Mister Rogers arrives with a watercolor painting by Andrew Wyeth and thinks back to an earlier time when Mr. Wyeth stopped by for a visit.
When there is a knock at the back door, Mister Rogers answers it to find a very sad Chef Brockett. A recent cake decorating contest did not go as well as Chef Brockett would have liked and after reflecting on the experience, Mister Rogers reminds him that his bakery is the best in the Neighborhood. As Chef Brockett is leaving, Mr. McFeely stops by with a giraffe costume which Mister Rogers tries on.
In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Henrietta is still jealous of Big Bird as he arrives to submit his drawing for the Draw the Neighborhood Contest. After talking with Big Bird, however, Henrietta realizes that she and X will always be friends. Meanwhile, Lady Elaine is still trying to find a way to underhandedly win the contest as she tells Big Bird that his drawing excedes the size limit for the contest.
Back at house, Mister Rogers talks about the feelings Henrietta must have been feeling before he sings When a Baby Comes to Your House and talks about how older siblings react when a new baby arrives.
- Looking closely upon his arrival, as Mister Rogers steps onto his porch, motions to the camera and mouths the words "come on", as he opens the door to sing the opening song.
- Early in the episode, Mister Rogers reflects on a past visit with artist Andrew Wyeth. The flashback footage comes from Episode 1217 from 1972. According to Wikipedia, an Andrew Wyeth painting hung on the set of Mister Rogers Neighborhood that was "readily seen as [Mister Rogers] entered and exited." Looking at various entrances/exits, I can only assume that this painting is the one to the right of the window just inside the door.
- After a brief illness, Andrew Wyeth passed away in January of 2009.
- The giraffe costume used in this episode is the same one that was used in Episode 1160 and Episode 1309.
- This episode features Sesame Street's Big Bird. According to Muppet Wiki:
Caroll Spinney agreed to appear in the episode as Big Bird after some dialogue with Fred Rogers; when Spinney originally received the script for the show he saw it required him to remove the costume and discuss the inner-workings of the Big Bird puppet. Spinney protested, as he didn't believe in ruining the illusion of Big Bird for the children. Rogers agreed, but only under the stipulation that Big Bird’s appearance was restricted to the fantasy segments of the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe," as he didn’t believe in perpetuating the deceitful blur of real and pretend to children that occurred when presenting the character as real in the "real world."
While Sesame Street Unpaved mentions that Rogers understood Spinney's concern over showing the children how Big Bird works, Spinney said at some of his book signings (promoting his autobiography, The Wisdom of Big Bird) that he and Fred Rogers argued over the phone for roughly twenty minutes over whether or not to have him tell the kids how he performs Big Bird.
In the same episode, Rogers still throws a disguised punch back at Spinney by putting on a tall giraffe costume shortly before Big Bird's appearance, stating to the child viewer "When you see big make-believe creatures in parades or in plays or on television, you can know that the people inside are just pretending to be something else." He adds "Sometimes of course there are machines inside of them too, that make them move. But they're just pretend."
- A humorous exchange takes place between Big Bird and X the Owl as Big Bird arrives in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. X thinks Big Bird may have gotten bigger: "I think you've grown since I saw you at convention." An all-encompassing bird convention. I can only image...
- The cake competition scene was filmed at the Monroeville Mall in Monroeville, PA. Today, the Monroeville Mall houses a large Mister Rogers-themed play area for kids.
- A clip from this episode's Neighborhood of Make-Believe segment is featured in the special Mister Rogers Talks With Parents About Competition.
- Purchase this episode on DVD or digital download.
With Fred Rogers
Neighbors: Don Brockett, Joe Negri, David Newell
Special Guest: Caroll Spinney
Executive Producer: Fred Rogers
Produced and Directed by Hugh Martin
Associate Producer: Cathy Cohen
Music Director: John Costa
Produced in association with WQED/Pittsburgh
A production of Family Communications
© 1981 Family Communications, Inc.
Appearing In This Episode
Mister Rogers | Chef Brockett | Mr. McFeely | Handyman Negri | Queen Sara Saturday | X the Owl | Henrietta Pussycat | Lady Elaine Fairchilde | King Friday XIII