Most documentary films are an artfully arranged combination of the following elements: interviews and footage. Until yesterday, we lacked a fair amount of the latter. Thanks to our pal Amy Hollingsworth, today finds us in better shape on both.
You'll recall that Amy was a Researcher for "The 700 Club" when she snagged the enviable assignment of interviewing Mister Rogers. She and her crew spent an entire day capturing the making of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" at WQED in Pittsburgh.
While we're negotiating rights to utilize actual episodes, Amy's footage is behind-the-scenes: Mister Rogers singing to camera, talking with Johnny Costa, looking at a monitor. It's priceless stuff. As I just emailed to Amy moments ago, I stood outside WQED a few weeks ago, and really wished to be inside with Fred. Amy's footage is the closest I'll get. It's really a wonderful gift which Amy secured from CBN on our behalf.
Hopefully, we'll be that lucky in other instances. I've submitted the following requests to Family Communications:
1) "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" Ep. 29 3/28/68
2) "Mister Rogers Talks With Parents About Divorce" Ep. 605 2/15/81
3) Photos: 1928, 1937, 1952, 1969
And I've initiated a fair amount of outreach from some of our interviewees. Davy Rothbart, for example, FedExed me three dozen snapshots from his family vacation in Nantucket. We hope to receive similar supporting material from Tim Russert (who seemed to think his son still had his possession a clock that Mister Roger fashioned from a paper plate) and Marc Brown.
Finally, we've tapped our friend and esteemed documentary filmmaker Katia Maguire to do some research on our behalf. She'll be scouring photo and footage agencies, as well as reaching out to organizations like the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Mister Rogers was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997. His acceptance speech is a key component to our story. In it he says:
All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take with me ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Those who have cared about you, and wanted what was best for you in life. Ten seconds of silence. I'll watch the time.
Piece by piece, we'll put this puzzle together.