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Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood

11 August, 2013
Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers

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Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine, could you be mine? It’s a neighborly day in this beauty-wood, a neighborly day for a beauty, would you be mine . . .”

Voice 1 

This is a voice that many people from the United States, of all ages, will recognize. It is a voice that adults will remember from when they were children. This voice belongs to a man named Fred McFeely Rogers. But many people will know him instead as Mister Rogers. Mister Rogers was a popular person in the United States. Many people there felt like they were friends with Mister Rogers even if they had never met him. People will remember him from a special television show they watched as children. But what made this man so special? Mister Rogers was a friend to children. Today’s Spotlight is on Mister Rogers.

Voice 2 

Fred Rogers was born in 1928. As a child he had a great interest in stories. He often played with puppets. These are cloth toys that look like people. He used the puppets to act out imaginative stories.

Voice 1 

Fred also loved music very much. He learned to play the piano when he was very young. He said that he used this instrument to show his emotions. He said he could “laugh, cry, or even be angry through the ends of his fingers.”  In college he learned how to write music. He planned on becoming a pastor, or leader of a church, after he finished college. But his plans changed.

Voice 2 

After he finished college, he visited his parents. There, Fred saw something he had never seen before – television. He did not like the images he saw on the television. But, he immediately understood that television was a powerful tool. He understood that television could be used for good or bad purposes. He immediately decided to become involved in making good television.

Voice 1 

In 1951, Fred got his first job in television at a television studio in New York. He learned many parts of the business of making television. He learned how to produce television programs. Even when he changed jobs, he continued working on different children’s television programs. And he was even able to use some of his own puppets on the programs.

Voice 2 

But in 1968, Fred began his most famous show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”. Public television stations broadcast his show all over the United States. Five days of every week, children could see Fred in “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” People all across the United States now knew him as “Mister Rogers.” Mister Rogers began his program in the same way every day. He opened the door of his house. He started singing this song.

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine, could you be mine? It’s a neighborly day in this beauty-wood, a neighborly day for a beauty would you be mine, could you be mine? I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you ...”

Voice 1 

The words of this song were special for children. The song invited every child to be Mister Rogers’ neighbor, or friend. Mister Rogers wanted to be a good neighbor to everyone.

“Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor? Won’t you please, won’t you please, please won’t you be my neighbor?”

Voice 2 

Every day there was a new theme, or idea, on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Children learned about many things. For example, they might learn about self-control, playing nicely with friends, or how different instruments sound.

Voice 1 

Mister Rogers often also had special visitors on his show. These people talked to the children about something interesting. One day children saw how people in factories make shoes. On another day, Mister Rogers visited the hospital to get an immunization injection. Children could see that doctors and immunizations are not frightening.

Voice 2 

After this part of the program, Mister Rogers took the children to the ‘Land of Make-Believe.’ It was a place where he used puppets to act out stories for children. Children watched the puppets talk about the theme for the day.

Voice 1 

But Mister Rogers also dealt with many complex issues. He knew that many times children did not understand what was happening around them. Children may not understand why their parents get a divorce. They may not understand when a person dies. And children become angry and afraid just like adults. But often children do not know how to deal with these emotions. Mister Rogers helped children deal with things like war, death, divorce, and being poor. And he was always honest when talking about these difficult issues - even if they were frightening or sad. The world is not always a kind and gentle place. But Mister Rogers showed children that they can still be good in a world that is not always gentle.

Voice 2 

Mister Rogers used television to improve the lives of children. He gave them a calm and gentle place to learn about wonderful and frightening things in the world. In Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood every child was special and important.

Voice 1 

There are many children’s television programs. Some are even very exciting. They may have fast action. Or they may have a lot of fighting. But “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was nothing like that. Mister Rogers won many awards for his television program. In 1999 he received a great television honor. During his speech at the event he described how television was a powerful tool. He challenged performers working in television. He said they could use the tool of television to make life mean less, or to make life better.

Voice 2 

Even though he worked in television, Mister Rogers tried to encourage children to turn off their television sets. He wanted them to use their imaginations. He wanted them to create their own stories.

Voice 1 

In February 2003, Mister Rogers died of stomach cancer. Many people mourned his loss. Mister Rogers set an example for children to follow. He treated other people with respect.

Voice 2 

In all, there are over 900 episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The last episode was made in 2001. However, some public television stations in the United States continue to broadcast “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.” It is not broadcast in other countries. But the message Mister Rogers shares is important for everyone to hear. That message is that every child is special. Each day Mister Rogers would close his television program with these important words:

“You help to make each day a special day by just your being yourself. There’s nobody else in the whole world who’s exactly like you! And people can like you exactly as you are! You are special!”

Voice 1 

The writer and producer of this program was Liz Waid. The voices you heard were from the United States. Some of the music in this program came from the television program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at http://www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.

Voice 2 

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Comments

vivianhuang

vivianhuang said on August 16, 2013

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”,I am trying to learn more about this program from internet.Thanks spotlights for expanding my view.

bow.q2l

bow.q2l said on August 18, 2013

I think this sentence ” And people can like you exactly as you are! You are special! ” is missing NOT ” And people canNOT like you exactly as you are! You are special!” . If somebody could like you, how can you are a special person ?!

Liz Waid

Liz Waid said on August 19, 2013

Hi bow.q2i! Thanks for your question!

We can say that people are like each other. For example, I am like you because I am a person. But that is a different meaning of the word “like”. You are right, if we are all alike then we are all the same! No one would be special.

But in this case, “like” means to think about something in a good way. So, Mister Rogers is saying that people can think about you in a good way just the way you are. You do not have to change anything about yourself for people to think good things about you!

 

Dela

Dela said on August 25, 2013

Mister Rogers was really a good, wise man and no one forget his excellent work for children.
Thanks for a story

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