I've received a few dozen great, really thoughtful emails since posting the trailer a few weeks ago. Some are from friends, some are from strangers, all are appreciated. I thought I'd share excerpts of just a few.
I love Mr. Rogers. I love that as a child, my mom let me watch him despite the fact that she still shudders when she thinks about the instant and entranced calm that came over me as soon as it started, just after Sesame Street, which, in contrast, always included a fair amount of me jumping around and counting out loud and singing and talking back to the television. I love that I still remember her telling me that Mr. Rogers bought a car from her college roommate, and that being the first time I wrapped my head around the idea of him existing on TV and in real life. I love that on a road trip when I was in college, my boyfriend planned a stop at the Crayola factory -- based entirely on the fact that seeing the brochure in our hotel lobby launched me into an insanely detailed recollection of the trip Mr. Rogers once took there on his show.
New York, NY
I grew up with Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, Electric Company, etc. Somehow I wish today's children's entertainment would retain some of the innocence of those shows. My background is in advertising/marketing so I can understand the success of much slicker shows like Sponge Bob, Dora, etc. But there's something lacking - a heart and soul. I think Fred Rogers did a great job of that.
I just happened upon your story about Fred Rogers and wanted you to know that I loved it and thank you so much for writing it! I have been trying to figure out where to take my family for vacation and we have been punting around the idea of Nantucket, along with Maine, Martha's Vineyard et al. and we asked a friend who we knew had been to Nantucket if they liked it and they loved it and mentioned that they saw Mr. Roger's house.
Something also touched me about your words in that you indicated that your parents were divorced when you were ten. Mine were at six. It is painful isn't it! I am a 46-year-old married man with three kids of my own and I still have issues from my parents divorce and step-parent issues. At any rate, I kind of feel like a blood brother to anyone else, like yourself who suffered that fate.
I assure you that I am not prone to writing strangers, but you opened your heart to the world and I just thought that I would let you know that I appreciate your doing that.
As you have the Nantucket connection to Mr. Rogers, I have a Pittsburgh connection to him. My youngest sister was an avid fan of Daniel Stripped Tiger and King Friday even before Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood was on PBS. I was a little too old to appreciate him then, but often watched with her on our black and white TV in our living room in Leetsdale which is about 18 miles from “downtown” Pittsburgh.
I graduated from Pitt with a degree in early childhood education. My first job after graduating was teaching in a Head Start program in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. Training for this program was at the Arsenal Family & Children’s Center. Not only did Mr. Rogers have an office there, but both of his sons were students there. Often Fred would come into our training sessions. He encouraged us with his slow soothing speech and made us believe we were doing the most important job in the world – loving and caring for young children.
Mr. Rogers was always a force in our household. My son began watching his show at age 2 and I used his records in my creative music classes as a teacher. When he was 4 (or maybe he was 5) he missed a very important show. I think it may have been the wedding of Princess Sara, but I’m not sure. He and I wrote a letter to Fred asking if it would be repeated during the summer months. True to form, Mr. Rogers answered and not only told him the number of the segment but praised him for being able to tell his mother how he felt about missing the show.
Fred Rogers left a legacy of tenderness and caring not often found in today’s TV world. I can’t wait to see your finished tribute to him. Please keep me in the loop.
I came across Mister Rogers today on YouTube and it made me recall so many happy thoughts that were once forgotten. I can't really explain why I came across Mister Rogers, or what led me to searching for more videos on him. Just something that made me feel great inside and led me to the film which you are making. I understand you probably have many emails based around interested fans or whomever else is emailing you but good luck on your project.
As you know, this process has been long and sometimes difficult. Throughout, I have heard Mister Rogers' voice in my head saying, "Look for the helpers." Every email and comment feels like help, like Chris and I aren't alone in all of this. It's gratifying.