The Greatest Neighbor Ever

Not long ago, CNN.com posted “15 Reasons Mr. Rogers was the Best Neighbor, ever.” I was especially struck by these:

Even Koko the Gorilla loved him. Most people have heard of Koko, the Stanford-educated gorilla who could speak about 1000 words in American Sign Language, and understand about 2000 in English.

What most people don’t know, however, is that Koko was an avid Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fan. As Esquire reported, when Fred Rogers took a trip out to meet Koko for his show, not only did she immediately wrap her arms around him and embrace him, she did what she’d always seen him do onscreen: she proceeded to take his shoes off!

He made thieves think twice. According to a TV Guide piece on him, Fred Rogers drove a plain old Impala for years. One day, however, the car was stolen from the street near the TV station. When Rogers filed a police report, the story was picked up by every newspaper, radio and media outlet around town.

Amazingly, within 48 hours the car was left in the exact spot where it was taken from, with an apology on the dashboard. It read, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”

You really need to go read the whole list.  He was an amazing person.

Fred Rogers was a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and an ordained Presbyterian minister.  In fact, his presbytery ordained him to work in children’s ministry, his daily television program being the bulk of that ministry.

Although Mr. Rogers died several years ago, his program has continued on PBS in reruns.

Until now.

In June 2008, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) announced that it intends to change the way Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the beloved children’s television program, is distributed to member stations.  PBS will cease transmitting the program as part of their daily syndicated lineup beginning in September. Instead, PBS will provide member stations with a single Neighborhood episode on weekends.

A group of parents has been organized to keep Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood on the air.  You can check it out here.

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About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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7 Responses to The Greatest Neighbor Ever

  1. cancerman says:

    I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked that a gorilla can get into Stanford. I wonder if Fred wrote him a good reference.

  2. Cap'n Whook says:

    I ran across this some time ago–just an amazing commencement address by Fred Rogers.

    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~news/releases/2002/june/060902c.html

    PBS goes bonkers again.

  3. Chef says:

    CancerMan gave me a great book of Fred Rogers’ quotes. It comes in handy while writing thank you notes and giving talks. He was really an amazing man and Presbyterian minister, to boot!

  4. Mo says:

    I always liked him because he liked me just the way I was … he told me so every time I saw him.

  5. cancerman says:

    Are you sure that wasn’t a Samford educated gorilla?

  6. Cap'n Whook says:

    Well, there might have been some sort of “extension division” at Samford involving the B’ham Zoo. The star at the zoo was named Babec when Fred was still around, however.

    Stanford/Samford, GROAN. Sometimes out-of-state friends and relatives would confuse the two. I would ignore their crestfallen reactions when they were corrected. Imagine, people not knowing that SAMFORD exists–just as good as that other place!

  7. Allison says:

    Well I have two comments:

    1. My brother always said, “Mr. Rogers wuvs me’ when someone would walk throught the room while he was watching…:)

    2. I always sing, “It’s You I Like” to my high school students every year. Sometimes it is greeted with tears…..even big kids are touched by things that are so simple. http://www.pbskids.org has a Mr. Rogers link (or at least it used to!!!) where you could hear and download the songs and lyrics of the songs he used to sing on his show. I hate to think that television has gotten so full of bells and whistles that the simple joy of a “conversation” like the Mr. Rogers show will go by the wayside…….sad.

    I also was a big fan of Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans…….

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