[Seth-Trips] Mr. Rogers

Nick Moffitt nick at zork.net
Fri Feb 28 17:39:51 PST 2003

> Another time he asked his cameraman to turn the camera around and
> show us the studio (with its lights, cameras, scaffolding, and staff
> members). That was a shock; it was fascinating and horrifying; it
> was generous and courageous; it was a frame-breaking experience
> which set me up to enjoy Hofstadter and, maybe, in a small way, to
> weather other disillusionments. 

I remember that episode vividly, and felt more like I had been invited
into a secret club.  I was one of the few children who caught that
particular episode, and had been shown what's behind the iconostasion.
I finally understood how the transition from living room to kitchen
occurred, and why the camera took a different route than he did.  If
there's one thing that Fred Rogers made sure to do, it was to point
out the differences between fantasy and reality -- enjoying both all
the while.

He always played himself straight: he was a man producing a television
show.  He always made sure the puppet shows and fantastic tales were
prefixed with the notion that they took place in the land of *make
believe*.  Many comedians often made fools of themselves trying to
mimic him, saying "Can you say ____?  Sure, I knew you could!".  Fred
Rogers never pretended that he could hear the children.

In the earlier episodes, people in the neighborhood would talk more
about the land of make believe.  I specifically remember a Speedy
Delivery of a pastel drawing of King Friday XIII.  I also remember Mr.
Rogers *commenting* in a later episode how he and his neighbors used
to talk a lot more about the land of Make Believe.  

It seems now like meticulous attention to detail, but I think that at
the time he must have thought of it as simple honesty.

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