Does the name Fred McFeely Rogers ring any bells?
His name could sound slightly familiar, however if you drop the first name and add a title, suddenly its the one and only Mister Rogers!
Fred, or his more famous title, Mister Rogers, was the star of a popular children’s program called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The classic show ran for almost 40 years from 1963 to 2001 shaping our childhood memories for generations! During each episode, Mister Rogers would always remove his iconic rain coat, jacket and replace them with a knitted sweater and sneakers to match. This strategy was designed to create a comfortable atmosphere for the children watching at home making them more attentive and settled.
The Mister Rogers character was always enthusiastic about helping children learn about our world, how to interact with others, and face their biggest fears. Many would describe him as a genuinely gentle persona, who in turn made others equally comfortable.
This iconic figure essentially played a major role in teaching and raising several generations, filling the shoes of what many would describe as a father figure.
Fred sadly was diagnosed with stomach cancer, passing away in 2003. Although many remember his show and heroic persona with fondness, its surprising how much we don’t know about the man himself.
Below are 11 surprising uncommon facts on Mister Rogers and his beloved show.
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1. Mister Rogers Was In Fact A Minister
In addition to being a puppeteer, producer, and overall great guy, Mister Rogers was ordained in 1963 as a minister for the United Presbyterian Church.
However, Fred always knew he was made for a role in media. Thankfully his fulfilled dream to work on television resulted in touching the hearts of many, affecting each one in a positive way.
2. His Mother Actually Knitted His Iconic Sweaters
We all remember that Mister Rogers always slipped into a sweater during the start of each episode however little knew just how special they actually were. These iconic sweaters were actually hand made by Fred’s own mother, making that gesture seem so much more heartwarming.
3. The Puppet On The Show Was Actually Given The Name Of Fred’s Adopted Sister.
During Mister Roger’s own childhood, around the age of 11, Fred’s family adopted a six month old infant named Elaine. This name was later given to one of the main puppets in the show, adding so much more meaning behind the famous puppet Lady Elaine.
4. Not Many Knew Fred Was In Fact Color Blind.
Fred had the type of color blindness that restricted his perception of the colors red and green. Although many of us remember his gentle character in his vibrant red sweater, its strange to think he himself never perceived that image of himself. Although the saying goes, you can’t miss what you never had!
5. For All Those Vegetarian Fans, You Might Be Interested To Know That Mister Rogers Was Also A Vegetarian.
Mister Rogers is noted for his dietary restrictions, as he often explained he did not “want to eat anything that had a mother.”
6. Michael Keaton Was A Part Of The Crew
Before achieving his fame, Michael began his career taking odd jobs within the television industry. One of which included playing a character on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood as a member of his crew.
Keaton noted that Rogers was one of the kindest and loveliest personalities he had the pleasure to meet.
7. His Daily Morning Routine Included Swimming!
In order to stay in shape, Mister Rogers would routinely wake up early for his morning swim. This great work out kept Mister Rogers fresh, energized, and cheery as always.
He also refrained from smoking or drinking.
8. His Office Lacked A Desk.
Mister Rogers noted that a desk would create a separation between himself and those who visited his office, creating a barrier he was not pleased to have. As a replacement, Mister Rogers chose to have a couch put in instead, where he could invite people into a more comfortable and approachable atmosphere.
9. Rumors Were No Stranger To Mister Rogers.
There were numerous rumors regarding Mister Rogers alleged military service, his crime filled past, and that even his beloved sweaters were actually a way to disguise his numerous tattoos. To set the record straight, none of these rumors had any truth to them, not even in the slightest.
10. Mister Rogers Gave Up Dartmouth To Pursue His Passion In Music.
After only attending freshman year at Dartmouth, the well known Ivy League University, Mister Rogers took the path that led him to write songs instead, many of which were used for his PBS televised show. His goal was to reach out to future generations through the charm of his songs.
11. Mister Rogers Had A Very Unique Number One Fan.
Koko, the famous gorilla, known for her incredible capability to express herself and understand others using sign language was actually an avid viewer of the show. When the two finally met in person, Koko signed that she loved him and began to help him remove his sneakers in the same way that she watched him do so on his show.
This clearly shows that Mister Rogers love and care truly did transcend to the world with no boundaries.
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