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Episode 1696

Topic: Transformations
Air Date: February 19, 1996
Previous Episode: 1695 - What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel? (Mad Feelings)
Next Episode: 1697 - Transformations
Purchase/Stream: Amazon

Mister Rogers arrives with a set of watercolors which he takes to the kitchen. On a piece of paper, he mixes orange and purple and explains that the even though it is still the same water and paint, he has created a third color by combining the two. Mister Rogers sings You Are Special as he continues to paint.

Mr. McFeely delivers a hide-and-find toy ball compliments of one of Mister Rogers' neighbors, J.D. As he hides the ball for Mister Rogers, Mr. McFeely receives a call from his wife who mentions that a storytelling friend will be visiting their home later in the day.

In the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Mr. McFeely has a strange package for Purple Panda which was left at the castle -- a uniquely shaped orange ball with specific instructions that it is not to be opened. Mayor Maggie is planning to visit Planet Purple and offers to deliver the pacakge to Purple Panda. Much to her surprise, as she tosses the package in the air, it does not come back down. X the Owl is unable to retrieve the package but finds that it is headed towards Westwood.

As Mayor Maggie continues to look for the package, Neighbor Aber has found it in Westwood; however, the color has changed to purple and orange. Neighbor Aber makes the mistake of tossing the ball in the air and it disappears again. It turns up next at the tree where X has found the package -- this time with yellow spots added.

Back at the house, Mister Rogers hides the ball for viewers to find before he visits the McFeely's home. At the McFeely's, Gay Ducey is on the front porch with Mrs. McFeely and a group of children. Ms. Ducey shares her adaptation of George Shannon's story Lizard's Song.

Returning to the house, Mister Rogers writes a thank you note to his neighbor who gave him the hide-and-find ball.


The full title for this week of episodes is "Transformations: No matter how we change on the outside, we're still ourselves inside."

This episode originally featured Mr. McFeely delivering a laser pointer to Mister Rogers from his friend J.D. After concerns with laser pointers were voiced, the segments of this episode filmed in the television house were reshot as described above. It is often believed that the concerns were over the safety of laser pointers but in his interview for the Archive of American Television, Fred Rogers explains that it was more than that:

"Somebody wrote to us and said, 'Do you realize that that could be harmful to people's eyes?' Well, it turns out that it's not harmful to people's eyes but what it is harmful is that there must be laser things like that on guns that show where to shoot...I don't want people thinking that we want to hurt anybody."

Below are screenshots of the original broadcast which show Mister Rogers and Mr. McFeely demonstrating the laser pointer:


Aside from the laser pointer delivery being changed to the delivery of a toy ball, there are several smaller details that show evidence of a total reshoot.

In the reshoot, Mister Rogers has a pen in his shirt pocket. In the original, no pen.


The shape of the water colors used in the kitchen is different between the two versions of this episode.


In addition to the house segments being reshot, the credits for this episode were redone as well. In the revised credits, "John Costa" is changed to "Johnny Costa."


The package for Purple Panda is likely made from a Milton Bradley Bump Ball (images courtesy of


As the episode transitions to the McFeely's house, Let's Be Together Today plays in the background.

Lizard's Song by George Shannon is available for purchase through

Appearing In This Episode


  • Gay Ducey




Episode Credits

With Fred Rogers
Neighbors: Chuck Aber, Gay Ducey, David Newell, Betsy Nadas Seamans, Maggie Stewart
Special thanks to: Greenwillow Books for permission to adapt Lizard Song written by George Shannon / Illustraded by Jose Aruego and Adriane Dewey
Executive Producer: Fred Rogers
Producer: Margaret Whitmer
Director: Bob Walsh
Associate Producer: Adrienne Wehr
Music Director: Johnny Costa

Produced in association with WQED/Pittsburgh
A production of Family Communications
© 1996 Family Communications, Inc.

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