In Maxwell King’s The Good Neighbor
In Maxwell King’s The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, he writes about the life and legacy of Fred Rogers. Rogers was an ordained minister who created and hosted the PBS show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. His intelligence in music composition contributed to the show. He wrote over two hundred songs, which includes the theme song “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”. He is honored with many awards and accolades for his dedication to children. Even after his untimely death, his legacy lives on for many adults and teenagers.
In March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Fred McFeely Rogers was born. At the age of eleven, they adopted her sister, Elaine Rogers. He graduated at Latrobe High School, then enrolled at Dartmouth College and stayed there for one year. He transferred to Rolling College in Florida. He studied music composition and graduated in 1951. After his graduation, he visited his parents and they bought a television set, which would make him start his television career. Rogers’ television career started in 1953 as a programmer for WQED, a local TV station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He then earned a divinity degree in 1962, and the Presbyterian Church asked him to serve children and families through television. Roger made his debut show as Mister Rogers in the show Misterogers, which was broadcasted and aired for CBC, a Canadian broadcasting channel. Rogers didn’t like how the show had to be broadcasted in Canada, so Rogers canceled the show and moved back to Pittsburgh. In 1966, Rogers launched Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which was originally aired in WQED. Two years later, the show aired throughout PBS stations nationwide. Not only did he focus on television, he served as chairman of a White House forum on child development and mass media, and he was considered an expert on the topic. For his excellence on the show, he won multiple awards. He won a 1997 Lifetime Achievement award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, in 2002, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1999, inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and four daytime Emmys. As the show came to its fourth decade, the show production began to slow down. In 2000, he recorded and broadcasted his final episode. In December 2002, he was diagnosed him with stomach cancer. They performed surgery on him, but it was not effective. On February 27, 2003, Rogers died at his home in Pittsburgh.
One of the main ideas of his biography that he was hard-working. “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood was bringing the importance of early childhood into the mainstream of popular culture.” (King 178) This showed how much work he did to impact his future generation. “Rogers took intense caring in shaping each episode of his program. Every word, whether spoken by a person or a puppet, had to be scrutinized closely, because he knew that children hear things literally.” (King 179) Every word had to be monitored by him, which means that he put a lot of work into one episode. Even David Newell, the delivery man in the show, said that, “Fred would constantly go back to review the lyrics of his songs to make sure nothing might not mislead children.” (King 182). This quote from Newell shows how much work he put into his influential songs. Overall his hours of hard work and dedication paid off in the show.
The author’s purpose of this novel was how Mr. Rogers impacted his future generation. Every day of his life, he would work hard on the show to make the children interpret he was saying. He taught children that it is healthy to speak about your feelings. He also teaches how no matter what happens in life, you are a very special person Rogers made each child feel as if he was talking to just them, a skill that is very rare. He was never negative, but he made it clear that certain things can be harmful. Overall, the author made it clear that he impacted society and his future generations.
As a childhood viewer of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, I found the book very interesting. Every morning when I was younger, I would always turn on the TV and watch him for hours. He taught me very valuable lessons and I still live through the lessons he has taught me. He treated everybody equally no matter how different they are. Reading the book, his life was filled with love and compassion towards children. Even though he has passed, he will always be my favorite neighbor.