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THE NEIGHBORHOOD ARCHIVE - All Things Mister Rogers

Thanks For Your Help Today

Early in Episode 1593, Marilyn Barnett stops by, as she often does in the Neighborhood, to demostrate a form of physical activity. This time, she brings along three young people -- Kiyonna, Eve, and Rashidi. The children demonstrated some very impressive jump rope skills and clearly impressed Mister Rogers. As I was detailing the credits from this episode, I noticed that Rashidi's last name is "Barnett" and I wondered what, if any, relation he was to Marilyn Barnett.

My curiosity got the best of me and I was able to make contact with Rashidi who informed me that Marilyn Barnett is indeed his mother. Both he and his mother have very graciously offered some comments on their experiences with Mister Rogers and his Neighborhood. I am honored to share the thoughts of Marilyn Barnett and her son. My thanks to them both for their kindness and generosity!

I was 10 years old when this particular episode was shot. I remember my Mom and I going into the basement trying to figure out what I was going to do and say. It was pretty exciting for me, going on the set of Mr. Rogers. I literally lived in his neighborhood, just a few blocks, but being on the set was a lot more exciting. I expected him to be exactly how he was on TV, and he was. The second highlight of my day was always seeing Trolley and the land of Make-Believe.

He would spend a few moments before shooting talking to me, and the rest of the kids that were on the show with me. Most of us actually went to school together.

I also remember when they opened up Mister Roger's Neighborhood at Idlewild Park the following somewhere, and they shut down the park just for us. He would always come up to me and say hello. I never would go up to him, because I didn't think he would remember me, but he did.

The last time I saw Mr. Rogers, was in 2000, at my father's funeral. He showed up to give his condolences and shared some kind words with us. He was definitely always warm spirited and friendly.

- Rashidi Barnett [Age 31]

In addition to he and his mother graciously providing comments about their experiences on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Rashidi was kind enough to share a few photographs from the set of the show. The first is a black and white of Marilyn Barnett, Mister Rogers, and the children performing some stretching exercises after jumping rope.

I can only assume that this black and white image was shot during a rehearsal for the episode because, as you can see from the image below, when the similar stretching took place on the broadcast episode the children were seated in a different order.

The other image provided by Rashidi I can only describe as "amazing." What a terrific example of the kind and loving nature of Fred Rogers captured in this photograph and in his comments:

"For Rashidi with thanks for your help today. - Mister Rogers 3/8/88"

Again, my many thanks to Rashidi Barnett and Marilyn Barnett for their willingness to share about their time in the Neighborhood.

 

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