How Mister Rogers’ Life of Quiet Grace Turned Him Into an Unlikely Pop Culture Hero 16 Years After His Death

'Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred RogersFred Rogers isn’t your typical pop culture icon.
As the host of the long-running PBS children’s program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he wasn’t slick or sarcastic, hip or…

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Watch Mister Rogers Defend Public Programming In This Vintage Video

Decades ago, Fred Rogers, host of the classic show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” gave a moving speech to the U.S. Senate defending public programming, and his words seem more important now than ever.  

After being elected in 1968, President Richard Nixon showed his support for cutting federal funding in half for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Rogers responded to the president’s proposal in 1969 with a passionate speech in front of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Communications.

Speaking to chairman John Pastore, Rogers explained how he and his team operated on a budget of $ 6,000 for his show. According to him, that amount would cover less than two minutes of cartoons, or what he called animated “bombardment.” 

Rogers explained how he was “constantly concerned” about what kids saw on television and told Pastore he finished his program with an uplifting message for the children watching. 

“I end the program by saying, ‘You made this day a special day by just you being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you and I like you just the way you are,’” he said.

The beloved host also made an important case for teaching children how to express feelings by sharing his song “What Do You Do With The Mad That You Feel?” with Pastore. 

“I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health,” he said.

February marks the anniversary of the first episode of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” The beloved host’s moving speech also seems timely after The Hill reported that President Donald Trump plans to make cuts to CPB funding and eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Back in 1969, Rogers convinced Pastore of the importance of public programming. 

“Well I’m supposed to be a pretty tough guy,” Pastore said. “And this is the first time I’ve had goose bumps in the last two days.”

Though the results weren’t instantaneous, Congress increased funds appropriated for the CPB to $ 23 million in 1971, compared to $ 5 million in 1969. 

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The Death of Sweet Mister By Daniel Woodrell (Paperback)

The Death of Sweet Mister By Daniel Woodrell (Paperback)


Overview Shug Akins is a lonely, overweight thirteen-year-old boy. His mother, Glenda, is the one person who loves him-she calls him Sweet Mister and attempts to boost his confidence and give him hope for his future. Shuggie’s purported father, Red, is a brutal man with a short fuse who mocks and despises the boy. Into this small-town Ozarks mix comes Jimmy Vin Pearce, with his shiny green T-bird and his smart city clothes. When he and Glenda begin a torrid affair, a series of violent events is inevitably set in motion. The outcome will break your heart. “This is Daniel Woodrell’s third book set in the Ozarks and, like the other two, Give Us a Kiss and Tomato Red, it peels back the layers from lives already made bare by poverty and petty crime.” -Otto Penzler, “Penzler Pick, 2001” Product details Isbn-13: 9780316206143, 978-0316206143 Author: Daniel Woodrell Publisher: Little, Brown & Company Publication date: 2012-04-24 About Wordery Wordery is one of the UK’s largest online booksellers. With millions of satisfied customers who enjoy low prices on a huge range of books, we offer a reliable and trusted service and consistently receive excellent feedback. We offer a huge range of over 8 million books; bestsellers, children’s books, cheap paperbacks, baby books, special edition hardbacks and textbooks. All our books are dispatched from the UK. Wordery offers Free Delivery on all UK orders, and competitively priced international delivery. #HappyReading

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