Series / Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mister_rogers_in_color.png

"It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine? Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?"

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was a syndicated children's program that ran for over thirty years, making it one of the longest-running programs on PBS. In the show, Fred Rogers took his viewers on virtual tours with him to demonstrate experiments and music, interacting with his friends on the show along the way. Each half-hour segment also included a puppet show called the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe."

Rogers' show had its earliest incarnation in 1954 as The Children's Corner, a local program airing on station WQED in his native Pittsburgh. Rogers then took his talents to Canada in 1963 with a CBC TV program called Misterogers, with Ernie Coombs as Rogers' understudy. After three years, Rogers decided to return to the U.S. while Coombs stayed to eventually became his boss' Canadian TV icon counterpart, Mr. Dressup. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood debuted on National Educational Television (NET) in 1968; two years later, NET became PBS and Rogers' show continued through 2001.

The show would inspire an entire generation of children, and, alongside Sesame Street and Reading Rainbow, anchored PBS' children's programming throughout the '80s and '90s. Reruns of the show are still broadcast occasionally, even after Rogers' death in 2003.

An animated spin-off called Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood began airing as part of PBS Kids on September 3, 2012, based on the son of the character Daniel Tiger.

The company that produced the show, Family Communications Inc., was renamed The Fred Rogers Company after Rogers's 2003 death. The company went on to produce shows in the 2010s such as the previously-mentioned Daniel, Peg + Cat, and most recently, Odd Squad.

In 2013, a Hollywood biopic was announced as being in development at Treehouse Pictures, though no news about the film (tentatively titled A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) has developed since.

In 2017, Twitch was given the rights to do a marathon stream of the show. From May 15 to June 3, the stream showed every NET/PBS episode except the "Conflict" week arc (although certain early episodes were also skipped over). This was also the first time the show was legally available to those outside the US, as the stream is not region-locked.


Mister Rogers' Neighborhood provides examples of:

  • Acceptable Break from Reality: The Neighborhood of Make-Believe segments. Rogers would give a very clear distinction by saying the show was moving to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe by traveling there with the Trolley. He also mentions frequently that certain things can only happen there.
  • Aerith and Bob: King Friday and Queen Sarah. Averted in that Queen Sarah's last name was Saturday.
  • A Lizard Named "Liz": Ana Platypus's full name, Ornithorhynchus anatinus, is the scientific name for a duck-billed platypus. Dr. Bill refers to it as an old family name.
  • All-Loving Hero:
    • Mr. Rogers. Pretty much this in real life, too. He was an ordained Presbyterian minister, but he never once mentioned it on his show. He never wore it as a hat or on his sleeve; he just continued to practice his life in that quiet little way he always had. Certain fundamentalist preachers hated him because, apparently not getting the "kindest man who ever lived" memo, they would ask him to denounce homosexuals. Mr. Rogers's response? He'd pat the target on the shoulder and say, "God loves you just as you are." Rogers even belonged to a "More Light" congregation in Pittsburgh, a part of the Presbyterian Church dedicated to welcoming LGBT persons to full participation in the church. He was also a vegetarian, saying "I don't want to eat anything that has a mother."
    • To quote (of all things) Cracked: "A lot of people of a lot of faiths are waiting for the Messiah, but even if one arrives, how are you going to tell the difference between him and Fred Rogers?"
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: A 1987 show about making mistakes has Mister Rogers realize he needs to be at a meeting and briefly hands off hosting duties to Mister Aber.
  • The Artifact: The red model building once used to show the NET logo; see Vanity Plate.
  • As Himself: Many of the human cast or guest stars, notably Betty Aberlin, François Clemmons, John Reardon, Charles R. Aber, and of course Mr. Rogers himself.
  • Audience Surrogate: Mr. Rogers becomes this any time he goes on one of his field trips.
  • Auteur License: Fred Rogers was basically granted this by PBS because of his pioneering status in children's programming. On the Neighborhood he starred not only as the on-screen host but as scriptwriter, director, producer, composer, and puppeteer.
  • Author Appeal: The week of episodes about Josephine the Short-Necked Giraffe had Mr. Rogers taking pictures at a wildlife park and taking them to be developed. In real life Fred Rogers was himself an avid photographer and often carried a camera with him so he could take pictures of people he met.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Sarah Saturday's coronation as Queen of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe takes place immediately before the royal wedding in episode 1015.
  • Be Yourself: Mr. Rogers delivered this Aesop very effectively.
  • Big, Friendly Dog: Bob Dog, who being a human in a suit is literally this trope in Make-Believe.
  • Brand X: Since the show aired on non-commercial PBS, and Rogers himself was strongly against consumerism on children's TV, any grocery products featured on the show were of the made-up "Neighborhood" brand (for example, Neighborhood Cat Food).
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Almost on an inception level; obviously, the show runs on No Fourth Wall, but there were occasions where Mr. Rogers would break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief and show that his "home" was actually just a studio and go behind the scenes. For instance, in one of the "Music" episodes, he walks off-stage to show Johnny Costa and the rest of his band who performs during the show. In another case, he also shows his studio in the fifth "Work" episode to explain that it's his own as well as his crew's work place.
    • In episode 1129 (Cousin Mary Owl's debut in the Neighborhood of Make Believe), Lady Aberlin explains that Mary is much bigger than X because she's a person in an owl costume, while he's a puppet owl.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Prince Tuesday does this occasionally, when his father's decisions don't make sense.
  • Catch-Phrase: Robert Troll greets everyone by holding out his index finger and shouting "DOOT!"
    • Lady Aberlin and Daniel Tiger share the phrase "ugga mugga!" with other as their special greeting and goodbye. This falls off later in the series as the cast grows, but it never vanishes entirely.
    • Lady Elaine frequently says "Toot toot!" as her goodbye.
    • King Friday's "[Character], I presume?" and the subsequent response of "Correct as usual, King/Uncle Friday."
  • Christmas Special: Christmastime with Mister Rogers (1977), produced during the series hiatus.
  • Clip Show: A week of 1976 episodes had Mr. Rogers taking viewers through old props and video tapes from the show.
  • Continuity Nod: One episode features a "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" segment in which the characters discuss the area's history by looking at a film of the structures appearing one by one on the set. The order in which they appear, starting with Daniel's clock, reflects the order in which Rogers debuted the characters who live in each structure (Daniel and King Friday first appeared in The Children's Corner in the 1950s, followed by X the Owl, Henrietta Pussycat, Lady Elaine Fairchilde, and Grandpere; the other characters were introduced on MisteRogers in the 1960s).
  • Cool Old Guy: Towards the end of the show's run, Rogers himself.
  • Correspondence Course: X the Owl took one from Owl Correspondence School.
  • Crossover:
  • Day of the Week Name: King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday, and Prince Tuesday. King Friday's father was named King Thursday and he had another relative named King Monday IX.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Lady Elaine Fairchilde is not afraid to speak her mind to anyone, especially King Friday.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": King Friday has two pet birds named Mimus polyglottos and Troglodytes aedon (Mimus and Trog, for short). Those are the actual scientific names of species of birds, namely the mockingbird and the house wren.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Mr. Rogers composed all music for the series, as he held a degree in music composition and began his TV career as a composer.
  • Drop-In Character: Mr. McFeely, the delivery man, comes by (more or less Once an Episode) with a package for Mr. Rogers.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: While the basic premise of the show was static for the entire run of the series, the sheer length of the show's run meant that some of the details changed over time.
    • In the first episode, Mister Rogers' house is completely different (with a different non-blinking traffic light), and Rogers himself changes into a button-up sweater as opposed to a zip-up cardigan sweater.
    • The first three seasons have the title displayed as "MisteRogers' Neighborhood" (the name "Misterogers" (as seen on Picture Picture) was used during those seasons as well).
    • Early color episodes have the house with yellow interiors as opposed to the more familiar blue (up through 1326, where painting the house is actually part of the episode's premise). The model neighborhood also got a redesign at the same time, with more intricate buildings and a slight change in layout.
    • Picture Picture was more of a sentient being in its early years, playing films (or even slides) at Mister Rogers' command rather than inserting them in and hitting play. Mister Rogers would even thank it after showing the material, which it would then respond with "You're Welcome" on its screen. In the show's earliest years, it would also show the word "Hello" or "Hi" when not in use, as opposed to a painting, though this stuck around until the '80s at the least.
    • Up until Season 3, the Land of Make-Believe was always treated as if it was real and the human characters traveled between it (though Mr. Rogers himself never enters). Lady Aberlin appears in Mr. Rogers house on several occasions. Starting with the third season, trips to the Land of Make-Believe were explicitly prefaced with "Let's pretend..." and this was reinforced after the return. This lead to the introduction of many more humans in the Neighborhood that had previously only been depicted as characters in Make-Believe. For example, Betty Aberlin and Lady Aberlin became two different characters and Bob Trow was introduced as a neighborhood artist even though his character Robert Troll appeared in Make-Believe near the end of the first season. However, none of the previous continuity of the storylines in Make-Believe were discarded. In the last week of the 1976 broadcast, the episodes attempt to retcon this as the neighbors playing make-believe along with Mr. Rogers.
      • Speaking of which, in the first few black and white episodes, Mister Rogers would pull out the sofa bed to go to Make-Believe. Likely because it was such a hassle to set it up and put it away every time, this was thrown away fairly quickly. He would also occasionally pull out a telescope to get a "view" into there, which admittedly lasted longer than the sofa gimmick (a few seasons), but was still tossed away after a while. On one of his final uses of the telescope, he hangs a lampshade on it by pointing out how long it had been since he'd used the telescope.
    • Earlier in the show, Robert Troll spoke mostly gibberish with English mixed in and was considered so hard to understand that characters had to work through his feelings to understand what he was saying. Eventually the gibberish in his speech disappeared after the first few seasons, presumably as he became more fluent in English, and he spoke with only English (but still in his own Troll accent). Later in the '90s during his final appearances, the gibberish returned but he was much easier to understand as it was more of a Verbal Tic and he spoke clear sentences in the middle.
    • Bob Dog's earliest appearances show him as being so prone to bad behavior that he carries a cage around to put on his head when he's thinking of doing something he knows is wrong.
    • Until some point in 1972, the show had a different closing song, "Tomorrow" (no, not the song from Annie).
      • Friday episodes from 1971-72 also had a special closing song called "The Weekend Song"; a slight modification of its first verse would then become the coda of the familiar closing version of "It's Such A Good Feeling".
      • "Good Feeling", in turn, was originally sung at other points in the show, without the "Weekend Song" verse ("I'll be back..."), and with slightly different lyrics ("I think I'll grow 12 inches today!"). Even when it was originally replaced, it was still a bit different from later years; he would sing he'd be back when "tomorrow" is new rather than "the day", he would snap to the rhythm of "a snappy new day" rather than doing two snaps between verses, and would do a small reprise before officially leaving ("It's such a good feeling, a very good felling, to know you're alive/we're friends!").
    • Originally, when Mister Rogers had visitors at his home, he would ask the viewer to look out the window and see who it was. In the second-run episodes, he himself would simply look out the window instead.
  • Edutainment Show: Probably the Trope Maker for the genre.
  • Episode Code Number:
    • The first season had its episodes numbered 1 to 130. When the show started broadcasting in color the next season, the numbering jumped ahead to 1001, and stayed on this track for the rest of the run.
    • When the show went on hiatus in 1976, the numbers were added at the end of older episodes.
    • On later episodes, they were included in the Title Sequence.
  • Ending Theme: "Tomorrow" from the show's start until the early 70s, and then "It's Such a Good Feeling" from there on out.
  • Every Episode Ending: Mister Rogers sang "It's Such A Good Feeling" at the end of every episode (except for some of the operas) from 1972-2001. On earlier episodes, he closed the show with the "Tomorrow" song.
  • Everything's Better with Platypi: The Platypus Family that arrives in the second season and promptly has a baby.
  • Fake Interactivity: A little lighter than usual. He never really required the audience to play along, but he did treat the camera as the viewer and invite them to join him in activities.
  • Fictional Currency: Subverted with the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, in that it has a completely nameless unlabeled currency. The inhabitants will often say things like "I will pay a thousand for that", but never be specific on what they're paying a thousand of.
  • Friend to All Children: Fred Rogers, famously so. His entire show, his career, and even his life embodies this trope in its best and purest form.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One episode showed a montage of baby animals drinking milk from their mothers, such as kittens, piglets, goats, etc. This is fine and all, but then it switches to footage of mothers breastfeeding their babies, and we get to see a lovely closeup of a bare nipple dripping milk as the baby stops suckling for a moment. Keep in mind that this is rated TV-Y. Also, after the montage, Mr. Rogers says that women get a lot of "pleasure" out of breastfeeding, which sounds dirty when taken out of context.
  • House Fire: Episodes 0063-0066 deal with a fire breaking out in Corney's factory, the aftermath of him losing the entire factory, and the neighborhood rallying together to help him rebuild his business.
    • Episodes 1353 and 1354 cover this topic again, with a fire breaking out inside Henrietta's house.
  • Iconic Outfit:
    • The cardigans. His mother made them all. One of them is now on display in the Smithsonian. Rogers chose that one because the color looked bad on camera.
    • His constant changing of shoes. That would become iconic in its own right, with Rogers tossing a shoe from one hand to the other, always in time with the music, and always with a grin.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In the second run of the show, the episodes that made up a week were referred to as "Mister Rogers Talks About [topic]".
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: He can even flip the bird with both hands with no malicious intent.
  • Internal Homage: Francois Clemmons final appearance in the series opens by recreating a scene from season 3 where Mr. Rogers and then-Officer Clemmons soaked their feet in a swimming pool on a hot day.
    • Particularly tearful given that the original episode was a moment of incredible personal importance to Clemmons in real life due to the unspoken but overt anti-racism message.
  • Iris Out: Used when they go to Neighborhood of Make Believe (via the Neighborhood Trolley).
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Due to the Series Hiatus from 1976 to 1979, the show's filming schedule changed and that caused some subtle changes to the show as a whole.
    • While the first run would normally film 65 episodes a year, the second run tended to only shoot about 10-15. Thus, each week from the 1979 on would have a theme for the week declared at the start of each episode and the shows would all revolve around it. This had little impact on the Neighborhood sequences, but the Make-Believe sequences shifted from having one long continuous story line that could potentially bleed into multiple weeks to having week-long stories based on the theme that started on Monday and ended on Friday.
    • Starting in the second run, the "how people make..." films/videotapes became much more prevalent, to the point that almost every time Mr. McFeely showed up, he had another videotape of such a thing. The general tone of the show also became quite a bit more tranquil and calm due to Mr. Rogers' aging nature.
    • It became more apparent as Mr. Rogers was aging that some of the puppet voices were harder to pull off. Lady Elaine in particular sounds rather ragged as the 90s and 2000s episodes wear on.
    • Mr. Rogers travels a lot more in the second run, visiting many locations in the Pittsburgh area and even flying out to Moscow. This led to the phasing out of many of the common locations in the Neighborhood such as Betty's Little Theater. Even before Bob Trow and Don Brockett passed away, we stopped seeing the actual sets for their businesses sometime in the 90s - Chef Brockett's final appearance is in his own home.
    • Starting in episode 1631, Mr. McFeely always sings the "Speedy Delivery Song" during his appearances.
    • After Johnny Costa passed away in October of 1996, Michael Moricz took over the sound duties and the soundtrack is noticeably different in style from then on out. The trolley chimes also changed as Costa even performed those live.
  • Leitmotif: The neighborhood trolley has a pretty distinct and recognizable piano riff that always accompanies it whenever it is onscreen.
  • List Song: "Everything Grows Together" is a cumulative form of this (where one verse starts off with one thing, then the next verse adds another thing on top of it).
  • Long-Runners: Ran from 1968 to 2001.
  • Machine Monotone: The residents of the Planet Purple, including Purple Panda, speaks like this.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: The plots of the operas tend to border on the surreal. Of course, that's all part of the fun as they're designed to include elements that will be appealing to a child's imagination.
    "Spoon Mountain Opera, a story told in song, weaves together seat belts, a kitten, spoons and popcorn. Prince Extraordinary and a Park Ranger help Wicked Knife and Fork change his behavior..."
    IMDB episode summary
  • Meaningful Name: Prince Tuesday was named for the day of the week upon which he was born.
  • Medium Awareness: Since he believed that children should know the difference between real and pretend, Mr. Rogers was up front about the fact that his "house" was a TV studio, showing how the puppets worked, and occasionally even letting viewers see behind the scenes.
  • Mickey Mousing: Tiny little piano bits orchestrate Rogers' movements often, especially when he's talking directly to the audience. These were mostly improvised live during taping by pianist/music director Johnny Costa.
    • He even did Mickey Moused the factory footage, providing "sound effects" when appropriate.
  • Morality Chain: If Queen Sarah is around, she'll minimize and help to reverse her husband's periodic lapses in rationality.
  • Musical Episode: The series included thirteen original episode-length operas composed by Mr. Rogers, usually featuring professional opera singers John Reardon and François Clemmons. While of course they're all completely accessible to young viewers, Mr. Rogers clearly didn't believe in underestimating his audience.
  • Never Say "Die":
  • Nice Guy: Try to find a better example of this than Mr. Rogers. Just try.
  • No Fourth Wall: Besides the constant interaction with the viewer, the fact that Fred's "TV house" was a mere set in a studio was made obvious. For example, one episode had Fred walk out of the living room and into the bare studio to introduce viewers to the live band accompanying the show: music director and pianist Johnny Costa, bassist Carl McVicker, Jr., and drummer-percussionist Bobby Rawsthorne. He even revealed the normally hidden controls for Trolley very early on in the series' run, and later even showing Picture Picture's wired remote control on the show.
  • Numerological Motif: There are subtle references to the number 143, a number Fred Rogers believed was specially significant because 1, 4, and 3 are the numbers of letters in the words "I love you."
  • Opening Theme: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"
  • Our Trolls Are Different: In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, they're named Robert and speak a playful gibberish "troll-talk."
  • Picked Last: Both Mr. Rogers and King Friday both went through this.
  • The Piano Player: Music director Johnny Costa showed up on camera from time to time to play some of Fred's tunes. Offscreen, he provided the show's underscore, playing sophisticated jazz improvisations live during taping.
  • Playing Gertrude: Betsy Nadas Seamans (Mrs. McFeely) was only 24 years old when she began working on the show. Slightly justified, since David Newell (aka Mr. McFeely) was only 28 or 29 when he debuted.
  • Punny Name:
    • Donkey Hodie. Get it?
    • Also, King Friday XIII. (Think about it.) This doubles as a Meaningful Name, since the character was originally created to amuse a child who had been disturbed by superstitions about a certain calendar date.
    • Cornflake S. Pecially?! (corny especially)
    • Dr. Bill Platypus, playing on both "doctor bill" and "platypus bill".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • According to Dear Mister Rogers (a book that features a collection of letters and responses written to and from the man himself), Mister Rogers would often write scenarios in Make-Believe based on what was happening in his real life. The example he gave was that the "No and Yes" week was written as one of his sons was getting married; as it just so happens, the episode series features a wedding between Betty Okonak Templeton and James Michael Jones in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
    • Francois Clemmons' real-life acceptance into the Metropolitan Opera was written into the show and he occasionally returned to make appearances with references to his actual career.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: Well, not the opening theme, but the closing song was changed from "Tomorrow" to "It's Such a Good Feeling" in the early 70s due to copyright issues (see Suspiciously Similar Song on the YMMV tab).
  • Retool: The show's second run (which started in 1979) made a few changes to the way the show was filmed. Every week now had a specific theme to it, the model neighborhood was overhauled, the pace of the show slowed somewhat, there were much fewer episodes per season (anywhere from 5 to 15, where the early seasons were consistently 65 per season or a multiple of that), and a few other changes were made that made the second run feel quite distinct from the first.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • Daniel Tiger! D'aaaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwww!
    • And Henrietta Pussycat.
    • And now their super-cute little kids! AWWWWWW!!!
  • Rousseau Was Right: The Neighborhood clearly showcased Fred Rogers' deeply positive view of human nature, seen in his constant heartwarming reminders that people can like you exactly the way you are.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: King Friday may have a small kingdom but he rules with an iron hand. Fortunately, he's usually easily pleased and his subjects seem to know how to get around him pretty easily.
  • Safety Worst: One 1981 story arc has King Friday ban all play as a safety measure.
  • Scenery Porn: The amazingly detailed model town shown at the beginning and the end of every episode.
  • Sentient Vehicle: The trolley seemed able to converse to some extent with Mr. Rogers and the inhabitants of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, though it only communicated with dings and whistles.
  • Series Fauxnale: Episode 1455, the final show of the 1975 production run, doesn't explicitly state the show is ending production, but the ending of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe segment has the characters mention they will be remembering "all of the things we've done", making general reference to some of the past episodes. The one week produced for 1976 mainly serves as a transition from the later shows to the earlier ones, including several pieces of Lampshade Hanging of Early Installment Weirdness.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness:
    • King Friday again. His revised version of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is particularly impressive:
      "Propel, propel, propel your craft
      Gently down liquid solution,
      Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically,
      Existence is but an illusion."
    • Though that's nothing compared to his other favorite song:
      "Scintillate, scintillate diminutive stellar orb. How inexplicable to me seems this stupendous problem of your existence. Elevated at such at an immeasurable distance, in an apparently perpendicular direction from this terrestrial planet which we occupy. Resembling in thy dazzling and unapproachable effulgence, a gem of purest carbon, set solitaire in a university of space."
  • Shout-Out:
    • X and Henrietta, to Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat."
    • And, mentioned above, Donkey Hodie to another literary figure. For additional Parental Bonus points, the donkey lives in a windmill.
    • An outer-space visitor to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe was given the name Yo-Yo LaBelle, after two famous musicians.
    • The town seen at the beginning of every episode is modeled after Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where Rogers was born and raised.
    • And this exchange:
      Queen Sara: Robert Troll, where have you been keeping yourself?
      Robert Troll: Under the bridge over troubled waters.
  • Signing-Off Catch-Phrase: Mr. Rogers closed each show with these heartwarming words: "You make each day a special day. You know how; by just your being you. There's only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are."
  • Silent Snarker: If you pay attention to other characters' reactions to Trolley's dings and whistles at the beginning and/or end of Neighborhood of Make-Believe segments, it becomes apparent that Trolley has quite a sharp wit.
  • Significant Monogram: The antagonist in the opera "Windstorm in Bubbleland" is named W. I. Norton Donovan.
  • So Proud of You: Mr. Rogers would regularly tell his viewers "I'm proud of you, just the way you are," cited by many as one of the show's Heartwarming Moments. This was even set to music in the song, "I'm Proud of You."
  • Special Guest:
    • Several rather big names from the world of art and music made appearances over the show's run. Wynton Marsalis, Yo Yo Ma, Van Cliburn, Ella Jenkins, Ezra Jack Keats, Eric Carle, Andrew Wyeth, Margaret Hamilton, Michael Keaton, Lou Ferrigno, Big Bird...
    • Yo Yo Ma in particular appeared so frequently he could almost be called a recurrer. Ma and Rogers were actually close friends, with Rogers even citing the former as one of his heroes.
    • Notably, the Neighborhood's Special Guests were just as likely to be ordinary people as well-known celebrities.
  • Species Surname: Most of the puppets— Henrietta Pussycat, Daniel Tiger, X the Owl, Dr. Bill Platypus, Harriet Elizabeth Cow, Audrey Duck, and others.
  • Spinoff Babies: In 2012, PBS Kids began airing Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, a series focusing on the pre-school aged offspring of characters from the original series, with the adorable son of Daniel Striped-Tiger as the lead.
  • Spoonerism: Occasionally showed up in the title theme: "It's a neighbourly day in this beautywood..."
  • Story Arc: Every episode is actually part of a five-episode long series (sometimes as many as seven), with the idea being one episode would play for each day of the week (since PBS showed their kid shows on weekdays). Each series was structured around one specific topic (sharing, kindness, play, dance, music, etc.), and there was always a story arc in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe that lasted the whole week.
  • Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom: From a Neighborhood of Make-Believe segment with an anti-war aesop:
    X the Owl: [has been asked to help assemble a bomb] I don't think we should call them "bombs", though. We should call them "surprise treats" or something like that. Bombs are scary things and hurting things.
  • Syndication Title: Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as Mister Rogers.
  • Teleportation: Called "The Purple Way" in the show. Using it lets one quickly teleport around the Land of Make-Believe
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Invoked a lot. Justified, as Mr. Rogers was intentionally teaching his viewers that it was OK to deal with their emotions. The concept was even addressed in song, one example being "What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?"
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: For all his warmth and friendliness, Mr. Rogers was still Mister Rogers to his young viewers. His grown-up neighbors freely called him "Fred," however.
  • Throw It In: Occasionally the mistakes Fred Rogers found interesting would stay in the final episode. Examples of this are him once messing up at zipping his cardigan (which causes him to mess up the opening song due to his laughter), and another incident where he accidentally got the zipper stuck to his sleeve while throwing the shoes at the start of the show.
  • Time Skip:
    • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood qualifies as this, since it will feature the original Neighborhood of Make Believe characters as the new main characters' parents.
    • There also seems to have been a Time Skip between the 1968-76 and 1979-2001 runs, because Prince Tuesday and Ana Platypus were aged up from toddlers to preschool level. However, Daniel Striped Tiger was also featured as their classmate in spite of not having apparently aged, so it could also be seen as a soft Continuity Reboot.
  • Tin-Can Telephone: Used for many years as the sole method of telephone communication in Make-Believe.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Mr. Dressup from up north in Canada, although the show was somewhat both broader and more down to earth with the clownish costumes he used and it didn't have the equivalent of the Land of Make-Believe, the puppet characters largely came to him.
  • The Trouble with Tickets: Episode 1210 features Mr. Rogers having received a parking ticket before the episode opens and deciding to go to traffic court to try and get it waived. After several people go through the process, Mr. Rogers gets his turn to explain the circumstances and the judge lets him off with a warning.
  • Tuckerization:
    • Queen Sara Saturday was named after Rogers' wife, Sara Joanne Rogers, nee Byrd.
    • Miss Paulifficate was named for one of his friends' children, Paul, Elizabeth ("Iffy"), and Kate.
    • Mr. McFeely was Fred Rogers' own middle name and his mother's maiden name. In a Shout-Out of Crowning Moment of Heartwarming proportions, Rogers' grandfather McFeely was the first person to ever tell him that he could make life special just by being himself, and Rogers paid homage to that idea in the name and in his own Catch-Phrase. (Ironically, however, the character was actually supposed to be named Mr. McCurdy, after the show's benefactor. But the Sears-Roebuck Foundation, one of the show's funders, called the producers and told them that they objected to the idea.)
  • Undercrank: "Funny Fast Film", sped-up videos of people doing mundane things.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Henrietta Pussycat had more costumes than some of the human characters.
  • Ursine Aliens: The Purple Panda comes from Planet Purple.
  • Vanity Plate: From 1968 to 1969, When PBS was still called NET, a house featuring its logo was used in the model city in the opening and end credits. It was remodeled twice after that, which explains why the roof has an odd slant to it.
  • Verbal Tic:
    • Meow meow Henrietta Pussycat again meow meow meow.
    • Also, Dr. Bill Platypus' usage of the word "bill" in place of "very". For example, "That's bill, bill, bill good".
    • Bob Dog, and how.. hooowww... HOOOWWWWWLLLLL!!!
    • Donkey Hodie had a habit of punctuating everything he said with "hee-haw" or "haw-hee".
    • Sammsummaninasummsummm Robert Troll! DOOT!
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: Mister Rogers never underestimated the intellect of his audience, speaking very plain and straightforwardly and even featured full episode-length operas featuring professional opera singers.
  • Viewers Like You: Subverted; rather than using the stock "Viewers Like You" line, the viewer would be indirectly credited as "the people who contribute to this and other Public Television Stations" ("this" referring to whichever station you were watching the show on). Due to the mandate issued in late 1999, Thanking the Viewer came around in 2000 with the addition of the line "We thank you" in the funding credits. May also count as the Ur-Example of standalone funding credits for a PBS show (as early as 1979); although the funders were always credited, they were simply stuck in the opening and closing credits prior to the show's second run, rather than having their own dedicated bumper.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In the "Spoon Mountain" opera, when the villain Wicked Knife And Fork is thwarted, he begins to cry and explains that all he ever wanted was for someone to give him a spoon, but they only ever gave him a knife and fork because they considered him evil. This gives the heroes sympathy for him and they arrange to get him a spoon of his own. note 
  • Who's on First?: There is an area in Make Believe that is named Someplace Else.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: "Are you brave and donít know it? / Are you brave and canít tell? / Are you brave and just donít show it / While others know it very well?"


Didn't contain, but was still related to examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Several instances:
    • First, on an episode of Muppet Babies; in one daydream, Fozzie walked into a not-quite replica of Mr. Rogers' house, whilst singing "It's a beautiful day in my neighborhood!" in a way that didn't bear any resemblance to the actual theme song (probably to avoid a lawsuit).
    • In the second season of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures, those two righteous dudes were shocked and totally bummed out to learn that their favourite childhood show, Mr Radish's Condo, is about to be cancelled because kids today don't want his brand of sweetness. Cue Wyld Stallyns trying to make him stay... and making things a lot worse for him. Eventually, Mr Radish decides to change his image completely, ending up as a Totally Radical rocker, which Bill and Ted initially consider to be most excellent... until they realise that maybe this was perhaps a most egregious error in judgement. Thankfully, Rufus shows up with Ted's bratty brother, who points out to Mr. Radish that you should Be Yourself, for your own sake if nothing else. Mr Radish agrees, and changes back into his red sweater.
    • A Lawyer-Friendly Cameo in an episode of The Fairly OddParents!...about about three months before Rogers died. Whoops!
    • Eddie Murphy was featured in a series of Saturday Night Live skits, "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood," in which he copied Mr. Rogers' speaking style but discussed antisocial behavior in a gritty urban setting. ("You know any other words that start with X, boys and girls? How about... Ex-con?") Fortunately, Mr. Rogers recognized Murphy's affection and took them in good fun.
    • Family Guy: At least two examples:
      • In the episode "No Chris Left Behind," Stewie pretends that he is King Friday XIII, complaining about the castle's too-close proximity to the Trolley tracks.
      • "Brian in Love" features a blackout gag with a frame-for-frame re-creation of the show's opening segment, and Rogers bantering with the audience before attempting to transition into the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" segment; Stewie rides out on the Trolley, announcing that he had used his gun to destroy the neighborhood. Rogers investigates and finds the entire neighborhood in flames and its inabitants either dead, or fleeing in horror and screaming over their injuries (Henrietta Pussycat: "Meow, meow, skin graft!"). Rogers begs for his life but Stewie shows no mercy, shooting him with a laser gun. Stewie awakens at this point and his mother, Lois, comforting him ... until "Lois" pulls off a mask to reveal himself as Mr. Rogers. Rogers is about to shoot Stewie, until Stewie wakes up for real. Apparently, even Seth McFarlane regrets this segment ever airing.
    • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer responds to a PBS pledge drive only to get the free goodies. When he attempts to get out of paying up his promised donation, several PBS characters are sent to 'persuade' him.
      • "It's a beautiful day to kick your ass!"
      • In another, Bart and Milhouse find a collection of tapes in Comic Book Guy's Basement. Among them was a tape labled "Mister Rogers Drunk"
      • "What do you mean I can't take off my sweater!? I'm hot!"
    • Pearls Before Swine had a series of strips in which Rat substituted as host for Mr. Rogers (PBS gave him that job to stop his "Occupy Sesame Street" protests). Things quickly became hilariously Darker and Edgier, culminating in an an Arab Spring uprising against King Friday's monarchy which led to a Jihadi takeover of the neighborhood. ("Bad news. Mr. McFeely taken hostage by rival sect.")
    • Jimmy Fallon did a parody of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood during the 2012 election making fun of the two presidential candidates as well.
    • Mr. Copperfield's Neighborhood. Definitely more Affectionate Parody than Captain Ersatz.
    • Tim Russell occasionally did a Mr. Rogers impression on A Prairie Home Companion, depicting Mr. Rogers as a hard partier outside of the show and using him in a memorable Mister Rogers Comfort Audio skit. They later did an episode where they justified the parody by saying that they make fun of all sorts of celebrities.
    • An episode of the Super Mario World animated series had a spoof called Mr. Koopa's Neighborhood with King Koopa as the title character.
  • All-Loving Hero: Probably the closest thing to the archetype we have in real life.
  • Badass Pacifist: If ever a man was this, it was Mr. Rogers.
    • Take a look at this XKCD strip and try to say this is an exaggeration.
    • Mr. Rogers once faced down a hostile U.S. Senate committee that was threatening to cut a $10 million government grant for PBS. He simply gave a six-minute speech describing his TV show. The grant was increased to $20 million.
    • He was also cited as a key witness in the Supreme Court's decision that home recording technology was fair use. Think about that: The man could persuade the U.S. government to change their minds on a controversial policy issue simply by talking to them. Now that's badass.
    • When Burger King had a series of TV commercials featuring a No Celebrities Were Harmed spokesman, "Mister Rodney," promoting their food, Mr. Rogers took issue with his likeness being used for commercialism and politely asked them to cease and desist. Burger King, a massive multi-million dollar corporation, pulled all the ads immediately, and the VP he spoke with later remarked to the press, "Mister Rogers is one guy you donít want to mess with, as beloved as he is."
  • Badass Preacher: Being an Ordained Minister and facing down the US Senate clearly qualifies Mister Rogers for this.
  • Berserk Button: Making a derogatory comment or a sick joke about Fred Rogers while in the company of certain people can be a very, very bad idea.
    • Certain people being almost anyone who grew up watching the show, for example. Considering that the show was on for nearly half a century, that is a lot of people.
    • Put it this way: 4chan, the imageboard rampant with Rule 34 and infamously known by many as the cesspool of the internet, will fry you if you post any insult directed at Mr. Rogers.
    • Mr. Rogers' own berserk button was engaged in 1990 when the KKK recorded some messages that impersonated his voice to circulate racist and homophobic messages among elementary school children. While Mr. Rogers was usually easygoing about parodies of his style (as with the Eddie Murphy example above), he took this one straight to federal court and sued the heck out of them for copyright infringement. It took no more than one day for the judge to issue a restraining order against the Klan. (Said Rogers, "I am hardly a suing person, and yet that just got my goat.")
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Fred Rogers testified to the U. S. Supreme Court in favor of home video recording during a contentious case when the MPAA was arguing that personal recording devices like the VCR should be banned because they would kill the entire industry. Mr. Rogers simply stated the case that it would actually be beneficial to allow people to watch shows whenever was best for them. We all know how that turned out.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Fred McFeely Rogers. Also a bit unfortunate, especially considering that he works with kids.
  • Everyone Has Standards: On the internet, everything and everyone is fair game to be mocked, insulted, or made dirty. Except Mr. Rogers. No one wants to make fun of Mr. Rogers.
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: Mr. Rogers' gentle and peaceful demeanor made him a notable exception to the norm.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Koko the sign language gorilla loved him.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Averted; a blooper reel has a bleeped "sh—" in a segment where Mr. Rogers attempts to set up a tent in the back yard, only for it to fall over unexpectedly. (The segment never aired on the PBS series, but was featured several times on various Dick Clark Bloopers programs.)
    • A very early episode features Mister Rogers and some neighbors singing the children's song "Where Is Thumbkin?". During the "where is Tall Man?" verse, Rogers responds to that question by extending his middle finger to the camera in the same manner as Flipping the Bird. A still image of this became viral after the episode was released online; technically this was taken out of context, but some have surmised based on the expression on Rogers' face that he knew exactly what he was doing.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Urban Legends notwithstanding, Fred Rogers maintained his reputation as a downright all-around good guy on and off screen, even in the midst of the cutthroat television industry.
  • It Has Been an Honor: This is the sentiment which David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely, described pertaining to his final scene with Mr. Rogers, in which the two shake hands.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Noted actor Tim Robbins, who presented Mr. Rogers his Lifetime Achievement Award at the 24th Daytime Emmy Awards (in 1997), described him as "the best neighbor any of us has ever had".
  • Jaw Drop: Mr. Rogers and Jeff Erlanger were reunited when Rogers was inducted into the TV Hall of Fame in 1999. Rogers was completely surprised.
  • Just Think of the Potential: Fred Rogers felt that it was important that television be used for good.
  • Kayfabe:
    • Averted breaking of the trope when Carroll Spinney and the Children's Television Workshop objected to Rogers' idea to have Spinney remove his Big Bird costume on camera, as a way of Rogers explaining the difference between make-believe and reality. Spinney did agree to appear (as Big Bird) in the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" segments, and then on the regular show talk about his career and puppetry. Rogers did make a few sly remarks, however, about fantasy creatures.
    • Early in the series' run, Rogers and his supporting cast referred to the "Neighborhood of Make Believe" as a real place, before this was quietly dropped.
  • Lampshade Wearing: An innocent variant in episode 1; Mrs. Russellite shows Rogers' her collection of lampshades she likes to wear.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Lampshaded when he brought on Margaret Hamilton to talk about the differences between fantasy and reality. Also done with Lou Ferrigno.
  • New Media Are Evil: Rogers' initial reaction to television. He sought to make it better.
  • Pie in the Face: The first thing Mr. Rogers saw on television was a whole routine of this. He was repulsed.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: He was an Ordained Presbyterian Minister, see Badass Preacher.
  • Sarcasm Failure: Induced this in Cracked, which snarks anything and everything, with no exceptions — but Mister Rogers. When Cracked can't snark at you, and instead writes a tribute to your memory calling you "The Greatest American", well...
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: One was made by PBS themselves to pay tribute to the ideas in the show. Though in this case, more like a wise statement dance mix.
  • Truth in Television: The Mr. Rogers you saw on TV was the real deal. As Randall Munroe put it:
    "Mr. Rogers projected an air of genuine, unwavering, almost saintly pure-hearted decency. But when you look deeper, at the person behind the image ... that's exactly what you find there, too. He's exactly what he appears to be."
  • Urban Legends: Not shockingly, given the show's prominence in pop culture and how many kids grew up watching it at some point, stories about the show and its host circulated for years.
    • Mr. Rogers was absolutely not a sniper, child molester, or violent criminal.
    • The story about his stolen car being returned to him with a note reading, "Sorry, we didn't know it was yours!" (and, in some versions, after having it detailed) is merely undetermined. It's totally plausible, but then, spreading stories for that reason is where Urban Legends come from in the first place.
    • Music director Johnny Costa did serve in the military during World War II. That's the extent of the military careers of anyone connected with the show.
    • Also, he didn't wear those long-sleeved sweaters to cover his tattoos, because he never had any tattoos.
    • One urban legend that ended up being slightly true (but even then, just barely.) There's a photo of him apparently "giving the finger" to the camera that's been circulating. The photo is real in the sense that it wasn't faked or manipulated; however, it's taken out of context. What he was doing was singing the old nursery rhyme where you count off your fingers in turn to the tune of "Frère Jacques." The photo was a screencap of when they were singing "Where is tall-man?" Here's the video proof.
    • The military rumors may have started when fellow soft-spoken PBS star Bob Ross was confused for Mr. Rogers. Ross actually was in the Air Force, as a Drill Sergeant Nasty, no less! Additionally, the appearance of the militaristic-sounding Chicken Fat song (which Coach Saunders lip-synced to) in Episode 22, an early black-and-white episode of the show which last repeated in 1970, could've also played a part in creating the confusion.
  • Voice Clip Song: The Garden Of Your Mind, by the guy who does Symphony Of Science, officially sanctioned by PBS no less.
  • What Does This Button Do?: In part 3 of Father and Music when his grandson was about try to control the trolley with the control switch. And Fred tells him it does not work except when the trolley is on the tracks.


You make each day a special day. You know how; by just your being you. There's only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are.

Alternative Title(s): Mister Rogers

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/MisterRogersNeighborhood?from=Main.MisterRogersNeighborhood