NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday September 20th 2018

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Movie Corner “I like you just the way you are.” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”… Fred Rogers, 1928-2003

By HOWARD McQUITTER II

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is one the kindest titles given to any film. It is a benevolent, heartfelt, energetic portrayal of Fred Rogers, a man of exemplary status who revolutionized children’s programs on television. Rogers, an ordained Presbyterian minister, took a route, not to a church pulpit, but to PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) with a new method of programming for children.

He brought children into his studio from different races and backgrounds engaging them by speaking in ways up to the time, circa 1968, unheard of on children’s programs which usually concentrated on using cartoons and superheroes.

Soon, young and not so young were glued to TVs “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood”, starting on February 19, 1968; eventually lasting 31 seasons and 912 episodes. He did not shy away from certain topics, such as producing a primetime special that spoke directly to children about Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination.

It was a bold move by Rogers for that day when most programmers would have shied away from telling children about an assassination or any other such devastating event.

The documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” at the 37th Mpls.-St. Paul International Film Festival began locally at the Uptown Theater on June 15, 2018.

Cast: Joe Negri (Himself), Francois Clemmons (Himself), Kailyn Davis (Herself), David Newell (Himself), Yo-You Ma (Himself).

Director: Morgan Neville (“20 Feet from Stardom”) presents a real treat to a man who loved all, especially children. (PG-13) Running time: 94 minutes.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis

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