Fred Rogers became the embodiment of the good public television can do for the whole United States in his program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? will explore the man, the world he created, the friends and family who worked on the show and the lives Rogers’ touched.
Every generation has traumatic events to endure and disillusionment on how to cope, but Rogers appeared on screens undaunted and ready to answer those questions for young inquiring minds, who didn’t quite understand what was going on in the world around them. Rogers confronted topics like death, divorce, and bigotry.
From 1968 to 2001, Rogers tackled a wide range of subject matter for children across the country with his message was always the same, “I like you just the way you are” which resonated with every child, adult, regardless of gender, religious and ethnic background.
As we approach more uncertain times with fears at its optimum, we lost the stoic, calming demeanor of America’s favorite neighbor when Rogers passed in 2003. The trailer for Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is perhaps the most gut-wrenching reminder of what we have lost evoking the strongest of emotions due to over four decades of influence on TV.
The film will show the impetus of what inspired Rogers to create his show, a number of behind-the-scenes footage shot during production of its run, past cast and crew.
“You take all of the elements that make good television, and do the exact opposite—you have ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood’…yet, it worked,” said producer Margy Whitmer.
The trailer also includes snippets from Elizabeth Seamans, who played Mrs. McFeely and Francois Clemmons, who played Officer Clemons.
The film from Focus Features will premiere on June 8.
What is your fondest memory of Mister Rogers? Sound off below.