Thursday, March 13, 2008
Thursday Thirteen #83
March 20, 2008, which would have been Mr. Rogers' 80th birthday, is being promoted as "National Sweater Day" in his honor. As a tribute, everyone should wear their best sweater next Thursday. If you have a sweater or two that you don't want or need any more, be sure to donate it.
13 Beautiful Things about Fred McFeely Rogers:
1. Mr. Rogers studied music composition in college and wrote all the music on the show.
2. In 1963, Fred was ordained a Presbyterian minister.
3. In 1969, Mr. Rogers testified in front of the Senate to help save funding for Public Television. He said that shows like his are an alternative to less positive messages on network television and encourage children to be come happy and productive citizens. By 1971, PBS funding was increased from $9 million to $22 million.
4. Mr. Rogers also testified in front of Congress, defending the use of VCRs to videotape shows. He said that by by taping shows, working parents could watch the shows with their kids at a more convenient time.
5. Koko the Gorilla was a fan of Mr. Rogers. When she met him, she gave him a big hug, and helped him take off his shoes.
6. When his car was stolen, it made news all over town. Within two days, it was returned to the exact spot it was stolen with a note reading, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”
7. He was color blind--he couldn't see blue. So basically, he didn't know what he looked like with the blue sweater on.
8. All the sweaters on the show were hand-knit by his mother.
9. A red cardigan sweater belonging to Rogers hangs in the Smithsonian.
10. MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD is the longest- running program on public television. It started in 1967 and the last original episode aired in 2001.
11. In 1998, Mr. Rogers met the Dalai Lama. I can't think of two kinder men. Think of the karma in that room!
12. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, recognizing his "contribution to the well-being of children and a career in public television that demonstrates the importance of kindness, compassion and learning."
13. Mr. Rogers died in his Pittsburgh home on Thursday, February 27, 2003 after a brief battle with stomach cancer. He was 74.