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September 21, 2018

Google Doodle honors 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood'

Sept. 21 is the first day 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' began production 51 years ago

People Mister Rogers
Mister Rogers 143 day Mr. Roger's Neigborhood/Family Communications Inc.

Fred Rogers, star of PBS's 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' and a native of Pennsylvania, will be posthumously honored with '143 Day' in Pennsylvania on May 23. That day people across the state are asked to live up to Roger's motto from his iconic TV show and be good neighbors.

Google Doodle released a stop-motion animation honoring the iconic children’s show, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," and the man who softly soothed millions of children for several generations. Sept. 21 is the first day the show began production in 1967, though it wouldn't air till Feb. 1968.

The Doodle takes you down a playful view of the opening to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," as Mister Rogers' voice carries you through the neighborhood. A claymation Mister Rogers sits down at the end, and the camera zooms out through a TV screen to show kids, of all kinds, watching him contently together.

He speaks to the viewers, as he always did, “You help to make each day a special day by just your being yourself. There’s nobody else in the whole world who’s exactly like you. And people can like you exactly as you are.”

Rogers' wife of 51 years, Joanne, commented in a statement, “I’m so thrilled that Google is celebrating Fred and 'Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood' with this charming tribute. This stroll through the Neighborhood is delightful, and Fred’s gentle kindness is beautifully captured in the Doodle.”

The 2018 documentary, "Won’t You Be My Neighbor," premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on March 20, Mister Rogers' would-be 90th birthday. The film was released in limited theaters on June 8 and has grossed more than $22 million. It is now available to rent or buy. 

Morgan Neville, the film's director, spoke to Indiewire about the documentary. 

“I wanted to make a film to remind people about the value of radical kindness. Fred’s message, when I distill it, he talked about grace. It’s this idea that kindness is not a naive notion like believing in unicorns and rainbows or something. It’s like oxygen: It is vital, and needs to be nurtured," he said. 

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