A good neighbor
By BroadCasting & Cable Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/19/2000 7:00:00 PM
Fred Rogers is hanging up his sweater for good later this year. It was inevitable. Dragons live forever, but not so TV shows. Loss, transition, the inevitability of change. They were all life lessons Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood conveyed with its mix of songs and stories and quiet conversation from a man who always talked to children, never down to them. TV has rarely been more personal, or effective, as a one-on-many communicator as when Fred Rogers laced up those tennis shoes for our journey into the neighborhood of make-believe. In a way, his show was all about preparing us for a time when he wouldn't be around, either because we had outgrown him or because, as happened last week, he decided it was time for him to leave (though he has promised to remain active on the Web and elsewhere).
Sesame Street is slicker. Captain Kangaroo (the original) was a gem, too. But no children's TV show has been better at teaching the value of the individual, or treated children with more dignity than Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. Soft-spoken, gentle, unfailingly patient, Fred Rogers was an easy target for parody (some of it wickedly funny). But a TV generation is better for having known him. We'd take that for a valedictory any day.
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