Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

DVD - 2018
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As one of America's most beloved children's show hosts, Mr. Rogers remains one of the most iconic television figures for families worldwide. This documentary takes a closer look at the person behind the show, persona, and personality that helped define what it meant to be a good person and be a part of a healthy community. Through his children's show, Mr. Rogers would go on to inspire a generation by not skirting real world issues, confronting issues of social justice and maturity through a lens that provided an educational aspect that was approachable by kids and appreciated by the entire family.
Publisher: Universal City, CA : Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, [2018]
Edition: Widescreen
ISBN: 9786317375192
Branch Call Number: DVD 791.4502 ROGERS WON'T 1DISC
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (95 minutes) : sound, color with black and white sequences ; 4 3/4 in
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4 3/4 in.,color
digital
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Dolby Digital 5.1
Dolby Digital 2.0
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Opinion

From Library Staff

A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination. TB


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iloveseaotters
May 20, 2019

It took me three times to watch this all the way through and at first I chalked it up to being tired after working long hours, but when I finally finished it, I realized that it was partly out of boredom. This documentary is an hour and 34 minutes but it feels much longer. I tried to enjoy it because I really admire and respect Fred Rogers. Like most, I grew up watching Mr. Rogers and watched it occasionally as an adult. But I found this to be really disappointing for the most part. I liked the nostalgia of it; the old black and white clips and how the puppets came to be, etc. The segments with Fred and the kids were heartwarming and the interspersed interviews with he, his wife, and kids as well as producers, etc were interesting. But aside from the fact that this documentary was very slow paced, I was surprised at some of the content. It should be noted that although this is a documentary of a kid's show it's NOT geared toward kids. There are mentions of gay rights, The assassination of Bobby Kennedy (and a surprising segment where Daniel Tiger asked Lady Elaine "What does assassination mean?". There is even brief nudity shown (a person's backside), which surprised me even more. I did learn a lot about the background of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, but overall I was disappointed in this one. Instead of the brief interviews with his wife and so forth, I would havfe rather seen a documentary about his personal life and his family. I much prefer the documentary that aired on PBS last year. It was much more entertaining and nothing eyebrow-raising.

m
MichelleinBallard
May 15, 2019

In this film I found the Rev. Fred Rogers' apparently sincere love and caring for people very touching. My eyes got a bit misty now and then. Nevertheless there's also something deeply disturbing about the support he enjoyed for so many years from a large segment of America's political and cultural elites though I can't quite put my finger on it.

For example, in the Clinton administration, Rogers was invited to open a White House conference on children and television (this is briefly shown in the film). Bill & Hillary Clinton, Al & Tipper Gore, Bill Cosby, the TV networks heads, and others cozied right up to Rogers on-camera and he to them. George W. Bush gave Rogers the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002 and Barbara and George H. W. Bush lauded him when he died. I'd like to hope that these broken, destructive people were genuinely attracted by a person who gave himself non-judgmentally to loving others and that Rogers was consciously ministering to them. However, I find myself wondering if they didn't support him because they knew he could be trusted to never bring a prophetic message that truly exposed or called out the deep murderous, ethical rot in the America these elites presided over.

By contrast, I recently watched a documentary ("King in the Wilderness" 2018) about the Rev. Dr. Martin King, Jr. The dominant elite response was to try to manipulate and coopt King. He was for the most part held at arm's length, at best. J. Edgar Hoover personally had him surveilled and the FBI tried to destroy him. Evidently no one in power ever seriously tried to stop Hoover as they, too, had their reasons for wanting King monitored and harassed. Not without cause, the King family has long disbelieved that James Earl Ray acted alone. And in 1999, Coretta Scott King won a civil lawsuit when a Memphis jury agreed that Loyd Jowers and "others, including governmental agencies" conspired to have King assassinated. Whether Ray acted alone or not King was already in many ways a spent and broken man before he died. Yet, ultimately, he, like Fred Rogers, lived and preached a message of love. King was chewed up and spit out; Rogers was not.

To the extent King is honored today his work is typically simplified and homogenized to force it to fit conveniently in the progressive cutthroat "identitarian" bin or the conservative "glad-we-fixed-that-problem" bin. Could it be that Fred Rogers' message was already so tame and non-threatening that only a few isolated cranks on Fox could ever hate it after his death?

I don't want to say that Rogers' ministry was not good and important but only that this film left me feeling uneasy about it somehow. It's not exactly on point but I am reminded of the words of Daniel Berrigan and Thich Nhat Hanh: "It is part of the wisdom, I think, of the religious tradition always to be skeptical of what governments are doing .... One has to keep reminding oneself and other people that an exalted contempt for human life lies at the basis of diplomacy; and that one had better think of the unprotected and innocent, and be prepared for the bad news when the leaders meet." Source: "The Raft is Not the Shore: Conversations Toward a Buddhist/Christian Awareness," (Boston: Beacon Press, 1975) p. 69.

m
ms_mustard
Apr 02, 2019

this wonderful, touching doc made my heart ache for a kinder, gentler influence on the lives of today's children and on us all.

to the comment below - Fred Rogers was never a soldier and never killed anyone - that is an urban myth

m
mudgytippy
Mar 30, 2019

Too bad we never did see this movie, but I watched him with my young daughter & enjoyed his show.
Very surprised to hear that this humble, nice man was a war hero, quite decorated, I have heard!! He kept this private and did not speak of it, apparently. A fellow actor who served in the same unit discussed this on the Johnny Carson Show. I think he is buried in Arlington Cemetery.

k
kpelish
Mar 28, 2019

Good biography of Mr. Rogers: his ministerial background and how his bare bones children's program grew into one of America's most liked shows. Clearly Rogers was an idealist who had the good fortune to put his ideals—including equality—into play in reaching children in kind, non-commercial teachings.

d
duane767
Mar 13, 2019

He was the butt end of a lot of jokes when I was growing up, but that was after we had all sat through his shows when we were kids and home during the afternoons. To hear and see the story behind his show, his 'ministry', and to learn a bit more about his heart, and especially to know that he didn't have any dirty secrets or hidden scandals and served as "a new kind of man" made this documentary essential viewing. One of the guys featured as Mr. Rogers' friend looks like a dead ringer for Joaquin Phoenix except older.

VaughanPLMichael Mar 09, 2019

This was a delightful documentary giving an inside look at Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. For a simple children's television program, we learn that it wasn't so simple after all.

The Documentary really gave us a real picture of what Fred Rogers was through testimonials of those who knew him. We learn that he took his work very seriously and was always looking for the best interest in all children. We also learn just how groundbreaking Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood was in addressing very serious issues, and breaking them down for children to understand.

If you need a good pick-me-up, are interested in children's programming or development, or like a well crafted documentary looking to shed light on Mr. Rogers, I highly recommend it.

superglu2 Feb 25, 2019

I'm too old to have watched Mr. Rogers, but I was familiar enough to get Eddie Murphy's parody on SNL.

I didn't realize how interesting a man Fred Rogers was and how committed to children he was.

This is a very good documentary -- highly recommended.

m
maipenrai
Feb 09, 2019

When Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood first aired in 1968, I was 20, so I never ever watched an episode. I do, however, remember a children's show called The Magic Window that aired on ABC affiliate WOI out of Ames, Iowa beginning in 1951. I am sure it was not as great as Mr. Rogers' show, but I remember the name and can picture it in my mind. Many local tv stations had shows for children. I also remember Winky Dink and You, the first "interactive" tv program which involved a magic "screen" that you put over the tv picture..... And, of course, we had the Mickey Mouse Club... Enough about memory lane... What little I knew about Mr. Rogers up until this documentary probably came via parodies on Saturday Night Live and Johnny Carson. To be honest, Mr. Rogers' voice and mannerisms "creeped me out". I think part of the reason was that no one in my family spoke with a gentle voice or about feelings. His gentleness was completely foreign to me. I am so impressed with the topics that were addressed on the show - everything from assassinations to bullying. I enjoyed learning more about the show that had a great impact upon children and recommend the documentary. Kristi & Abby Tabby

IndyPL_AnikaW Feb 05, 2019

I'm of the generation that grew up with Mr. Rogers as a mainstay of my weekday afternoons.

The thing that sticks with me after watching 'Won't You Be My Neighbor' is how different Fred Rogers sought to make his show from other popular entertainment aimed at children...specifically slowing it down and being very mindful of each moment.

As a child the show was such fun to watch and having watched the documentary as an adult I feel like I have an even deeper appreciation for the effort put into its production.

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jimg2000
Dec 25, 2018

"That's what's wrong with our country. That's what's wrong with children today." He didn't say, "if you want to be special, you're gonna have to work hard." And now all these kids are growing up, and they're realizing, "hey, wait a minute. Mr. Rogers lied to me. I'm not special."
===
"you're special."
And what that ultimately means, of course, is that you don't ever have to do
anything sensational for people to love you. It is really a matter of believing that you're endowed by your creator with good. You know, there are many different ways of saying, "i love you." In fact, I like to think about times when I've seen people showing their love.
===
And if you don't believe that everyone has inherent value, you might as well go against the fundamental notion of Christianity that you are the beloved son or daughter of god.

j
jimg2000
Dec 25, 2018

Mr. Roger before Congress, part 1 of 2:

One of the first things that a child learns in a healthy family is trust. And I trust what you have said, that you will read this. It's very important to me. I care deeply about children. My first children...
-Will it make you happy if you read it?
I'd just like to talk about it, if it's all right.
-All right, sir.
This is what I give. I give an expression of care every day to each child to help him realize that he is unique. I end the program by saying, "you've made this day a special day" by just your being you. "There's no person in the whole world like you. And I like you just the way you are." And I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service.

j
jimg2000
Dec 25, 2018

Mr. Roger before Congress, part 2 of 2:

Uh, could I tell you the words of one of the songs, which I feel is very important? This has to do with that good feeling of control, which I feel that... That children need to know is there. And it starts out, "what do you do with the mad that you feel?" And that first line came straight from a child. I work with children, doing puppets in... In very personal communication with small groups. "What do you do with the mad that you feel" when you feel so mad you could bite? "When the whole wide world seems oh so wrong" and nothing you do seems very right? "It's great to be able to stop" when you've planned a thing that's wrong
"and be able to do something else instead" and think this song. "I can stop when I want to, can stop when I wish," can stop, stop, stop anytime. "Know that there's something deep inside that helps us become what we can."

j
jimg2000
Dec 25, 2018

1-4-3?
-Mm-hmm. You see, "i" is one letter, and "love"-- l-o-v-e-- is four letters, and "you"-- y-o-u-- is three letters.
===
When the horror of 9/11 really hit him, i-i think it was a real eye-opener. He was realizing that... It was just so big. It's always going to be an ongoing struggle to overcome evil.''
===
And so they were... they were intolerant of the tolerance. And the thing that... the thing that struck me that day, uh, more than anything else was the children that were there. Children that had been drafted into standing there with their parents and holding up signs and screaming. And those kids looked so unhappy. Those kids looked so exhausted. Those kids looked so ill-treated. It was just heart-breaking.

j
jimg2000
Dec 25, 2018

When I was a boy and I would hear about something scary, my mother would tell us, "always look for the people who are helping. You'll always find somebody who's trying to help."
===
"what would Fred Rogers do?" It's not a question that you can answer. The most important question is: "What are you going to do?"
From the time you were very little, you've had people who have smiled you into smiling, people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, loved you into loving. So, on this extra special day, let's take some time to think of those extra special people. Some of them may be right here, some may be far away. Some may even be in heaven. No matter where they are, deep down you know they've always wanted what was best for you. They've always cared about you beyond measure and have encouraged you to be true to the best within you. Let's just take a minute of silence to think about those people now.

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mauve_seastar_22
Nov 23, 2018

mauve_seastar_22 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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