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Fred Rogers (1968-2001)
The host of the program.
- All-Loving Hero:
- 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?"
- Fred gave an interview for the Archive of American Television which pretty much drives the point home; Fred loved talking to people so much that where Bob McGrath's interview has four parts and Caroll Spinney's has six, Fred's interview has nine parts, totaling over four hours of footage. note
- Audience Surrogate: Mr. Rogers becomes this any time he goes on one of his field trips.
- Badass Preacher: Being an Ordained Minister and facing down the US Senate clearly qualifies Mister Rogers for this.
- Consistent Clothing Style: Fred Rogers would seemingly always wear a knit cardigan sweater of any color on his show. These were all hand-knit by his mother. (In fact, one of them sits on display in the Smithsonian.)
- Cool Old Guy: Became this late into the show's run as he was growing old.
- Excited Kids' Show Host: A notable aversion. Mister Rogers' screen interactions are famously gentle and peaceful, both because this was his natural personality and because he disliked the frentic pace of many other children's programs.
- Friend to All Children: The entire basis of the show is Mr. Rogers talking directly to his young viewers in the most friendly and caring personal tone you can imagine. He was like this in real life as well, regularly taking time to personally answer letters from viewers.
- Iconic Outfit: His cardigans and sneakers. Some of them are on display at the Smithsonian.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: He can even flip the bird at you with both hands with no malicious intent.
- Nice Guy: Mister Rogers was exactly like who the real Fred Rogers was like - the nicest, friendliest guy you could ever meet.
- No Fourth Wall: Yes, he's talking right to you, his "television neighbor."
- Out-of-Character Moment: There were at least three occasions in the show's run where Mister Rogers, normally the embodiment of friendliness and kindness, gets angry or frustrated at some event:
- In episode 1056, Mr. McFeely rushes Fred to finish a puzzle in time for delivery. He very bluntly tells McFeely that his case of Motor Mouth and his insistence on rushing him was frustrating him. This makes it a rare time he shows frustration towards somebody else, rather than to something indirect.
- Episode 1153 has Fred receiving a delivery of nursery rhyme posters, only for him to express frustration when he finds out he has to pay another dollar if he wanted characters on it. "One dollar more nothing!"
- Episode 1210, also known as the parking ticket episode. When Fred walks in, he has a fairly noticeable agitated look and even spurs the usual routine of changing into a cardigan, opting to stay in his suit instead. After he finishes singing the opening song, he then explains to the viewer about his parking ticket situation.
- Red Is Heroic: Although his signature cardigans were in many different colors, by far his most iconic one was his red one.
- Rousseau Was Right: He thought the best of absolutely everybody, and believed we all needed to be loved and understood.
- Significant Wardrobe Shift: An interesting example in that it occurred every episode. Mr. Rogers entered the house and immediately changed from his businesslike suit coat and dress shoes into a more casual cardigan and sneakers.
- So Proud of You: Mister Rogers is proud of you, just the way you are.
- They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: He goes by Mister Rogers, being of the generation when it was more widely believed this was how children respectfully address grown-ups. The other adults in the neighborhood freely call him "Fred," however.
- Verbal Tic: He had a habit of using "mm-hmm" after finishing a sentence.
Mr. David McFeely
Actor: David Newell (1968-2001)A perpetually busy mailman who brings things to both Mister Rogers' television house and The Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
- Catchphrase: "Speedy Delivery!"
- Character Development: He started out a lot louder and more get-up-and-go type, sometimes even getting Motor Mouth tendencies. There was even an episode early on where Mr. Rogers got frustrated due to McFeely rushing him through a jigsaw puzzle. As the series went on, he mellowed out and got a lot quieter; this is lampshaded in the final week of the series' first run (1456).
- Meaningful Name: McFeely is named for Mr. Rogers' middle name.
- Nice Guy: Though no one is nicer than Fred Rogers, Mr. McFeely is a very pleasant mail man.
- Verbal Tic: Especially in early episodes, Mr. McFeely threw around the name "Mr. Rogers" like it was punctuation.
Mrs. Betsy McFeely
Actor: Betsy Nadas Seamans (1972-1998)Mr. McFeely's wife, who usually shows different animals to Mr. Rogers.
Actor: Don Brockett (1968-1995)In the television neighborhood, Chef Brockett is the proprietor of Brockett's Bakery; in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, he works with Edgar Cooke in King Friday's castle.
- Graceful Loser: In one episode, he expressed his disappointment to Rogers on not winning any awards at a prestigious baking contest, while almost everyone else who had an entry did. The lessons, of course, were how to lose with grace and that not winning does not make one a loser, nor does it mean that one's non-placing entries were necessarily of inferior quality, and in fact they may be on equal par with the eventual winner ... except there can only be one winner. (Additionally, when this episode aired in the early 1980s, the idea of "participation ribbons" — even though he may well have gotten one — was a concept primarily of the future.) In the end, Brockett realizes that his best efforts were what mattered and that he was happy to be in company of some excellent bakers.
- Large Ham: Brockett had a loud and gravelly voice and was probably the only cast member on the show who had a boisterous personality, which made his segments with Fred Rogers all the more entertaining due to their contrasting personalities.
Actor: Don Francks (1968-1970)
Joe Negri/Handyman Negri
Actor: Joe Negri (1968-2001)In the television neighborhood, he is the proprietor of Negri's Music Shop; in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, he is a handyman.
- As Himself: Joe Negri as Joe Negri.
- The Cast Show Off: Both in the neighborhood and in Make-Believe, he gets plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his skill singing and playing jazz guitar.
- Typecasting: Negri in Real Life is a professional jazz guitarist, so it makes sense that he'd be cast as a music store owner.
Betty Aberlin/Lady Aberlin
Actor: Betty Aberlin (1968-2001)In the television neighborhood, she is the proprietor of Betty's Little Theatre; in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, she is King Friday's niece.
- Cool Big Sis: Especially in relating with the puppet characters, Lady Aberlin often takes the role of the supportive young mentor figure.
- The Danza: While the character is named after her, Aberlin has clarified that this shouldn't be confused for As Himself, since her own personality often differed from what was seen on screen.
- The Ingenue: Lady Aberlin is friendly and innocent to everyone in the neighborhood.
Officer Francois Clemmons
Actor: Francois Clemmons (1968-1993)A policeman who appears in both the television neighborhood and Neighborhood of Make-Believe; he later opens up a music studio in the television neighborhood.
- The Cast Show Off: Officer Clemmons can sing. In real life he was a professional opera singer who performed at the Met.
- Reality Subtext:
- In interviews, Clemmons has said he was deeply moved by the symbolism of a scene where he and Mr. Rogers cool their feet in a wading pool. At the time, racially integrating swimming pools was a controversial issue in America, but Rogers disregards the controversy completely and treats Clemmons fully as an equal, even using a towel to dry his feet afterwards.
- Also true for the second wading pool episode from 1993. He had told Fred that he was gay years before but Francois wasn't sure that Fred accepted him for who he was until he said "I'm so proud of you, Francois" at the end of the segment.
- Clemmons has also remarked that he was initially reluctant to take the role of a police officer, due to his feelings about Police Brutality as a black man during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Rogers persuaded him that he could be a positive role model.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Clemmons' real-life acceptance into the Metropolitan Opera was worked into the Neighborhood, explaining why he wouldn't be around as much as he'd be commuting to the Met.
Chuck Aber/Neighbor Aber
Actor: Chuck Aber (1975-2001)In the television neighborhood, he has held multiple jobs, notably as a security guard delivering samples of gold; in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, he is the Associate Mayor of Westwood under Mayor Maggie.
Bob Trow/Robert Troll/Bob Dog
Actor: Bob Trow (1970-1998)In the television neighborhood, Trow is an artist and handyman who creates and repairs a number of items in his workshop; in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Robert Troll is a gibberish-talking troll and friend of Queen Sara Saturday's from Westwood.
- Big Friendly Dog: Bob Dog is the size of a person, and friendly as everything.
- The Danza: Bob Trow as Robert Troll and Bob Dog.
- Our Trolls Are Different: Robert is a very friendly troll, he just has trouble communicating sometimes.
- Verbal Tic: Earlier on, Robert Troll speaks "troll talk", which is mostly gibberish (apparently based on the native-Pittsburgh accent) with a few English words mixed in. He mainly communicates in English later on, though the gibberish does mix back in later in the series.
- Parental Bonus: Robert Troll lives "under the Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Audrey Roth/Miss Paulifficate
Actor: Audrey Roth (1971-1988)In the television neighborhood, Roth is the owner and proprietor of Audrey Cleans Everything (ACE), a cleaning service; in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Miss Paulifficate is King Friday's telecan operator.
Mary Sweenie/Cousin Mary Owl
Actor: Mary Sweenie (later Mary Rawson) (1970-2001)
Yoshi Ito/Pilot Ito
Actor: Yoshi Ito (1971-1975)
Maggie Stewart/Mayor Maggie
Actor: Maggie Stewart (1975-2001)
- Black Boss Lady: Significantly, Mayor Maggie was elected several years before an African American woman became mayor of a major U.S. city in real life.
- The Danza: Maggie Stewart as Mayor Maggie.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: She can even talk King Friday down when he's disgruntled about a misunderstanding.
Bert Lloyd/Mr. Allmine
Actor: Bert A. Lloyd (1974-1975)
Actor: Keith David (1983-1985)
Puppets of The Neighborhood of Make-Believe and surrounding areas
King Friday XIII
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)
The reigning monarch of The Neighborhood of Make-Believe, described by Rogers as "one of the last remaining benevolent despots". He's prone to making ridiculous and over-reactionary rules (some of which were inspired by then-current events), which cause much of the conflict for many of the Neighborhood of Make Believe segments.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In the first few episodes, he responds to Lady Elaine Fairchilde switching the locations of the various Make Believe residences by setting up a borderline Orwellian security system.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: He has a great deal of authority in Make Believe, which everyone respects (even if they don't agree with how he uses it).
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Often speaks in longer, complex words.
Queen Sara Saturday
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)Originally from Westwood, King Friday falls in love with her in the first season; they eventually marry and have a son together.
Voice: Adair Roth (1974-1975), Janus Purins (adult version in one episode, 1975), Fred Michael (1979-1980), Charles Altman (1981-1985), Carole Muller (1986), Lenny Melendandri (1987-2001)King Friday and Queen Sara's son, born in episode 1117 (1970). He is a baby and toddler in the original series, and school-aged in the modern series.
- Hulk Speak: In the 1974-75 shows, the toddler Tuesday's language skills are to the point where he says simple broken sentences ("Want to hear pretty songs") and refers to himself in the third person; by the 1979 revival series, he has progressed to speaking full sentences.
Cornflake S. Pecially
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)The owner of a rocking-chair factory
- Viewer Species Confusion: He's supposed to be a beaver but a lot of kids thought he was a mole, a rat or a muskrat.
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)
- Verbal Tic: Henrietta speaks a mixture of meows with English words.
X The Owl
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)
Lady Elaine Fairchilde
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)
- Iconic Item: Her magic Boomerang-Toomerang-Soomerang, which she uses to flip people and places in the Neighborhood upside down.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her often mischievous and troublesome behavior, she does genuinely care about her Neighborhood friends.
- Pet the Dog: Occasionally has these type of moments whenever she feels bad about herself, usually after she goes too far in her actions.
Daniel Striped Tiger
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)
- All Animals Are Domesticated: Daniel is well aware that he is not like other tigers and on one occasion, has questioned whether or not he was a mistake for being too tame.
- Author Avatar: Though Rogers never appeared in Make-Believe, people have suggested that Daniel is probably the closest to him, specifically as a child, when he had particularly bad confidence issues. A few have said that some of the speeches given to Daniel are the sort of things Rogers would have wanted to hear back then.
- Break the Cutie: Several times. See the Tearjerker section for more details.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Well, The only thing he wears is a wristwatch.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Daniel is portrayed as a child, although his age has never been revealed throughout the show. Nevertheless, he has remained that way since, especially with the births of Ana Platypus and Prince Tuesday, who have at least aged up to children themselves. Averted in the spin-off series, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood in which he is all grown up, married and has a child of his own.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Despite his shyness, Daniel often exhibits wisdom and intelligence whenever he speaks.
Voice:Fred Rogers (1968-2001)A French tiger who lives in the Eiffel Tower.
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-2001)The Neighborhood's castle chef, who usually sings whatever he says.
Dr. Frank Lee Frogg
Voice: Unknown (1968-70), Hilary Bogden (1975)
- Put on a Bus: The Frogg Family moves to Westwood at the beginning of season 2 (1969) and is only seen a handful of times afterward.
Voice: David Newell (1968), Hedda Sharapan (1968-1988)
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-70), Hilary Bogden (1975)
Dr. Bill Platypus
Voice: William P. Barker (1969-2001)
Elsie Jean Platypus
Voice: William P. Barker (1969-2001)
Voice: Charlotte Jarvis (1975-1976), Carole Muller Switala (1979-1997)
Voice: Fred Rogers (1968-1993)
Harriet Elizabeth Cow
Voice: Bob Trow (1973-1993)
Yo-Yo La Belle
Voice: Michael Horton (1988)An alien from outer space who visited the neighborhood of make believe.
Paul and Pauline Purple
- Alliterative Names: Paul and Pauline live on Planet Purple.
- Speak in Unison: Paul and Pauline speak in the same sentences. When they learn about the concept of individuality, they attempt to talk by themselves, with a great effort.
- Teleportation: They can travel by teleporting at will, which is referred to as "pinging" or "The Purple Way."
Betty Okonak Templeton Jones
Voice: Michael Horton (1983-2001)
James Michael Jones
Voice: Michael Horton (1985-1994)
Live Neighborhood of Make-Believe Characters with no Television Neighborhood analogue
Actor:Maxine Miller (1968-1971)
Actor: Dave Nohling (1973-1991), Matt Meko (1996-2000)A purple panda from Planet Purple who teleports from place to place by "pinging".