I cannot wait until this Thanksgiving to see Morgan Neville’s new movie, “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood“ starring Tom Hanks (a perfect choice for this role). The movie is based on one of my most favorite childhood shows, “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” which first aired on February 19, 1968.
When I watched the trailer for this new movie, it brought me back to when I was a little girl, who loved to hear his opening song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood.” His voice was soft and soothing and I remember feeling sad when he would begin to say goodbye by taking off his sneakers and cardigan sweater to change into his street clothes. With his magical neighborhood complete with a neighborhood trolley, puppets, special guests and songs, he talked about so many topics, happy and sad. I have been watching some of the ” you-tube” clips and a lot of his segments touched on some intense stuff – he would talk about these subjects and he had a gift of making us feel like we were the only one he was talking to and in a manner that a young child could relate to. He talked about death and how sad he was when as young boy his beloved dog Mitsy died and how he had cried. During that show, he brought out an old black and white picture of his adorable dog Mitsy – then he sang a song about being glad and sad, telling us it takes time to heal before we can talk about the loss of a loved one or a beloved pet with fond memories rather than tears. One of the clips that really hit home for me was that for an entire week, he devoted a segment on divorce. He tried to explain to us youngsters what divorce is and reasons it may happen and that we were not alone. Mr. Rogers introduced us to a young boy in an electric wheelchair, who because of a tumor, could not use his hands or legs. He taught us that Jeff was just like us and we should treat him just like any other kid and not a handicapped boy in a scary wheelchair. Years later, that boy Jeff in a wheelchair, now a grown man in a wheelchair, made an on-stage appearance when Mr. Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Mr. Rogers and the audience was brought to tears.
There are so many videos that come up when you “google” Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers’ widow Joanne Rogers made a fascinating documentary about her late husband in 2018. As I watch these videos, as a grown woman, it still brings me back into that safe place I felt in “his” neighborhood. I wish that young children in this day and age had a show like this for entertainment and to help them with difficult times in their childhood…well, actually they do, parents just need to introduce their children to Mr. Rogers through the internet.
I hope you enjoy the movie…and Happy Thanksgiving!