Author Topic: Demystifying the show  (Read 2810 times)

MysteryNeighbor

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Demystifying the show
« on: June 11, 2011, 06:27:20 PM »
In the mid-1970s, Fred began to demystifying things on the show-notably the trolley control unit and the Picture Picture machine.

He was showing his young viewers that the trolley and Picture Picture do not run on magic and that they need someone to control them.

Do yo think Fred did the right thing?
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 06:44:43 AM by MysteryNeighbor »

earnhardtfan4life

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Re: Demystifying the show
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2011, 10:48:54 AM »
I think Fred did the right thing as kids are always curious about how things work on the "home" set.  I guess one could make the argument that he could have waited later in the series to show it, but as funding was constantly an issue I guess he decided to show it early on as it might not get shown at all.

As far as showing how NOMB worked, I probably wouldn't have shown that.  As in puppetry your not supposed to see whats going on behind the curtain.  If he wanted to show people how the NOMB worked he could have done a primetime special about it.

Mike

Eric S

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Re: Demystifying the show
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 10:59:49 PM »
I like that he showed behind the scenes, and have no problem with it, but as an adult it's hard to rectify that he would do it in one episode, say something like "This house I'm in is just a set" and show that set, then in the next episode sit on the porch and pretend he sees Mr. McFeely approaching from down the street, or sit in the house and pretend that that fourth wall is there and he can't tell who's approaching the door. It's not a big deal, and obviously not something that bothered me as a kid, nor any kid probably. However, the whole premise of the show is that you are visiting Fred in his house, so to constantly undermine that setting, even if it has been done before, would be counterproductive to that premise.

Right up until the last season Fred would often remind viewers that the make believe portions were just pretend, perhaps to make the things that happened seem less scary and more easy for a kid to analyze logically, but even though as you pointed out, he showed how the trolley and picture picture worked, he didn't do this too often. I think at the begining there wasn't a solid distinction between the make believe and the real. As I'm sure was the case on many kids shows all of television was an excuse for make believe. Fred would constantly talk about the Neighborhood of Make Believe as if it was just down the street, and it's characters would call his real house.  It probably wasn't until later that Fred saw some value in making it clear where the make believe ended and reality began. I know he placed great value in being honest and truthful when he was talking to kids (on TV or otherwise) and perhaps he felt that some of his messages would be undermined if kids didn't know whether he was pretending or not.

There have been many kids shows before and since, and in my experience none of them have had a host that's talked as open and honestly with the viewer as Fred Rogers has. Granted I haven't seen all of them I'm sure. But there have been a few where the host certainly took a page from Fred's book, and had a nice quiet moment with the camera, but inevitably there's a puppet friend who pops up or something like that and we are reminded that the person on the screen is just an actor, maybe a sincere one, but an actor nonetheless.

MysteryNeighbor

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Re: Demystifying the show
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 06:20:57 AM »
I guess Fred was just being honest with children and on one occasion he showed the entire set.
Do you recall the episode that Mister Rogers went to the model neighborhood set and put a clay dinosaur on it? Was from the 'Monsters & Superheroes' episode?


Eric S

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Re: Demystifying the show
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 09:39:50 AM »
Yes it was from the Superheroes week of episodes.