We here at TV Sluts would like to wish Maggie Cats all the best today, her birthday! And what better way to celebrate the occasion than to blog about a very special person who was also born on this day? No, I'm not thinking of Elizabeth Blackwell (the first female physician) or Henry Heimlich (inventor of the Heimlich maneuver), or even of Dave Davies (from The Kinks) or Morgan Fairchild (of Dallas fame - also born in Dallas, go figure). I'm referring to the O.G. kid's show host, Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.
Pictured here with King Friday. Where did he come up with this stuff?
Imagine pitching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood today. "Hey," you'd say to the studio execs. "How about we get a grown man to take his clothes off in front of children? And then there can be this little red train that goes through a tunnel and into a magical make-believe world! The sidekick's named 'McFeely!' It'll be great!"
Security would've had you out of the building in 30 seconds or less.
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood belongs to a simpler time, when all you needed for a successful kid's show was a couple of hand puppets and a voice like auditory Valium. No need to teach the kids Spanish or force them to exercise with inane dance routines. Just talk about friendship and acceptance, feed the fish, throw in a documentary here and there and you're done!
Remember the trip to the crayon factory? Oh, man, good times.
And you know what? The show is still on the air. Fred Rogers was awarded several Emmys and Lifetime Achievement Awards. His red sweater is on display at the Smithsonian (ironically, he was red-green colorblind). And while he was never a Navy SEAL, he was one BAMF.
"I got into television because I hated it so. And I thought there's some way of using this fabulous instrument to nurture those who would watch and listen." Direct quote. LOVE.
Fred Rogers saw television not as it was, but as it could be. I can think of no one better to share a birthday with my oh-so-cynical, secretly idealist friend. Here's to you, Maggie Cats.
I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you,
I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So let's make the most of this beautiful day,
Since we're together, we might as well say,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won't you be my neighbor?
After writing this post, I discovered that Mr. Rogers was actually born on March 20th. Stupid internet. Oh, well ...it's the thought that counts. Right?