Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Pittsburgh Weekend, Neighborhood Models, News From the FRC

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Pittsburgh -- one to explore the city and another to meet with several staff members from the Fred Rogers Company. Here's a rundown of two incredible days in Mister Rogers' real neighborhood.

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On the first day, I met up with my friend Derek at 9:30 for a late breakfast. Those of you who know me personally know my love of The Homeless Gospel Choir.

That's Derek.

Check out his music sometime.

Derek and I scarfed down our food and coffee at Piper's Pub while we solved many of the world's problems. At Derek's recommendation, I went with the fried chicken and sausage on a waffle.

With gravy.

Although my 42-year-old arteries likely disagree, it was glorious.

From there, we were disappointed to find that the Fred Rogers statue down by the river was boxed and the site was closed for construction. Instead, we decided to spend much of the day hitting up record stores, coffee shops, and the famous Mineo's Pizza.


Near the end of the day, we found our way to the Heinz History Center to check out the Neighborhood exhibit -- a site worth seeing if you're ever in Pittsburgh. I won't pretend you're here to read about record stores and food, so here are several shots from the exhibit.


Once again, Derek...a huge thanks for taking time out of your day to hang out...

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The next day was spent meeting with the fine folks of the Fred Rogers Company. More on that after you spend the next hour gazing at photos of the Neighborhood model located under glass just inside the main door to the FRC offices.

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So let's get down to it. What kinds of things were discussed at the Fred Rogers Company that I can share here.

The upcoming PBS special?

It's terrific. I was able to see a portion of the special and I assure you that if your DVRs are not currently set to record on March 6th, you need to remedy this immediately! While the documentary that recently premiered at Sundance focused on the life and career of Fred Rogers, the PBS special is centered around the Neighborhood program itself. Very different and very well done!

Were there episodes of the Neighborhood -- besides the Conflict series -- that were banned from broadcast for potentially controversial reasons?

There were not. While it is widely believed that there are several chunks of episodes which were "banned" at some point over the years, I was assured that the only reason something like this may have happened would have been because there were simply more episodes than days to air them. No controversy.

Another Twitch marathon?

Hang in there.

Other methods of viewing Neighborhood episodes? Not just the ones on Amazon but all of them.

Not out of the question. Don't give up hope.

What about physical DVD copies of the episodes?

My recommendation to you would be that if you want DVDs of more than what is currently available, buy this box set of 30 episodes when it is released. If the demand for more is clear, we may see more. If not, we'll see the Neighborhood DVDs go the way of the Old School Sesame Street DVDs ... gone after just a few volumes.

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The biggest news of the day, from my side of things, comes in the form of an "official" endorsement of the Neighborhood Archive by the Fred Rogers Company. At this point, it's safe to share with you all that I have been working in partnership with the FRC for a few years now as the Archive site has continued to grow. As they shared some of their plans for the near future with me, it was suggested that this cooperative effort has certainly evolved to the point of an "official" partnership with some exciting opportunities for us to collaborate in documentation of "all things Mister Rogers."

What does this mean for you?

Here's one example of things you haven't seen here before that may start popping up more often ... the pre-68 footage ... MisteRogers' Neighborhood, The Children's Corner...

Beyond that, stay tuned. :)

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When I started this site just over nine years ago, I had no idea it would ever be at the point it is today. I'm continually humbled by the traffic it receives and dedicated readership that it's gained. I look forward to this official partnership with the Fred Rogers Company and eagerly anticipate sharing as much as possible with all of you!



Lorie ~ Luray Lane Vintage said...

Wonderful! Looking forward to everything! My 3 yr old daughter loves "Mr. Odgers" and we watch one episode each day at lunch. She loves him and I'm thrilled to know he is a part of her life, all these years later. When the Twitch marathon was on I had it playing 24/7, even if it was just background noise during something else. I was born in '72, so I really enjoyed the Pre '79 episodes.

Mel said...

Very cool developments. I grew up near Latrobe and I live in Pittsburgh now. My daughter's middle name is Aberlin.

Jen said...

Yay, Tim! As a follower for many years, I'm so happy for these recent developments! Good work you're doing here.

Paul said...

Love it! Awesome news Tim! :)

Paul said...

So if I'm seeing correctly, the NofB sets are now housed there? Rather than just sitting around at the studio. That's great news - I've been hoping they would get taken care of in a museum somewhere and preserved, as fun as it was to just be able to go see them at WQED. Good news indeed!