Mister Rogers & Us, Part I
It’s difficult to remember how little Chris and I knew when we began shooting our documentary, Mister Rogers & Me, in 2006.
While Mrs. Rogers had signed off, Fred’s Company hadn’t yet granted permission.
There were precious few sources of information on life and career outside of his Wikipedia page, obituary, and a few scattered remembrances.
And while Chris had cut tons of television and even a doc or two, I didn’t know a thing about filmmaking. There was no script, outline or roadmap.
It was a call to adventure (like all I suppose) loaded with uncertainty, ambiguity and anxiety. And hope. Hope that we’d get some green lights, and the miles would somehow make sense at some point down the road. Hope that we would emerge transformed.
Most days, it was all Chris and I could do to just keep going.
Amy Hollingsworth (author of The Simple Faith of Mister Rogers) and Tim Madigan (author of I’m Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers) were early indications that we were on the right path.
Both entered our lives serendipitously. Both greeted our project as helpers. Both opened their hearts to us. And both played key roles when Mister Rogers & Me, premiered on Public Broadcasting on March 20, 2012 — ten years ago this Sunday.
Moreover, both have been sage and steady companions in the intervening years.
In the first of this two-episode Friends & Neighbors special, Amy and Tim share their call to adventure, and what they came to understand of Fred Rogers’ legacy. We’re also joined by Neighborhood Archivist, Tim Lybarger, who generously and ably handles hosting duties.