The New York Times asked readers and others to reflect on 50 years of PBS and came up with 50 reasons for tuning in. Number one? “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”
Empathy and honesty wrapped in a cardigan.
“Death, war, divorce: None of these seem like auspicious subjects for a children’s television program. But for more than 30 years, beginning in 1968 on National Educational Television (the precursor to PBS), Fred Rogers covered all of these topics and more, with empathy and honesty,” reports The New York Times.
“The soft-spoken, cardigan-wearing, former Presbyterian minister was concerned with not just the academic but the emotional education of children. As he told members of the Senate who were debating whether to defund public television in 1969, “I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service,” writes Jennifer Harlan in The New York Times.
With the help of Daniel Tiger, King Friday XIII, Officer Clemmons and the rest of the residents of his neighborhood, Mr. Rogers taught viewers of all ages to not be afraid of their feelings, to always look for the helpers and to like themselves just the way they are.
Other reasons include Monty Python, Ken Burns and Downton Abbey. Don’t miss Rachael Ray on Julia Child.