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Episode 1609

Topic: Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
Air Date: May 4, 1989
Previous Episode: 1608 - Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
Next Episode: 1610 - Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
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Mister Rogers arrives with a slide trombone which he attempts to demonstrate. After a quick review of the previous day, the story of Josephine begins again.

In the story, a new day is just beginning and it's time to go to school. The Elephant family is getting ready (It's Time), but no one goes anywhere before they sing the family song (We Are Elephants). At the Giraffe home, Josephine is still hesitant to go to school, but receives much loving encouragement from her mother. Hazel arrives (It's Time), and has Josephine Promise to try. Led by Butterfly, Bird, and Bee, they pay a short visit to Sunflower, Frog, and Tree.  As they continue, they sing You're Much More. Arriving near the school, Josephine suddenly loses her courage, but Hazel assures her that “when you do a new thing, you're more excited than scared."

At the school they meet the principal, Mr. Bulldog (Chef Brockett) who directs Hazel to the music and reading room and takes Josephine to the AAA room – Attractive Active Animals! There, Josephine is introduced to the teachers, Posy (Barbara Russell), a spotted elephant, and Rosy (Mary Rawson), a striped elephant. She also meets Samuel S. Snake (voiced by Bob Trow), a snake that does not know how to “hiss," and J.R. (Neighbor Aber), an extremely shy, tall giraffe. After J.R. demonstrates his speaking exercises, he leaves for his hoof-organ lesson while Josephine starts to get “better acquainted" with her teachers.

In the music and reading class, Hazel is making major progress on the trombone with her teacher Mrs. Mongrel (Winnie Flynn). J.R. enters and Hazel mistakes him for a long-necked Josephine, someone he thinks is nice. J.R. then demonstrates his hoof-organ, a huge rolling keyboard, playing a very jazzy instrumental version of You're Much More. Hazel notices that J.R. is not shy when he plays his music. J.R. begins an organ fugue after which Mrs. Mongrel promises to teach Hazel to read.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers feeds the fish and sings an “attractive active fishes" version of Attractive Active Animals. He then wraps up by re-emphasizing how we are all more than what we look like and sings the end of You're Much More.


Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe was originally written in French by Fred Rogers while he was in college. In 1968, an LP was released with Mister Rogers narrating the story and "neighbors” from that era singing the roles. There are considerable differences from the original version and this version. Many of the lines and lyrics are adapted significantly and many of the characters are different.

The song You're Much More does not appear on the LP version of Josephine.

Before entering the school Josephine and Hazel send a note home with Butterfly, Bird and Bee (Josephine: G#, Hazel: E, Butterfly, Bird, & Bee: B), which Butterfly, Bird and Bee fly away singing. Later on, J.R. plays an E on the hoof-organ for Hazel, and she returns a G on the trombone.

J.R.'s speaking exercises are, “The sky is blue. The air is clean. The grass is green."

The song Commonsense appears on the LP but not in this version of Josephine.

Rosy, Posy, and Mrs. Mongrel are not on the LP version of Josephine. Likewise, Miss Honey Bear, a classmate of Sam, appears on the LP but not in this version.

In the original LP version of Josephine, the school was located in Westwood -- the Westwood School for Growing.

Unlike any of the operas, the credits list the cast with the names of their roles. Daniel S. Tiger is also credited as Sunflower.

The music written on the chalk board is the song You Are Much More.

As the episode transitions back to Mister Rogers' house, the song played on the hoof organ by J.R. is Fuge in G Minor by Bach

Appearing In This Episode




Episode Credits

With Fred Rogers
Cast: Chuck Aber (Frog & JR Giraffe), Betty Aberlin (Josephine the Giraffe), Don Brockett (Mr. Bulldog), Winnie Flynn (Mrs. Mongrel), Michael Horton (Butterfly, Bird, & Bee), Joe Negri (Father Elephant), Zelda Pulliam (Hazel Elephant), Mary Rawson (Rosie), Audrey Roth (Mother Elephant), Barbara Russell (Posie), Maggie Stewart (Mrs. Giraffe), Daniel S. Tiger (Sunflower), Bob Trow (Tree & Sam Snake)
Executive Producer: Fred Rogers
Producer: Margaret Whitmer
Director: Paul Lally
Associate Producer: Adrienne Wehr
Music Director: John Costa

Produced in association with WQED/Pittsburgh
A production of Family Communications
©1989 Family Communications, Inc.

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