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Episode 1610

Topic: Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
Air Date: May 5, 1989
Previous Episode: 1609 - Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
Next Episode: 1611 - When Parents Go To Work
Purchase/Stream: Amazon

Mister Rogers arrives with a balloon which he says will be used at the end of the story. After a quick review of the previous day, Mister Rogers begins the story of Josephine again.

In the story, Rosie and Posie are becoming better acquainted with Josephine. She longs for a longer neck and Sam Snake reminds them that he longs to be able to H-I-S-S. Josephine says that there's nothing hard about hissing. Sam, hurt at being teased, says, “…Can't you see I get hysterical…!" Posie immediately notices that Sam has hissed by saying hys-terical. Overjoyed, Sam sings My Hissing Was Missing. Mr. Bulldog is notified of the good news and gives permission for a celebration to be planned. Stepping aside with Josephine, he learns that she wants to go home. He suggests the she do “five smiles in one standing, while looking up into the sky," but she says she hasn't even got one smile and will wait for Hazel outside. Hazel and J.R. arrive in the A.A.A. room for the party and Hazel receives a blue balloon, which she gives to J.R.. Mr. Bulldog worriedly tells them about the situation, and Hazel immediately goes to find Josephine.

Outside, a very depressed Josephine tells Hazel that It's No Use. Hazel convinces her to Promise to try for a few more minutes and they sing a duet of the two songs together. Back inside, Hazel convinces J.R. to talk to Josephine. He's a giraffe with a long neck and might be their “only hope."

Back outside, Josephine tells Butterfly, Bird and Bee that the others are fine, but she is ready to go home. J.R. comes out and sees her sitting on a rock. Singing Josephine, he stumbles over several of his speaking exercises, leading Josephine to think he is required to talk to her, just like she's supposed to smile (which she ‘demonstrates'). She says that he can grow out of his shyness but that she'll always look the way she does. He says he's glad and she tells him to go away. J.R. refuses and she says that he might as well, because she'll "always look..." J.R. interrupts her with “nice," and proceeds to sing I Think You're Nice. At the end of the song, a change comes over Josephine. J.R. also begins to talk – a lot. J.R. promises to give Josephine his balloon and invites her to call him Jack. Before they go in, she gives him a real smile.

Inside, Josephine tells a speechless Hazel and Mr. Bulldog that she will stay at school. Together, they sing I'm Glad I'm the Way I Am. As the celebration begins, Hazel's parents and Josephine's mother join them. Butterfly, Bird, and Bee fly in with a message from Sunflower, Frog, and Tree: “We love you too." Together they sing a “we" version of I'm Glad I'm the Way I Am.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers explains how many ways there are to grow. People can't control their outside growing, but they can do a lot about their insides and can choose to be glad they're the way they are. Closing, he re-emphasizes that we're more than just one thing 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 It's No Use is not in the original LP version of Josephine.

Josephine's ears change, depending on her emotion.


During We're Glad We're the Way We Are, Sam adds a “hiss" to the end of “I think we're fine," prompting J.R. to add “Miss" to the end of “The pleasure's mine."

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.

This production is dedicated to John Reardon who passed away in April of 1988.

Appearing In This Episode




Episode Credits

Josephine the Short-Neck Giraffe
Original story by Fred Rogers
Adapted for television by Josie Carey and Fred Rogers
Lyrics: Josie Carey
Music: Fred Rogers
Musical Arrangement: John Costa
Cast: Chuck Aber (J.R. 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), Bob Trow (Sam Snake)
Executive Producer: Fred Rogers
Producer: Margaret Whitmer
Director: Paul Lally
Associate Producer: Adrienne Wehr
Music Director: John Costa
Art Director: Kathy Borland
Editor: Randy Strothman
Production Design: Bill Stabile; with Richard Cordtz, Dan Grosch, Charlie Lagola, Sally Lesser, Philomena Marano
Properties: Eloise Albrecht, Francine Byrne
Production Assistants: Joe Kelly, Lenny Meledandri, Ellen Moore, Keith Rees
Production Interns: Lorre Alexander, Janie Donohue
Studio Supervisor: Doug Coates
Production Coordinator: Mark Smukler
Lead Technician: Ken Anderson
Assistant Director: Rich Dwyer
Technical Director: Jim Ochtun
Lighting Director: Frank Warninsky
Assistant Lighting Director: Kate Kearney
Video: Tom Deluga
Studio Cameras: Don McCall, Bob Vaughn, Art Vogel
Audio: Dick LaSota, Jerry Cobbs
Videotape: Bill Moore, Mike Laver
Floor Manager: Nick Tallo
Assistant Floor Manager: Jim Seech
Grips: Jim Bruwelheide, Frank McGough
Location Production: Mark Adelsheim, John Burdick, Susan Butler, Mike Kobick, Bob Lubomski, Ken Rogers, John Sutton, Bob Tubb
Head Carpenter: Rich Karapandi
Carpenters: Joseph Bock, Pasty Gianella, Steve Karapandi, Don Kann, Sr., Charles Whatton
Head Scenic Artists: Diane Fargo, Paula Payne
Scenic Artists: John Bond, Tim Burgess, Drew Drake, Terrie Godfrey, Frika Gray, Susan Hughes, Gary Kosko, Mary Beth Munroe, Susan Spier, Beht Ann Zamborsky
Head Costumers: Penny Mateer, Venise St. Pierre
Costumers: Nora Cline, Jessica Rhines, Kitty Spangler, Marlene Speranza, Linda Zimmer
Original “Neighborhood” Scenic Design: Jack Guest
Musicians: Carl McVicker, Bob Rawsthorne, Joe Dallas
Videotape Editor: Kevin Conrad
Videotape Sound: Bob Millslagle, Dennis Williams
Director of Production: Sam Newbury
Consultants: Albert V. Corrado M.D., Margaret B. McFarland Ph.D.
Produced in association with WQED/Pittsburgh

A production of Family Communications
©1989 Family Communications, Inc.

We dedicate the production of JOSEPHINE THE SHORT-NECK GIRAFFE to our good friend and opera maker, John Reardon, whose excellence as a singer and as a person will continue to inspire us all forever.

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