Truckin’

Ask anyone. I’m not a huge fan of The Grateful Dead.

At the moment, though — traveling seventy miles-per-hour on the Pennsylvania Turnpike some 37 miles west of Harrisburg — “Truckin'” is kinda’ doin’ it for me.

Earlier, I remarked to my brother — who is a huge Deadhead, so huge that the only CDs he brought on this trip are The Dead — that, while Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir can clearly sing, there’s something grating about their voices. And I’m not about to retract that.

But cruising through the Allegheny Mountains in the dark after a long weekend of standing in the cold looking through a camera’s viewfinder, eating sporadically and sleeping even more so, Jerry and Bob’s well-worn, time-tested harmonies seem just about right.

    Sometimes the lights all shinin’ on me

    Other times I can barely see

    Lately it’s occurred to me

    What a long strange trip it’s been

I remain surprised and amazed at the journey that Mister Rogers (inadvertently) began by (inadvertently, presumably) initiating this “Mister Rogers & Me” project.This morning found Chris and I wandering the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh with its Marketing Director, Bill Schlageter.

The Museum has been home to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” exhibit since 1998. Developed in partnership with FCI, it replicates the show’s set — it’s all there: King Friday’s castle, X the Owl’s tree — but in a hands-on way. Kids can be on or behind the camera, drive trolley, put on their own puppet show, or play Mister Rogers’ piano.

Picture Picture’s there too. We watched a video on the making of the exhibit narrated by David Newell. There was Mister Rogers wearing an overcoat and glasses, standing next to Bill Isler and smiling.

Mister Rogers’ spirit was everywhere. And smiling.

Still — and I’ve felt this way numerous times throughout the making of this film — his absence was palpable too.

Click here to read the rest of this post on my other blog, “Making ‘Mister Rogers & Me'” …

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