Monday, January 29, 2018

Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers? Count Me In!

Obviously, the big news from today is the announcement that Tom Hanks will play the part of Fred Rogers in the long-time-coming biopic, You Are My Friend. For the life of me, I didn't see this writing on the wall, but as a longtime fan of Tom Hanks, this announcement was immediately intriguing.

Reading the fan response, however, this casting choice has been made to mixed reviews.

"What about Jim Parsons?" seems to be the most common argument of contention...but was that ever anything more than a rumor when talk of a biopic first hit the news a few years ago? Sure, from a visible perspective, Parsons could easily slip on the sneakers and portray a convincing Mister Rogers. I even chatted about this with a few pals on Episode 020 of the Neighborhood Archive podcast back in 2013.

But check out the fine print.

This movie doesn't seem to be a simple biographical account of Fred Rogers and his life. According to Tom Junod, the film is to be "loosely based on the article [he] wrote for Esquire 20 years ago."

His article was based on interactions with Fred at a time most would recognize as the Neighborhood's later years. With this in mind, a mid-40s Jim Parsons doesn't seem right to fill the role of a man in his late 60s; certainly not as well as a versatile actor like Tom Hanks -- a man currently close to Fred's age at that time.

Keep in mind, it doesn't seem that this film is intended to be a simple biography but rather the story of a relationship. While I'm guessing there will be plenty of flashbacks to Fred's younger years, the focal time period of this film appears to be the later years of Fred's life.

If that's the case, I'm 100% on board with the casting of Tom Hanks -- a man who has never done anything but fully immerse himself in every role he's been given.

Consider me intrigued.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

A PBS Special and a DVD Box Set

Another 50th anniversary special. Another preview clip!

This time is a sneak peak of the PBS special to be hosted by Michael Keaton -- Fred Rogers: It's You I Like.

In this clip we see several clips from the show but not much in the way of behind-the-scenes footage. Also, interviews with such celebrities as John Lithgow, Judd Apatow, Esperanza Spalding, Nicholas Ma, and Sarah Silverman.


. . .

Speaking of PBS, it looks like a new DVD box set is ready for pre-order! It's not a complete series release like I know many are hoping to see someday, but it's at least 30 classic episodes in one collection for a very reasonable price!

Get in your pre-order now for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: It's a Beautiful Day!

It's unclear, at this point, what episodes are included, but I'll certainly fill you all in as I find out more!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A PBS Retrospective & Some 1973 LP Negatives

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Rob Owen recently shared several exciting bits of Mister Rogers news in his latest "Tuned In" column.

First, be sure and mark your calendars, set your DVRs, buy yourself a fresh VHS tape and program your VCR ... PBS will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on March 6th with a special retrospective hosted by Michael Keaton -- "Mister Rogers: It's You I Like." Check your local listings for details.

Additionally, PBS will be pairing episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood with classic episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from February 26- March 2. Again, check your local listings.

And that biography that's we've been hearing about? It's coming early this fall as The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers is set for a September 11 publication.

I told you.

We're in for quite a Neighborhood resurgence this year!

. . .

Speaking of Michael Keaton, as most of you know, he began his career in entertainment as a member of the Neighborhood's studio crew in the 1970s. This week, the Flying Zookeeni Brothers have come up in conversation a few times and I've been happy to recall my favorite characters in all of the Neighborhood's 895 episodes!

If you can't tell, that's Michael Keaton third from the right...known then as Michael Douglas.


This week has brought several new items to the Archive collection. Sure, I already own several of these items in some form, but I'm a self-proclaimed completist!

The Songbook is a copy with the dust jacket, the bath book is in its original packaging, and the Monsters storybook is a variation offered through a drug store promotion.

You understand, right?

The most interesting item I picked up this week is one that's been listed on eBay for quite some time. After passing it by many times, I finally decided that I needed it in my collection.

What you see is the unfolded and unglued LP cover of the 1973 Jerry Whitman Sing Songs From The Misterogers TV Show LP. Even more interesting is the fact that this piece came complete with the original negatives used in the album's printing process!

(Pardon my reflection)

When I say "all things Mister Rogers," I mean ALL things Mister Rogers! :)

. . .

Lastly, thanks to those of you who have submitted your suggested updates to the site after proofreading various groups of episodes. If you signed up to proofread some episodes and haven't submitted your suggestions yet, please do so by the end of this month if possible. Your help is greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"Won't You Be My Neighbor" Documentary Update

Here we go, neighbors! When I decided to bring the blog back to the Neighborhood Archive, I had a feeling that there'd be plenty of opportunities for sharing news and announcements involving the 50th anniversary of the Neighborhood. Consider this to be the first of what's likely to be many to come...

A few days ago, a new Twitter account launched with its first two tweets of any significance coming today.

One of the two tweets today shared a sneak peek of the highly anticipated documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor which is set to premiere this week at Sundance. The other was a retweet sharing an Entertainment Weekly article about this clip.

If this clip is any indication, there should be plenty of excitement around the debut of this documentary! Check out some of that behind-the-scenes footage!


And did you notice the profile picture used by the Twitter account?

Yeah. That's one of the images unearthed when I met with David Smith (former Neighborhood Assistant Art Director) a few years ago. I can't say I'm completely responsible for "discovering" this image, but after years of digging through Mister Rogers material, I'd never seen it until then.

Either way, I was actually asked to share a different image with the folks who made this film and I'm quite curious to see if it made the final cut. We'll see soon enough!

Buckle up, neighbors! I think we're in for quite a year!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Photo Upgrades

Today I got my hands on a decent sized photo box -- an AmazonBasics Portable Photo Studio, to be precise. I've been wanting to update the site with some better quality images of various pieces of memorabilia and this portable photo studio is exactly what I needed.

Needless to say, I'm having way too much fun with this.


Look for lots of photographic improvements to the site over the coming weeks!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Nick Failla's Supercombs

As I've been working through the last dozen or so character pages yet to be completed, I was intrigued by the fact that Mister Rogers kept the same barber in the Neighborhood for multiple decades. I guess this should come as no surprise considering the longevity of most of the Neighborhood's regular characters, but still, take a look at Nick Failla giving a haircut to Mister Rogers in 1973 (Episode 1262) and then again almost twenty years later in 1991 (Episode 1634).


Always on the lookout for interesting background details in the Neighborhood, it was fun to discover the display in the back corner of Mr. Failla's 1973 barbershop -- a display for Ajax Unbreakable Pocket Combs.

But these aren't just combs. They're supercombs.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

50 Years Logo

I recently came across the new Potty Time Daniel Tiger toy and a logo in the bottom corner of the packaging immediately caught my eye.

I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot of this updated logo and others in the coming months as the Neighborhood celebrates 50 years!