Monday, June 15, 2009

'Mister Rogers & Me' Update

Wondering where "Mister Rogers & Me" has gone in the last three four months?

Alas, my brief experiment with editing the film myself fizzled quickly. Christofer has since completed a paper cut of the film (that is, editing the video tape to match my script) which clocks in well over two hours. Currently, a friend and noted documentary editor (who asked not to be identified until we see his edit) is retooling the film to a more manageable length (goal: eighty minutes), and cinematic narrative structure. More on the in the next few weeks.

Menawhile, Iowa Public Television pal Wayne Bruns sent me the following tale of Michael Kinsell a young, apparently-admiring San Diego-based fan of Mister Rogers who endeavored to put on some sort of show touting himself as Fred's heir apparent.

PBS is accusing a San Diego teenager of “falsely claiming association” with the network and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. He [was] selling tickets for a May 31 gala event where, according to a news release by his publicist, he [would] present himself as successor to the late Fred Rogers.

Michael Kinsell, who told Current he is 18, said he has produced six episodes of a new show, Michael’s Enchanted Neighborhood.

Kinsell described the benefit event, to be held at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, as a tribute to Rogers that will raise funds for “children’s public television” and, he hopes, for his own new show.

He said he invited members of Rogers’ family to receive a Children’s Hero Award in Rogers’ honor and said he will give $10,000 in mid-June to Family Communications Inc., Rogers’ production company in Pittsburgh.

In a complaint this month to the California Attorney General’s office obtained by Current, PBS says that Kinsell, with event publicity falsely associating himself with PBS and Rogers, could divert funds to his nonprofit from the network and Rogers’ company.

As I wrote to Wayne, the story (odd, right?) reminded me of author Tim Madigan's Barnes & Noble reading of "I'm Proud Of You." A young man was sobbing and speaking out in an almost-Tourette's manner through Tim's entire reading. He tried to address the young man kindly and patiently, but it still feltawkward and distracting.

"I worry that these sorts of oddities besmirch Fred," I wrote to Wayne. "And Chris and my well-intentioned little effort. But then I remember how well Fred handled every situation so naturally and know it'll turn out fine."

It will.