It was on Feb. 19, 1968 that Mister Rogers went national. "Fifty years ago Monday, when Fred Rogers showed up on national public television as the host of what then was a brand new children's show called Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, TV was a lot different," says TV critic David Bianculli, who sits on the Fred Rogers Center's advisory board. "PBS wasn't even a network then — not by that name, anyway — and aside from CBS, NBC and ABC, there were only a few independent local channels to watch, if that. But 50 years ago, young kids were pretty much the same. I interviewed Fred Rogers a few times over the years, and one time I asked him about the secret of his success — why his slow, deliberate manner of relating to children, and why seeming to look at them and talk to them directly through the TV lens, connected so strongly with young viewers. This is what he told me: 'Every one of us longs to be in touch with honesty. ... I think we're really attracted to people who will share some of their real self with us.'" ALSO: Fred Rogers' widow, Joanne Rogers, says he would've approved of being honored with a U.S. Postage stamp.
TOPICS: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, PBS, Fred Rogers, Joanne Rogers, Kids TV