife, Joanne, a concert pianist; two sons and two grandsons.

Robyn shares her thoughts, as will I am sure, many, many others. Forgive me for not linking to them because I’m just not weblogging the rest of the day. MetaFilter has a thread going as well.

This is Just the Day. Have a good one.

2 thoughts on “Learned about life at the age of three… had it all there on my TV screen

  1. I’m just continuing my weblog break today.

    I’m surprised at my reaction actually. I didn’t get upset about Columbia. But this felt personal in a way.

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