Trivia / Mister Rogers' Neighborhood

  • Acting for Two: There's been at least one case where Bob Dog and Robert Troll were on screen at the same time, both of which were played by Bob Trow.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!:
    • For some reason, Mister Rogers is famous for saying, "Can you say ____?" The line appears in several parodies but aside from asking his viewers to say "pentagon" in an early episode (Death of a Goldfish, 1101), he almost never said it on the show, and in fact thought the phrase would be an insult to the intelligence of even his very young audience. He did ask his viewers "Can you _____ now?" at least once, though.
      • He did say it again in Episode 1021 from 1969, when Trolley rolls up, and he points to the writing on it and says "Can you say 'Neighborhood Trolley'? Good!" So there is some precedent (though he doesn't say it every other line, as the parodies would have you believe).
    • This trope also applies to the show's theme song. Many people remember the opening line as "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood", when it's actually "It's a beautiful day in this neighborhood".
  • Common Knowledge: Despite rumors, he was never a sniper, nor was he ever in the military, nor did he wear the sweaters to cover up his tattoos. Most now agree that this rumor came about because someone got Mr. Rogers and Bob Ross (who did serve in the military - to be precise, the USAF) mixed up. 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 that was last broadcast in 1970, could've also helped in the formation of the urban legend.
  • The Danza: It would appear that Mister Rogers is really fond of this trope. Examples include Bob Trow as Robert Troll and Bob Dog, Joe Negri as Handyman Negri, Don Brockett as Chef Brockett, Audrey Roth as Audrey Paulifficate, Maggie Stewart as Mayor Maggie....
    • One episode reveals Mr. McFeely's first name as David, which is the first name of the actor playing Mr. McFeely, David Newell. Similarly, when Mrs. McFeely became an onscreen character in 1972, she was given the first name Betsy, which is the first name of the actress who plays her, Betsy Nadas.
    • A bit of a sideways one, Fred Rogers' middle name was McFeely.
  • Edited for Syndication: When the episodes from the first run (1968-1976) were rerun after their initial air dates, a new stinger was added to the end of each of them signifying what episode code number they were and thanking any new sponsors that were originally not around during their first airings. Many of the episodes have also gone through several Vanity Plates throughout their run; for example, early color episodes originally had the NET vanity plate, but they now have the 1970 PBS logonote . Likewise, almost all the episodes from the early 70s to 1979 still have the 1989 PBS logo from past reruns, and most of the episodes from 1979 onward having the 1999 PBS Kids logos, except a few episodes which have the 1993 and 1996 PBS Kids idents.
    • For the 2018 rebroadcasts, episodes were fitted with borders, in order to account for PBS's aspect ratio having changed since the show went off the air. Some stations, though, crop the image for broadcast by zooming in.
  • He Also Did:
  • In Memoriam:
    • Episode 1610 ("Josephine the Short-Necked Giraffe") features a dedication to John Reardon, who passed away in April 1988.
    • Episodes 1711 through 1715 ("Mister Rogers Talks about Sharing") are dedicated to longtime musical director Johnny Costa:
      Family Communications Inc.
      dedicates this week
      of programs to
      John Costa
      who shared his friendship
      and musical genius with
      us for many years
    • The last episodes recorded by Bob Trow (who played himself, Robert Troll, Bob Dog, AND Harriet Elizabeth Cow) and "Chef" Don Brockett before their deaths were dedicated to their memories; Brockett's last episode was Episode 1686 in August 1995 and Trow's last episode was Episode 1740 in February 1999.
    • Episode 1605 featured a dedication to Margaret B. McFarland, a child psychologist and one of the psychological consultants on the show until her death in September 1988 at the age of 83.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The "Conflict" episodes have effectively fallen into this, with the only surviving copies being YouTube postings of old VHS recordings. In fact, they weren't even shown for the 2017 Twitch marathon, which further cements them into this category. Four more random episodes from various weeks were also skipped in the Twitch marathon, though presumably because of either wiping note  or the masters simply no longer existing for any other reason.
    • Heck, nearly every episode before the second run (so anything before 1979) was pretty much in this category until the Twitch marathon. Only a very small amount of episodes were possible to watch via Amazon Prime from the first run, and most of them were simply "highlight" episodes such as the death of the goldfish. The black and white episodes took the cake, however, as the last time they had ever been seen was in 1970. Aside from the first week of shows which was also available on Amazon Prime, the Neighborhood Archive was the only place to see any snippets, and they were limited to screenshots. It was known that the episodes did exist in an archive safe and sound, but the fact that they hadn't been viewable by the public for that long is still something quite remarkable. Thank goodness for the Twitch stream, or they may have never found a good home.
    • Also, due to the show's No Export for You status outside the US, this is how people from outside the US got to sample episodes of the show prior to the official Twitch stream after hearing about it from various sources.
  • Missing Episode:
    • "Conflict", aired in 1983, concerned the Land of Make-Believe going into a panic after King Friday becomes convinced that Corny the Beaver is building a nuclear arsenal. At the time, this was a very relevant plot; after all, it was The '80s, one of the most tense periods of the Cold War. The five episodes from this week last aired the week of April 1-5, 1996, partially due to controversy and partially due to not being quite as current anymore.
    • While not as well-known as the Conflict episodes, a few weeks of the early color episodes were also removed from the rotation early on (before the first run was phased out entirely in the mid-90s). These include 1036-1040, 1051-1055, 1056-1060, and 1071-1075. The actual reasons for these being removed are not officially known (some suspect that they simply never got around to rerunning these after some time), there has been some speculation, such as how 1071-1075 features Bob Dog having a cage put over his head to prevent bad behavior. Again, though, none of it has been confirmed.
    • Sadly, this status holds true for the lesser-known runs from CBC, WTAE, and EEN note . Thus far no recordings have been known to circulate in any fashion, and only a single episode from the EEN run has ever been documented on the Neighborhood Archive. While the plot summaries of all of them are known, the episodes themselves almost remain a mystery. However, four episodes from the CBC run can currently be viewed at the Paley Center for Media in New York and Los Angeles.
  • Name's the Same: Princess Zelda in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe should not be confused with the other Princess Zelda.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Heeded this aphorism, both to make his show more intimate, and because kids and animals are notoriously unreliable. Although once can argue that he learnt this through experience- since he did have animals and kids on earlier episodes of the show (one episode has a group of preschool kids visit his studio. Another episode featured Robert Trow's basset hound. While they went fine, it was clear that Mr. Rogers had to constantly improvise in those episodes to keep them going). There was the occasional exception, however; an entire week during the 80s was centered on pets and even had him keeping after Bob Trow's golden retriever Barney over the course of two episodes, and episode 1507 involved him visiting a group of kids to play some games with at the start of the episode (though here, it was clear they had been given much more direction than in the past, since they overall seemed more controlled and reserved).
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Completely and utterly averted. Despite whatever fake stories flitter around the internet and other presenters of children's shows, Mr. Rogers took pride in being every bit as warm and friendly in real life as he was on television.
  • No Export for You: Oddly enough, despite being wildly popular in his native U.S., the show was never broadcast outside of America, though many Canadians were able to watch the show due to the widespread availability of PBS on cable. However knowledge of the show was exported by expatriates and through Popcultural Osmosis via references by shows that do get exportednote . The Twitch marathon stream is practically the first time anyone outside the US and Canada is officially getting to watch the show.
  • Old Shame: Given how it was Mr. Rogers himself that requested the Conflict episodes be not repeated again (well, depending on what your source of information is; there has never been any straight answer given by the company), one wonders if Fred suddenly regretted writing and filming it the way he did, or realizing if the episodes could be taken out of context, only after production for the week's episodes wrapped.
    • Likewise, selling off the rights to some of the older songs. Fred has expressed his regret in several interviews.
  • One of Us: Fred said that each of the characters in the neighborhood of make believe had a little aspect of his own personality. We all know if he had Lady Elaine Fairchild in him, he was truly a normal human like the rest of us.
  • Promoted Fanboy:
    • When he mentioned that one of the few TV shows he enjoyed watching was Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, the producers arranged for him to be a Guest Star. He played the role of "Reverend Thomas" in his only TV appearance as a fictional human character.
    • John Boswell, creator of Symphony of Science, is a huge fan of Mr. Rogers, something PBS undoubtedly took into consideration when they commissioned him to compose "Garden Of Your Mind."
    • Basically anybody who appeared during the breaks between episodes on the 2017 Twitch marathon.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Episode 0022 had Coach Saunders lip-syncing to Chicken Fat, which was written by Meredith Wilson and performed by Robert Preston under commission by JFK. Impressively, they used the long version of the song.
  • The Resolution Will Not Be Identified:
    • The last episode was treated like any other, with the understanding that the show would live on in reruns. Mr. Rogers did show some pictures of his neighbors, and he shook hands with Mr. McFeely.
    • Averted, however, with the end of the show's first run. The single week of episodes produced in 1976, though not a Grand Finale by any stretch, still spent a lot of time paying tribute to past episodes and stated numerous times that the older episodes would be reran starting with the following week. This included spending time in the garage showing tapes of and props from past episodes.
  • Series Hiatus: The show went on a three-year production hiatus starting from 1976 and lasting through to 1979 before the show was Un-Cancelled. During this period, only repeats were shown of the series proper, but two holiday specials (a Christmas special and a springtime special) were made and aired on PBS.
  • Talking to Himself: Fred Rogers voiced most of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe puppets, including King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday, Cornflake S. Pecially, Henrietta Pussycat, X the Owl, Lady Elaine Fairchild, and Daniel Striped Tiger, many of whom had conversations with each other that involved Rogers supplying all of the relevant voices.
  • Technology Marches On:
    • Surprisingly not quite as prevalent as one would think, even though the show ran for a bit more than thirty years. One easy to spot case, however, is that Picture Picture for all of the show's first run used actual film to show films. Beginning with the second run, however, he used VHS tapes to show them; had the show run any longer, there is no doubt he likely would have been using DVDs in due time.
    • In the episode where Mister Rogers goes out and buys a TV set, one thing that immediately dates the episode (aside from the aesthetic of the T Vs quite clearly coming from the 70s): "Can this TV do color?"
  • Un-Cancelled: The series was initially set to end production in 1976, but later got another renewal in 1979 with somewhat of a Re Tool.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Of course you can generally tell what decade an episode was made in, but one particularly bad case is that in 1529 (an episode made in 1984), Mister Rogers walks down the cereal aisle in a grocery store, and one of the things that can be seen is... Pac-Man cereal. Really.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • When Sesame Street's Big Bird appeared on the show, Rogers' original script called for his performer, Caroll Spinney, to remove his costume and discuss the inner-workings of the Big Bird puppet. Spinney objected, however, because he didn't believe in ruining the illusion of Big Bird for the children, having been advised not to by Jim Henson. Big Bird ended up appearing as himself in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
    • As a compromise, the same episode had Rogers donning a giraffe costume and telling the viewers, "When you see big make-believe creatures in parades or in plays or on television, you can know that the people inside are just pretending to be something else."
    • According to Betty Aberlin (yes, THE Lady Aberlin) during the Twitch marathon, Rogers himself didn't originally want to talk about divorce on the show, feeling it was too difficult to talk about with his target audience. However, since Betty was a child of divorcees herself, and due to a number of other parents believing it to be too important a topic to hide even from the young ones, he eventually decided to go for it, which led to the week-long "Divorce" arc. Many agree this worked out for the better (often considered one of the show's most important moments), and it was a case of good timing too since the series was made when the nationwide divorce rate had reached an all-time high.
    • Also according to her, one of the ideas proposed before the show ended was Passing the Torch to Chuck Aber as a potential new show host (which may in part explain his A Day in the Limelight moment somewhat late in the show's run) in a spinoff to keep the show's legacy alive. For some reason though, this idea never came to see the light of day.
  • The Wiki Rule: Not quite a proper Wiki as such, but the fan-made website Neighborhood Archive collects an impressive amount of trivia about the show.