WQED Multimedia's Studio A, which was home to "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," will now be called the Fred Rogers Studio in honor of Fred Rogers' life and work in children's television, WQED board members decided yesterday. The station will open the studio in August for a series of open houses for those who want a look behind the scenes of the long-running PBS series.
"When he retired, he said, 'I miss my playmates at the studio the most,'" the late host's wife, Joanne Rogers, who was on hand for the announcement, told board members. "It was work, and it was hard, but he played there."
Chris and I spent a few minutes shooting exteriors outside of WQED last year. At the time, we still held hope that we'd be invited inside, so we were treading lightly.
As Chris shot a series of wide, mid, and close-up shots, I wandered around the grounds. The building is on the edge of the University of Pittsburgh campus, and so was teaming with students. In fact, it appeared by the volume of pedestrian traffic that the parking lot on the west side of the building was some sort of a short-cut. So I followed the kids around the back of the building.
I noticed an open door on the side of the building, and tiptoed towards it. From the looks of it, I was at the back door of one of the station's cavernous sound stages. My heart was beating as I stepped inside, hoping that I'd spot some little corner of King Friday's castle.
No such luck.
I've since spoken with FCI and relinquished my fantasy of being invited inside WQED, on camera at least.
I still like to imagine, though, that I was just a few steps from X the Owl's tree.
Either way, in some small way, I always am.