Thursday, February 27, 2003
Sad news to report today. Fred McFeely Rogers, known to millions as Mr. Rogers, died this morning following a brief battle with stomach cancer. He was 74.
As a young child, I remember watching him enter the door of his neat, cozy stage set, don his signature slippers and cardigan and greet his audience in his soothing, hypnotic tone. He was a nonthreatening, inclusive father/grandfather/uncle figure who used stories, drawings, mini-films and handpuppetry to instill values like friendship, tolerance, respect and generosity without preaching or patronizing.
His show was a comforting night-light in a pre-hectic pre-Internet era, where every viewer was made to feel not only like a guest, but like a lifelong friend. I'll miss the show's signature jazzy theme and zoomed-in closeups of Mr. Rogers' toy town, following the Neighborhood Trolley to a kinder, gentler version of the world we knew. Goodbye to Mr. Fred Rogers, who by all accounts was a truly Good Neighbor.