If you were a child anytime between 1963 and present day, you know about Mr. Rogers. He was the amazingly kind, generous, and compassionate host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which taught children the importance of imagination, being yourself, and learning about the world around you. Here are 20 fascinating facts you might not know about our favorite neighbor.
1. All of his sweaters were knit by his mom.
As you’ll undoubtedly remember, every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood began with Mr. Rogers entering his home and changing into a zippered cardigan. According to an interview he did for Emmy TV, they were all handmade by his mom.
One of his iconic sweaters is currently displayed at the Smithsonian Institute as a Treasure of American History.
2. He changed into sneakers for every episode because they were quieter on set.
Rather than clomping around in his dress shoes, Mr. Rogers changed into much quieter sneakers. His shoes of choice were Sperry Topsiders or Converse Skidgrips.
3. Each episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood featured live music.
Mr. Rogers hired Johnny Costa as the show’s musical director, arranger, and keyboardist. Costa’s music was originally regarded as being too complicated for a children’s program, and he refused to play “baby music,” lending the show its unique score. For every episode, Costa and his trio played live music in the studio.
4. Fred Rogers himself had a B.A. in Music Composition.
He spent much of his early life listening to his mother play the piano and started playing himself at the age of 5.
He earned his degree in 1951 from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and composed almost all of the songs he sang on the show. He also earned approximately 40 honorary degrees over the years.
5. He was also a minister.
After attending Rollins College, Mr. Rogers attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1963.
But music composer, children’s show host, and minister are just a few of the hats Mr. Rogers wore. He also had a pilot’s license…